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 Post subject: Winterising your Maison Secondaire
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:07 pm 
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Winterising your Maison Secondaire

If there is no central heating in the property, I would

1) Turn off the water at the meter pit, and open the cap on the drain valve to let the final dregs of water run to waste, (then there is no chance of a burst pipe your side of the meter)

2) Open all the taps and let the water run to waste

3) Flush the W/C's

4) Add a hand full of salt to all the appliances traps

5) Turn down to the lowest setting the thermostat on the ballon (there is a discussion going on about draining the ballon and it corroding on the inside owing to the metal being exposed to the air), there should be no danger of the ballon running out of water if the thermostat is set low

If the property has central heating, I would

1) Make friends with a neighbour, and ask them to look in on the property, after the power cut (you can bet your bottom dollar on there being at least one power cut in the winter months) to reset the circuit breakers if they have tripped out

2) Have the boiler serviced

3) Make sure that you have a full tank of fuel

4) Have the water in the central heating system checked for Anti-Gell, (I would work on a 50% mixture for protection)

5) If not fitted, have a frost stat fitted on an external north facing wall

6) Set all the radiator thermostats to either the frost setting or 1

7) Set the boiler to a low setting and be controlled by the thermostats (internal and external frost stat) and not the time clock

8) Carry out operations 1 to 4, in a property with no central heating

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 Post subject: Re: Winterising your Maison Secondaire
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:13 pm 
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Thanks for that very useful information Peake.

I'm going to print it out and keep it pinned on the board to remind me of "Must Do's" I need to complete before departing.

Spot on.
:-bd

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 Post subject: Re: Winterising your Maison Secondaire
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:22 pm 
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That covers all the water/heating issues. Are there any other general points to think about when leaving your Maison Secondaire for the winter? Anyone? Personal experiences all gladly received!

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 Post subject: Re: Winterising your Maison Secondaire
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:25 pm 
I have replied on the thread with the same name. Make sure your insurance covers you for leaving the house empty - mine does for 31 consecutive days.


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 Post subject: Re: Winterising your Maison Secondaire
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 8:47 pm 
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We normally leave our radiators on frost protect but this year our agent in Bernex told us that she turned up the heating( the house is all electric) in our bathrooms when she knew that the bad weather was coming. The result was that we had two weeks extra bookings because two families couid not go to the different chalets they had booked due to burst pipes.
Hopefully you could ask a kind neighbour to help if no agent available.


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 Post subject: Re: Winterising your Maison Secondaire
PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:27 pm 
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we put bowls of salt around the cottage to soak up any moisture in the air and instead of salt down the sink traps and toilet we add car anti freeze it is what we use to do in our caravans/motorhomes and we never had any problems :YMPRAY:


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 Post subject: Re: Winterising your Maison Secondaire
PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:29 pm 
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stephenpug wrote:
we put bowls of salt around the cottage to soak up any moisture in the air and instead of salt down the sink traps and toilet we add car anti freeze it is what we use to do in our caravans/motorhomes and we never had any problems :YMPRAY:


Nothing wrong with this except that anti freeze is poisonous, and can bugger up a septic tank system, and that its illegal to put it down the drains of a village/town/city "proper" sewage system

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 Post subject: Re: Winterising your Maison Secondaire
PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:32 am 
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Put down Mouse poison/Traps.

Inform the local plod, They might keep an eye on the place.

Get local gardener/neighbour to mow lawns if weather allows as an un-mown lawn is a dead give away if it has been kept short all summer. It's a sure fire way of telling thieves that your property is/has been empty for a long term.

Put a "Pas de publicity" sticker on the post box to stop local spam mail/advertising blurb from overflowing out of post box.

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 Post subject: Re: Winterising your Maison Secondaire
PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 3:09 pm 
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peake wrote:
stephenpug wrote:
we put bowls of salt around the cottage to soak up any moisture in the air and instead of salt down the sink traps and toilet we add car anti freeze it is what we use to do in our caravans/motorhomes and we never had any problems :YMPRAY:


Nothing wrong with this except that anti freeze is poisonous, and can bugger up a septic tank system, and that its illegal to put it down the drains of a village/town/city "proper" sewage system

It would be ok if it's propylene glycol and not ethylene glycol

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 Post subject: Re: Winterising your Maison Secondaire
PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 3:19 pm 
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Location: Here and there, SW France
Employ a caretaker/property manager to :
visit it regularly & to make extra vists when the weather is bad
keep garden tidy
check & deal with any rodent problems
put heating on when nec
get any work seen to asap
deal with police, insurance agents & locksmiths if entry is forced
check water meter isn't leaking
take meter readings & submit them online so your bills reflect your true minimal use

etc etc etc

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 Post subject: Re: Winterising your Maison Secondaire
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 8:36 pm 
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So true Liz, think we all remember the really cold winter of 2010. Our caretakers were alert to the temperature dropping and went over to put on our heating. We don't drain down the heating system as we go over quite a bit all year round, hate to think what would have happened if they didn't.

Some had terrible trouble, rad bursts - pipes & leaks so sad.


Due over at the end of the month so looking forward to it, that and when we retire hope to spend longer visits all being well.

