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tillywitch...
tillywitch...

Posted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 7:39am

Post Subject: Central Heating?

Okay, given that I am getting a narrowboat built from new. Which IS the best heating system? The more I read the more I get confused. I do intend to have a little squirrel on board but that will be more for the shear pleasure. I also need to know the best engine (air cooled) N/b will be around 50 - 57 ft long. Thank you all for taking time to read or reply.

Tony-B...
Tony-B...

Posted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 7:45pm

Post Subject: Central Heating?

The "best" central heating system is the one that works best for you. It is no accident that I suspect the well over half the systems are solid fuel stoves, like the squirrel, with a back boiler and gravity circulation through the radiators. That system has no electrical load. Diesel fired Bubble Stoves plus back boiler also have a zero electrical load. From that you start loading the electrical system and thus discharging your batteries to a lesser or greater extent. Starting with pump circulated stoves with back boilers, then gas boilers like the Alde, then diesel fired boilers like the Webasto, Mikuni & Eberspacher. As the three of them work on a similar system I think you need to Google for problems related to them in narrowboats. Similar, but working on a different system is the Hurricane and lastly in the amount of electricity needed are small versions of domestic oil fired boilers. You also have to make a guess at the likely price increases in the cost of diesel, gas and solid fuel/wood. Personally I have paired a gas boiler with a solid fuel stove and am happy to pay for the gas although at present it may well be the most expensive. Now the engine. If you must have air cooled and I have no idea why anyone should want one these days, then you have a magnificent choice of one - Lister but it will be noisy and you will not be able to harness waste heat to heat up your domestic water. This brings a whole raft of other problems related to gas instant water heaters. Please think again or explain why air cooled is so important. Tony Brooks

tillywitch...
tillywitch...

Posted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 3:41pm

Post Subject: Central Heating?

Thanks for answering my queries..I live by the sea here in Penzance and asked the advise of a couple of fishermen!! They told me that water cooled may throw up problems with sucking up debris from the bottom of the Canal bed and although Air cooled is noisier they thought that it would save me problems with cleaning filters....is this not the case? I am open to all advise..I want to get it right. As for the heating....I will do more reseach. Dont want gas if I can help it. But still open to advise. Thanks Tony any further comments please.....

Tony-B...
Tony-B...

Posted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 7:03pm

Post Subject: Central Heating?

I am sure they meant well but were simply ill informed. If you fitted their system of water cooling, then yes, you would be libel for all sorts of problems like they suggest. However, although there are some canal boats with that form of cooling, the system you would hopefully specify would be "tank cooled & dry exhaust". In this system the engines cooling water gets no closer to the canal than about 6mm and that is 6mm of steel. You have a large, thin tank welded on the inside of the hull through which the hot cooling water flows. The heat is then dissipated into the canal through the steel hull. The coolant just goes round and round and should be at least a 30% antifreeze mixture so there is no danger of freezing during the winter. This system is exceptionally trouble free - far more trouble free than the wet exhaust systems I expect the fishing boats use. Unfortunately some hull builders are still fitting undersized skin tanks so you will need to demand a skin tank surface area (one side only)of at least one sq.ft. per 4 engine hp. (Figures form Beta marine). The builders fitting the small tanks try to claim it will over cool the engine. This is rot. The engine thermostat controls the running temperature. Apart from the slow warm up when first getting on the boat a "wet" solid fuel stove and gravity circulated central heating is in my view the optimum canal boat heating system. After the comes the same system but with pumped circulation. However in the summer you will not get any hot water unless the engine is running or has been run to warm up the calorifier (hot water cylinder/tank). The stove should be piped so it will also heat the domestic water when it is in use. It is very hard to get details but from what I can gather stoves cause more deaths on boats than gas systems because the gas system is inspected every 4 years to ensure it is in good condition (Boat Safety Inspection) where as boaters seem to regularly block the mandatory ventilation and end up killing themselves with carbon monoxide form the stove. All new fit-outs should use room sealed gas appliances (apart from the stove) so it is not possible to starve them of air by blocking the ventilation. Tony Brooks

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