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February. You arrive at the boat. Its 4PM. Dark. everything is covered in freezing slush. The batteries are not great, the Eberspacher will not start and any heating device that needs batteries is iffy. Its nothing like it was in summer. Thank goodness you have a stove that needs no electric, Two firelighters and some sticks and the place starts to warm up and whats more the stove will stay in until the morning. Phew, your marriage is safe and the dog is not thinking of trotting up the towpath looking for a better boat. 

 

Edited by Bee
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2 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

If I could only choose one form, it would be a Eberspacher / Webasto, but, it is ideal to have both.

I'd say that, in a narrowboat, it's leaning more toward essential, unless other factors prevail.  This is particularly true for those who use their boats year round, live-aboard or otherwise.

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Very interesting comments with the majority in favour of having a stove, and the majority of those having an SF - where is wood free?. Maybe the builder doesn't want the hassle of installing a stove, similar to his opposition to installing a dog box? 

Certainly a stove provides a homely warmth and SF offers insurance against the diesel engine going AWOL, but how unreliable is a brand new diesel engine? 

So in scoring major brownie points with 'er indoors how does an SF stove compare with diesel, in terms of heat and cost?

 

 

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12 minutes ago, Sea Dog said:

I'd say that, in a narrowboat, it's leaning more toward essential, unless other factors prevail.  This is particularly true for those who use their boats year round, live-aboard or otherwise.

Yes. We have both, but we rarely use the solid-fuel stove. It just sits there looking handsome (it's a 1930s Godin) and patiently bearing whatever Mrs. Athy has decided to put on top of it (a tray and a fruit basket, usually). But our typical use of the boat is between March and October, so the Eberspacher is quite adequate for us most of the time.

   I must admit that during the shoulder seasons we use the push button, wait 15 minutes, then get out of bed routine.

4 minutes ago, James Dunleavy said:

where is wood free?. 

 

 

 

On the Oxford Canal for example, probably from about Hawkesbury Junction to Oxford. You soon get used to spotting it and picking it up.

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29 minutes ago, James Dunleavy said:

how unreliable is a brand new diesel engine? 

 

 

 

It generally isn't. It's the diesel heater, e.g. Eberspacher, which has more of a tendency to let you down. In particular, it may fail to ignite if the batteries are not fully charged. Oh, and it won't be brand new for ever.

 

P.S: have a look at the new topic 'Webasto Not Working Properly' and imagine it was yours and you hadn't got a stove.

Edited by Athy
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36 minutes ago, James Dunleavy said:

Very interesting comments with the majority in favour of having a stove, and the majority of those having an SF - where is wood free?. Maybe the builder doesn't want the hassle of installing a stove, similar to his opposition to installing a dog box? 

Certainly a stove provides a homely warmth and SF offers insurance against the diesel engine going AWOL, but how unreliable is a brand new diesel engine? 

So in scoring major brownie points with 'er indoors how does an SF stove compare with diesel, in terms of heat and cost?

 

 

Your diesel heating would need to come either from a diesel boiler unit (a few choices)  or a diesel stove, not the engine. Ideally if going down the diesel route you might want a separate diesel tank for it with legal changes coming up, but i have to admit I am not now fully up to date on that. Worth considering anyway. Free wood...building site and the like off cuts, logs often found left on banks after tree work (take, store for the following year) or companies begging people to take packaging crates, (check its untreated timber) we have a local company who leave broken down raw wood packing crates on their frontage every weekend to be cleared by anyone in need. 

If you can source it, with some smokeless too at approx £9 a bag, it will keep you warn 24/7, that has to be cheaper than running diesel for long periods. 

But,  if you've the choice and money, have both fitted. Your boatbuilder, if worth his salt, should be happy and able to fit both. 

 

Edited to correct fat finger syndrome. 

Edited by Ally
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56 minutes ago, Bee said:

February. You arrive at the boat. Its 4PM. Dark. everything is covered in freezing slush. The batteries are not great, the Eberspacher will not start and any heating device that needs batteries is iffy. Its nothing like it was in summer. Thank goodness you have a stove that needs no electric, Two firelighters and some sticks and the place starts to warm up and whats more the stove will stay in until the morning. Phew, your marriage is safe and the dog is not thinking of trotting up the towpath looking for a better boat. 

 

February. You arrive at the boat. Its 4PM. Dark. everything is covered in freezing slush. The batteries are fine but you start the engine anyway, the well-maintained Webasto starts first time. An hour and a half later the boat is warm and it is time to consider opening windows and doors.  Phew, your marriage is safe and you don't have a smelly hairy dog anyway.

February. You arrive at the boat. Its 4PM. Dark. everything is covered in freezing slush.  Thank goodness you have a stove that only needs  two firelighters and some sticks, and the stove but nothing else starts to warm up.  While you wait you can heave SF sacks from one end of the boat to the other to get yourself warm. 24 hours later  the boat is nice and warm. Phew, your dog is safe and you don't have a smelly hairy marriage anyway.

