Now we are deep into the cold winter months, HVP looks at the issue of frozen condensate in pipes and a new solution brought to market by a heating engineer.
Frozen condensate pipes account for a substantial amount of boiler breakdowns in colder months. During these times, the number of heating engineer callouts spike as people struggle to get access to heating and hot water in their home.
Notably, the Beast from the East in 2018 had a significant effect on boiler breakdowns and the heating industry was targeted for criticism in the national press. Thanks to the freezing conditions, thousands of customers found their boilers weren’t working due to frozen condensates and, because they were advised about the manufacturer’s warranty, called them for help.
Manufacturers were inundated with calls, which significantly stretched their resources. According to the Daily Express, on 2 March 2018, British Gas engineers fixed a record 17,000 broken boilers in a single day and the company saw calls for assistance come at a rate of 104 calls every second – 13 times its usual call volume. Another national boiler installation company, with over 700 nationwide Gas Safe-registered engineers, has seen dramatic increases of up to 278% in emergency boiler repair callouts during cold and snowy weather events over the last two years.
Since then, and with more extreme winters predicted for the future, the heating industry has been looking at how to further protect against the elements, with effective insulation for condensate pipes a high priority. Dave Smith, a heating and plumbing engineer who built up and sold his own heating company, has developed a solution – Condensate Pro. He claims it is quick and easy to install, looks professional, and lasts.
Dave aimed to develop both a product and the tools to allow installers to increase long-term customer satisfaction and boost productivity, save time on installation, and limit wasted resources on unnecessary callouts.
To develop the best product, Dave talked to the trade, trialled several designs, and carried out on-site tests. After research, investment, and securing the patents, he has established the Condensate Pro range to help installers reduce the time needed to complete a professional condensate pipe installation in any weather.
Condensate Pro fits any condensate pipe installation, with specially designed UV/water resistant lagging and bond and seal adhesive. All products fit onto 32 or 21.5mm overflow pipes, and the connection and terminations are pre-insulated to make life easier when fitting. The products are designed to offer a solution for every external termination – gully waste, soakaways, rainwater, and soil pipes – making it easier to price the cost of installation.
Dave has also manufactured a drift kit and grinder head, to help achieve a clean fitting on existing installations and uneven masonry.
The Condensate Pro drift kit is suitable for installers looking to upgrade existing condensate pipes, says Dave. A 76mm grinder head is also available, designed to grind a three-inch flat face against irregular faced stonework, creating a smooth surface for the connection kit.
“There are millions of boilers fitted with sub-standard external condensate pipe protection with pipes that freeze easily and cause boiler breakdown so, for the good of the industry, our goal is to make external pipe installation and insulation as fast and simple as possible,” explained Dave.
“We provide installers with professional tools to ensure easy upgrades, replacement boiler installations, or service calls.
“Everything comes neatly packaged in sturdy cardboard boxes to allow safe transportation and storage.”