Advice for a winter stay in Spain

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10 Aug 2017 4:14 PM by Aspain Star rating. 10 posts Send private message

I am a home owner in the UK and I am preparing to do a three month stay in Spain from December to February at Orihuela Costa.  I would welcome any advice regarding locking up and leaving a UK home during these three months.  For example, what do people do regarding post?  I know it can be retained by the Post Office but what happens if something needs an urgent response and it cannot be done on-line?  Do you keep the gas central heating ticking over or drain the water supply?

Renting a car in Spain long- term: are there any good deals to be found, as I would like my own transport?


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10 Aug 2017 10:19 PM by Marksfish Star rating in Vera, Almeria. 2609 posts Send private message

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I would check your insurance will be valid. Most have a requirement that the property is not left unattended for more than 30 consecutive days.


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11 Aug 2017 9:58 AM by Aspain Star rating. 10 posts Send private message

Thanks, Mark.  I will check.

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12 Aug 2017 2:54 PM by GB45 Star rating in Wiltshire and holida.... 130 posts Send private message

Mark is right, most household insurance will specify only 30 days to be left unoccupied. There are some that will allow 60 days as standard but you have to hunt them down. We once managed to get an extra month's extension for a fee. We were advised that if a relative or friend stayed in the house for a few nights the period would start again but we didn't put that to the test, although we have stayed in our daughters house to keep the insurance valid (whilst she was preparing to come back from the USA and her tenants had left). Fortunately, we didn't have to put in any claims so no idea how we would have been treated.

We always left our boiler on with the thermostat set at 10 degrees but I'm sure that my husband turned the water off.

Have you considered driving down, via France or Northern Spain? With an extended stay we found that was the best way for us.

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12 Aug 2017 5:47 PM by Aspain Star rating. 10 posts Send private message

Thank you for your insights - they have given me something to think about.

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13 Aug 2017 10:43 AM by Jarvi Star rating in Halifax UK and Sucin.... 758 posts Send private message

Another couple of thoughts. Have you got someone in the UK who could check your property whilst you are away? If your house becomes too cold during the winter months you may come back to damp caused by condensation.

Do you have a burglar alarm? Again you would need to let your nearest neighbour know in case the alarm goes off.

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13 Aug 2017 3:27 PM by M1614 Star rating. 9 posts Send private message

I worked the cut off point for ourselves driving down v flying and car hiring, to be 3 weeks, if we would be in Spain any longer than 3 weeks (excluding school holidays) it was cheaper to drive down and use my own car than to fly and hire.

With regards to leaving the central heating on un the UK when you are gone. My Mother fell foul of this when she went to Benidorm for 6 weeks in Jan Feb, many years ago, the boiler packed up even though I visited the house every week, It still did not stop £20k of water damage that the insurance would not pay up on. Personally I`d turn the water off at the mains and drain all the pipework down including central heating, it`s the only way you can be sure. If you have a conventional boiler set up you need to leave the mains turned on to top up the header tank for the central heating, not sure about these new fangled combi boilers.

I`d also get someone I trust to stay a couple of nights a month to satisfy the insurance company.

On a side note which may be of use to someone. Last year we drove down to our place and stayed for 6 weeks on the way back the car overheated in the Pyrenees when I called the breakdown cover I had, the first question they asked was on what date did I leave the UK the policy was an annual policy but in small print only 30 days at a time, so I lied, eventually got recoved to the nearest Skoda garage in Huesca at 7pm the manager filled the car with antifreeze ran it for half an hour said the fan was on it`s way out but if we drove the mountains with the heater on full it should not overheat again, he would`nt take any money, we drove through the night and made the ferry.

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13 Aug 2017 5:14 PM by juansheetisplenty Star rating in Cartagena. 283 posts Send private message

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Agree with all previous posters recommendations. Been doing the winters away for quite a while now.

Insurance: LV are pretty good on car and home insurance with regard to absence.

While a neighbour keeps her eye on the mailbox, I now monitor everything remotely with crucially a Nest remote thermostat that keeps the house at minimum I have set at 16.5C when away. I can boost this as required and switch it up a few days before returning. I  can check the house temperature on my phone while away for added assurance.

For the water I have installed a Surestop switch in the kitchen so the neighbour can easily turn mains water on and off at the press of a button.

I have put  a cameras (Clever dog off EBAY) that alert any movement in the house and take videos.

I have also installed an intelligent lighting system that turns outside lights on at dusk etc. IKEA are doing these now so the price is coming down,

All of this is possible with help of the internet.

Just some suggestions

Un saludo


This message was last edited by juansheetisplenty on 13/08/2017.

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18 Aug 2017 12:16 PM by wodger Star rating. 28 posts Send private message

Get someone to open your post, if important they can scan the letter and email it to you, make sure you take a cheque book with you.

Leave the central heating on the frost setting.

Driving is cheaper, I think there is still an off season ferry once a week from Plymouth to Santander if you don't want overnight stops on the way down. You can drive from Santander to Orihuela Costa in 7 to 8 hours if you use the toll roads ( and speed a bit! )

Telephone/ data needs, use the " Dog & Bone" shop they are very good.

Take some warm underwear.

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DISCLAIMER:  All opinions posted on these message boards are the opinion solely of the poster and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Eye on Spain, its servants or agents.

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