Antifreeze or not, drain it

To the real estate editor: You recently wrote about using antifreeze in a home-heating system. I might add a very big P.S. Here is my experience:

I moved into a house on the Maine coast in late October. The house had a radiator system with antifreeze and had operated for the past two winters without a hitch. With a storm approaching, I did not personally check the water for the freezing point because I was eager to head south.

The caretaker called me on Dec. 31 to tell me of a solid freeze-up of the heating system. My insurance agent told me I was covered, but he was wrong.

My insurance company of 22 years wouldn't even discuss it with me. I then spoke with two agents of another company who told me their company would have covered me. But when I asked them to show me where in the policy I would be covered, they were both surprised to find out they were wrong.

The policy says, ''Either drain the system completely or maintain heat on low enough (all winter) to prevent a freeze-up.''

All three agents then told me they would have to inform several customers that there was no coverage in the event of a freeze-up with liquid in the system. It was a total loss to me, including damage to the rugs, floors, ceilings, and furniture.

I would suggest that anyone using any type of antifreeze in a heating system have it checked professionally or drain it out completely. ''It was OK last year ,'' is a no-no.

Donald H. Baumgartner

Hampstead, N.H.

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