Navien Condensate Trap Leaking: Reasons And Troubleshooting

Boilers come with an important component named condensate trap. This seemingly insignificant part is capable of bringing your Navien boiler to its knees. 

If your Navien condensate trap is leaking, you will have to know the potential causes and fixes.

Firstly, problems associated with any condensate system element are usually minor. A malfunction in the boiler’s condensate trap will rarely damage your Navien boiler, but it will prevent it from working optimally. That’s why you need to take steps to fix the situation.

Why Is There a Leak In Navien’s Condensate Trap?

A condensate trap may get blocked over time due to debris accumulation. The heat exchange can corrode which leads to small metal bits getting stuck in the trap and eventually clogging the condensate drain. 

As a result, the condensate has no way to leave the bottom and goes back inside. At this point, the boiler will stop working automatically for safety reasons.

Watching this less than 2 minutes video will explain the reason and fix it.

Is Boiler Condensate Dangerous?

Technically, boiler condensate is not dangerous in any way. A bit of the carbon dioxide generates during the ignition process mixes into the condensate, giving it its acidic nature. 

But, as it is only a bit acidic, this poses no threat to health. You do not have to be concerned about that.

However, keep in mind that this liquid can corrode certain materials such as mental. The boiler condensate created within your appliances will safely be drained along with wastewater.

Is a Leaking Condensate Pipe Bad?

Navien NPE tankless water heater

We already mentioned why the condensate pipe has to be made of plastic and not metal – due to the risk of corrosion. It goes without saying that water leaking from any part of your home is not ideal, let alone acidic water leakage.

It can damage anything prone to corrosion.

Acidic water can damage car paint and more. When condensate pipes exist in regions where the cold can get rather extreme, leaking pipes pose an additional threat to the pipe. Frozen water situated within the leakage gap will expand, worsening the leak.

Another key factor to consider is the quality of life. A leaking condensate in your home can be annoyingly audible. Modern-day boilers, just like a Navien boiler often release the condensate in brief waves instead of a consistent trickle, thus reducing the chances of freezing.

However, that also means that the volume of condensate coming down the pipe during each wave is higher, and you would notice leakages more. Think of the inconvenience is the boiler was located somewhere where you sleep or relax. 

A nice experience could quickly turn into a stressful one.

Safety Notes
You should never run your Navien boiler without the condensate trap, as it stops noxious exhaust gases from moving down the condensate system.
If you must remove the trap from the boiler, make sure you top it up with water when changed.

This ensures that there is a water barrier present between the combustion chambers and the condensate pipe of the boiler.

How To Clean Condensate Trap?

The most important part of condensate traps maintenance is the maintenance itself. You have to make sure your Navien boiler receives servicing regularly in compliance with the manufacturer’s guidelines. 

A properly maintained boiler is less likely to display problems with the condensate trap.

The heating engineer will clear out the debris from the trap during this time, preventing the buildup of sediment. Blocked condensate traps are generally a result of not servicing your boiler for a long time.

Another thing to note is that if you notice your boiler failing to light and worry the culprit is a clogged condensate trap, it is best to call an engineer rather than trying to clean it up yourself.

If the condensate trap does not require cleaning, the heating engineer will take it out, thoroughly rinse it, and refill it before refitting it. While a fairly quick and inexpensive job, this cannot be done by anyone except an expert. 

This is not a DIY-safe project.

More About Boiler Condensate

Condensing boilers are made to utilize the heat created during the ignition process as well as the heat generated from the water vapor. Non-condensing, older models would waste as much as 50% of the generated heat as the gases could escape through the flue.

Newer-day energy sustainability guidelines have forced companies to think of a way to reduce waste. Thus, in newer appliances, such as a Navien boiler, the energy from the gases is caught and utilized to preheat the cool water entering the boiler.

The temperature of flue gases decreases rapidly during this process, going down to 50℃ from 130℃. A drop in temperature makes the gases condense. 

Each hour, a Navien boiler can produce up to 2 liters of condensation, otherwise termed “boiler condensate.” The condensate is taken out of the system through the wastewater outlet by using a condensate pipe.

Structure And Functions of The Condensate Trap 

Before the condensate is expelled through the condensate pipe, the water is accumulated in the sump of the boiler. After that, it flows to the condensate trap.

A condensate trap has two jobs. First, a barrier is formed between the combustion areas and the condensate pipe by the water. This is necessary as noxious fumes need to be expelled through the flue instead of the condensate pipe. 

Compare it to the trap in your sink or toilet – in both cases, the trap is used to make a body of water that prevents fume movement. In the toilet or sink’s case, however, it is to prevent bad sewer odor from entering your home.

Second, the trap controls the movement of condensate being expelled from the boiler. 

Why is this important? 

Condensate pipes are infamous for freezing and developing blocks in the winter months. The boiler then detects that condensate cannot be expelled anymore and it shuts down.

Frozen and clogged condensate pipes are the answer to why your boiler is leaking. Companies have started installing auto-siphons in condensate traps. 

Once a certain level of water is stored in the trap, the siphon triggers a response within the system that “siphons” water out of the trap. 

When the condensate exists in small bursts, it is less prone to freezing. In addition, the water’s warmth can comfortably shift the ice if it starts to form.

Types of Condensate Traps

In general, there are two types of condensate traps – ones that come with auto-siphons and ones that don’t.  A condensate pipe devoid of an auto-siphon may be shaped like a “U.”

Regardless of the variant of condensate traps, they are always constructed from plastic, similar to other Navien boiler parts which regulate condensate. 

Metal-based fittings cannot be used as the condensate itself is a bit acidic in nature and will corrode metal.

In Conclusion

Boilers are susceptible to wear and tear over time like any other household appliance. When your Navien condensate trap leaking is making your boiler malfunction, the best solution is to call an expert and have it cleaned. 

Chances are, there is debris lodged inside that has to be cleaned.

Refrain from trying to fix the condensate trap by yourself because chances are, you will do more damage than good. We hope this article helps you make the right call.

Ralph Wade

Hey...Ralph is here! So, did you find this article useful? If so, please leave a comment and let me know. If not, please tell me how I can improve this article. Your feedback is always appreciated. Take love :)

One thought on “Navien Condensate Trap Leaking: Reasons And Troubleshooting

  1. Our condensate trap is leaking and it looks like the plug is missing an O-ring that would help it seal. Maybe it was forgotten when maintenance was performed 9 months ago. Does the plug have an O-ring? If so, where can I purchase one? Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Recent Posts