Why Are My Pipes Freezing?

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Why Are My Pipes Freezing?

Dear Adam,

Last winter, at its coldest, the pipes outside our house froze. I believe our engineer said that it was our condensate pipe on the outside of the house. We managed to fix the problem eventually with boiling water but I’m looking for a long-term fix. Can you help?


background-character-150-1Thanks for your message,

External condensate pipes freezing in winter can be a big issue for homeowners, and the problem is often easily diagnosed.

As you can imagine, the larger a pipe is the more difficult it is for it to freeze and block the flow of water. If your pipes consistently freeze your first step should be to go out and measure them! A lot of external condensate pipes are 21.5mm wide, and this causes a problem as these pipes are the most prone to freezing.

A 21.5mm condensate pipe

A 21.5mm condensate pipe

If you do have a 21.5mm external pipe, as you said boiling water will help solve the issue but this is only a short-term solution and freezing will happen again. What I would advise is the installation of a larger pipe.

When our customers call us with these problems (and they do, it is not uncommon!) we suggest that the 21.5mm pipe is replaced with a larger, 32mm pipe. This larger pipe will help protect against freezing in much colder weathers. Additionally, we advise on the installation of lagging (a special type of insulation) to provide additional protection.

Alternatively, it may be possible to reroute the condensate pipe to an internal waste pipe which would eliminate the chances of freezing all together.

Condensate pipes retrofitted to the larger, 32mm size with lagging

Condensate pipes retrofitted to the larger, 32mm size with lagging

Thankfully, this is not a large procedure and is a very long term fix to keep your water running in the winter. It can typically be resolved for around £100 and will save you lots of headaches and callouts in the future!

If you are looking for a qualified team to carry out the work, Eclipse Energy and our team of engineers regularly install larger external condensate pipes to help prevent against the cold winters. Be sure to give us a call and we’ll be happy to provide you with free impartial advice and a quote.


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