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Got a technical question or a boating query? Post your quandaries here and pick the brains of the WW team. You can also add your answers to others' questions, or browse through previous answers.

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Fitting central heating radiators

I have a 50 foot cruiser stern narrowboat heated by a multi fuel stove and Alde boiler driven gas central heating via a skirting radiator running most of the interior length of the boat. The gas system is ineffective, the radiator barely getting warm; using it to supplement the stove in this extremely cold weather is not working and the system won't work well enough on chilly Spring mornings, for example. I want to replace the skirting radiator with conventional panel ones. My questions are:
1. How large can the radiators be to be driven efficiently by the Alde boiler and circulation pump?
2. How many radiators can I sensibly install (I am thinking 3).
3. Anything I need to be aware of in undertaking this work, e.g. there can't be a return flow on the system because the skirting radiator (onto whose pipework conventional rads would be fitted) flows only one way to and from the boiler)?
Thank you.

Asked by: Paul Taylor  | Sunday 24 February, 7.53pm | 5 answers

Wiring for 12v fridge

I am going to buy a shoreline fridge and have a spare connection on my control panel. I have been told that standard 12v cable would not be sufficient for this and would need something thicker? Fridge will be approx. 25feet from the control panel. Any advice appreciated.

Asked by: Paul Jones  | Sunday 24 February, 7.27pm | 3 answers

What paint

I own a narrowboat i bought 2nd hand which was made by Liverpool boats. I need to touch up some of the paintwork but have no idea what colours i would need to match the present colours and as Liverpool boats no longer exist can't contact them (no info in pack that came with the boat). Any ideas?

Asked by: Paul Jones  | Sunday 24 February, 7.01pm | 2 answers

Battery Safety

I was speaking to a narrowboat owner who had his expensive batteriers stolen from his cruiser stern narrowboat whilst it was left unattended for a few days. Do you have any suggestions as to how the deck boards covering the engine hole can be made secure? I have not seen any security arrangements on other cruiser stern boats. Thanks for any help which you can give.

Asked by: Alan Denney  | Wednesday 20 February, 9.38pm | 2 answers


I have just spent a lot of hours looking for a 12v power shower to fit(if there is such a beast?)
I think,in fact I know I need some advice please from some clever person out there.
Do I need seperate pump and shower or do I get a 12 v shower mixer unit and if so from were please? Or I I looking at this completley wrong???

Asked by: RAY GORMAN  | Thursday 31 January, 12.05pm | 4 answers

gas fires

I have seen online a Hunter 4 LPG which is recommended for canal boats but I am wondering how it can be fixed to the hearth whiich is tiled.Can the BSS give me any advice. I don`t want to buy it if it won`t pass its test.

Asked by: Rosemary Hale  | Tuesday 29 January, 11.48am | 3 answers

water tank

my water tank keeps banging when emptying about three quarters and when filling about a third can you help

Asked by: Peter  | Sunday 27 January, 1.25pm | 3 answers

Buy & Fit Windows in London

We have a second hand boat, and the person who originally fitted it did everything 'on the cheap' I assume..
The windows really need replacing as they let in so much cold and condensation. Does anyone know of any company that supplies and fits boat windows (in London)?

Asked by: Mustang  | Tuesday 22 January, 12.06pm | no answers yet - add one

What came first 2

Rupert thanks for the answer to my question yesterday. I am interested in learning more on the beginning's of the canal system. the when`s why`s and who`s. Could you recommend any reading ? Thanks.

Asked by: Mr Vernon Whitehair  | Tuesday 22 January, 10.15am | 4 answers

what came first ?

As in chicken and egg. What came first. The narrow canal boat or the narrow canal and lock and why majority of middle England has narrow system and north and south have broad ?bw

Asked by: Mr Vernon Whitehair  | Monday 21 January, 9.58am | 1 answer

Diesel heating

We have recently bought a 30ft trad with a very small multi fuel stove which is messy and akward to use. I would like a diesel fitted. It`s purely for heat and not water. How difficult is this to do and what does it involve? Also our last boat had a living flame gas stove buut they don`t seem to be available. Are they outlawed by BSS?

Asked by: Rosemary Hale  | Sunday 20 January, 12.59pm | 9 answers

Replacement gearbox?

We Have a Hurth HBW50 gearbox on our 30foot narrowboat the engine is a lister petter LPWS2. The gearbox has failed 3 times in the last 10 years. We are rluctant to repair/replace with another Hurth gearbox is it possible to fit a PRM box instead?

