A few years ago, I received a call to repair a water supply line for a swamp cooler. When I got there the home owner had turned off the water to protect his home from water damage. This customer had left town when the weather was still like early fall. It was beautiful out. He was gone for over a month and did not worry about winterizing his home as he planned to be back long before winter moved in. But winter moved in quite early, and his water supply line froze in several places. When he returned home he could here water running inside the wall, but could not find water coming through into his home. The owner, quickly turned the water main off and called me.
Luckily for this home owner, I built his house a few years earlier. The home owner and I went up on the roof and disconnected the water supply line, and then we headed to the crawl space access. Matt (the homeowner) was concerned, he drilled me over and over about what this would cost to repair the copper supply line, and repair the water damage. I was not concerned about the water damage, I just want to get the line repaired and complete the winterization of the unit. When we got into the crawl space we could see the water supply line, and where it came through the floor. We crawled over to it and disconnected it from the main water supply line. I then began to pull the ¼” copper tubing and it came right out. The home owner was pleasantly surprised.
You see, when I build new homes I run a ¾” pvc electrical conduit from the swamp cooler to the crawl space. I use the electrical conduit so I can take advantage of the long turn 90 degree elbows. They must be installed in the right direction or the copper line will not slide through. Then I run the ¼” copper tubing from the crawl space through the conduit to the cooler on the roof. If the water line freezes, the water drains to the crawl space leaving no water damage to repair. It also makes it a thirty minute job to replace the copper tubing. It took Matt and I about 25 minutes to complete the entire job. The copper tubing cost him about 30.00 dollars, and I chose to not bill him for my time as I was so proud to see the result of a great idea.
You can install this conduit in your home even after it is built without incurring expensive drywall repair and painting costs if your in a single story home. If your in a two story you may be able to use a utility chase to limit your repair cost. Water from a swamp cooler supply line can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage, and a lot of headaches.