Back on board for our 2 week cruise and fortunate for us we had no real itinerary, as things did not start well!!
I read in Waterways World a couple of months ago that being on a narrowboat is a bit like being stranded on Mars (as depicted in the book/film The Martian) whilst the consequences of failure are somewhat more drastic on Mars (get it wrong and you are dead!), I can definitely see the parallels.
The skills of problem solving and lateral thinking are key boating requirements, and in this case the problem was water – Too much of it in the wrong place!
The crew who had brought the boat back from Crick commented that all had been well with the boat, but reported a calorifier leak leading to damp under the bed.
Further investigation suggested the calorifier was not the source – seems that leak is sorted. Now to a process of elimination.
- All other pipe work – dry
- Shower drain pump and all connections – dry
- Carpet next to the bed – wet – very wet
Lifting the cabin floorboards we found the source of the damp. The bedroom bilge was full of water! Now everyone knows that in a boat the water should be on the outside, so this was not good.
45 mins and 10 buckets later, the water was put back in its right place, and the question then was where is it coming from. For this, there were again 3 options:
- The central heating
- Rain from leaking windows
- The one we really didn’t want to think about – The canal!!
Central heating was the favorite – it had never worked that well, we had topped it up a few times and that water had to have gone somewhere!
We had ruled out the domestic water, as the pump had not been running (tell tale sign of a leak). But I decided to check the water tank anyway, and glad I did. It seems that the above is only true as long as it’s not the actual pump that is leaking! And it was. Didn’t seem to be leaking much, but small leaks add up over time! Still not a conviction, but definitely charged and reprimanded in custody pending further investigation! I still think this crime was not committed alone, and central heating is still in the frame and under surveillance.
Anyway enough of the crime metaphor. I think a visit to Kings Lock chandlery may be in order later, and a maintenance day is on the cards.
As I said at the beginning, lucky we didn’t have an itinerary!
Roll forward 4 hours, and a very strange shopping list (water pump and a pack of Incontinence pads) later, we were ready to start the repair job.
Replacing the pump was infact pretty straight forward, with the only complication being why, when the old pump had a built in pressure switch, was there an external one fitted. Deciding that it was probably because the built in one had failed at some time in the past, I chose to leave it out. If nothing else it meant 2 fewer connections in the circuit.
Fired up the new pump, no leaks (check) water out of taps (check) – so far so good – and as a bonus the flow rate out of the taps (and the shower) were also much improved. All looked good, and to top it all, the amount of water flowing into the bedroom bilge ( where all this started) also seemed to be slowing.
Given that the water had had to traverse half the length of the boat to get from the leak to the flood, it was reasonable to expect that it would take a while to dry out, hence the need for the incontinence pads. These were installed in the bilge to soak up the remaining water. Tip for anyone doing plumbing jobs, inco pads are an excellent way to soak up inevitable leakages – obviously really, not sure why Tena haven’t thought of this already!!
Tomorrow will tell whether the problem is solved! Fingers crossed.
Call me crazy, but this is why I love boating!