In this post, we aim to give some general guidance on how to install a boat stove. Many boats on the canals use a stove as their main source of heat during the winter. Most boat owners will at some point need to replace their stove, or install a new one from scratch. Needless to say that if you have any doubts or question at all, seek professional advice.
Before going into any other details about how to install a boat stove, we need to talk about safety. You can find a whole article on solid fuel stove safety here . Please have a read and familiarise yourself with stove safety before planning an install on your vessel. The main things to consider are clearances from combustible materials, building a hearth, alarms, ventilation and fire escapes.
– Old And New Regulations Concerning Boat Stove Installations
When replacing a stove on your boat is important to check boat safety regulations. Many old hearths and flue systems are not installed in a way that would be recommended by the boat safety scheme today. In most cases this is legal for existing installations. While it may be advisable to improve the safety of your diesel or solid fuel stove, it is not yet mandatory to bring this up to the current boat safety recommendations.
However, if you are replacing the stove or flue with a new one, it is necessary to follow today’s standards and regulations. Before you install a new stove on your boat, check the guidance given in the image below. This is supported by the Boat Safety Scheme and is considered best practice.
Which Stove Is Best For My Boat?
This is the exiting part of installing a boat stove. A stove is not only for heat. It has a place on your boat that is special. You’ll be spending many winter days looking at it. Your stove should have the right look for you and fit in with the interior design of your boat. Be careful here. Many stoves for sale in the UK today are unsuitable for boats and short flue lengths. Always check with the retailer or manufacturer before you buy.
When choosing your stove, make sure to check the manufacturers instructions. This will give you an idea of clearances needed and ventilation requirements.
Consider how well the heat will spread through the boat. On a narrowboat, for example, it is better to locate the stove as central as possible. It will otherwise be difficult to spread the heat throughout the boat. Even though this can be overcome with radiators fitted to a back boiler, an even heat distribution is preferable.
Make sure your stove is located with the flue system in mind. A straight flue is preferable. Check for any structural issues where the flue exits through the roof. Make sure clearances from combustible materials on the roof are kept within limits.
– Securing Your Boat Stove
When thinking about how to install a boat stove, you need to make sure it won’t move or fall over if it gets knocked. You will need to secure the stove to the hearth, either at the bottom or the rear. Make sure it is constructed in a way that this is possible. Most boat stove manufacturers like Bubble, Salamander or Morso, will have designed their stoves with this in mind. Some stoves not made primarily for boats may not be suitable.
Flues For Boat Stoves
When you are installing an new stove on your boat, the flue needs plenty of consideration. Make sure you check with retailer or manufacturer that the flue is suitable for boats and a marine environment. Flues which are installed wrong or are unsuitable pose a serious risk to life and property. Considering fire safety, carbon monoxide risk and accident prevention should be a priority.
– Types Of Flues
Whether your stove burns diesel, kerosene or solid fuel will determine which flue is suitable. Make sure you buy the right type for your stove. In the past a simple mild steel tube was used on most stove installations on boats. This is no longer considered good practice. On a new installation, a twin wall insulated flue is the best way forward.
Marine twin wall flues are constructed of a material which resists corrosion. This means it wont become dangerous over time by rusting through, as many of the old flues did. Insulated flues also improve fire safety and prevent injuries from burns. The flue gases in these types of flue stay hotter for longer. This means improved draft, which promotes a cleaner burn and minimises the risk of carbon monoxide escaping. Make sure you have the correct cowl for your flue type, stove type and environment.
– Securing The Flue
When choosing a flue system to install on your boat stove, keep in mind which way you are going to secure it. With some systems, like the Morso flue kits, the flue will be secured to the stove spigot and roof collar. Other flues will need to be secured to the wall with a bracket.
Make sure that any fittings, such as roof collars and wall brackets are suitable. On many boats the roof and walls are angled. This means some flue systems designed for houses won’t work on boats.
– Flue Location
The best location for your flue (and stove) is determined by many factors. The stove manufacturer will specify a minimum length of the flue. This must be adhered to, to ensure there is sufficient draft to clear all the fumes. You must also find a suitable place to cut through your roof, without compromising its strength. The end of the flue will need to keep a minimum distance from flammable materials, vents and windows. The manufacturer will state these distances in the instructions.
Installing Diesel Stoves On Boats
A few brief notes on diesel stove installations on boats. All fuel lines and any day tank must be secured against movement, clipped down and protected from accidental impacts. Install shut off valves at the tank and at the appliance. A fire stop valve must be installed to stop fuel flow in case of a fire. All diesel stoves on boats should have a solid floor beneath them. Minimum thicknesses are stated in the manufacturers instructions. Always fit a drip tray to catch any accidental spills.
We hope we have covered most aspects of how to install a boat stove, in this article. It is worth repeating that it is best to consult a professional boat stove installer, if you have any questions. This is not only a safety concern. Damage to the vessel caused by bad craftsmanship can often be expensive (and sometimes impossible) to repair. In addition, many manufactures will not honour warranty agreements for DIY boat stove installs.