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Posted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 6:08pm

Post Subject: Leaking water heater

Back in December before the cold spell I drained the water from the domestic system by switching off the water pump and opening the taps till the water stopped flowing. I then unscrewed the drainage plug from the Paloma water heater. I went back to visit my narrowboat today to check that all was well. I screwed the plug back into the Paloma and switched on the water pump. I then tried the kitchen tap (which I think was turned off) and no water came out. I then tried the bathroom basin tap (also turned off) where there was a slow flow. There was an inch of ice on the canal so I reckoned something must be frozen on board too. I am not sure if at this point I left a tap on. A couple of hours later with a cosy fire going the Paloma started gushing out water. I rushed to turn off the water pump and grabbed bowls and buckets and soon the water flow stopped. I have had to come back home now and am worried. I canât figure out what has happened or what to do about it. Any advice would be much appreciated.


Posted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 8:22pm

Post Subject: Leaking water heater

Dear Fran, I think some water lodged in a pipe somewhere froze and then thawed as the stove heated the boat. If the boat has plastic pipes (most do nowadays)and the Paloma is working I suspect all is well but please make regular inspections of the bulge under the cabin in case a hidden pipe is now leaking. Also pay attention to the frequency with which the pump runs with the taps turned off. If there is a leak it will run more often that usual. It is all but impossible to drain all of the pipework and it usually does not freeze, being below the waterline, but the up-runs to the taps may freeze. May I suggest that you leave the boat with all taps open, including the shower and also the Paloma drain open. IF you are saying water is pouring out of the actual Paloma then it did not drain properly so either the heat exchanger has split or the diaphragm chamber has distorted or snapped its bolts. If this is the case I think you will now have problems unless you can find replacement parts. Unfortunately I doubt that anyone qualified to work on gas for payment will work on the Paloma or even replace it because although such heaters are allowed under the BSC professionals are prevented form fitting them by their codes of practise (being non-room sealed. If it is just frozen pipes please remember to poke out the Paloma drain in case any scale has blocked the drain hole. Do this each time you drain it. I can not encourage you to work on the gas part of the heater unless you are likely to be able to prove you are "competent". Sorry Tony Brooks

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