Saturday, 7 January 2017

Midwinter - the very worst time for a liveaboard boat’s heating system to pack up!

When is a heater not a heater? – when it packs up and refuses to work despite being given a good slap J

And that is exactly what happened less than an hour after I posted my last blog on Thursday evening saying that the “slap treatment” was still working. I  obviously spoke too soon...

After a few attempts at persuading it to restart, we had to accept that there was no point in waiting until Monday to take the heater out and take it to the agent in Carlisle, as planned. It might as well come out straight away.

Phil disconnects the heater to take it for servicing

First thing yesterday, we lifted the carpet in the main cabin and the panel of flooring covering the engine room and Phil went down to attempt disconnecting the heater himself to save us having to pay an engineer to do it.

Dex was fascinated by all the activity and offered his assistance, but was told that he was not needed on this occasion, nor was I so I took him for a walk to get him out of the way.

On our return, we found the heater out of the engine room with Phil sitting proudly beside it. Apparently, although he had been working in a very tight space, he had managed to undo all the leads and pipes and was feeling very pleased with himself.

We immediately drove it to the Eberspacher agents at Carlisle so they could get on with the service asap on Monday.

The heater removed and ready to go

They promised to make it a priority as we live on board and would be without heat in the middle of winter. We were told they would make a start on it on Monday and it would take “a few days” unless they needed to order any parts – no time estimate could be put on this scenario so we are keeping everything crossed that they will have any parts that are required.

Happy that we had done all we could, we stopped for lunch before setting off home from Carlisle. However, while eating we received a phone call asking if we had left the control unit for the heater in the car.

The answer was that it was still fitted in the engine room on the boat, which was 28 miles away in Maryport. So much for saving time by taking the heater to Carlisle yesterday and saving money by doing it ourselves. We can only presume that an engineer would have realised that the agent would need the control unit to run the diagnostic tests.

On returning to Maryport, we took the floor up again and Phil unclipped the control unit. We set off to Carlisle with it again this morning.

The company doesn’t open at weekends, but one of the employees kindly agreed to meet us to take the unit so they would have it ready for an early start on Monday.

The only problem now is that we have no proper heating on board. Except that it doesn’t seem to be proving much of a problem.

So far, we’ve been lucky that the weather has been particularly mild for the time of year. Since Thursday morning when there was ice on the surface of the water in the marina. It thawed quite rapidly during the day and has since stayed at around 6-9C so not too cold at all. 

Water pouring through the marina gate pushing the thin ice into a pile on Thursday morning

We had a small convector heater that we have had for years and never used. We almost got rid of it before we moved onto the boat, but fortunately brought it with us “just in case” and a friend lent us an oil-filled electric radiator.

Phil helps a friend run up a sail

We had both on very low heat settings overnight last night.

Since we got back from Carlisle today, the convector heater has not been used and the oil-filled radiator is on low. The temperature on the boat at the moment is 20C so it doesn’t look as though we are going to freeze just yet.

We are however expecting to use a bit more electricity until we get our diesel heater back. Just hoping the temperature doesn’t drop too much in the meantime or it could get expensive...

On Thursday afternoon, before we discovered our heating disaster, Phil helped a friend run up one of the sails on his yacht and I have a feeling he is now suffering from sail envy J

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