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(Post Link) post #1 of 44 Old 01-03-18 Thread Starter
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Condensor boilers freeze

We heard a worrying noise from our Worcester Bosch boiler last night. It turns out the water in the condensate pipe freezes in the weather we're having. It blocks the thing and it needs a fresh kettle of boiling water to be poured over it whilst standing on a ladder. Not just for us but two other friends were doing the same today. Another friend , with a plumbing company, sent one of his guys today to help us and he did ten calls today, all with the same issue. This system isn't very clever. I discovered the use of my wife's hairdryer ,this evening, later today was safer but not much fun in the cold dark and wind. How about an electric element in the pipe!
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Saw this a few minutes ago on Twitter, might be of help to some as a temporary fix
(Disclaimer: no idea if there are any safety issues with this so check it out yourself !)

_20180301_225021.JPG
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Lagging the pipe was not very effective so lagging it with a wet towel which freezes instantly sounds poor.
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Designed by the same guy who did the MiTo drain pipe?
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You can get tracer elements to keep the pipes from freezing, but they are not ideal. As said, lagging the pipework doesn't work as once the temperature is lowered within the lagged pipe, it freezes anyway. There are options as far as internalising the condense pipework (within the property) or using condensate pumps to pump it round to a waste pipe internally with in the property again. Realistically with the weather we are having this is the only way to stop condensate pipes from freezing.
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Worcester Bosch,
http://www.directheatingsupplies.co....20Brochure.pdf

Worcester CondenseSure Condensate Siphon 7716192746.
Worcester CondenseSure Condensate Siphon 7716192746

And it works,
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(Post Link) post #7 of 44 Old 02-03-18 Thread Starter
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Thanks. I will look into these.
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Yep, I had this at 3.30am this morning! The "lagging" the previous owners put on was just wet frozen rag! Couple of kettles worth of hot water and some tapping to loosen the ice got things flowing again. Mines Worcester Bosch too, I'm surprised they don't have a cut off when they detect they're not firing...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cue2 View Post
Lagging the pipe was not very effective so lagging it with a wet towel which freezes instantly sounds poor.
There was no mention of using a wet towel ! Advice was to defrost first, next insulate/lag with towel & then try to waterproof towel

"advice was to defrost the pipe outside with hot water, cover the pipe with a towel and then cover with plastic if possible.'
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I've got the same boiler. I haven't experienced freezing yet but I've got a piece of tubing ready so I can whip off the existing tube on the condensate pump and run a piece into a bucket indoors as a temp fix.
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Our's drains into the utility sink waste pipe. Never had an issue with it freezing. Did have an issue with the BG engineer who before he had even tried to diagnose a fault was convinced it was the pipe freezing... turned out the condensate trap(?) was full of crud and had the same effect! He was all for ripping the wall apart to try and find where the pipe went.
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Thank you for this rant as it has helped me sort out my folks boiler problem. My mum is outside with her hairdryer and a hot water bottle trying to unfreeze their pipe as I type this!

I'm 230 miles away so not quite in a position to help out!! Gas board can't get there until Monday! Even with them being elderly and my dad having COPD.

Cheers guys
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Not the same but related. Went down stairs at 3 a.m. to get a glass of water to find a flashing light on the dishwasher (set to come on at night to take advantage of cheap rate energy). Turned out the waste hose had frozen, it is close to the fresh air vent in the kitchen and my weather station at the time was showing an OAT of -8.7*C.
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Is it me or are these new boilers a bit rubbish?

Ours is fine right now, but we have had loads of issues with it.


Never had a problem with the old Baxi Back boiler at our old house despite it being over 30 years old.
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Ours (Glow Worm) is piped into the vertical soil pipe & well insulated. Never had any problems - I think the fact that the open end of the condensate drain isn't open to cold outside air is a contributory factor.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jparkin486 View Post
Thank you for this rant as it has helped me sort out my folks boiler problem. My mum is outside with her hairdryer and a hot water bottle trying to unfreeze their pipe as I type this!

