As we all are trying to save our pennies on heating related costs, people headed to the sunny south this winter will want to shut up their homes completely.
You will save alot of fuel over the course of 4 to 6 months by NOT heating the house! The cold will not hurt your house so relax. There are things to take care of (plumbing), but the structure and your furniture won't mind the cold.
Here's what you do:
Basically you want to turn off the furnace and heat.
For electric heat, you can turn the thermostats all the way down to OFF, or open the breakers feeding the heat.
For furnaces and boilers, use the emergency shut off switch to turn the unit off.
Now, for the plumbing:
Start by draining your water pipes. (You can pay a plumber to do this and watch him so you can do it next year!) The water heater, if you have one, will have to be drained. This is a good thing anyway, since it will flush the bottom of the tank. The supply lines will have to be drained and perhaps blown out with compressed air.
Put some nontoxic antifreeze, (the pink stuff) in the toilets and all the sink traps. We don't want the pipes to burst when you are away! Don't try the automobile antifreeze or windshield washer fluid, it stains your porcelein and is toxic. Then call the water department to have the water shut off at your house.
Use nontoxic antifreeze in your system if you have radiators or a boiler.
Take out the air conditioner out of your windows with the water drained out of it. Seal up windows tight, and draw any drapes you have.
Fill up freezer with frozen water jugs, so it runs efficiently. Unplug if empty!
Empty your refrigerator of the food, and place a towel over door to keep door ajar, ( helps to keep from getting smelly inside.) Put a plastic bag holding fresh kitty litter into the freezer and frig sections, these act as a deoderizer. (Pierce the plastic bag with a few small holes!) Don't forget to also unplug the unit!
Give the lawn its final mowing
Enjoy your stay in the warm south and don't worry about the northern house!