A frozen condensate pipes can be a frequent occurrence for UK homeowners during the icy winter months. Finding your condensate pipe has frozen could leave you without heating and hot water. Ideally, you should have the condensate pipe thawed-out by an engineer, but if that’s not convenient then here are some easy guidelines to remedy the problem yourself.
What is a boiler condensate pipe?
Modern condensing boilers have a condensate pipe which transports acidic water away from the boiler and down a drain. To improve efficiency, the boiler removes as much energy from the flue gases as possible and some of this waste gas cools and turns into a small amount of acidic water. The pipe transports this steady dribble of water away from the boiler and into a drain.
To check if your boiler has a condensate pipe, look at the pipes underneath the boiler entering and exiting the unit itself. If one of these pipes is plastic (usually white and around 20mm wide) and the rest are metal then you almost certainly have a condense pipe. Track the pipe to the outside of your home and you’ll find the pipe always runs to a drain so the water can be eradicated.
Why can condensate pipes freeze?
Because the pipe runs outside the home in order to reach an existing or its own drainage point, during the cold winter months the acidic water is prone to freeze. When it freezes in the pipe it creates a block so water fills up inside the boiler. A trigger is switched to shut down the boiler when it reaches a certain point to prevent the water flooding the entire system.
Where is the condensate pipe?
If you’ve found you’re condensate pipe frozen then you already know where it is. However, if a boiler error code has lead you to the conclusion that a frozen condensate pipe is preventing your heating from coming on then you’ll need to find it.
The condensate pip is a plastic pipe which leads outside with the open end being directly above a drain. Condensate pipes are never metal so checking the material of the pipe is the best way to know that you’ve found the condensate pipe.
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