I'm 230 miles away so not quite in a position to help out!! Gas board can't get there until Monday! Even with them being elderly and my dad having COPD.

Cheers guys
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I had a Worcester boiler fitted a few years ago and had the condensate pipe freeze this week. The installation had used an existing 15mm pipe and had frozen solid, a few kettles of hot water and lagging seems to have done the trick. The device mentions 32mm drain so no good for me.
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Yep, this is a fairly well known drawback of condensing boilers.

Had it happen to ours on Wednesday, and again on Thursday.

I was pleased with myself for diagnosing and fixing it quickly the first time. The second time was more complicated, and involved a return to idiocy for me.

Boiler not working - tried to defrost pipes, didn't work. Set up electric heater in house just in case this was more long turn, and returned to trying to fix. Our boiler is in the garage, and has quite a long run of pipe before it goes outside the wall - so can't pour water on it, because it'd flood my garage. Trying to defrost 3 metres of pipe with an hairdryer (and no way of telling where the block really was) didn't sound like fun.
Eventually, as a short term fix, I just cut the pipe a short way from the boiler to let it drop into a bucket.

But boiler didn't work still on reset. I spent half an hour fiddling with it trying to decide whether the condensate tank inside it had frozen too before I realised that when I set up the electric heater, I put it right beneath the thermostat. So as far as my heating system was concerned, the house was toasty warm.

The other mistake I made was not spotting that the piping was just push fit - so when I sawed through it meaning I'll need a new pipe, I could have just pulled it out the bottom of the boiler.
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Not having a condensate boiler I am a little at a loss. Do the drain pipes not slope downwards so that they are normally empty? Surely they can only block up by freezing if water is standing in them? If water is standing in the pipe then I would have thought this was an installation fault.

I am sure I must be missing something so please enlighten me.
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The volume of water they release is pretty tiny. So even in motion, it can freeze, and in temperature this low it builds up over time.

In fact I think there is a bit of a design mistake in how the condensate pipe at my house is set up. It ends less than an inch above the grid it deposits the water into - so the ice forms on that grid, works it's way up to the pipe, and then completely blocks the end of it. The first time I cleared it, there was just a solid block of ice from the grid to the pipe and going further into it.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bazza View Post
The volume of water they release is pretty tiny. So even in motion, it can freeze, and in temperature this low it builds up over time.

In fact I think there is a bit of a design mistake in how the condensate pipe at my house is set up. It ends less than an inch above the grid it deposits the water into - so the ice forms on that grid, works it's way up to the pipe, and then completely blocks the end of it. The first time I cleared it, there was just a solid block of ice from the grid to the pipe and going further into it.
Thank you. Now I understand.

Just another reason not to replace our existing (30+years old) conventional boiler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John C. View Post
Worcester Bosch,
http://www.directheatingsupplies.co....20Brochure.pdf

Worcester CondenseSure Condensate Siphon 7716192746.
Worcester CondenseSure Condensate Siphon 7716192746

And it works,
Thank you, John C, definitely useful info. One bit missing (ominously) is the dimensions, but I can find that out.

The question posed about how the outlet pipe freezes is sort of answered in the device description. It's because there's a mere trickle; the siphon stores it up and splashes it out in a bigger dollop. (Hope that's not too technical).

And symon, you asked, I think, whether all boilers were rubbish or whether it was just you. Had I been in Tehran I would have asked a council of Mullahs, but plumbers are the wisest men in Orpington. They tell me the Worcester Bosch is probably the best make of boiler, but all modern boilers are rubbish compared with old ones and will not last. Usual story, built down to a price.
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lag the pipe
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One difference between old and new might be quality, but when we had to replace our boiler in the old house, the difference in weight was unbelievable.

New boiler was about 15kg. Old one was 60kg! Cast iron vs plastic I think.
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