Safely Defrosting a Condensate Pipe

The cold winter months is the time we most rely on our boilers to provide our heating and hot water, however as the temperature falls below zero, the condensate pipe on our boilers can become more susceptible to freezing, causing the boiler to shut down.  

In the cold winter months most of us rely on our boiler to heat or homes and give us hot water.  Once the temperature starts falling below zero  if your condensate pipe terminates outside it becomes more vulnerable to freezing causing your boiler to stop working 


Baxi & Worcester Bosch Potential Condensate Fault Codes

If you hear a gurgling noise coming from the boiler or the boiler may shut down straight away after firing up this may indicate a frozen condensate pipe,  If you have a Baxi boiler you may also see the following error codes pointing towards a frozen condensate pipe  these could  be E133 or E28. The display will alternate between E1 and 33.if you have a Worcester Bosch Boiler you may see the fault code D5, EA a flashing or persistent blue light, if you have a Worcester CDI again you may see a persistent or flashing red light.

If the temperature has plummeted and you you think you have a frozen condensate don’t panic, this can easily be sorted by yourself (if you feel able and feel confident also please wrap up warm and be careful not to slip outside on frozen ground may be a tip to take a mobile phone just in case of emergency) 

Locate the condensate pipe 

Usually, the condensate pipe is a white plastic pipe that runs from under the boiler and terminates through the wall and goes outside, in most cases it will  be fixed to the outside wall and will run to a drain / soak away. 

Locate the blockage
This is most likely to be where the pipe is most exposed, outside the building and probably it will most likely be frozen at the end of the pipe or if the condensate pipe has a horizontal section of pipe, a dip in the pipe or a bend where would could collect and freeze.

How to defrost the pipe 

We would 1st recommend using a hot water bottle / heat pad and place it over the frozen area this may take a couple of attempts. If this option fails you can pour hot water over the condensate pipe however take extreme care when walking on frozen ground with hot water, also remember that once you pour the water over the condensate pipe and the water hits the frozen ground it’s a good possibility the water will turn to ice  making the area very slippy to walk on. 

In extreme circumstances, you may have to cut the section of the pipe (outside) that is frozen. 


Once you feel the pipe is defrosted re-set or re-start the boiler. ( if you unsure of how to reset the boiler you can find how to do this  in your manufacturers instructions) 

For more information Worcester Bosch have created a video to demonstrate how to defrost a frozen condensate pipe safely 

If this does not solve the issue please feel free to call Sunrise Plumbing and Heating and we will attend 

Please contact us for more information 

01527 576595 or 07428628790 

Emergency Plumbers and Gas Safe Engineers based in Bromsgrove covering Stoke Prior, Stoke Heath, Aston Fields, Sidemoor, Catshill, Hanbury, Charford, Norton, Finstall, Fairfield, Marlbrook, Lickey End, Oakalls, Wychbold Hanbury 

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