Jump to content
Strawberry Orange Banana Lime Leaf Slate Sky Blueberry Grape Watermelon Chocolate Marble
Strawberry Orange Banana Lime Leaf Slate Sky Blueberry Grape Watermelon Chocolate Marble
Ghemmie

Mini oil radiator on timer

Featured Posts

Evening all,

 

Our first winter owning a narrowboat and getting more nervous as the weather gets worse about the damp, cold, condensation and frozen pipes attacking my boat.  Met a chap today who keeps a small, electric oil filled radiator on his boat.  It's plugged in on a thermostat control so it keeps the boat heated and protected from the elements throughout the winter.

 

I think this is both a brilliant and terrifying idea.  Brilliant because your boat is kept at a minimal toasty level.  Terrifying because I will be constantly worried that the radiator will explode/ catch fire and kill my boat.  

 

What do you long time experts think on the subject?  Are there any other methods you would recommend?

 

Thanks,

Gem

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Make sure engine antifreeze and any wet central heating antifreeze are at the right strengths, drain down the fresh water system (search here for guidance) and leave taps open, ensure you leave the boat dry and well ventilated.  That's the belt - the additional stuff to follow (such as the heater you refer to) are the braces. As you're about to find out, there's many ways to skin this particular cat! :)

 

  • Greenie 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ha! Yes, we were discussing today how my Dad used to constantly shout at us to turn the radiator off in our bedroom because it was 'eating electricity'.  Might be a small price to pay for peace of mind throughout December to February though.  It's mainly the safety angle I'm concerned about and if people have experience of doing something similar, or have a better idea?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have winterised our boat and left two small electric rads hitched up to thermostatic plugs on board and powered by the mains, set to come on at about 3 degrees. I think that should work, but others may have different ideas.

 

Edited by Proper Charlie
  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, Ghemmie said:

Ha! Yes, we were discussing today how my Dad used to constantly shout at us to turn the radiator off in our bedroom because it was 'eating electricity'.  Might be a small price to pay for peace of mind throughout December to February though.  It's mainly the safety angle I'm concerned about and if people have experience of doing something similar, or have a better idea?

Until the bollard trips, then will wish you had have drained everything

I take it you are on shore supplied electricity

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use a 1kW thermostatically controlled electric oil filled radiator on my boat when I'm away, leaving it set to the minimum settings which is about 0.4kW. Electricity costs are minimal because it's only on when the temperature in the boat falls below about 6C. The heater doesn't need to be on a timer.

 

If you buy one make sure that's it's thermostatically controlled and you're better off with dials or switches on the heater controls rather than digital controls. This is because if there's a power cut or someone unplugs your shore power outside and plugs it back in again the digitally controlled heater won't come back on. 

 

This is very similar to the one I have.

 

https://www.argos.co.uk/product/9204993

 

Edit: You should still reduce the pressure in your domestic water system by switching off the pump & opening a couple of taps; switch off the gas at the bottle, etc, when you leave the boat.

Edited by blackrose
  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes we always drain the fresh water system, but also leave a couple of heaters set to their frost protection position. They use about £35 of electricity most winters.

  • Love 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For winter I :

Drain the freshwater plumbing as far as possible.

Leave taps etc open

Drain the FW pump

Put non-toxic antifreeze in the toilet bowl/sump & shower drain & pump it through a bit

Drain the WMC

Put the plug in the sink

Block off the Morco chimney & drain the Morco at the drain point.

Block all vents

Open an air valve into the watertanks takeoff so that syphoning can't take place if there is a downstream leak (the takeoffs are in the top of my tank).

Empty the kettle

Empty the emergency 5L bottle of drinking water

Put all water-based bottles of fluid in a bowl

Drink all remaining wines & beers

 

I don't have a shoreline but I would still do the above if I did as I would not trust the shoreline not to fail during the winter.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This ^^^ especially drinking all wine and beer.