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 Post subject: Re: Winterising your Maison Secondaire
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 10:32 pm 
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Teapot wrote:
It would be ok if it's propylene glycol and not ethylene glycol

just what I was thinking ;) :-\ :-??
but we are on mains drainage and we only put a little bit in the water traps and toilet O:-)


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 Post subject: Re: Winterising your Maison Secondaire
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:07 am 
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stephenpug wrote:
Teapot wrote:
It would be ok if it's propylene glycol and not ethylene glycol

just what I was thinking ;) :-\ :-??
but we are on mains drainage and we only put a little bit in the water traps and toilet O:-)

I disagree

From Wikipedia

Environmental

Propylene glycol is known to exert high levels of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) during degradation in surface waters. This process can adversely affect aquatic life by consuming oxygen aquatic organisms need to survive. Large quantities of dissolved oxygen (DO) in the water column are consumed when microbial populations decompose propylene glycol.

Sufficient dissolved oxygen levels in surface waters are critical for the survival of fish, macro-invertebrates, and other aquatic organisms. If oxygen concentrations drop below a minimum level, organisms emigrate, if able and possible, to areas with higher oxygen levels or eventually die. This effect can drastically reduce the amount of usable aquatic habitat. Reductions in DO levels can reduce or eliminate bottom-feeder populations, create conditions that favour a change in a community's species profile, or alter critical food-web interactions

It is also flammable with the Flammable Limits being
Lower flammable limit: 2.6% by volume; Upper flammable limit: 12.5% by volume

Drains and sewage disposal systems are designed to treat crude raw sewage I.E. faecal matter and domestic used water only, not repeat not, used babies nappies, sanitary towels, tampax, condoms, paints, oils, fats and greases, old out of date drugs,etc

This is the result of people either not thinking or caring http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/23586290

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 Post subject: Re: Winterising your Maison Secondaire
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:53 am 
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Quite right, so remember to take all the fish out of your toilet bowls before adding propylene glycol.
And the vast quantity added will cause al sorts of mayhem.

Oh but hang on they actually put propylene glycol in your food, don't eat soft scoop ice cream!
http://www.propylene-glycol.com/index.p ... grade/food

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 Post subject: Re: Winterising your Maison Secondaire
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:42 pm 
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Teapot wrote:
Quite right, so remember to take all the fish out of your toilet bowls before adding propylene glycol.
And the vast quantity added will cause al sorts of mayhem.

Oh but hang on they actually put propylene glycol in your food, don't eat soft scoop ice cream!
http://www.propylene-glycol.com/index.p ... grade/food

:-? #:-s :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Winterising your Maison Secondaire
PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:49 pm 
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allow a young 27 year old to live in it - paying utility bills only and let him cope with the cold. Then take it back in May when the salt peter has been vacuumed up - the slugs and other horrors have been dealt with, the damp has been kept back when the poor sod has paid out though the nose on gas fires heating the place and all you have to do is spend time replacing plants that have died - and cleaning through for months afterwards. Simple.


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 Post subject: Re: Winterising your Maison Secondaire
PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:46 am 
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That was said with feeling Raymond! :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Winterising your Maison Secondaire
PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 9:23 pm 
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From the very bottom of my heart Bay Leaf - if I ever find that point. :YMDEVIL:


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 Post subject: Re: Winterising your Maison Secondaire
PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2014 5:05 pm 
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I would like to add a couple things I have found out from experience.
We are in 83 so hot. We are only there 4/5 months with the place empty for 6 months on occasion.
Do not flush the toilet AFTER you have turned the water off. Otherwise you may return to dried up rubber joints etc and have to repair the WC on the day you arrive.
Do not leave water in an electric kettle, otherwise expect to not have a cup of tea on the arrival day.
We have also used dehumidification systems. The simple ones of a plastic box and a 1k bag of chemicals bought from the local DIY store. Over the years (+20) this has kept damp at bay when others have complained about having to redecorate due to mould..

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 Post subject: Re: Winterising your Maison Secondaire
PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2014 8:41 am 
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Thank you, Gfplux for the tips, and welcome to the forum !


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 Post subject: Re: Winterising your Maison Secondaire
PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2014 12:23 am 
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Yes, thanks. The toilet tip is very useful,as I had blithely assumed that the less water in the tank, the less chance of the tanks freezing up.


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 Post subject: Re: Winterising your Maison Secondaire
PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2014 11:27 am 
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Gfplux wrote:
I would like to add a couple things I have found out from experience.
We are in 83 so hot.

Do not flush the toilet AFTER you have turned the water off. Otherwise you may return to dried up rubber joints etc and have to repair the WC on the day you arrive.


Welcome Gfplux

I am going to take issue with you about draining the cistern on the WCs because we have friends who returned to their house in the spring to find both WCs had smashed cisterns courtesy of freezing. They too had to repair (or rather replace) the WCs on the day of arrival.

I am not going to say that rubber joints cannot dry out, but it never happened with us or any friends.

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 Post subject: Re: Winterising your Maison Secondaire
PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2014 12:05 pm 
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The WC
Just wanted to point out that I did say we are in 83, so hot. It does get cold and occasional frost or snow but never cold enough to freeze any water in an inside WC.
Now having been brought up in a house in the UK with only an outside toilet, I can tell you a few story's about frozen WC's

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