During freezing weather, pipes can freeze over, which can happen to the condensate pipe of a central heating boiler. This can lead to a very cold house, as the boiler wont function like this. The simple fix is to pour boiling water over the pipe until it defrosts.

What options are there to deal with this if it happens on a Shabbat morning, for example?

I am interesting in this halachic situation. Using hot urn water to defrost it, even if that is itself allowed, would lead to the boiler computer activating and the system heating up (if it is currently "on" by timer). Is the only way to deal with this by asking a non-Jew? What situation would warrant this? Severe cold? If someone in the house is sick?

  • 3
    Ha'kol cholim etzel ha'tzinah, so you would not need a choleh in the house to be be matir amirah le'akum in this situation.
    – The GRAPKE
    Jan 19 at 10:24
  • 1
    for clarification, do you mean that the boiler has already shut down or that somehow you know the condensate pipe is frozen and that the boiler is likely to shut down soon? If you are thinking ahead on this, the best bet is to lag the pipe, but that's not a halachic answer! Also, I haven't experienced this with our current boiler, but our old one needed the reset button pushing to fire up again after that. Jan 19 at 14:42
  • @MosesSupposes ours doesn't. Yes, I am talking about after it has already frozen
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Jan 19 at 15:00
  • @rabbiKaii this happened to me (twice!) last winter. One would almost certainly be directly ask to a non-Jew to do it, as "all are considered ill regarding cold". I don't believe it is permissible for Jew to melt ice with boiling water on Shabbos, and possibly even with cold water
    – AKA
    Jan 21 at 13:49


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