A narrowboat renovation project by Nick Goodall.


It's a little bit chilly, this weather outside

22nd October 2023

I’m not one of those who can easily hide, but that’s alright. Last Sunday was 2° overnight, and this was a monumental week in realising my cosy winter dream: I installed the diesel heater, and it is absurd.

At first I was slightly nervous it wouldn’t fit (‘tis a big boy — 8kw of power!), but it does, just. Snugly. On Wednesday I mounted it to the top of the engine bay on the port side, and then realised the exhaust skin fitting was too long…

Heater exhaust skin fitting

Luckily a friend offered to ensmallen it, after which I wedged the exhaust in place and wired everything else up. In many ways this was more awkward than re-assembling the engine, but with some bloody scrapes and “fuck you”s at the hard-to-reach nuts, it was time:

Diesel heater

And holy shit.

Euphoric is an understatement; on full power it rockets the boat to 30° in minutes (ambient temperature dependent), and I’ve yet to optimise it. For one it’s pulling air from the engine bay (not ideal) and I’m waiting for an adapter to run a vent around to the starboard side so it’ll begin from the warmer cabin air. Then the big holes into the engine bay along the side which I’ll insulate, and just as much for the noise as anything else (turned up it sounds like a jet engine).

And to improve how it heats the boat, I’ll run some rectangular ducting along the port side to carry the heat forward, as currently it comes straight into the kitchen, turning tea time into a sauna sesh. At some point I may also stick a dehumidifier in the mix for the ultimate in boat climate control, and upgrade the electronics for controlling it with an app from afar.

In other news, I got more plants:

Tall ivy plant

And I am currently sat in bed under the fairy lights, wearing shorts and incredibly hungover, waiting for the kettle to boil for some tea. It’s a good day.

Until next Sunday!

- Nick

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