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I'd like to leave a vacant house in Northern Minnesota for the winter with no utilities at all (so it will get to -20F at times). I shut off the curb stop valve and confirmed that water is completely stopped. I used a compressor to blow all piping (and everything connected to the piping, like the water heater) empty. There probably are "specks" of water left but that should not cause a problem.

But, I could not blow the piping between the curb stop and the first Y-branch inside the house, so I imagine that there is retained water there. Is there a way to blow this section empty?

I also flushed all toilets. Am I taking any structural risk if I don't fill the toilets with antifreeze? Please assume that I don't care about sewage odor (I will just air the house out afterwards). I wonder if people are adding antifreeze because water condenses on the toilet bowl over time and refills the p-trap.

Finally, if I blow that section to the curb stop and use antifreeze in the toilets, am I taking a big risk? The biggest risk I see is that the curb stop valve could freeze and damage, but it seems I can just tell the water company of my plans and they would take responsibility to keep an eye on the curb stop. Am I missing some other big risk?

  • Why would your water company take responsibility for your blowing out that last pipe? Wouldn't it be yours? Also, I would suggest stopping up any P-traps in the house, to avoid sewer gas issues as much as possible... less stuff to air out. – alt Sep 4 '14 at 20:25
  • We might be confusing "blowing up" with "blowing out". I'm planning on "blowing out" the last section; the company wouldn't help with this. And, if the curb stop valve damages later due to the cold, it's the company's responsibility, not mine, because they own it and know it gets cold. – bobuhito Sep 6 '14 at 4:12
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The curb stop and the portion of pipe between the valve and your house should have been buried below the frost line for your location.

There may be some freezing in the portion that is inside your house, but if you only have a short run and you leave the valves in your house open, the ice can push along inside the pipe.

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