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HHIC Offers Guide To Avoid Frozen Condensate Pipes & Other Problems

January 7, 2021 featured image

If current Met Office warnings turn out to be correct, we’re in for a spell or particularly cold weather across the UK – many parts of the country are already pretty chilly – which has already been christened ‘The Beast from the East 2’.

In preparation for this, the Heating and Hot water Industry Council (HHIC), has re-issued their consumer information guide, which highlights steps that householders can take to protect their heating systems during particularly cold weather.

There’s also a more technical guide for engineers, which provides a useful summary of industry best practice. This leaflet can be downloaded here.

Frozen condensate pipes

One of the most common problems encountered when temperatures plummet, due to ice and snow, is system shut-off because the condensate pipe that runs from the boiler is frozen.

Stewart Clements, Director of HHIC said: “If a boiler condensate discharge pipe freezes, it will cause the boiler to go into “shut off” at a time when householders need their heating and hot water the most. Particularly as many are more reliant on their heating systems, given that a large proportion of the UK is now working from home.”

How can I help my customers keep their boilers going during the cold weather?

Freezing happens most often when the condensate discharge pipe is on the outside of the building, or when it’s not been insulated properly against the cold.

HHIC is encouraging heating engineers to spread the word, using their consumer guide to:

  • Set out the risks
  • Explain the remedial measures that can be taken to prevent the worst
  • Offer advice on what to do, should the condensate pipe freeze.

In the long-term, the condensate pipe should be checked during routine servicing and maintenance, but in the short-term, as temperatures fall, the leaflet suggests:

“If appropriate, it may be advisable to operate the boiler temperature at a higher flow temperature as this would decrease the amount of condensate generated and reduce the freezing potential during the cold spell. This is achieved by turning the boiler thermostats to a high setting. During this situation the radiator surfaces will be hotter than normal and the boiler efficiency will be slightly reduced.”

It points out that the boiler thermostat should be returned to its normal position when the cold snap is over.

To download the guide, click here.

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