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Winter Pipe Problems

The Council have been installing high efficiency condensing boilers since 2002. These are installed in a range of different properties, and in different locations. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to install the condensing discharge pipe work internally.

When the condensing discharge pipe work has to be installed externally, it can freeze in extreme cold weather conditions.

Frozen pipes from condensing boilers

During periods of very cold weather, we occasionally receive enquiries from customers whose boilers’ do not appear to be working.

Sometimes this is to do with the condensate discharge pipe freezing and preventing the boiler from operating. The following information will assist you in identifying whether you have such an issue with your boiler and what should be done about it.

How can I tell if the boiler’s condense trap/ discharge pipe has frozen?

Step 1: It’s possible that your boilers condense trap/discharge pipe has frozen if all 3 of these statements are correct:

Always refer to your manufactures instructions if you have them.

Step 2: If all 3 statements above are true, you should now try to reset your boiler, providing your boiler has a reset button and you understand how to reset the boiler.

This can be done by holding in the ‘reset’ button (this can be found on the boiler control panel). Once you have released the button you should wait 2 to 3 minutes to see if the boiler re fires.

Step 3: If the boiler does not refire and it is emitting a gurgling sound, then it is almost certain that your condense pipe work is frozen. If you cannot hear a gurgling noise you should still proceed to check your condense pipe.

Step 4: The condensate pipe will be a plastic pipe (black, white or grey), coming from the bottom of your boiler. This pipe work may be installed under your floor boards. The main problem is the location of this pipe when it terminates externally into a drain, soil stack or gulley.

How can the condensate pipe be thawed?

You should contact the Council’s out of hour’s call number, who will then contact the Council’s gas servicing and maintenance contractor. The contractor will attend as quickly as possible to try and rectify the fault.

If you are unable to wait until the contractor arrives then you could do the following, however, you should exercise extreme caution at all times when attempting to identify and thaw a condensate pipe.

Simple steps to reduce risk of burst pipes

During cold weather, inconvenience and damage as a result of burst pipes is a real possibility. Potential repairs alone can run into many thousands of pounds. However, with some simple precautions the risk can be reduced.

Prevention better than cure

Taking the following simple steps will significantly reduce the risk of burst pipes within the home.

Preventing burst and frozen pipes

The following can help prevent your pipes from freezing:

Frozen pipes

In the event of a pipe freezing:

Burst pipes

If a pipe bursts:

Reporting a problem

If you are a Housing tenant and need an emergency repair, you should contact the out of hours emergency contact number.