Helpful Tips Property Management

Broken boiler? Check your condensate pipe

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

Broken down boilers and central heating systems are causing headaches for landlords as the sub-zero temperatures brought in by the Beast from the East tighten their grip the country.

British Gas has told customers it is prioritising ‘emergencies and vulnerable customers’ only and has advised people to only call in an emergency.

So what can you do if your tenants’ boiler breaks down?

If you have a condensing boiler in your property one of the first things to do would be to check the waste pipe.

In cold weather the pipe that takes waste water from the back of the condensing boiler – which isn’t there in a normal boiler – freezes solid, shutting down the system and in many cases causing permanent damage.

This can happen even if your tenants have been using the heating and hot water and even if the pipe is lagged.

British Gas says if you believe the ‘condensate pipe’ is frozen – there are a few steps you can take to thaw it out.

You might need to repeat these steps a few times, but they should work eventually.

  • Hold a hot water bottle, or heat wrap, around the pipe.
  • Pour hot, not boiling, water over the frozen end of the pipe with a watering can, jug or kettle.
  • If you think the pipe is unfrozen, try switching on the boiler again. You might need to reset it.
  • If the boiler fires up, it’s fixed. If it doesn’t then pour hot water on the pipe again.
  • If your boiler pipes are still frozen, call an engineer.

No matter how well you prepare, problems can and do occur as a result of bad weather so it is vital to make sure you have the appropriate cover for your home and contents.

For more information on RLA insurance contact 0333 000 0169.

The RLA also has a guide on winter maintenance created by RLA Insurance and runs a repairs course on landlords’ obligations regarding repairs to their properties and the relevant legislation.

For more information on how to protect your tenants and properties during the cold weather click here.

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Magazine and Digital Editor for the NRLA. With 20 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for editing our members' magazine 'Property', producing our articles for our news site, the weekly and monthly bulletins and editorial content for our media partners.

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