Heating interior water pipe in winter

Hello
First post ever here. Just found this group. Great place.
I have a house in Toronto. I have a water pipe for the outside garden hose tap that runs through the concrete block wall between my family room and the enclosed garage. It makes a 90 degree turn, goes through the concrete block of the house, and into the garage where there is then another turn, followed by a run, and another turn, and a run, followed by a turn to the outside garden. In other works, it's sloped but not that much, and long with turns.
There is an accessible shut-off inside the house, just before the pipe makes the first 90 degree right turn in a copper elbow passing through the concrete block and into the garage. The garage is not heated. Most years, despite the fact I drain the line and keep the valve outside open, there seems to be enough water in the first elbow to freeze and crack the copper. This elbow is INSIDE the house, just as it turns to go through the concrete block wall. It's a pain to repair, through this small access panel in the back of a wall unit facing the garage.
I'd like to know if there is a better way to blow the water out of the line than just turning off the shut-off, opening up the drain cap (to let the air in) and turning on the tap in the garden.
Also, is there such thing as a SMALL, LOW WATTAGE SAFE heater I can plug in that will raise the temperature in this small confined area just a few degrees so that it's less likely to freeze at that first joint in the house.
Thanks
Harry
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Harry wrote:

The answer is yes to both of your questions.
First about blowing the water out. Do you have access to compressed air? If so call a landscaper who puts in sprinkler systems. They blow them out every fall. They should have the right fittings to make it work easy. You could just add an additional hydrant right after the shutoff and before the 90 bend and just rig something to allow you to blow into that hydrant with the outside hydrant open.
Most places (Canadian Tire for example) should have a heat tape just for that kind of job. I would look to make sure it was temperature sensitive so it only draws current when it is below 40.
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Harry wrote:

Now, to be clear: This drain cap is indoors, between your shutoff and the garden tap?
I would be tempted to plumb a way to fill this length of tubing (exposed to the cold) with RV antifreeze. Perhaps with a shutoff followed by a standpipe, giving you enough height to put the opening taller than the outdoor tap (so that gravity alone gets the job done).
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Robert Barr wrote:

Damn! I was going to suggest that. No point in using electricity when $1.99 worth of RV antifreeze will do the job. I would put a T with 1 foot or so pipe with a cap just downstream of the shutoff valve. After the op blows out the line, he would remove the cap, put a short hose on the outside tap and raise it to about 2 inches less than the height of the 1 foot pipe next to the valve, and poor antifreeze into the pipe until some yells that antifreeze is comming out the other end. Then cap the 1 foot pipe, close the outside valve and remove the short hose.
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Harry wrote:

Hi, I live in Calgary(much colder place than TO). Never had that problem. Only thing I blow is my sprinkler system with air compressor. You can tap a drain into the elbow, how about saddle valve? Tony
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A couple of fixes
Heat tape wrapped on the tubing. Cost money to operate though.
Replace the elbow with one that has a drain. You probably won't find them in the corner hardware store, but I've seen and used them. At the elbow there is a screwed in valve that you open to vent. Check with someone that does heating work if you don't see them in the stores.
Replace the elbow with a Tee. Put a drain valve on the base leg of the Tee.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

I can't imagine a 1/4 inch copper elbow that has a shutoff in it. Am I imagining this wrong. I hadn't heard of heat tape. Is it something I can find at a large hardware chain?
Harry
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besides what has been said, splice in a piece of pvc pipe somewhere near the house exit but inside the house so the 'cold' doesnt just travel down the pipe.
randy

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Instead of letting the water just drain out through the outside faucet, I would connect a length of garder hose and run it down hill, assuming that's possible of course. Put a shut off on the end of the hose, the valve type that opens full in a quarter turn would be best. Run the water till the hose is full, shut off the valve on the end of the hose. Turn off the shutoff valve inside the house and open the valve drain to let air in. Then open the valve on the hose end all the way. The siphoning action should pull just about all the water out of the pipe. The only limiting factor here is how much air can get in quickly. To increase that, you could insert a T fitting with a cap by the inside shut off valve.
Of course another possibility would be to replace that line with one in another location with a freeze proof sill cock that you could leave on all winter.

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