With the freezing nights well on their way do you know what to do if your boiler's condensate pipe freezes this winter?
What is the condensate pipe? (There is a picture on the right, your pipe may differ)
Most modern boilers are also known as condensing boilers which work at around 90% efficiency. The way the boiler burns its gas has changed with the condensing boilers. They now produce a water vapor which some terminate via the condensate pipe. (just like a drain pipe off a sink)
The condensate pipe should be a plastic pipe which exits the boiler and terminates to a drain point. Usually, a grid, soakaway, waste pipe or soil pipe but your boiler installer may have run it to a different location.
How Do They Freeze?
Due to the boiler's condensate pipe having water running through it in the winter months the water inside can freeze. This will in turn lead to your boiler not working. Your boiler will usually display an error code which lets you know this is the problem.
How To Unfreeze Your Condensate Pipe
We recommend that you call a local boiler engineer to solve the problem, as the frozen pipe may have caused other problems to have occurred, but there is a few steps you could try yourself first. If your boiler is installed above ground level we don't recommend you try any of the steps and call out a specialist boiler engineer with the right equipment.
Step 1- Hot Water Bottle- Try and locate the exact point the boiler's condensate pipe is frozen. Place a hot water bottle over the frozen pipe and leave and let it defrost slowly. You can also use a hot towel as well.
Step 2- Heat Wrap- A heat wrap is usually used to help sooth a muscle injury and can be bought from your local pharmacy. Similar to the method in Step 1 apply the heat wrap to the frozen pipe and let the boilers condensate pipe thaw out
Step 3- Warm Water (not boiling)- This is the cheapest and usually the best method. Get a kettle or pan of warm water (not boiling) and slowly pour over the frozen pipe letting it thaw out. This can be repeated until completely thawed out.
After The Condensate Pipe Has Thawed
After you have thawed out the boiler's condensate pipe you must follow your boiler manufacturers instructions to reset your boiler. If you have tried the steps above and are still having problems. You should call a local boiler engineer to assess the problem further.
Property-Serv has emergency boiler engineers in Liverpool on call 24 hours a day 365 days a year. We don't charge call any call-out fees and always provide a fixed price quote. You can contact us on 0151 542 5051 or contact us online here
If you want to know more about condensing boilers or see which is rated the best you can find lots of information and reviews on the Which? consumer help website here.
Please note; This is intended to be used as a guide only, we recommend that you carry out a risk assessment prior to trying any guides. If you are unsure about risk assessment you can find more information on the HSE website here. If you don't understand how to unthaw you boiler's condensate pipe you should contact a local Gas Safe boiler engineer.