Asked by: graham Wright  | Friday 18 January, 3.19pm | 2 answers

Fitting Accumulator and Expansion tanks to water system

I have decided to install an accumulator and also an expansion tank in our boat's water system, hoping to gain two benefits:
1. To stop the irritating "kick" the pump makes every few minutes, which I assume is due to the water pressure falling downstream of the pump, causing it to cut in briefly to re-pressurise the system (we have to switch the pump off at night so we can get to sleep). There are no leaks in the system, so I am guessing that the pressure drop is due to water being forced the wrong way back through the pump.
2. Extend the life of the calorifier by reducing the pressure stresses on it and preventing warm water finding its way back into the cold water feed and coming out of the cold tap.
My question is about where to place the non-return valve(s). I realise I need one to isolate the expansion tank and calorifier from the pump and cold water side, but am wondering if it would make sense to fit another one between the water pump and the accumulator? I'm concerned the pressure from the accumulator will continue to force water back through the pump as well as pressurising the system as its supposed to.
Please confirm if I am right in thinking the accumulator needs pressurising to somewhere bewteen the pump's cut in and cut out pressures and the expansion tank needs pressurising to something a bit less than the pressure relief valve setting on the calorifier?
Many thanks for your advice.

Asked by: Colin Wilks  | Tuesday 15 January, 5.42pm | 5 answers

Passenger numbers

I own a 50 foot cruiser stern narrowboat and several friends want to visit! It's a four berth (fixed double and convertible settee in the lounge) - what would be a safe number of people to take on short trips to show them the boat?

Asked by: Paul Taylor  | Monday 14 January, 3.36pm | 1 answer

Water in Bilge

My 60 foot narrowboat is just under 2 years old. I recently found that the "builder" had vented the pressure relief pipe from calorifier down under the floor of the boat. A fairly substantial amount of water had collected in the bilge and also travelled into adjacent compartments. I have cut hatches in the floor, removed ballast bricks and dried out as much as I can although some foil backed lagging between the ply floor and cross beams has held some residual damp. Other than a complete strip and refit of the entire floor, does anyone have any suggestions as to my best course of action (other than taking the builder to court).

Asked by: peter willard  | Sunday 13 January, 8.38pm | 5 answers

TV installation

I am installing a TV on our narrowboat and wonder what the best sort of aerial is. We cruise the fenland rivers and bridge headroom is often low so we'd need something sitting low on the roof, or demaountable.

Asked by: Paul Taylor  | Saturday 12 January, 2.39pm | 3 answers

Pram canopy and cratch cover

Can anybody recommend a company to supply and fit a pram canopy and cratch cover for a 60 x 10 widebeam narrowboat. We are based in Essex.

Asked by: Alec McCann  | Sunday 6 January, 7.22pm | 1 answer

loo talk

What is bthe current state of debate surrounding pump out Vs cassette? I have an old pumo out and I am considering converting to cassette. Any thoughts would be warmly welcome. Mike.

Asked by: mike bellion  | Sunday 6 January, 11.49am | 4 answers

Water Pump

We have just found that our pump has failed, this is for our main water supply, currently we have a Jabsco Par-max 2.9 auto model 31395-0292, this was fitted when the boat was built and is coupled with an accumulator tank. my question is is replacing this with a like for like the best option? obviously there would be no pipe work modifications required but as i have read this is not meant for long periods of constant use and as the shower would mean it is running for about 10 minutes at a time i am concerned that this may be why the unit failed (bearing on pump head siezed)
also is there any water filters/strainers that i could use to protect the pump better in future?

Asked by: Carl Merry  | Wednesday 2 January, 9.23am | 1 answer

Solid fuels central heating?

Hi, I'm spending my Christmas planning our first self fit NB (thank you for all the helpful tips and advice already here)
The problem I'm tackling at the moment is heating. I feel that for most live aboard situations central heating would not really be necessary as in cold weather the wood stove would be on most of the time and with such a small space to heat and with good insulation I get the impression that the biggest problem is keeping cool!
However, with an eye on resale value, and how radiators seem to be a selling point. I was wondering if it is possible to use a back boiler to feed radiators and to supply hot water?
Most of the information I have found on such things say either that you will need an expansion tank (not possible as far as I'm aware on a boat) or that they require a pressurised system, but that most if not all boat stove suppliers say that this system is not safe to use with there fires.
Is there a solution or is it simply not possible or not advisable?
Thank you for your time

Asked by: Carole  | Thursday 20 December, 10.44pm | 1 answer

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