My Boiler Pipes Are Frozen What Should I Do

The first thing to understand is, what is the condensate pipe and why does the condensate pipe freeze.

Freezing couple on a sofa waiting for their Condensate pipe to be defrosted
Frozen external condensate pipe

What is a condensate pipe?

The first thing to understand is, what is the condensate pipe and why does the condensate pipe freeze.

In the UK all gas boilers are to be replaced by condensing boilers, which heats the water in a far more efficient way.

To do this, heat in the flue gases are recycled back into the heating system to heat the water inside the boiler.

During this condensing process, the temperature of the flue gases drops rapidly.

This rapid drop in temperature results in condensation, up to 2 litres an hour in a typical boiler, all of which has to be drained somewhere.

This is where the boiler condensate pipe comes into play. The boiler condensate pipe is the pipe that allows this water to be drained from the heating system and disposed of.

This condensed water is slightly acidic so not wise to use on your vegetable patch.

External or Internal Draining of Condensed Water

Although it is the preferred option to connect the condensate pipe to your waste water system internally, however, this is not always possible because 70% of UK homes, including new homes, only have external drains.

The option here is to drain the water externally. This is were the “frozen pipe zone” or as the condensate pro team call it “The FPZ” originates.

The FPZ can also be found internally, if for example the condensate pipe runs through a chilly garage.

Wherever the condensate pipe hits the FPZ it runs the risk of becoming frozen in low temperatures or extended cold spells.

condensate pro insulation shown at minus 8 degrees

How do you know if your boiler pipes are frozen?

The first time you will start to think that your boiler condensate pipe is frozen will be when the boiler starts to make a funny noise, or in many cases stop all together and show a fault code on the display.

How to Avoid Frozen Condensate Pipes.

The easiest and ideal way to avoid the risk of frozen pipes, is to insulate them at the time of installation of the boiler.

When a condensing boiler is being fitted, the installer will be able to use a range of insulation products on the pipes.

To provide the best protection the insulation should keep the cold out and keep the waste pipe warm. Insulation should not only be UV and weather proof but also fitted and sealed correctly.

Products such as Condensate Pro are specifically manufactured to insulate condensing boiler condensate pipes to a very high standard.

The Condensate Pro insulation is both UV and weatherproof with a unique sealing system for all wall types. Details about using a grinder head to create a snug fit for the insulation can be found on our Learning Center page.

Should your installer not yet be using Condensate Pro they can order one from a number of plumbing and heating merchants.

How Not To Thaw Condensate Pipes

If external condensate pipes had been correctly insulated at the time of installation, extreme cold weather such as “The Beast from the East” the freezing winds which hit the UK during February 2018, would not have been a problem.

Can I pour hot water on frozen pipes?

Although in the past this has been advised by many boiler manufactures and others in the industry, on safety grounds this should be avoided.

Regardless of your age and fitness pouring hot or warm water on a winters day is so DANGEROUS due to the risk of freezing as soon as the water makes contact with a hard surface.

The amount of water needed to defrost the pipe is significant, increasing the risk of slipping or falling.

Cutting the pipe near the wall to get the boiler back up and running, is an option, however to avoid another pipe freeze the pipe should be re-insulated correctly

Condensate pro insulated pipe fitted to external drain

Can I insulate the condensate pipe myself?

Before you decide either to DIY or use a qualified trades person, visit our LEARNING CENTRE where you will be able to view instruction videos demonstrating how to install the Condensate Pro insulation.

External or internal condensate pipe which is better?

Combining the waste water from the boiler with the internal waste water from your sink or other waste pipes raises a potential issue of blocking.

In the event of food blocking the pipe this will also block the water from the boiler, resulting in the boiler malfunctioning.

Should there be an internal soil pipe, draining exclusively to this would be best practice.

For external drainage, external routing of the condensate pipe separately, is a better way to protect your boiler and is a more efficient method to channel the water from the boiler.

How long will condensate pro last?

Condensate Pro, correctly maintained, is expected to last longer than the life of your boiler. We recommend checking the insulation during the annual boiler service, essential to the efficiency of the boiler and heating system. Every 5 or 6 years a fresh application of our Maintenance Coat may be needed.

How do I tell if my condensate pipe is protected or needs protection?

For a free condensate check, follow the link at the top of each of our web pages to click and view a video and complete our contact form.

Happy couple on sofa

How to discover more about Condensate Pro

If you or anyone you know asks, “my boiler pipes are frozen what should I do?”  or “How do I thaw my Condensate pipe?” or even “where can I buy a Condensate Pro insulation kit?” use the contact us form below and we will respond as soon as we can.