Thursday, 31 December 2009

Ralph Freeman writes about heating your boat...

I have just finished reading Ralph Freemans latest update on Narrowboat world. Ralph is always a good read in my opinion and this update has a really useful piece on heating your boat. He certainly picks the pro's and cons of the main types of heating very well.

I have thought about some form of extra heating for hot water and the couple of rads I have aboard. However having read Ralph's thoughts I think I have the best option (Back boiler Squirrel). I have blogged before on the joys of a wood burning stove aboard a boat - one thing I did not realise is that excessive wind outside can draw the fire even with the vents closed off. One thing to be aware of in the future and good reason to have ash ready to dampen down the fire.

I have also read of ash being put on top of the coals at night to keep the fire burning slow overnight. Both good reasons to get an ash can.

On our Ownerships boat we had both a solid fuel stove and gas heating - the gas made us lazy and we did not use the fire as much as we should have. We also had to replace the gas at what is now a high cost.

We have a couple of fire bricks in our squirrel, I have never removed them, I presume if I did I'd have a bigger fire = hotter stove? Last week when aboard I put the temp gauge from my multi meter on the stove and it showed 71c with the inside boat temp being 21c. We have never cooked on the stove - not a lot of room but something to try if we can get 71c from it?



Nb Caxton said...

Hi Nev
We keep our fire going 24/7 at this time of year. Each night before retiring I bank up the fire with coal and empty the ash can contents over the coal, closing the vents to low. The fire lasts all night, keeping the boat warm. Come morning i usually only have to clear the ash tray and add some more coal/wood and we are away again!

Nev Wells said...


Thanks for the tip, I'll give it a go next time we are aboard.

Take care


Halfie said...

Nev, I'm surprised you got only 77C from the stove. It should get much hotter than that. We boil our kettle on ours on Shadow.

In cold weather I use the gas CH only rarely now (and then only under protest). I find that the boat keeps warm during the day (while cruising) if I open the rads and switch on the CH pump without firing up the boiler. The waste heat from the engine, passing through the calorifier and the rads, is enough for general background warmth. In the evenings, of course, we light the stove.

I didn't know about the trick of damping down with ash - I'll have to try it.