Cold weather warning 2019

Bad weather is coming our way again, starting now. Last year’s ‘Beast from the East’ shut the country down for about 72 hours and, for many of us, the misery was compounded by our boilers breaking down*. The main culprit was a frozen condensate pipe. Water or condensate is a by-product of the boiler’s operation and is extracted via the condensate pipe. When this water freezes, which can happen when the temperatures drop, it stops the boiler working. You may hear a gurgling noise coming from the boiler and a fault code will appear in the display panel (on Intergas boilers this fault code is F5). The good news is that simply thawing out the frozen condensate pipe usually solves the problem, and it’s something you can do yourself and your boiler will be back up and running in minutes.

The condensate pipe may be on an external wall or directly under your boiler. If it’s on an external wall, it’s likely to be made of white plastic and runs diagonally down into the drain; if it’s internal, it will be white plastic too. To thaw out the external plastic pipe, pour warm water (never boiling) over it until you can see the water running out of the pipe into the drain; please note, you should only do this if the pipe is at ground level and it is safe to do this. It could take a few minutes. To thaw out the internal pipe, attach a microwaveable heating pack or hot water bottle to it, again this could take a few minutes. Then press ‘reset’ on the boiler’s control panel and the boiler should restart.

*Strictly speaking, when a condensate pipe freezes, due to adverse weather conditions and prolonged sub-zero temperatures, causing the boiler to stop working, this boiler hasn’t in fact broken down. This is a safety feature which protects the boiler.

The Heating and Hot Water Industry Council (HHIC) has issued guidance notes to help householders.  (please click here for more information).