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A high-efficiency gas boiler is good for your home and your pocket. It will extract more energy from the gas being burned to generate heating and hot water.
But freezing winter weather can bring problems for modern condensing boilers. They can sometimes shut down if the condensate pipe freezes – leaving your home without heating just when you need it most.
Condensing or 'condensate' boilers work in a similar way to conventional gas boilers, but use energy more efficiently by reusing heat from the flue gases to heat additional water.
During this process the boiler produces left over water vapour that cools to leave 'condensate'. This condensate is disposed of through your home's waste water system.
The outlet pipe for the condensate may be outside your home if there wasn't room for it inside. If so, cold temperatures can freeze the condensate in the pipe and this can cause a blockage that will shut your boiler down.
Usually, there will be a fault code on the boiler's display or an alarm will sound. Your boiler's operating manual will explain the fault code. However, the most obvious sign may be that you have no hot water or heating.
How to prevent your condensate pipe from freezing
If you do change any heating settings, remember to return them to normal once the cold spell is over.
These steps may not prevent freezing in extreme weather conditions. If you want to take further action, detailed guidance will be available from your installer or service engineer.
If you feel confident and safe enough, try to thaw your pipe:
Be prepared for winter
Our boiler cover provides emergency assistance where the boiler, controls or central heating system has failed completely, leaving your home with no heating or hot water.
Cover for central heating emergencies – including a boiler service
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AA Home Insurance
Central Heating Response Plus is a Home Membership option.
AA Home Membership is underwritten by Acromas Insurance Company Limited (AICL) 57-63 Line Wall Road, Gibraltar. Registered Number 88716 (Gibraltar). UK branch address: Enbrook Park, Sandgate, Folkestone CT20 3SE. Acromas Insurance Company is authorised by the Financial Services Commission, Gibraltar, and is a member of the Association of British Insurers.
Automobile Association Insurance Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). You can check their register or call the FCA on 0800 111 6768.