What Is The Condensate Pipe?

The condensate pipe is a feature of the modern condensing boiler. This pipe is found on many boilers up and down the country. However, the condensate pipe can cause some issues, particularly for some homeowners in winter. In this article, we discuss how condensing boilers work, and how this relates to the utility of the condensate pipe and its issue of freezing in winter.  Methods of fixing a frozen condensate pipe are also given, but to gain expert advice about the condensate pipe, visit http://ecosafe.co/.

Condensing Boilers

The bulk of modern boilers that are fitted are condensing boilers. Boilers of this kind condense water vapour to create their heat output. This is normally through using gas to fuel the process. Condensing boilers are more efficient than older boilers as they utilise the latent heat from the waste gases.

The Condensate Pipe

Condensing boilers produce wastewater through the process of condensing water vapour. The condensate pipe is the way in which this wastewater flows out of the boiler to a drain. It is normally made of plastic as it is more economical. Wastewater will build in the condensate pipe until a critical threshold is met when all water present in the condensate pipe will empty at once. When a condensing boiler is running at a typical level, around 3 litres of wastewater will be produced and drained away through the condensate pipe.

Issue of Freezing

The condensate pipe is designed so that it shouldn’t freeze. Bursts of warmer water do indeed freeze more slowly than a slow trickle of colder water. However, low temperatures still come with the issue of some condensate pipes freezing. It is a particular problem for condensate pipes that navigate through unheated areas before reaching a drain. This could be external to the problem or an area such as a shed or garage. To try and combat freezing occurring, condensate pipes should typically be insulated with lead, kept at a sharp gradient, and less than three metres long.

Fixing a Frozen Condensate Pipe

If your condensate pipe has frozen, there are a few methods that can fix the issue without requiring expert help. The simplest and most effective method of fixing this issue is by applying heat to the pipe. This can be either through holding a hot water bottle to the pipe for an extended period of time or by pouring hot water over the pipe. If the situation is an emergency, you can cut the frozen part of the pipe off. This will give immediate access to hot water again but will require an expert to come and refit the cut section of the condensate pipe.

A frozen condensate pipe is one of the most common boiler issues in winter. With this article, you should be able to identify the condensate pipe and take steps to prevent it from freezing in the winter months.

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