Automatically drain house pipes when main shutoff turned off


Old 11-10-13, 09:07 PM
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Automatically drain house pipes when main shutoff turned off

Hello All-

Just had a good experience over on the HVAC side and thought I'd try my luck in plumbing.

I have a small home in a cold climate. I rent it out as frequently as I can. With the weather getting cold, I need to turn off the water when it's vacant. The original and current solution is a "stop and waste" valve that's remotely operated via a 10' long handle from the bedroom to the house shutoff directly below. It automatically drains the entire house pipe system into a small ditch when the water is shut off to prevent freezing pipes. The problem is that it is really stiff and difficult for someone unfamiliar with it. It will also blow water out the waste hole if the valve is not completely on or off. It's a bad solution for transient renters.

I have home automation set up and would like to add an automatic water valve to handle this task. Something like this would work: Water Valve, Wireless, Z-Wave, US " -

The problem would be that this would not automatically drain the pipes on the house side to prevent freezing like the current manual one when the water is shut off. So my question is, Is there a valve I could introduce into the system that will automatically open when pressure is removed by turning off the main shutoff via the automatic valve?

Ideally it would look like this:

Main coming in from the street-->automatic house shut off valve linked above-->unknown valve to open when shutoff is closed-->house pipes. When the shutoff is closed, this would release pressure on the house side and drain it into the ditch.

Does something like this exist for 3/4" copper? I think I've heard of it for PVC sprinkler irrigation. Thanks in advance for any assistance.
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Old 11-11-13, 01:12 AM
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It could be accomplished but like all things mechanical it would be subject to failure. That failure could be the drain not closing when the water is turned on or failing to open when the water is turned off. You could, add in some tattle tale switches if you have a two-way communications system but the tattle tales can also fail.
Old 11-11-13, 04:10 AM
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Just shutting the main off is not going to relieve the pressure unless there's a plumbing leak.
I would think draining the incoming water would only address 1/2 of the problem.
That would still leave all your drains, water heater and any low spots in the supply line subject to freezing.
Not there to see it so only guessing from things I've seen happen when I lived in the great white north.
Old 03-10-14, 09:40 AM
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"Just shutting the main off is not going to relieve the pressure unless there's a plumbing leak."

How about opening a faucet anywhere in the system? That should almost instantly kill the pressure. And you'll want to open all the faucets, etc. anyway to allow air to back-fill, making way for the draining water.

I too see the value of such an automatic drain valve, and would like to find one.
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