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Calorifier Leaking

I have a 15 yr old second-hand traditional narrowboat which has been amateurly fitted and poorly maintained
Among several problems is the issue of a leak which has sprung forth from, what I presume is the pressure relief valve on the calorifier. (Its a stubby bronze tube end at the top) When we first ran the boat it was fine for three wks cruising and had been left moored for several wks between cruises. We had water running to the calorifier from the tank and the hot water was running fine from the calorifier and then refilling itself without any leaks. Then suddenly we found the cold water tank had almost completely emptied itself and kept filling the calorifier while water was constantly gushing from the top valve.
Any suggestions as to what went wrong and how to fix please?
Thanks :)

Asked by: Jenny Robbins  | 7.02pm, Thursday 6 March

WW says:

It sounds as if the pressure relief valve may have stuck in the open position so that water is leaking out. The water pump, sensing that there is no pressure in the system, keeps on pumping as it would if a tap had been left open. The culprit could be a build up of limescale.
If this is the case, the PRV should be examined and either refurbished so that it moves and makes a seal, or replaced.
You should also look to see where the contents of the water tank have gone. It has probably seeped through the floor boarding and is now in the bilge. There is usually a watertight bulkhead between the engine room and the rest of the boat so it will have stopped just in front of this. There may be a hatch in the floor at this point so that you can pump out most of the water and then mop out what remains. If you go back a few days later, you will probably find some more has drained down. If there is no hatch, you can cut one with a fretsaw and then fix some battens under the opening, projecting into the hole slightly, to support the hatch lid you have cut.

Graham Booth  | 3.31PM, Friday 7 March

My answer assumes that the calorifier is situated in the main part of the boat. If it is in the engine room, as they sometimes are, the water will be in the engine room bilge so will be easier to get at. However, you should check to ensure that it is not contaminated with engine or diesel oil before pumping it into the canal.

Graham Booth  | 3.43PM, Friday 7 March

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