Reminder Regarding Frozen Pipes

It’s that time of year when everything is freezing – including pipes! Here are some reminders of how to avoid frozen pipes and what to do if/ when yours freeze.

Preventative Tips

  • If your water pipes are attached to an un-insulated outside wall or are located in a crawlspace, remove the clamp from the pipes, gently pull the pipes away from the wall, and wrap them with foam pipe insulation. Consider insulating your crawl space.
  • Insulate all exposed outside water pipes with specially designed foam pipe covers. These are available at building supply or home improvement stores. Be sure to follow installation safety instructions.
  • Always ensure that there is an adequate source of heat near vulnerable pipes. Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Open kitchen, bathroom, and laundry cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate the plumbing. If piping is located next to exterior walls, leave the cupboard doors under your kitchen and bathroom sinks open. Take care to remove household cleaners and other items that could harm children or pets while the cupboard doors are open.
  • If you’re going out of town, talk to your insurance company about what you can do to protect your home from frozen pipes and leaks while you’re away. Be sure to leave the thermostat set at 15 degrees or higher, and have someone check on your home in your absence.
  • If the temperature drops to well below freezing, consider leaving a tap open enough for a stream of water to flow so there is some movement in water pipes that might be vulnerable to freezing. NOTE – only those directed to run a tap by the Town of Collingwood will be compensated for increased water use. Customers running taps without direction from the Town will be responsible for all water volume charges.

What to do When Pipes Freeze

Property owners are responsible for maintaining and replacing water pipes inside their home or business, and from the home or business to the property line. The Town of Collingwood is responsible for pipes beyond the property line.

If your water service does freeze, immediately notify a licensed plumber. The plumber should be capable of thawing your service to the property line.  If required, call the Town of Collingwood Water Department at 705-445-1581 or email for information and assistance.

Thawing Indoor Plumbing

The Town of Collingwood recommends you contact a licensed plumber for assistance with internal plumbing.

If you want to try and thaw household pipes yourself, here are some safety precautions and tips to follow.


  • Never try to thaw a pipe with an open flame or torch as this is a fire hazard.
  • If using a space heater, plug the heater directly into a wall outlet. Do not use an extension cord or power strip, which could overheat and result in a fire. Do not plug any other electrical devices into the same outlet as a heater. Keep space heaters three feet away from anything that can burn. Do not leave heaters unattended.
  • Know the location of your master water shut-off valve. While the pipe was frozen, expanding ice may have cracked or broken your pipe causing it to leak when thawed. If the pipe is leaking, you will need to shut off the water in your house until the pipe is repaired.
  • Always be careful of the potential for electric shock in and around standing water.
  • Never use a combustible fueled appliance indoors to produce heat as carbon monoxide poisoning could occur.
  • If you have any questions or require additional information, please contact us at 705-445-1581.

After Thawing

  • Keep the pipes warm! If the pipe has frozen already, it’s susceptible to freezing again.
  • Keep the area around the pipes warm by opening basement, cellar, or cupboard doors, and/or by insulating the pipe, and take action to prevent freezing in future years.
  • Watch for leaks where the pipe froze. While the pipe was frozen, expanding ice may have cracked or broken your pipe.

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