So the visit from the plumber went very well. The faucet bib did indeed freeze this past winter and split – however, the way the bibs work, the split was on the outside of the valve, so as long as I wasn’t using the faucet, there was no leakage. (Thank goodness.)
The even bigger plus is that there was enough room for him to get into the wall behind the water heater and not have to cut up the guest room! YAY! There is little to no damage in the wall – he said to spray it down really well with bleach water and then let it dry a good long while before closing the drywall back up. I think before I do finally close it up, I am going to get some pipe wrap to put around the new bib in there just to make sure.
I am also going to be piling mulch of some kind up against the exterior of the master bathroom wall this winter to try to keep those pipes from doing a repeat of what happened this last year. There doesn’t seem to be a leak, but the water there froze enough to completely stop water flow to the toilet until after the sun had come up later that morning.
The frozen pipe was a result of my forgetting to remove the garden hoses from the faucet and thus the siphon couldn’t drain the pipe properly, leaving some water backed up in there. *sigh* Live and learn.
Overall, it wasn’t nearly as expensive as I was expecting (which is always good), but I think I may have a second issue that arises when I do a bunch of laundry, run the dish washer, and take showers or give the dogs baths in a short period of time. We couldn’t recreate the problem while the plumber was here, but he thinks it might have to do with the overflow spout on the water heater…that it is dripping for some reason. (possibly the hot water heater is slightly over-filling when it refills the used hot water). As soon as I can pin-point where that water is coming from (assuming I can) – there will be another call. But the good news is that he said it is likely not a leak in the pipes in the wall since that would only get worse, not better, and since we couldn’t re-create it, it didn’t seem to be an issue. *whew*
Now – to get an electrician out to fix the main breaker for the bonus room.