Frozen condensate

How to defrost and prevent frozen condensate

Early in October, as temperatures began to slide down the scales, Scottish Gas announced they were facing a 33% increase in demand for call-outs. They predicted 7,000 households would require their repair services in the first week of October. And they aren’t the only energy company who paces huge surges in call-outs every time the temperatures plummet.

What’s the cause? Frozen condensate, of course.

Frozen condensate is one of the most common causes of boiler breakdowns in the winter. It’s worse at that time of year because that’s when we need our boilers the most. Without them, there’s no escape from the icy weather at home. So how can you prevent pipes freezing and boilers breaking down, avoiding high repair charges and ensuring a cosy winter?

Defrosting a frozen pipe

If your boiler isn’t working and it’s cold outside, it could be due to a frozen pipe. You should defrost it as soon as possible. The first thing to do is to locate your pipe. It’s often a white pipe that comes out of the wall somewhere on your house and runs directly into an outside drain. 

Boil the kettle and let it cool for about 10 minutes so the water is hot, but not boiling. Then, starting from the top and working your way down the pipe, pour the hot water over the pipe until the ice within has melted. You may need to do this more than once. 

When you have successfully defrosted the pipe, you can reset your boiler and it should work as normal.

Preventing condensate freezing

Preventing problems is always better than fixing them. The most important thing to do to prevent condensate freezing is to insulate your pipes so they don’t freeze at all. This is particularly important if your pipe is in a hard to reach area. If it is, you may not unfreeze it using the above method.

You can insulate the pipe yourself, but it can be a little tricky when pipes aren’t easy to reach. You need to ensure the materials you use are up to the task. Your pipe insulation should be weather- and UV-resistant if you want it to stay looking good and effective. This will save you from shelling out on regular insulation replacements.

But, sometimes, your pipe might not be the problem. While in winter, this is overwhelmingly the cause of broken down boilers, there can be other problems at play. To ensure excellent boiler health through the colder months, it’s great to get an annual check during summer so when winter rolls around, you know you’re all set for a comfortable season. 

Condensate Pro takes the hassle out of pipe insulation. Our pipe installation and connection kits come pre-insulated and are UV- and weather-resistant. This means your pipes are easy to install and keep warm, and they look tidy and professional. Take a look at our products on our website.