narrowboat and canal boat Heating
your boat warm in winter can be a challenge, but with the right decisions
made at this stage, it shouldn't become a drama. There are 2 options here,
which can be used separately or together. The Solid fuel stove, and Central
Heating systems such as those found at home
The Solid Fuel Stove is the traditional option, and is still the most commonly
found heating system on board most narrow boats. They run on coal, or wood
if there is a shortage of supply, and have been in use since the working
boat days, so they must be doing something right! Easy to install and to
operate, and never having the trouble of break downs, it is easy to see
why they're popular. There are disadvantages however - they take time to
light, and the heat level is difficult to control. The stove and its fuel
will also take up a great deal of space - 2 feet for the stove alone - and
you can't put anything near it for fear of overheating or burning. Then
there's the smell - fine for a short while but may begin to offend either
you or your neighbors after a while!
Central Heating is the major alternative to the solid fuel stove - although
many people choose to use both - one for effect and the other for day to
day use. But central heating come with its own set of problems, and can
be very expensive to fit.
simplest system makes use of the cooling water circuit from the diesel engine.
The water is circulated through radiators to heat the cabins and through
a calorifier (see "water" Section) to provide hot water to the
taps, before returning to the engine again. This really is only suitable
for small cruisers or barges, as there supply is minimal. Also long circuits
through radiators may lead to problems with over cooling the engine.
Next up is using a separate boiler to heat the water for your heating circuit.
Systems are available that fit neatly in cupboards or corners and take up
the minimum of room, running off Diesel or Gas. The advantages and disadvantages
of these two types of fuel are outlined in detail elsewhere on this site,
and the use of each should be decided in conjunction with the decision as
to what you intend to use for the other applications on your boat.