News | Published on 29th Mar 2018

Heating industry call for greater enforcement and strengthening of the Building Regulations for condensate pipes

On 27th March 2018 representatives from across the heating industry met at the Heating and Hotwater Industry Council offices (HHIC), to review and discuss the matter of frozen condensate, which caused a high number of domestic boilers to stop working during the recent extreme weather that caused major disruption across the UK as a whole. The industry is now calling upon the government for greater enforcement and strengthening of building regulations.

An efficient condensing boiler will generate around 2 litres of condensate an hour at a temperature of around 30-40°c, this needs to be piped to the waste water system or to a drain.

Industry specification and current British Standard 6798 states that ‘wherever possible, the condensate drainage pipe shall be terminated at an internal foul water discharge point’. Where there is no other option than to run the pipe externally the pipe needs to be increased to at least a 30mm inside diameter and insulated to help prevent freezing.

Greater awareness and enforcement of this standard is needed as well as more emphasis on supporting solutions such as internal insulation or trace heating products.

Stewart Clements, Director, HHIC said;

We called this ‘summit’ to discuss what needs to be done to prevent a repeat of the problems the industry, and of course consumers experienced earlier in the month. It meant looking at existing regulations around boiler installations; preventative measures to protect external pipework from freezing and what advice and guidance do consumers need.

We had a wealth of experience on the day. HHIC together with the Association of Plumbers and Heating Contractors (APHC), the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) met with manufacturers and individual heating engineers, recognising that action must be taken. Which speak volumes for the industry.  

From the feedback, we have received it has become clear that there was a significant proportion of installations that were not installed to current standards and manufacturer’s instructions. That said, we are acutely aware that in extreme weather conditions external pipework carrying water is at risk of freezing, particularly when there is a high wind chill factor. Obviously, it is difficult to legislate against the most extreme weather conditions. However, we believe it is time for the government to act.  

Greater enforcement and strengthening of the building regulations will reduce this risk of boiler condensate pipes freezing. Industry will now work with the government to seek the change required. In the meantime, we will continue to advise the consumer and Gas Safe engineer to assess that the condensate discharge pipe is compliant with the manufacturer’s instructions during their boiler service”