Don’t let a frozen boiler condensate pipe leave you in the cold this winter
Did you know that a frozen boiler condensate pipe is the most common boiler problem in winter? Luckily, it’s easy to get your boiler working again without spending a penny.
What is a boiler condensate pipe?
Modern oil and gas boilers feature special, energy-saving technology that captures heat in the flue gasses and recycles it back into the boiler. A by-product of this process is condensation, which is drained out of the boiler and into your household wastewater.
Where is my boiler condensate pipe?
An external boiler condensate pipe usually emerges near the bottom of the boiler (typically about the same height as a ground floor window sill) and connects to a drain. It is the only plastic pipe connected to your boiler. In some cases, there may be a small gap between the end of the pipe and the drain.
How can I tell if my condensate pipe is frozen?
If your boiler has suddenly stopped working during a cold snap or is making an unusual gurgling sound, it may have a frozen condensate pipe. Before you call an engineer, try the following:
How to fix a frozen condensate pipe yourself
- Locate your boiler condensate pipe
- If there is ice blocking the exit of the pipe, use hot water to melt the blockage. Once you see a flow of water, you should be able to reset your boiler. Refer to your boiler handbook if necessary
- Check if the pipe sounds hollow. If not, it could be frozen inside. Pour hot water over the frozen sections until you see water flow out of the pipe, then try resetting your boiler
- If pouring hot water doesn’t seem to be working, use a hot water bottle to heat the pipe for longer
Important safety advice
Don’t use boiling water - it is dangerous and may damage the pipe. Use a container that is easy to carry and pour.
Do not attempt to cut or remove the boiler condensate pipe - by law, only a Gas Safe engineer is legally authorised to perform physical work on the pipe itself.
How to stop your boiler condensate pipe from freezing
Prevention is always better than cure. We recommend insulating your condensate pipe with high quality, waterproof cladding. It is easy to do and will cost next to nothing.
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