As cold temperatures seize the country, some households could experience issues with their heating system due to the condensate discharge pipe freezing and becoming blocked with ice.

While it is the responsibility of a heating engineer to confirm that the condensate discharge pipe has been fitted and insulated correctly, prolonged sub-zero temperatures may still raise the need to thaw the pipe.

To help engineers being called out to condensate-related jobs during winter, the HHIC has released an updated best practice installation and maintenance guide. The trade body is additionally urging engineers to make homeowners aware of the simple steps needed to thaw a frozen condensate pipe when cold conditions strike.

The guide features several key instructions for installing a condensate pipe that will provide maximum protection to the boiler and the customer. It also outlines condensate pumps as alternative and how to overcome the challenges associated with existing installations.

It also includes multiple diagrams to assist with external connections are a list of other considerations, such as the type of insulation materials, air breaks in condensate discharge pipes, and the issue of unheated areas in buildings.

Steve Sutton, Technical Manager of the HHIC, said: “This winter, we are determined to make frozen condensate a ‘thing of the past’. By following our guide’s main installation requirements, such as sufficient insulation, this will reduce the likelihood of further callouts to homes with no heating due to a frozen condensate pipe.

“In recent years, however, the UK has seen temperatures drop to -12°C and below in many areas, during periods of extreme cold weather, meaning that even with this guidance, a risk of pipes freezing still remains. We highly recommend that homeowners get a professional to assess their installation of their condensate discharge pipe and make improvements where required.”

As a result, the HHIC’s guide includes an explanation of what homeowners can do to thaw a frozen pipe and to refer to their manufacturer’s instructions to re-set the boiler.

Sutton continued: “We urge engineers to advise homeowners to take care when thawing frozen condensate pipes owing to the risks associated with the weather conditions. This includes a range of considerations, such as it being essential that boiling water is not used when thawing the pipe.”

Installer Guide: Condensate Discharge Pipe Installation Guide