First I’d like to say Happy New Year, hope you all have a happy, healthy one. There, that’s out of the way…
Last Friday we left Barbridge, heading for Nantwich. The morning was chilly and bright, heading south made visibility a bit of a challenge at times…
Passing Hurleston Junction and the four locks up onto the Llangollen Canal
There were a few boats about, but of course we had to meet two at the narrows alongside the Nantwich and Borders Yacht Club moorings.
The plan was to fill with water at the services, then move along a few yards onto Nantwich Boat Centre’s wharf and top up the diesel tank and the solid fuel stores. The very slow water tap here gave me a chance to walk up to see how they were fixed, only to find that they were shut.
So with the replenishment only half completed we cruised along the long Nantwich embankment to the winding hole just past Marsh Lane Bridge, turned around and moored up.
It used to be quieter along here than on the embankment, but they’ve built a load of houses on the field alongside now!
For the last week we’d noticed that the water pump was cycling every half-hour or so. On a pressurised system that only means one thing – there’s a water leak somewhere! Investigation showed a quantity of fresh water sitting on the aft swim and finding it’s way into the bilge below the stern gear, a least it wasn’t running under the floor. Hanging upside down through the counter hatch I was able to feel a damp patch under the rear end of the horizontal calorifier, so that was the general area of the leak. The trouble was the whole lot had to come out, which involved dismantling all the woodwork built above it.
For those non-boaters, the calorifier is a marine hot water cylinder. Ours is a twin coil version, meaning that there are inlet and outlet connections for the engine coolant, and the same for the Webasto water heater. Along with the in and out for the domestic water and a spigot for the pressure relief valve, that’s seven connections, any one of which could be the culprit. Or the copper cylinder itself could have failed…
It took most of Saturday to dismantle the cupboards and shelves fitted above, drain the cylinder into the bilge, disconnect all the pipes and lift it out. Cutting back some of the insulation with which it’s coated, I found that the leak was from the PRV connection at the lowest point in the cylinder. A simple, 5 minute fix using Hylomar and thread tape which took maybe 3 hours to prepare for. It didn’t go straight back in though, the swim plate on which it sits in it’s cradle hasn’t seen the light of day for over ten years so I took the opportunity to scrape, de-rust and paint it, leaving it overnight to dry.
Yesterday, New Year’s Day, was spent reinstalling, re-running some of the pipework as well tp tidy things up.
All back in now
When it came to topping up I started filling the fresh water first, immediately discovering two leaks. One was on the cold water service valve, another was on a push-fit elbow. All the plumbing is in Hep2O flexible pipes, dead easy to fit with the compatible fittings. But they’re not really designed for re-use and the rubber seals had failed. Luckily I had replacements, but of course the whole lot had to come out again to fit them! Deep joy…
Refilling the the indirect coils fed from the engine and heater went without a hitch, but I left everything open until this afternoon so I could check for anything untoward.
A sharp frost this morning heralded a fine day, in contrast to the grey, damp weather we had yesterday. After a shopping trip up to Morrisons I gave the Canal Centre a call and found that they were open, so that set the plan for today.
Back over Nantwich Embankment.
We filled the diesel tank and collected half a dozen bags of smokeless at the wharf, then filled the depleted water tank at the services before heading north again and mooring just down from Hurleston Junction.
Going for the record for How Much Junk You Can Get On A Narrowboat Roof.
Not there yet, there’s still a bit of space at the front…
After we tied up I had another check around the plumbing, then sorted out the woodwork.
Back together again.
A new calorifier would have been at least £300, so I’m relieved that it was just a failed connection, even if it was a pain to get at.
It looks like another frosty night tonight, and another fine morning to join the Langollen Canal. I’ll be single-handing up Hurleston Locks as Mags, although a lot better, isn’t really well enough to spend any length of time on the tiller.
Since Thursday – Locks 0, miles 6 ¾