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Condensate pipe problems - again?

jmd
Grafter
Posts: 2,933
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Registered: 30-07-2007

Condensate pipe problems - again?

Me again with a query!
The regular readers of this site will perhaps recall that last year I had a frozen condensate pipe cause me misery and an insurance claim.
Last week it froze but fortunately did not cause any major problems - just a large pool of water on the kitchen counter under boiler.
The central heating bloke has suggested re-routing it from outside by using a condensate pump so that the pipe will go under kitchen units and empty it self via sink waste.  The cost £242 - considering doing this if only to give me peace of mind when we have very very cold weather.
Has anyone had this sort of work done and do you think it is worth paying this out?
9 REPLIES
Community Veteran
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Registered: 08-01-2008

Re: Condensate pipe problems - again?

A lot depends on the boiler location.  Is there any usable route to take the condensate (by gravity) to a drain?
If a pump is required then they are not cheap but not that expensive (third item down on this page for example: http://www.bes.co.uk/products/110.asp). ; Installation is not too involved so a local qualified tradesman may be able to do it at a reasonable cost (normally a flexible PVC hose or similar is routed to the nearest drain, a power supply is needed fro the pump and a switch in the pump should be wired to the boiler to switch it off if the pump fails and the water level gets too high (to prevent overflow).
How far does the outside condensate drain run?  In most cases puttigng decent pipe insulation on this should be enough to prevent freezing (also insulate the part inside if the boiler is in an unheated space so that the condensate is kept as warm as possible when it reaches the outside pipe).
Call me 'w23'
At any given moment in the universe many things happen. Coincidence is a matter of how close these events are in space, time and relationship.
Opinions expressed in forum posts are those of the poster, others may have different views.
jmd
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Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Condensate pipe problems - again?

Walker23 - The boiler is in kitchen and the pipe runs inside but then goes outside for the last 2 ft.  The bit has some foam lagging round it that was put on last year.  However my driveway is exposed to the winds.  Also the boiler flue drips a lot and needs adjusting but that means at present water collects on ground by wall/pipe.  Have put a old mat against wall at present to try and divert the water away from pipe but obviously when it freezes there is ice around that area.
The chap that came has been recommended to me and the work would include adjusting the flue.
The suggestion  was that to get to an inside drain - that the condensate pump be place beneath boiler at floor level then a pipe would go under two units to the waste outlet from kitchen sink where it would have to slope upwards but apparently the pump would overcome that............
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Condensate pipe problems - again?

I have a similar problem for when my boiler gets changed.  My heating engineer gave me the same answer, the nearest drain is a long way away.  he said fit a pump. then up over a false ceiling in the kitchen, through an original outside wall and down to the inside drain to my new toilet
Community Veteran
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Re: Condensate pipe problems - again?

If a gravity drain is possible (running at the back of the kitchen units) then this should always be preferable to a pump as gravity is 100% reliable where a pump is not.  A condensate pipe flowing into any existing drain should be fitted with a trap to prevent smells from the drain (the boiler MAY incorporate a trap but this should be verified).
The flue should not drip excessively, if properly installed it would normally slope slightly upwards so that condensate in the flue will run back to the boiler and then to the condensate drain.  If the boiler was recently installed (or the flue has always dripped) then you should be able to get that fixed for free by the original installer.  An outside drain should discharge into a gulley or soak-away and not onto a driveway, footpath or similar, does it just drip onto the driveway?
Whatever you decide, you certainly don't want a boiler that fails when the outside temperature is too cold so whatever method allows the condensate drain to be run inside in the warm is highly recommended.
Call me 'w23'
At any given moment in the universe many things happen. Coincidence is a matter of how close these events are in space, time and relationship.
Opinions expressed in forum posts are those of the poster, others may have different views.
Community Veteran
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Re: Condensate pipe problems - again?

Use a condensate pipe heater?  At £130 a bit expensive.
Now Zen, but a +Net residue.
jmd
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Re: Condensate pipe problems - again?

The original installer [7 yrs ago before I bought house] has disappeared but I do not think he did the best of jobs.  The outside drain does go into a soakaway but as I said it is almost beneath the flue so more water collects there than it should.
A condensate heater would cost more to actually install as all the kitchen units would have to come out to access the  condensate pipe outside.
I think I am going ahead with the pump as gravity alone would not move it across to sink waste.
nadger
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Registered: 13-04-2007

Re: Condensate pipe problems - again?

I saw something on TV recently where British Gas where having to fit a condensate pipe heater to resolve problems with Glow Worm boilers.
When we had a new boiler installed on 14th October I was concerned about how they would deal with condensate pipe having read previous thread on this forum.
From where it goes through wall they ran a larger pipe, with a steep drop, into down pipe from gutter - probably about 4 feet ( not going outside to measure  Wink). They fitted Y piece into down pipe and condensate pipe fits loosely into this to prevent any water running back up condensate pipe.
Everything was then insulated.
Despite our area having two periods of very cold weather ( http://pensions-service.direct.gov.uk/en/cold-weather-payment/home.asp) we haven't had a problem.
As an aside it looks like country has turned round as Huddersfield & Sheffield show no payments due.
oldgeezer
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Registered: 02-02-2010

Re: Condensate pipe problems - again?

The condensate from our last boiler, a Glow-worm used to drip out at a steady rate as it was being produced. We had it replaced by a Vaillant boiler 3 years ago and that has a syphonic trap that fills up and then releases the fluid in one go. This means that instead of a steady drip of coolish water that can form an ice build-up in the drain, you get a sudden release of a quantity of water which has been stored in the warm boiler casing. The condensate drain is run behind units and only about 2 feet of very well insulated vertical pipe is outside. The system works very well with no problems so far despite a windy north facing location at more than 900 feet ASL.
oldgeezer
Infinity
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Re: Condensate pipe problems - again?

My boiler stopped working last year because of condensate pipe freezing. Unprotected.
During the summer, I covered the small diameter pipe with foam lagging, covered with old fleece sleeve, covered with black bin bag for rain / snow protection, all cable tied, with an old empty Pepsi bottle surrounding it all.
This Winter, no problems at all.