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1 hour ago, Bee said:

February. You arrive at the boat. Its 4PM. Dark. everything is covered in freezing slush. The batteries are not great, the Eberspacher will not start and any heating device that needs batteries is iffy. Its nothing like it was in summer. Thank goodness you have a stove that needs no electric, Two firelighters and some sticks and the place starts to warm up and whats more the stove will stay in until the morning. Phew, your marriage is safe and the dog is not thinking of trotting up the towpath looking for a better boat. 

 

All your coal, wood and kindling is wet because it got rained on when the tarp blew off it in the gales, so you can't light the stove. Thank goodness the batteries are charged up from the solar panels and you've got a tank full of diesel, the Eberspacher starts up at the push of a button and boat is warm in minutes. And the heating comes on before you get up in the morning.

 

It's always easy to come up with a case where [xxx] doesn't work, depending on your assumptions 😉

 

Still more "solid fuel must be cheaper" statements (from people who use it), but no numbers to back it up...

 

[and no cheating by using "wood is free" -- true but only if you can get it, season it, and store it, otherwise you have to buy smokeless -- I'm not anti-stove, just pro-facts]

Edited by IanD
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24 minutes ago, Ally said:

Your diesel heating would need to come either from a diesel boiler unit (a few choices)  or a diesel stove, not the engine. Ideally if going down the diesel route you might want a separate diesel tank for it with legal changes coming up, but i have to admit I am not now fully up to date on that. Worth considering anyway. Free wood...building site and the like off cuts, logs often found left on banks after tree work (take, store for the following year) or companies begging people to take packaging crates, (check its untreated timber) we have a local company who leave broken down raw wood packing crates on their frontage every weekend to be cleared by anyone in need. 

If you can source it, with some smokeless too at approx £9 a bag, it will keep you warn 24/7, that has to be cheaper than running diesel for long periods. 

But,  if you've the choice and money, have both fitted. Your boatbuilder, if worth his salt, should be happy and able to fit both. 

 

Edited to correct fat finger syndrome. 

But,  if you've the choice and money, have both fitted.

Do you mean have SF & a diesel stove fitted? 

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It’s freezing cold February.

The batteries are flat

you hand start the trusty lister contained in the correct part of the boat.

30 mins later the boats warm

Then you light the stove.

Around you generators are trying to keep up with ebisplutters. 
The owners haven’t realised they have gone through the fuel tank and are trying to run on water.

And their engines don’t start either. 
Kiss.

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15 minutes ago, James Dunleavy said:

But,  if you've the choice and money, have both fitted.

Do you mean have SF & a diesel stove fitted? 

No

Have a SF stove AND a Eberspacher / Webasto water heater (not a stove)

 

The Eber / Webby will give you hot water for the radiators, shower and washing the pots, in less time than it takes you to lay the fire and strike the match to light the SF stove.

 

The Ebers / Webby are the same as a domestic central heating system, you can set it to come on at a time, or on a thermostat, very versatile, but at a little higer running 'cost' than free wood and smokeless fuel.

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1 hour ago, James Dunleavy said:

So in scoring major brownie points with 'er indoors how does an SF stove compare with diesel, in terms of heat and cost?

I'm guessing you are talking about a solid fuel stove, compared to a diesel stove (not diesel central heating which I assume is installed already).

 

Well both diesel and solid fuel stoves don't require electric. Diesel stoves are gravity fed and have a simple control (Knob with 1-6 settings) to increase or decrease the diesel flow and therefore heat output. A solid fuel stove can be controlled by adjusting how much air goes into it. There is a knob or lever to do this. 

 

A solid fuel is cheapest to run, a diesel stove costs more to run and diesel central heating is the most expensive to run. Specific figures are hard to come by but this video may be a starting point.....skip to 15:55 for the figures. Bear in mind when this was made the cost of diesel was rock bottom and it will cost a bit more now.  Whatever happens, you really need 2 independent methods of heat on a boat. 

 

 

Edited by booke23
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45 minutes ago, IanD said:

Still more "solid fuel must be cheaper" statements (from people who use it), but no numbers to back it up...

I can't give you exact numbers as I don't have them anymore but when, in about 2006, I changed my Old Dutch oil stove for a Charnwood Country 4 the cost of the stove and the install,which I did, were covered by the first 12 months savings in fuel. Both stoves were 4kw and both ran 24/7 from October to March.

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My Eberspacher, wet radiators/calorifier water heater uses 0.5 litres of diesel per hour, maybe a bit less than 50p depending where your red diesel comes from. I get about 2.5 days of solid fuel stove continuous running per 20kg bag for £10 per bag.

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30 minutes ago, booke23 said:

I'm guessing you are talking about a solid fuel stove, compared to a diesel stove (not diesel central heating which I assume is installed already).

 

Well both diesel and solid fuel stoves don't require electric. Diesel stoves are gravity fed and have a simple control (Knob with 1-6 settings) to increase or decrease the diesel flow and therefore heat output. A solid fuel stove can be controlled by adjusting how much air goes into it. There is a knob or lever to do this. 

