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Unread 10-22-2009, 03:58 PM
 
3 posts, read 24,263 times
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Post Leaving a house vacant in summer in AZ

I am new to owning a second home in AZ. Do I need to leave the air conditioning on in the summer? My house has the heat shield on the roof and low e windows. Do I need to leave buckets of water around?
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Unread 10-22-2009, 04:52 PM
 
Location: Southern Arizona
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Quote:
Originally Posted by youngac View Post
I am new to owning a second home in AZ. Do I need to leave the air conditioning on in the summer? My house has the heat shield on the roof and low e windows. Do I need to leave buckets of water around?
No expert here and I've never been a Snowbird, Youngac . . .

However, I have a few Snowbird neighbors and they completely shut everything down including all appliances and the water. They also take the normal precautions for bugs and mice even though not a major issue here.

Good Luck.
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Unread 10-22-2009, 07:25 PM
 
Location: SoCal desert
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My sister has a place that is empty during the hot times.
She just shuts everything off and she does not leave the AC on.
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Unread 10-22-2009, 07:47 PM
Status: "Lighten up life's too short." (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Out there somewhere...
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When we leave AZ in the summer we turn off the water at the main, set the airconditioner to 78 degrees, do a bug extermination inside and out, set the alarm, and give to someone reliable an emergency number.
If you turn off your air conditioner, you're house will get extremely hot inside, wood furniture and cabinets will dry out and may warp, heat expansion could cause wall warping, and the musty smell when you return will turn you off.
The cost of leaving the air on at 78-80 degrees is minimal compared to replacing or reparing heat damaged items.
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Unread 10-22-2009, 08:40 PM
 
Location: Sonoran Desert
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We leave from about Memorial Day to 4 July, the hottest and driest time of the year. We turn it all off, no AC. Never had any problems except that candles will melt if you forget them and the plumbing traps dry out so there is a hint of sewer smell. I heard you can put oil in the traps but never tried it.

My neighbors leave from about April to October and turn everything off as well.
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Unread 10-22-2009, 10:05 PM
 
Location: Looking over your shoulder
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Lightbulb sink drains need attention ~ MOLD will grow


The only thing I can add is that you might want to pour a small amount of olive oil into each drain. This will leave oil floating on top of the water in the sink drain traps preventing evaporation.

If a sink drain trap doesn’t have water in it, sewer odor will escape into the house. Also cockroaches that tend to live in the sewers may come outside of the pipes and into the house as well.

DO NOT put stoppers into the drains to prevent the above from happening! The moisture in the drain will grow mold and cause yet another odor to occur when you remove the stoppers. There is no easy way to correct this problem without removing a good deal if the drain pipes, stoppers, and other items that will be contaminated with mold and odor.

My wife placed the sink stoppers closed for just over two weeks of vacation and 5 of the sink drains down to the trap had to be replaced. I also lost a new garbage disposal the same way because I couldn’t get the mold odor out of the plastic and rubber parts inside of it. Three bathroom sinks and two kitchen had the mold problem and also required removing the drain and trap.

I attempted several suggestions from websites as well as plumbers who said they had special liquid to pour into the sinks that would take care of it. NOTHING worked. Removal of hardware was needed and corrected the mold odor problem.

I'd have a friend or house-sitter stop by and check inside the house every couple of weeks just to be safe.
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Unread 10-22-2009, 10:38 PM
 
Location: South Tempe, AZ
12,856 posts, read 14,141,461 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nitram View Post
When we leave AZ in the summer we turn off the water at the main, set the airconditioner to 78 degrees, do a bug extermination inside and out, set the alarm, and give to someone reliable an emergency number.
If you turn off your air conditioner, you're house will get extremely hot inside, wood furniture and cabinets will dry out and may warp, heat expansion could cause wall warping, and the musty smell when you return will turn you off.
The cost of leaving the air on at 78-80 degrees is minimal compared to replacing or reparing heat damaged items.
I think 78 is ridiculously low to set a thermostat in an unoccupied house. I have ceiling fans, granted, but mine stays at 82 when I'm LIVING there. You don't have to keep it at 78 to stop heat damage (assuming that it would really happen. Lots of scare talk about warped cabinets on this site, but I don't think it actually happens, and most certainly not in any indoor temp in the 80's, much less low 90's.) If you like donating to the power company, fine, but I think it is a waste of money better used elsewhere.

Last edited by observer53; 10-22-2009 at 11:58 PM..
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Unread 10-23-2009, 01:21 AM
Status: "Lighten up life's too short." (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Out there somewhere...
25,539 posts, read 16,757,816 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by observer53 View Post
I think 78 is ridiculously low to set a thermostat in an unoccupied house. I have ceiling fans, granted, but mine stays at 82 when I'm LIVING there. You don't have to keep it at 78 to stop heat damage (assuming that it would really happen. Lots of scare talk about warped cabinets on this site, but I don't think it actually happens, and most certainly not in any indoor temp in the 80's, much less low 90's.) If you like donating to the power company, fine, but I think it is a waste of money better used elsewhere.
To each their own.
Our comfort zone is 75 degrees all year around except when we leave. Our super efficient 19 seer Trane air conditioning system costs very minimal to operate at those temps. Under $100.00 summer. $45.00 when we're gone. It's 2000 sq ft.
Our neighbor, who followed observer53's, rules has just returned from 5 months vacation, and now has a $63,000 refurbishing bill. They left their water on, turned off the air, closed the house solid and a wall warped with a water line in it and the whole house flooded with over 2 feet of water. The water ran for over 3 weeks and the mold had to be professionally removed and what a mess it was. Everything inside the house has to be gutted and replaced.
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Unread 10-23-2009, 05:38 AM
 
Location: South Tempe, AZ
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I was not even DISCUSSING the water. It would NOT be part of my "rules" to have left the water on in the house. I always shut that off if gone for overnight, much less a whole summer. I've seen what happens when you are living in a house and a pipe or water heater breaks. Not good. But the warping of the wall your friend had likely had to do with the COMBINATION of the water leak and the temperature in the house, not just the heat.

If your heat pump works that efficiently, and your comfort zone is such that you need to be comfortable the instant you walk back in the house, then that's what you need to do.

The extra information you provided in your last post is very helpful so that others who come and read this don't think that everyone who is worried about too much heat in their house (whether they need to worry or not) has to set their thermostat that low to keep "something" from happening due to heat----- but they DO need to shut off the water!!!!
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Unread 10-23-2009, 12:09 PM
 
Location: SoCal desert
5,529 posts, read 5,426,540 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AksarbeN View Post

The only thing I can add is that you might want to pour a small amount of olive oil into each drain. This will leave oil floating on top of the water in the sink drain traps preventing evaporation.
I have heard to use either mineral oil (won't turn rancid like vegetable oil); or to use RV antifreeze.
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