In late 2019, scientists said Britain should brace itself for the coldest winter in a decade. While weather forecasts made months in advance aren’t always the most accurate, it certainly fits in with trends of more extreme weather across the UK. This winter – particularly in January and February – could bring temperatures lower than when we were hit by the Beast from the East, which caused huge levels of disruption.
Even though the weather can change suddenly, it’s always good to be prepared. Knowing how to defrost the condensate in your boiler pipes is essential if you want to keep your boiler up and running through a harsh winter. Otherwise, you might feel the chill.
Why does condensate freeze?
While your boiler is inside your property, the condensate drain line runs outside. This means it’s exposed to icy temperatures in the winter causing the condensate to freeze and block pipes. Condensate is a by-product of the combustion process your furnace uses to create heat. It flows out of the system via the condensate drain line and exits the home or building. But when the pipe is blocked, it can cause water to back up into the home as it obstructs the exit. This can lead to a fault or malfunctioning boiler which you can solve by following our guide.
Our guide to fixing frozen condensate
Here are some steps to follow:
- Diagnosis – You need to identify the problem. If your condensate pipe is blocked, your boiler may have a flashing light or a fault code. Check your manufacturer’s guide to see whether these signals indicate a blocked condensate pipe.
- Reset the boiler – Before jumping to conclusions, it’s worth resetting your boiler to see if the issue resolves itself. If it doesn’t, move on to the next step.
- Find the external pipe – It will likely be a white or grey plastic pipe coming from a wall outside, often by the kitchen area.
- Thaw the pipe – The easiest way to defrost an outdoor pipe is to use hot water to melt the ice inside. Boil the kettle and let it stand so the water is hot, but not boiling. Then pour this water slowly over the pipe until it’s unblocked. You may need to do this several times.
- Reset your boiler again – With the blockage dealt with, your boiler should be able to function as normal after a reset. If the warning lights are still on after another reset, you may need to contact a heating engineer or your manufacturer for advice.
This should get you back up and running so you can ward off the cold temperatures. But wouldn’t it be better if you could prevent these problems in the first place? Ask your heating engineer to install effective, UV- and weather-resistant pipe insulation. This will prevent your pipes from freezing in the first place, reducing time-consuming breakdowns and keeping you cosy.
Condensate Pro has come up with innovative solutions to prevent blockages from frozen condensate. Our pre-insulated pipe kits and tools come ready-to-use, making installation fast, simple, and professional. Take a look on our website to find out more.