It’s that time of year when we are excited about the holidays and time off of school to spend with our friends and family. With the long break, many teachers, maintenance companies and facility managers, will shut off the heat to their buildings to conserve energy. This could cause unforeseen issues and possibly cost more in repairs than the potential energy savings.
What happens when you turn off the heat?
Turning the heat off entirely in your building subjects it to environmental factors. Most of the time, your building will cool down so much that heating it back to a comfortable temperature when you return wastes more energy than letting it run. Instead, turn your thermostat down 7-10 degrees.
Additionally, turning your thermostat off during winter and colder months, even for a brief period, could cause pipes in outer walls, ceiling and roof cavities, or in the crawl space to freeze and burst. In fact, burst pipes are one of the most common causes of property damage during frigid weather and can cause thousands in water damage—easily $5,000 or more. Leave the heat on in your building, set to a temperature no lower than 60° F.
What other items should you check when the building is NOT occupied?
The heating system should be cleaned and inspected by a contractor to help ensure it is working properly, especially through the winter months, to reduce potential damage from fire and freezing.
- If LP gas, propane gas or oil heat is used, ensure the fuel levels in the tank are checked periodically to prevent running out of fuel.
- The building should be checked regularly (at least once a week) to ensure the heating system is operating properly.
- Be sure the electric power is not shut off since this will shut down the heating system. If electrical service to the home is to remain on, inspect main electrical panel, wiring and outlets; and repair or replace any defective or deficient items.
- Check that all outdoor pipes have been winterized to avoid freezing and breaking.
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