How to deal with Frozen Condensate Pipes - Video guides by CORGI

Frozen condensate pipes in the winter and when the cold weather sets in can stop your heat from properly working. Although the water coming from your condensate pipe is either a trickle or drip, it does need lagging or insulating. This constant drip or trickle, builds up ice crystals until the frozen part becomes so thick it blocks the pipe. In the UK we do not suffer too much extremely cold weather, but when the wind chill increases, so does the likelihood of a frozen condensate pipe. Because such cold weather is rare, when problems with ice blockage occur we are not always expecting it.

Make the most out of your central heating system, by using this helpful how to guides made by CORGI. If your condensate pipe freezes it can stop your boiler from working. This can lead to a range of other problems such as frozen pipes in the home, to having to use a hot water bottle in bed for a few days whilst you wait for your central heating system to start working again.

Main points from the video to help with frozen condensate pipes.

  • The main discharge pipe from your boiler is known as the condensate pipe.
  • If your condensate pipe freezes, it will force your boiler to shut down for safety reasons.
  • Before attempting to thaw out your condensate pipe, check it is definitely frozen. Not just blocked.
  • A sure fire test is to fire up the boiler once and see if it fires up. It is also worth checking the fault code if there is one as this can give you a clue as to what the problem with the boiler is.
  • If it doesn't fire up, and your boiler makes a gurgling noise, its almost certain its your condensate pipe. At this point you can try using the reset button the boiler to see if this resolves the problem. If not then the gurgling sound will at least guide you to the right area to look at to fix the problem.
  • Your boiler condensate pipe will be a plastic pipe, in either white black or grey, but most commonly white.
  • This pipe will run outdoors from the same point where the boiler is installed.
  • To defrost your frozen condensate pipes, simply pour hot water on the outside until the pipe is clear and flows.
  • Be careful not to splash scalding, boiling water on yourself. Use extreme caution when using boiling water. Pick a suitable container to use to poor the water. Some people recommend a watering can for doing this.
  • You might need to pour a few jugs of warm water to get the water flowing, but it should defrost fairly quickly.
  • Once your frozen condensate pipes are clear, reset your boiler.
  • If you experience frozen condensate pipes regularly you should seek advice from a registered heating engineer. they may suggest routing your condensate pipe internally. this can be done using an inline condensate filter.

For those who are not keen with messing with their boiler then it is possible to call out a professionally trained engineer. However, an engineer will cost quite a lot of money for the call out, just to pour water on this external pipe - so it may be better to at least try it yourself for the best experience  (and to save some hard earned cash).

It should be noted that this issue can happen with a new boiler or a modern condensing boiler so it doesn't necessarily mean there is a bigger problem or that you have a broken boiler. Sometimes, the extreme weather is the cause. Moving forward, adding heat wrap to the condensate pipe can stop the issue from re-occurring and the pipe freezing.

View our range of boilers at Mr Central Heating.

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