What is a Condensate Pipe on a Boiler?

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Do you know what is a condensate pipe on a boiler? The condensate pipe on a boiler can cause problems in the colder months. During winter, you may experience a frozen condensate pipe which can cause your boiler to suddenly stop working. In this article, we explain what is a condensate pipe on a boiler.

So, What is a Condensate Pipe on a Boiler?

The condensate pipe on a boiler is the pipe which removes the excess condensation by draining it from the boiler flue and disposing it within the household waste water. It is recommended that this pipe is connected to the waste water system internally. However, there are many situations where this is not possible and instead the pipe will need to be fitted externally. An external condensate pipe is at risk of becoming frozen in extremely low temperatures or prolonged cold weather.

What does the Condensate Pipe do?

The role of the condensate pipe is to remove the condensation from the boiler during the condensing process by disposing it with the household waste water. When the boiler is operating there is often around 2-3 litres of condensate water produced in an hour. Generally, this water is dumped into the household waste water in small quantities to prevent the water from freezing in the condensate pipe as it leaves the property. However, this is not always the case and occasionally the condensate pipe does freeze during extremely low temperatures.

During Winter the condensate pipe is vulnerable to freezing especially if the pipe runs through external or unheated areas. It is recommended to prevent the pipe from freezing it should be less than 3 metres long and insulated using lagging. You can also fit trace heaters to prevent freezing where the pipe needs to run externally. The condensate pipe should be positioned at a gradient to also reduce the risk of water freezing due to any condensate being trapped within the pipe. However, despite our best efforts to prevent the pipe from freezing, this is still one of the most common problems modern heating systems face during the colder months. If you have a frozen condensate pipe the boiler will generally go to an ignition fault code.

The good news is if you have a frozen condensate pipe, it is relatively easy to fix. Below we show you how to fix a frozen condensate pipe on a boiler.

How to Fix a Frozen Condensate Pipe on a Boiler?

If you feel comfortable to do so, you can try and unblock the frozen section of the pipe yourself. Here’s how to fix a frozen condensate pipe on a boiler:

  1. Firstly, you will need to prepare some hot water using either the kettle or microwave. Ensure the water is NOT boiling hot as this can cause an accident in cold conditions and can also damage the pipe.
  2. Next transfer the hot water into a suitable container for example, a watering can or jug.
  3. Find the section(s) of the pipe you think are frozen and pour hot water over these. If you find the pipe’s outlet is fully or partially frozen then, start to pour the hot water here because it will allow any water which has frozen elsewhere in the pipe to escape when it is able to.
  4. If you find pouring hot water over the pipe doesn’t effectively melt the ice inside then, you can try using a hot water bottle. A hot water bottle will allow heat to be applied to the frozen section for a longer period of time. You should be able to see water leave the pipe or hear it trickle out.
  5. Finally, when you believe the pipe is no longer frozen, you can try to rest the boiler following the manufacturer’s instructions. If you have successful melted then ice, then any fault codes will be cleared and the boiler should be reset.

If you have followed our step by step guide on how to fix a frozen condensate pipe on a boiler and are still experiencing issues, we recommend that you speak to one of our qualified Gas Engineers. For a free quote to prevent your condensate freezing with a trace heater give us a call on 0330 3530 365

Boiler Servicing from Fixx

Do you need a boiler service? A boiler should be serviced once a year to ensure it is working safely and efficiently to its optimum capacity. Book your boiler service in with Fixx. We carry out annual boiler services in domestic properties across the North of England. All of our gas engineers are on the Gas Safe Register with years of experience within the industry so, you can have peace of mind all boiler services carried out by us are completed safely and efficiently to the highest standard.

To arrange your boiler service please call us on 0330 3530 365 or simply contact us online. One of our friendly helpdesk advisers will then book your boiler service in for a suitable date and time minimising disruption to your day. For more information on what is included in a “typical” boiler service read our boiler service checklist.