home warm during the cold snap
Tips on how to fix a common boiler problem
Last winter proved to be longer and colder than usual, which led to a higher number of call-outs for our gas contractor, TSG.
The surge in heating and boiler repairs affected our response times. So this year, we asked our heating experts to give us some tips on how to fix the most common winter boiler problem – a frozen condensate pipe.
How to identify the condensate pipe
The condensate pipe allows water to be drained from your gas boiler and, if it gets blocked due to freezing, your boiler will stop working. Condensate pipework is made of plastic and will be the only plastic pipe connected to your boiler. It may only be inside your property, and if this is the case it probably won’t freeze. Or it may run from the boiler through a wall to the outside and connect to a drain, if this is the case then it may freeze.
How to fix a frozen condensate pipe
Once you’ve located the condensate pipe and you think it might be frozen, here’s some advice on how to safely resolve the problem yourself. You should only attempt to do this if you feel confident doing so. Before you start it’s important that for SAFETY REASONS YOU NEVER remove, cut or disconnect the boiler condensate pipe. Only a Gas Safe registered engineer can carry out this work.
Prepare some warm or hot water using a suitable and safe method such as a kettle or microwave. Don’t use boiling water as it can cause damage to the pipe (and poses a risk to you). Transfer the warm water to a suitable container such as a watering can or a jug which will make it easy to pour over the condensate pipe.
Pour the water over the section(s) of pipe that you think are frozen. If the pipe’s outlet (where the water leaves the pipe – this is usually directly over the drain) is fully or partially frozen, start at this point as it will allow any water in the pipe to escape once it’s able to. After this, pour hot water on any other pipework sections including bends in the pipework as these typically freeze faster.
If pouring warm/hot water doesn’t melt the ice inside the pipe and clear the blockage, you could try using a hot water bottle. This allows heat to be applied to the frozen section for a longer period of time. If this melts the blocked condensate you will see water begin to leave the pipe or hear a trickling sound.
Once you believe the blockage has melted, you can attempt to reset the boiler. If you’re successful, any fault codes will be cleared, and the boiler should restart.
Ensure that you re-set your boiler in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, as explained in the boiler manual.
If in doubt, contact TSG, our gas servicing contractor on 0800 111 4044.