I recently installed shut-off valves for the guest bathroom ( info here
) in preparation for cold weather this winter. I was tired of trying a lot of ways to keep the bathroom warm enough for the pipes in the outer walls from freezing. Unsuccessfully in several cases. So as the cold of this week approached, I did the last few things needed to be able to rest easy about the pipe problem.
With shut-off valves in place to prevent water flowing through the at-risk pipes, I was half-way there. However, just shutting off the flow doesn't remove the water from the pipes, and since part of the pipes are higher in elevation than the shut-off, I can't just hope that gravity clears the pipes of water by opening them on the toilet and shower side.
So I turned off water at the main house valve...
Then opened both the sink (on the main side of the shutoff valves) and removed the hose from the toilet check-valve and opened the shower hot and cold as well. ( I put a bowl under the toilet check-valve to catch water as it came out. )
This drained a small amount of water from the pipes, but I knew there was a lot more in them. So I took a vinyl hose and held it tightly to the sink faucet and blew as hard as I could over and over. First with the sink cold valve open and the hot closed, then with the hot open and the cold closed.
This blew almost a half-gallon more water from the toilet side, and almost a whole gallon through the shower pipes. With the water forcibly blown out of the pipes I then turned the shut-off valves I had installed to off, and turned on the water main again.
I will leave the toilet valve open as well as the shower just in case there is any small amount of water left in the pipes so that it will not cause any pressure or expansion by freezing, but there should be very little if any left in those risky areas of pipe.
Of course this is fine and well for the shower to be out of order since we usually only use it for rare relative visits, but having a second working toilet is just about necessary in my opinion. So how to get the water to the toilet if we can't use the at-risk pipe? Re-rout, of course!
I got an extra long ice-maker hose (protected by braided metal mesh) and an adapter to connect it to the toilet fill hose, then ran it along the wall, behind the cabinet, and over to the sink.
For the other end, it needed a special fitting that connected between the sink check-valve and the sink hose with a smaller side fitting that the ice-maker hose attached to.
Now, short of the entire room freezing solid, there should be no worries... and we still have a working toilet, too.