Cold water, shut-off valves, re-pipe

QUESTION: My mother’s half-bath lost its cold water over a year ago. There’s still hot water at the sink, but no cold water either there or at the toilet. I can understand losing hot water from the water heater, but cold water? There don’t seem to be leaks anywhere – if there were, the yard would show it, wouldn’t it? There is a crawl space under the house with no apparent standing water. Could the pipes be clogged, even though this bathroom was added after the original construction? Can you tell what may have happened to the cold water?
R.F. Wright, Sacramento
ANSWER: “The first thing you should do is make sure the shut-off valves for both fixtures are in an open position,” advises Vince McDonald of McDonald Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning in Sacramento. “It is possible that someone may have turned them off. Even though it is unusual, your mother may have a valve on the cold water pipe for that bathroom, which was installed when the bath was added on. If so, make sure the valve is open. If all the valves are open and still no water, I would say it is time to call your plumber,” McDonald says. “My guess is that you have a stoppage in the pipe that prevents the water from coming through to the fixtures. The plumber will need to further diagnose the problem and possibly flush out the pipes or change them with a new pipe.

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