Wednesday, 18 March 2009

No More Paloma Blanca

My Paloma water heater failed in January due, I think, to frost damage during the cold spell after Christmas. The drain valve had seized and I was unable to get all the water out of it, which subsequently froze. No one repairs Palomas any more. They are out of date, are not "room sealed", the parts are hard to get and in any case mine had failed a "spillage test" undertaken as part of the last Boat Safety Certificate exam and was potentially venting lethal carbon monoxide into the cabin- although curiously this is only an "advisory" failure and doesn't prevent the issue of a certificate.
I thought at first that I would have to replace it with a room sealed heater (i.e. one without a naked flame). These cost about three times as much and need a constant mains voltage electricity supply - a bit of a problem on a cruising narrowboat. However, enquiries revealed that as I don't live on my boat, as long as it was fitted by a "competent person" I could have a like-for-like replacement in the form of a Morco D61

Many boaters would now be posting an account of how easy they found the Morco to fit. Just take it out of the box and connect it up. Others would perhaps have a longer tale to tell about how they struggled against the odds and, without knowledge or experience, overcame many difficulties and were in the end successful! I know my place.

I also know that as the operation would involve gas fitting and plumbing skills this story would have been a toss up between a flooding disaster and an explosion - or possibly both. So, the heater was fitted by Norbury Wharf Ltd - not cheap but within their estimate and safely and neatly done - and Starcross now has hot running water again.

After my post Una Paloma Blanca I received comments from some readers to the effect that after reading it they couldn't get a certain 1970s pop tune out of their heads for days. If this post has the same effect - or if you are the captain of a certain "Granny Buttons" then follow this link!


Sarah said...

How did you manage to get them to fit it? When we did exactly the same exchange, for exactly the same reason, we discovered that although non room sealed instantaneous water heaters are permitted under the BSS (regardless of whether you're living aboard), CORGI fitters are not allowed to fit them, so we ended up having to do it ourselves. It was fairly easy - but I never liked the Morco as much as the old Paloma.

Jim Davies said...

Perhaps you should ask Norbury Wharf that question! I assume that they used a "competent person" (who was not CORGI registered)to fit it, which is all that the regs require.

I agree that the Morco is not as good as the Paloma though.