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Home > News > Be prepared for frozen pipes this winter

01 December 2023

Be prepared for frozen pipes this winter

You may be able to fix this problem yourself which can be quicker than calling out an engineer!

Gas boilers

Gas boilers can stop working in very cold weather due to frozen condensate pipes.

A condensate pipe carries condensation from your boiler to an outside drain. It’s usually a white or grey plastic pipe that travels from your boiler through the wall directly outside where your boiler is located.

During cold weather the condensation in this pipe may freeze, causing a blockage, and the boiler to shut down.

Depending on the make and model of your boiler, a frozen condensate pipe may be indicated by a ‘fault code’ or warning light on the boiler’s display. Gurgling or bubbling sounds coming from the boiler or the condensate pipe are other signs that the pipe has frozen.

You may be able to fix this problem yourself which can be quicker than calling out an engineer!

If you’re able, try these simple steps:

  • Using a jug or watering can, pour warm water along the length of the pipe, repeating the process until the pipe has thawed – don’t use boiling water as this can crack or damage the pipe, or you may spill it and risk scalding yourself.
  • Alternatively, hold a hot water bottle against the pipe.
  • Once the frozen section has been melted and cleared, you can then try to restart the boiler. It may take several attempts before the boiler restarts – if it does not work, call Cottsway and we will arrange for a Heating Engineer to come out.
  • Be careful to sweep away any water left standing under the pipe on a paved area as it could freeze and become a slip hazard.

Ideal Boilers, one of the manufacturers we use, provide a useful step-by-step video. Please be reassured that we are here to help if you experience problems: Contact us


Other outside pipes

Other outside pipes can also freeze and on rare occasions, can lead to flooding which will not only cause damage to your home but to the belongings inside it.

There are some simple things you can do to help prevent the chance of this happening:

  • Keep your heating on low if you go away during a cold snap.
  • Ensure that you know the location of the stopcock in your home so you can switch off the water in an emergency.

Isolating outside / garden taps

If you have had our permission to install an outside / garden tap, it is best to isolate this during the winter months to prevent them freezing too:

  • Find the outside tap water supply - usually under the kitchen sink - and turn it off.
  • Once turned off, open the outside tap fully to drain off the excess water. (Ensure any hoses or attachments are removed from the tap so that it can drain properly).
  • Leave the tap open until the chance of frost has ended.

You may also wish to insulate your garden tap with a purpose made tap cover to protect it further.

Contents insurance

Remember, if your home were to experience a flood, any damage to your belongings such as furniture, carpets, curtains, clothes, bedding, electrical items, jewellery, pictures and ornaments would not be covered by Cottsway’s insurance.

We do not provide contents insurance as part of your tenancy agreement and your possessions won’t be protected unless you take out your own cover.

To help you decide whether home contents insurance is right for you, we have teamed up with Thistle Tenant Risks, and Great Lakes Insurance UK Limited who provide the My Home Contents Insurance Scheme, a specialist Tenants Contents Insurance policy designed for tenants living in social housing.

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