Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning Blog

What to Do if My Pipes Freeze

What to Do if My Pipes Freeze

With winter around the corner, the risk of frozen pipes becomes a concern for many homeowners. During extreme cold weather in Colorado, the drop in temperatures can cause the water inside pipes to freeze, leading to expansion and potential bursting. This issue not only disrupts your daily routine but can also lead to costly damage. At Fort Collins Heating & Air, we acknowledge the significance of being prepared and taking prompt action in such situations. Here’s a comprehensive guide on what to do if your pipes freeze:

Identify the Frozen Pipes:

The first step is to identify which pipes are frozen. Typically, these are found in unheated areas of your home such as basements, crawl spaces, or exterior walls. Look for frost on the pipes, bulges, or a complete lack of water flow in the faucets connected to those pipes.

Turn Off the Water Supply:

Once you have noticed a frozen pipe, it’s crucial to shut off the main water supply to prevent potential flooding and water damage if the pipes burst. Locate the main shut-off valve and turn it off immediately.

Thawing the Pipes:

Once you’ve turned off the water supply, it’s time to thaw the frozen water pipes. Here are a few heat sources/methods to safely thaw them:

  1. Heat Lamps or Hair Dryers: Apply heat to the frozen section using a heat lamp, hairdryer, or portable space heater. Start from the faucet end and work towards the frozen area.
  2. Hot Towels or Rags: Wrap hot towels or rags around the frozen pipe. Soak the towels in hot water and repeat the process until the ice inside the pipe melts.
  3. Open Faucets: As you apply heat, open the affected faucet to allow the melting ice to flow out. This helps relieve pressure within the pipe.

Do NOT Use:

  • Open Flames: Avoid using open flames or flame devices like propane heaters as they can damage the pipes or even cause a fire hazard.
  • Mechanical Devices: Refrain from using mechanical devices or tools to thaw pipes, as they can cause damage to the water supply lines.

Call a Professional:

If you’re unable to locate the frozen pipes, if they’ve burst, or if you’re uncomfortable dealing with the situation, it’s best to call a professional plumber immediately. At Fort Collins Heating & Air, our friendly plumbers are equipped to handle such emergencies promptly and efficiently.

Preventative Measures:

To prevent pipes from freezing in the future, consider these preventive measures:

  1. Pipe Insulation: Insulate pipes in unheated areas using pipe sleeves or insulation to help maintain warmer temperatures around them.
  2. Keep Heat On: Ensure that your home’s heating system remains on, even when you’re away, especially during extremely cold weather.
  3. Dripping Faucets: Allowing faucets to drip slightly can prevent pipes from freezing by relieving pressure within the system.


Dealing with frozen pipes can be a stressful situation for any homeowner, but taking immediate action and knowing how to handle it can mitigate damage and save you from costly repair jobs. If you’re facing issues with frozen pipes or need professional assistance, don’t hesitate to contact one of our licensed plumbers. Stay prepared, stay warm, and protect your pipes during the winter months.

If you require an emergency plumber, feel free to reach out to us and we will get you taken care of.


Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning Blog