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Home » Product & Planning Guide » Heating » Gas Fired Heating on
Canal Boats & Narrowboats


Thank you for visiting our Gas Fired Heating page. Our aim is to supply you with relevant, comprehensive and impartial information relating to Gas Fired Heating.

Features: Considerations:
Much smaller hoses to run through bulkheads etc. Fuel Cost
Can also heat domestic water BSS pressing to remove gas fired appliances from inland waterways for safety reasons
Less heat loss over distance than blown air or space heaters Mains 240v AC alone only suitable for heating a small tank or calorifier, NOT a full radiator system
Simpler technology  
A well specified system can also run from 240v AC  
Home-style familiarity  
Wet or Dry...
Two types of gas fired heating are available in the leisure market. Hydronic and airtronic are the simplest ways of distinguishing between the two. Simply put, hydronic systems circulate a “wet” coolant around a system and are most like domestic heating installations. Airtronic systems blow air through large bore flexible piping which exits through vents cut into the woodwork.

Wet Then...
Gas fired airtronic systems are more commonly found in motorhomes and caravans. Not recommended for narrowboats, these systems are not room sealed, requiring specialist flues, and are relatively expensive to run. Therefore, here we will deal only with hydronic systems.
Three Components in the System...
In a hydronic heating system, there are three major components: the boiler/burner, the distribution system, and the control system.

Burn, Pump, Heat Exchange, Re-circulate...
The gas burner heats a mixture of water and antifreeze, the circulation pump pushes the water through pipework around the boat. Water to air heat exchangers with small low current fans can be installed in the distribution hoses or conventional radiators can be plumbed in. The water/antifreeze solution returns to the boiler, is reheated, and the cycle runs continuously until the control system is satisfied, and the system shuts down until the control system again calls for heat.

Hot Water...
As these systems are also used in caravans and motorhomes, they tend to have an integral water tank of around 10l. Despite narrowboats usually having larger hot water storage in the form of a 50l-plus calorifier, this tank can be still be utilised in the system. By placing the integral tank in-line between the hot water outlet of the calorifier and the hot water system, you would have a small amount of hot water to use whilst the calorifier heats up.
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