How to fix a frozen boiler condensate pipe

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Diagnosing a frozen condensate pipe

If your boiler starts developing random faults which are preventing your central heating or hot water from operating as it normally. Then it may be worth looking to see if your boiler is being affected by a frozen condensate pipe.

To establish if the issue is actually the frozen condensate pipe, please check your boiler first as it will most likely be showing either some flashing lights or some form of fault code.  It is advisable to check the manufacturer guidance that will have been supplied with your boiler to see if the code relates to a frozen pipe problem. Other signs include the sound of a “slurping watery” sound when your boiler is providing heat or hot water.

Dealing with a frozen condensate pipe

Reset Boiler: Before jumping the gun, it is worth resetting your boiler to see if the issue that was present has now resolved itself. If the pipe was frozen but has since thawed then the errors present on your boilers display may no longer be there. Try resetting your boiler – if the fault indicators are still present then it’s time to try and check outside. If you are not able to go outside to check or the weather conditions are Icey contact Jigsaw Contact Centre.

Locate external pipe (outside): The condensate pipe removes water from the boiler. As such you will likely find a white or grey plastic pipe coming from the location of your boiler to the outside wall of the property. In some installations the amount of pipework that runs external to the property can be fairly long. As a large amount of the pipe is exposed to the outside conditions, when the weather turns cold the pipe may get blocked when any water within the pipe freezes and turns to ice. Sometimes it will be obvious that the pipe is frozen however in other cases the symptoms will be more subtle, hidden away within the pipe itself.

Time to thaw: (If you are able to carry out this task).The easiest way to deal with a frozen condensate pipe is to put it in contact with warm water. A couple of jugs of warm water in plastic jug poured over the exterior of the pipework is a great remedy. Increasing the temperature within the pipe can cause the ice blockage to subside. If you don’t have a plastic jug then you could also try a warm flannel or hot water bottle. It’s important that you refrain from using boiling water, as although this will likely melt the ice quicker, you may cause more damage as the extreme contrast in temperatures may cause the plastic pipe to crack. Never go up a ladder or chair or bin to unfreeze a condensate pipe. If the condition is ice under foot do not attempt to unfreeze the condensate pipe.

Reset Boiler (again): With the frozen blockage hopefully now dealt with, it should now be a simple matter of returning to your boiler and hitting the reset button. If the fault signals are still present then please contact us to arrange an engineer visit.

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