Boiler not working in freezing temperatures?
If your boiler has stopped working in freezing temperatures, then there is a good chance that you have a frozen condensate pipe. Luckily, this isn’t a big problem and it can be easily resolved yourself without the need for an engineer. This page will provide you with all the information needed to help you defrost your condensate pipe.
How do I know if the condensate pipe is frozen?
If part of your condensate pipework is outside and does freeze during a prolonged period of very cold weather, you might hear a gurgling noise coming from the boiler and if your boiler has a digital display, you may see an ‘EA’ error code too. There’s no need to worry if your condensate pipe freezes. You can usually thaw it safely without the need to call an installer or engineer.
What is a condensate pipe?
Condensing boilers require an additional pipe to be fitted to carry away wastewater that forms as a result of the normal condensing process. This is called the condensate pipe, it is normally plastic and runs from the boiler to a household drainage system or soakaway outside.
Evidence of condensed water running through the condensate pipe is an indication that your boiler is working normally.
Where is the condensate pipe?
The condensate pipe runs from the boiler to a suitable existing waste pipe system, or external drain pipe. If it is connected to an external drain pipe, it will be found outside your property leading out from your boiler. Prolonged periods of freezing weather can cause this pipe to freeze, affecting the operation of the boiler.
How to safely thaw a frozen condensate pipe
Step 1 – Confirm the condensate pipe is frozen
Depending on the make and model of the boiler, a fault code may be displayed on the boiler.
You may also hear Gurgling or Bubbling sounds either from the boiler or the condensate pipe.
Step 2 – Locate the blockage
This usually happens at its most exposed point (being the open end or a bend/elbow.
Feeling the pipe to find a cold point can help to locate the blockage.
Step 3 – Use hot (not boiling) water on the pipe
Pour hot water over the pipe, and repeat until the blockage has cleared.
You can also use a heat pack or hot water bottle to defrost the pipe.
Step 4 – Restart the boiler
check with your boiler user manual and follow the restart instructions.
Step 5 – Not fixed?
There is a chance the condensate pipe is still blocked or there is actually multiple blockages.
If you cannot get the boiler restarted, give us a call on 0800 917 3370
How to prevent your condensate pipe from freezing?
- Wrap some old towels around the pipe. (this is only short term fix)
- Purchase and wrap some foam pipe insulation around the pipe (ensure it’s for outdoor use & you get the correct size)
- Increase the temperate of the heating.
- Add a leaf guard over the drain to reduce wind chill.
If you are unsure about any of the above you can contact us by giving us a call on 0800 917 3370.
n.b. information in this post was obtained from Worcester Bosch