 

One point, because of the non-return-valve, draining the cold pipes can still leaves the calorifier full; on ours this happens because the NRV is in the hot outlet from the calorifier and our draincock is in the cold pipes at their lowest point beneath the bath. The first year, our calorifier was damaged because it froze even though I'd left the drain open. To empty the calorifier there needs to be an air inlet, such as by twisting the Pressure Release Valve or opening a pipe joint; I have added an extra drain cock at the top of the calorifier to let air in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Take the shower head off and drain, place hose down into the tray so water in the mixer can drain. Leave taps open and shower mixer on, this allows for expansion from bits of water left. All Rest as above. The base plate of the boat is sitting in water that is unlikely to go below 5 degrees so pipes in the very bottom are unlikely to freeze but any a few inches up are more likely to freeze.  Plastic pipes are less likely to split (though pushfit joints may move) than copper pipes with soldered joints. I also put antifreeze into shower drain and pump.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, system 4-50 said:

For winter I :

Drain the freshwater plumbing as far as possible.

Leave taps etc open

Drain the FW pump

Put non-toxic antifreeze in the toilet bowl/sump & shower drain & pump it through a bit

Drain the WMC

Put the plug in the sink

Block off the Morco chimney & drain the Morco at the drain point.

Block all vents

Open an air valve into the watertanks takeoff so that syphoning can't take place if there is a downstream leak (the takeoffs are in the top of my tank).

Empty the kettle

Empty the emergency 5L bottle of drinking water

Put all water-based bottles of fluid in a bowl

Drink all remaining wines & beers

 

I don't have a shoreline but I would still do the above if I did as I would not trust the shoreline not to fail during the winter.

 

 

Presumably you don't live aboard? I'm living aboard but stay away for a couple of nights most weeks for work. I couldn't possibly do all those things you do every week.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Ghemmie said:

Evening all,

 

Our first winter owning a narrowboat and getting more nervous as the weather gets worse about the damp, cold, condensation and frozen pipes attacking my boat.  Met a chap today who keeps a small, electric oil filled radiator on his boat.  It's plugged in on a thermostat control so it keeps the boat heated and protected from the elements throughout the winter.

 

I think this is both a brilliant and terrifying idea.  Brilliant because your boat is kept at a minimal toasty level.  Terrifying because I will be constantly worried that the radiator will explode/ catch fire and kill my boat.  

 

What do you long time experts think on the subject?  Are there any other methods you would recommend?

 

Thanks,

Gem

 

First of all, can you confirm whether you live aboard or not, and whether you are on a mooring with shore power, or not?

 

Until we know this info, no-one can give you any properly tailored advice, other than electric oil filled rads virtually never explode or catch fire. 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Mike the Boilerman
Add a bit

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, blackrose said:

 

Presumably you don't live aboard? I'm living aboard but stay away for a couple of nights most weeks for work. I couldn't possibly do all those things you do every week.

Nope, not liveaboard.  I'm assuming the OP is not also.  In your position I would trust that the boat won't freeze in 2-3 days and I would do nothing except the Morco flue and vents. My insulation is good.  Oh, and I also have Celotex batts over most of my large collection of bus windows.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, system 4-50 said:

Nope, not liveaboard.  I'm assuming the OP is not also.  In your position I would trust that the boat won't freeze in 2-3 days and I would do nothing except the Morco flue and vents. My insulation is good.  Oh, and I also have Celotex batts over most of my large collection of bus windows.

 

I'm not sure if the OP is living aboard or not? I wouldn't assume anything.

 

I have foam/ply porthole bungs. I never touch the Morco flue and don't bother blocking vents anymore. The boat could freeze in 2-3 days if the temp gets low enough but keeping the boat ventilated and above 5C is better if you're a liveaboard and away for a few days. Anyway, I've been doing it my way for 15 years without a problem so I'll just carry on. 

28 minutes ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

First of all, can you confirm whether you live aboard or not, and whether you are on a mooring with shore power, or not?

