I'm a heating engineer – the DIY fix for common boiler fault during cold weather | The Sun
THOUSANDS of households suffer from boiler breakdowns during periods of cold weather.
But many should be aware of a simple DIY fix that can get your heating and hot water back up and running for free.
The advice comes after the Met Office issued an amber warning for snow and ice as temperatures hit sub-zero overnight due to a -10°C Arctic blast.
And the Arctic blast is bad news for our central heating systems – especially if they're poorly maintained, according to Toolstation.
But if your boiler has stopped working and you're not getting any heating or hot water during a cold snap, there is often a simple fix.
Doing it yourself can help households avoid paying upward of £120 for an emergency plumber call-out.
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According to boiler manufacturer, Worcester Bosch, there's a very good chance that your condensate pipe has frozen – an issue which prevents your boiler from firing up entirely.
We spoke to Lorenzo Guiove, a heating engineer at Seven Heating to find out exactly how households can repair the faulty without having to spend money on an engineer call-out.
He said: "During the December cold snap, I received over 100 calls and texts from customers with the same issue – frozen condensate pipes.
"The condensate pipe is the external pipe which carries acidic water waste from the boiler out of the house to an external drain.
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"When it becomes blocked with ice, your boiler stops working."
If your condensate pipe has frozen over a fault code will usually show up on your boiler to inform you of an issue.
Check your boiler's instruction manual to confirm that the fault code relates to a condensate issue.
You'll then need to head outside to locate your condenser pipe on your exterior wall.
Condensor pipes are usually made up of white plastic which runs to an external drain.
To fix a frozen pipe and get your boiler back up and running you will need to thaw all the ice.
Lorenzo said: "Cover the pipe in something like a tea towel and pour over several rounds of hot water.
"The towels will help retain the heat from the hot water and you will start to hear the cracking of the ice.
"Hopefully, all being well, it will get things moving and working again."
However, if you've tried this and your boiler is still not firing up, you'll need to call a Gas Safe engineer to come out and check your boiler for other issues.
How do I know if my boiler has a condenser pipe fault?
Depending on the make and model of your boiler, a fault code may appear on its display.
The code will vary but as a rough guide the following codes relate to a condensate pipe issue:
- Baxi – E133 or E28
- Ideal Boilers – L2, LF or F2
- Glow-Worm – F28or F29
- Potterton – E1, E28, E33 or E28
- Worcester Bosch – EAA229 or D5
- Valliant – F28 or F29
- Viessmann – F4
It's worth double-checking your boilers instruction manual for further detail on fault codes.
Those with older boilers that won't fire up during extremely cold weather should first check for ice around their condescending pipe outside before booking a costly engineer call-out.
How can I stop my condenser pipe from freezing?
The best way to prevent your condenser pipe from freezing over is to insulate it.
A spokesperson from Toolstation said: "Pipe insulation can be purchased for less than £1.
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"A metre length of our most affordable insulation wrap costs just 99p and its thick foam cuts heat loss by up to 70%, protecting against frost and freezing."
But we've seen pipe insulation that costs as little as 62p a metre, so make sure to shop around before you make a decision.
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