Underfloor boat heating does not work

Published: Thursday, 16 December 2021

I WAS most interested to read of the person who was offered a boat with underfloor heating, writes Jean Bostock.

Wanted underfloor heating

We bought our narrowboat to discover that it too had underfloor heating with the person selling it to us telling he bought it as what is described as a 'sailaway' meaning it had the engine and all its accessories but was bare inside with just the wall and roof lining, as living in a house with underfloor heating which he liked he wanted the same installed in the boat.

Though he fitted the boat out himself we found it was to our liking with a good layout and plenty of cupboards, but wondered about it also having radiators driven by a diesel heating device and realising as the pipe work was somewhat haphazard it had been fitted after the boat had been completed. But the reason was soon made obvious as the cooler weather came, as the underfloor heating would only work when plugged into the mains at the moorings, and to put it bluntly, was useless, for as your correspondent told it has very cold water next to it so put no heat out into the boat whatsoever.

The reason for the radiators

This meant that it was useless when either moored or when cruising, and was obviously the reason for the radiators being installed afterwards when the real usefulness of the system came to light, so if you are thinking of underfloor heating in a boat, don't bother, it is useless.

The man obviously pointed out such heating as somewhat of a selling point, but when ask how about when cruising admitted it needed to be plugged into a land line, hence the radiators, but I believe it was your Victor Swift who told that such radiators should also be connected to the engine water system so that you then get hot radiators when cruising in colder weather so we are looking into that as it is not connected, then the boat will be just right for us.