Heating, Air Conditioning, Fridge, HVAC/radiator heat


Hello Jim,

We will be going on vacation for 2 weeks in January. We live in Washington DC where the temp is currently 17 degrees.  We were thinking of turning off our water but have a question about this.  Our heat is a gas furnace with old water circulating radiators.  Will turning off our water affect the radiators?  Our house is 125 years old and poorly insulated.  We have a bathroom on the 1st floor and the sink is on an outside wall - we have had the water in this sink freeze (though the pipe did not burst). When we have had these type of tempertures, we have kept a space heater on and the water dripping and that seems to help and is one of the reasons we want to turn the water off before we go away. Please advise. Thanks! Marcia

Hi Marcia,  Yes, turning off the water will affect the furnace. The furnace has make-up water piped to it. This adds water to the furnace to maintain proper water level in the furnace.

In order to keep the pipes from freezing you would have to drain the entire plumbing system. I had the same problem in my master bathroom. I ended up moving the water lines. In your case it might not be possible. One thing you might think about is having shutoff valves installed on the pipes going to that bathroom. That way you could shut the water off and drain it.

If the pipes are accessible you could use heat tape.  You could probably find it at home depot.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Heating, Air Conditioning, Fridge, HVAC

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Jim S.


I can answer questions on gas or electric furnaces, ac units and heat pumps. I don't work on boilers,chillers,or home appliances.


I have been in the HVAC trade for over 35 years. For the past 15 years I have owned my own business. I am semi-retired so I can answer questions in a timely manner.

I attended trade school for 5 years on weekends and evenings. This was very hard to do, but well worth it!

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