Winter Advice



Frozen condensate pipes

During recent winters the UK has experienced prolonged spells of extremely cold weather. This resulted in a significant increase in the number of calls to boiler manufacturers and heating engineers from householders with condensing (high efficiency) boilers where the condensate drainage pipe had frozen and become blocked with ice, causing the boiler to shut down. In the vast majority of cases such problems occur where the condensate drainage pipe is located externally to the building for some part of its length.

What to do if you suspect your condensate  pipe may have frozen:

First, talk to your engineer, he or she should know your house, your boiler and the location of pipes. 

If your boiler has stopped working, it may show a fault code, some of these are:

Worcester-Bosch boilers often show  EA, or D5 or blue flashing light.

Vaillant boilers often show  F27 F28 F29

Baxi boilers often show E133

Glow-worm boilers often show 
E1 E4

Another sign is hearing a " gurgling" noise coming from the boiler when boiler is running or trying to start.

These codes can mean other problems, but whilst temperatures remain extremely low, it is worth checking your condensate pipe is not frozen.

Warm the area of pipe you believe to be affected, use either warm water, or hot water bottle, do not use boiling water for your own safety, do not do this if the pipe is at high level, no one wants to be up a ladder in icy conditions with hot water!

Do not attempt to cut pipes or disconnect, a condense pipe is technically part of your flue system, and as such can emit carbon monoxide, always seek help from a qualified engineer.

Once thawed, re-set your boiler, then obtain some waterproof pipe lagging & call your heating engineer to arrange to have the pipe either re-routed or a larger pipe installed and lagged.

If thawing does not resolve the problem call your engineer straight away, do not continue to try to use your boiler. Call as early as possible, we are busy during these conditions, so the more notice the better we can plan our diary.

Above all, make sure you have your boiler, heating and hot water systems checked each year, PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE... and usually cheaper!

More winter advice to come, feel free to request.