Can we leave house minus heat in winter?

Because of the cost and availability of heating oil, we are considering the pros and cons of turning off the heat entirely when we leave our home for the winter. Would the resulting low inside temperature in this New England climate cause any damage to the house, assuming that all liquids are removed or protected? Robert Hill Canterbury, N.H.

A. Being a sort of hot-house flower here in sunny southern California, we are hard-put to render an answer to this question from direct experience. However, knowing the complexities of a structure and the effect that intense cold and dampness do have on buildings, we would recommend that the building be kept well above frezing for those winter months of vacation.

Our guess is that even the inordinate cost of oil may be preferable to the possible damage to an unheated building and its contents in the dead of winter.

Our New England friends -- some of whom, like robins, fly south for the winter -- leave their thermostats on but at a much lower temperature to protect the house and its contents.

Perhaps readers from cold climates would write us their experiences, yea or nay, concerning what they would do in a similar situation.

Is there anyone for leaving the heat off all winter?

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