Hot Water heat - Glycol? Other closed-system option?
We purchased a vacation home on Houghton Lake, Michigan that has a Hot Water baseboard heat system. Since we will not live there full-time and may only visit a couple of times during the winter, we're not too thrilled with having to leave the heat "ON" all winter.
We've been told we should never drain the hot water heat system because it's too difficult for the average homeowner to recharge. I'm probably less than average and am not seeking extra work for myself.
We'd also like to turn the well pump off when we leave (it's a 300 foot deep well), but since we have to leave the heat on, that's not an option.
If we could choose to do what we'd like, we would empty the hot water heater and heat system, drain supply lines, anti-freeze all drains and toilets, etc, and turn all of the power off.
A friend said he thought hot water heat systems could be charged with glycol and that it would then be a freeze proof "closed system." Can anyone point me in the right direction if we can convert the system to a closed-loop, non-freezing system?
The furnace is new, the heat is transferred through older baseboards, and all of the water is routed through a softener.
Any other closed-system options or suggestions? Thank you.
Hot Water Heat - Glycol questions
Thank you to everyone for your replies. I'd like to clarify, just to make certain my request is clear. I have a few questions.
Here's a photo of the system:
The first item involves the hot water heat. The system is, indeed, a closed system, but it uses water and as needed it gets it from the well (on-demand). I suspect the small tank next to the furnace (about two gallons) is the "water make-up" system.
If the efficiency is decreased, that's fine. Again, we'll probably only be there a few days during each winter and can use the natural gas fireplace for cool spring or fall days.
What I am hoping might be an option is this:
To ELIMINATE the water source, so that the system is filled with a fluid, is completely sealed and closed, and that it never needs additional fluid (water or anti-freeze).
Is this realistic? Does the heat come from steam? I have never had this type of heat.
If these systems are capable of using an anti-freeze, does it ever need a recharge or additional fluid if there are no leaks?
Now for specific questions to the replies:
Frenchie: If the system really can be drained and refilled with ease, how do you ensure nothing is left in this intricate system?
Bob NH: It's the water supply to the furnace that I'm trying to eliminate (if possible). Again, I know nothing about these systems.
I'd like to avoid anything electric. I've found electric heat sources to be too costly to use and would prefer to simply shut EVERYTHING off after draining water lines (except the heating system if it is charged with anti-freeze). I would also ensure the water softener is addressed.
Again, thanks to everyone for the suggestions.