 

 

Yes, if you don't have shore power forget about using an electric oil filled rad.

  • Happy 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Detling said:

Take the shower head off and drain, place hose down into the tray so water in the mixer can drain. Leave taps open and shower mixer on, this allows for expansion from bits of water left. All Rest as above. The base plate of the boat is sitting in water that is unlikely to go below 5 degrees so pipes in the very bottom are unlikely to freeze but any a few inches up are more likely to freeze.  Plastic pipes are less likely to split (though pushfit joints may move) than copper pipes with soldered joints. I also put antifreeze into shower drain and pump.

Nothing wrong with the above but I have never 'winterised' the boat, nor used heaters.

 

I spend a day on the boat each month when I am away from it. If it is seriously cold for an extended period (only once in the last few years) I just stay on the boat for that period. Works for me but then I am retired and don't have a lot of commitments with my time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think if you start worrying about stuff exploding etc etc then you will end up doing nothing. Yes stuff happens but in all of life we do things and hope that it will turn out okay which in 99.999999% of the times it does. Yes it will hit your electricity bill but a broken engine or water pipes will cost you a hell of a lot more. Just do it. As said if you are near enough check your boat on a regular basis if you are not living on it. I have an electric tubular heater on my boat attached to a timer and I check my boat once a week minimum. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When we leave our boat for a few days in winter we have the webasto come on for two hours every day and two oil fired readiators sst about 10 degrees ish. The cost is far outweighed by never having a damp boat and zero chance of frost damage. Boating aint cheap just put it down as a necessary cost. It will not be onerous.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Once again:-

 

A while ago it was reported here than one marine insurer had said using non-marine approved heating devices while the boat s unattended invalidates the cover so please check.

 

Personally I just run the tank and taps s dry as they will go, remove the shower mixer and leave all the taps open. I doubt anyone here can drain all the low level pipes fully. Been fine, even when the boat ass held solid in ice but there is always a first time.

 

My personal view is that there is nothing wrong with using shoreline powered greenhouse tube haeters or oil filled radiators but i would not leave any other electrical heating running unattended.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We do some of the abovementioned things - but no one has yet mentioned putting a blanket over the engine, which we do. II can't remember who advised us to do this, years ago. is it not recommended?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, Athy said:

We do some of the abovementioned things - but no one has yet mentioned putting a blanket over the engine, which we do. II can't remember who advised us to do this, years ago. is it not recommended?

Can't see the point on modern dry exhaust skin tank/keel cooled systems. There just might be a point for just overnight between runs on a system using raw water but I suspect an old duvet woudl do the job better.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, Athy said:

We do some of the abovementioned things - but no one has yet mentioned putting a blanket over the engine, which we do. II can't remember who advised us to do this, years ago. is it not recommended?

 

Putting a blanket (or quilt) over the engine (or calorifier, or piping etc) will not stop it freezing, it may delay the freezing for a few hours or a day but eventually it will be the same temperature as the ambient.

 

You either :

1) remove all liquids that could freeze

2) add a heat source (greenhouse heaters, oil filled radiators etc)

3) take a risk

 

I have 2 tubular greenhouse heaters the cost of powering them comes out at around £1.08 per day so around £150 for November to February.

 

It is cheaper than a new calorifier and allows the instant use of the boat if we decide to 'go cruising for a few days'

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
50 minutes ago, Athy said:

We do some of the abovementioned things - but no one has yet mentioned putting a blanket over the engine, which we do. II can't remember who advised us to do this, years ago. is it not recommended?

As long as you remember the blanket when you return and start the engine. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Mike Hurley said:

As long as you remember the blanket when you return and start the engine. 

Good point! It is fairly obvious though, as it's, er, on top of and around the engine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Athy said:

Good point! It is fairly obvious though, as it's, er, on top of and around the engine.

Only if you lift the boards to see it. This used to be the thing to do back in the 60/70s with cars, not unusual to see a car on the side of the road with the driver trying to remove a tangled blanket from the belts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.