Common Heating Problems – Condensate Pipe
No heating or hot water; loud noises. We have all had to face some of these problems with our heating systems throughout our lifetimes and fixing the problem can take time and cost hundreds. However, knowing what to do before the problem gets out of hand can be key to saving you time and money and prevent the need of having to call in the professionals.
Of course this information will not apply to everyone as some people have different heating systems, although it will be aimed to as many different systems as possible.
Common Combi Failure
Homes across the country are transferring from the traditional heating systems to condensing boilers as they have many benefits; with the most notable being their energy saving benefits from how efficient they are.
With more and more people having this type of boiler, there are a few common problems being experienced and these may be easier to address than you would think.
All condensing boilers produce condensate as a waste product. However, there are a number of different options available to the installer as to how to dispose of this condensate. Some installers choose to run the condensate pipe externally, which has been done in many homes across the UK. A condensate pipe gathers moisture from the boilers flue and runs it back through the boiler, producing as little waste as possible. This external pipe is usually fine in most weather conditions but during the winter months or particularly cold weather, the pipe can freeze.
If the condensate pipe does freeze then it can potentially cause problems with your boiler. You can tell if your boiler’s condensate discharge pipe has frozen from the following statements:
Your boiler is displaying an error code of either EA or D5The temperature outside is dipping below freezingThere is some form of gurgling sound coming from the boiler
Before you try to defrost the condensate pipe, you need to reset your boiler. This may solve the problem without you having to do any further steps. To reset the boiler, you simply need to press the ‘reset’ button (you may need to hold in the button for 10 seconds). Always check the owner’s manual on how to correctly reset your boiler.
If the gurgling noise persists and the boiler fails to ignite then you need to check the condensate pipe. The condensate pipe is usually located at the bottom of the boiler, running outside or in a non-heated place. The plastic pipe is black, white or gray and should be coated with a waterproof lagging. If the pipe is not coated in this lagging then there is a higher possibility of freezing.
Thawing the pipe
There are 3 ways in which you can defrost the pipe, the first one being to use a hot water bottle and placing it on the affected area over a period of time to defrost it. The second and most effective option is to poor warm water over the frozen part of the pipe. Here, you need to ensure the water is not boiling as this can cause more damage. The third option is to go out and buy some kind of heat wrap; most commonly used for muscular pain and can be found at your local pharmacy to wrap round the pipe.
Once you have attempted one of the above steps, you will then need to reset your boiler again. Once reset, wait 2 -3 minutes for the boiler to refire.
To prevent the problem recurring again and again, it is advised to call in the professionals to properly insulate the pipe keeping your home warm in the times when you need it most. For more information visit the Trade Radiators Blog.