 

A solid fuel is cheapest to run, a diesel stove costs more to run and diesel central heating is the most expensive to run. Specific figures are hard to come by but this video may be a starting point.....skip to 15:55 for the figures. Bear in mind when this was made the cost of diesel was rock bottom and it will cost a bit more now.  Whatever happens, you really need 2 independent methods of heat on a boat. 

 

 

 

I don't believe their estimates for Webasto (130/month, presumably based on guesswork) vs. Refleks (85/month, based on their experience) -- both burn diesel and both put most of the heat into the boat, if they're putting out the same heat they should use the same amount of diesel and cost the same to run. It's a classic example of comparing a number you know to a number you've guessed and maybe drawing the wrong conclusion.

 

Their figure for the Refleks is in the middle of their figures for solid fuel (60-120/month) but I've no idea if that is another guess, 2 quid to 4 quid a day is quite a range...

 

Anyway other things (cosyness vs. ease of use) are more likely to push people one way or the other -- having both might be ideal for resilience but then you have all the negative points of a stove (storage, effort, dirt, space) *plus* the cost of a diesel central heating system 😉

7 minutes ago, Sea Dog said:

My Eberspacher, wet radiators/calorifier water heater uses 0.5 litres of diesel per hour, maybe a bit less than 50p depending where your red diesel comes from. I get about 2.5 days of solid fuel stove continuous running per 20kg bag for £10 per bag.

So 4 quid a day for solid fuel, and the same to run the Eberspacher for 8 hours. Depends on how many hours out of 24 you run it at full whack, then -- what do you find? (IIRC they're about 0.2l/h at minimum)

 

Mind you that'll change if red diesel disappears... 😞

Edited by IanD
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12 minutes ago, Sea Dog said:

My Eberspacher, wet radiators/calorifier water heater uses 0.5 litres of diesel per hour, maybe a bit less than 50p depending where your red diesel comes from. I get about 2.5 days of solid fuel stove continuous running per 20kg bag for £10 per bag.

That's a lot of coal, our 20kg lasts five days.

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11 minutes ago, IanD said:

 

I don't believe their estimates for Webasto (130/month, presumably based on guesswork) vs. Refleks (85/month, based on their experience) -- both burn diesel and both put most of the heat into the boat, if they're putting out the same heat they should use the same amount of diesel and cost the same to run.

They should in theory, but it would depend on the thermal efficiency of Webasto vs diesel stove. I've no idea how they compare or even if the manufacturers provide that information. 

 

I think your are right that their figures could be a bit out........they had only been using the diesel stove for a few months (during the spring) when they produced these figures. 

Edited by booke23
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9 minutes ago, Rickent said:

That's a lot of coal, our 20kg lasts five days.

Maybe you spend more on thicker socks...? ;)

 

Or smaller saloon? Our layout is lounge-dinette-galley as a continuous space - maybe 30'? ...

 

Or...

 

Different wife?

 

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3 minutes ago, Sea Dog said:

Maybe you spend more on thicker socks...? ;)

 

Or smaller saloon? Our layout is lounge-dinette-galley as a continuous space - maybe 30'? ...

 

Or...

 

Different wife?

 

our boat is 45ft stove is in the middle, ticks over 24/7, we are pretty much open plan apart from bathroom, we are never cold.

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2 hours ago, James Dunleavy said:

But,  if you've the choice and money, have both fitted.

Do you mean have SF & a diesel stove fitted? 

No, sf stove plus diesel ch. 

Sorry I thought that obvious,  I should have been clearer. 

 

Edited to add.

A webasto, in theory, uses 100ml of diesel, an hour, for each kw. So if you have a 5kw output, then about half a litre an hour. So 8 hours running time say, is 4 lt. Maybe aporox £4  a day, depending where you buy it, can be more, can be less. Plus a power drain. So £28 a week plus smallish power drain.

 

Solid fuel stove, we currently use about £9 a week, on smokeless, though that could double if we get a very cold winter, we both like warm. Let's say we can't get wood so buy it. Kindling £1.89 a bag, will last weeks because we don't let it go out really, rarely. Logs, we can buy big bags at £5 locally, again we don't use too much, we mostly keep a low gentle heat with smokeless, so a bag probably lasts about 3 weeks. So currently at these temperatures,  approx£11.50 a week. But 24 hour comfort. 

 

But of course in our case we use the webasto for an hour for showers too.

 

But its not all about cost, its about personal preferences,  convenience, comfort.

Edited by Ally
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4 hours ago, mrsmelly said:

I against advice fitted a diesel stove on my new build, worst decision ever, ne er again. Love my dust 😁

 

What about the hernia from lugging bags of coal about? 😁

 

Apart from lack of dust, the big advantage of a diesel stove is its controlability.

 

I have had coal stoves on shareboats for 23 years and a oil drip diesel stove on my current boat for 6 and a half years. I wouldn't go back to a coal stove.

 

That said, hens have more teeth than there are oil stove service technicians about.

 

 If you have an oil drip diesel stove you have to be prepared to learn how to service it yourself.

 

Edited by cuthound
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