Keeping clothes clean is a mundane requirement of life and no less so while living on a narrowboat.
As continuous cruisers for most of the year we prefer to have our own machine on board for convenience even though many boaters do not regard an on-board washing machine as an essential fitting, preferring to use on-shore facilities, either launderettes or marina-based pay-as-you-go machines.
There are several potential problems to be considered with the installation of a washing machine, among them are the machine type, power supply, physical room, weight, plumbing and drainage.
We preferred a domestic standard machine, by that I mean something able to handle a reasonable size load of around 6kg.
We have an inverter able to supply the necessary electrical 230 volt supply so there is no restriction on that side of things when on a shoreline, however there is from the battery load side of things when cruising. Because of the need to heat the water most domestic machines draw up to 3kw. A level that is too high for our system to sustain without the diesel engine running. We therefore tend to only use cold water wash programmes when moored on the cut, as the machine then only draws the motor load, which is quite low and one our system can cope with from our batteries when. If we require a hot water wash programme we then either use the machine when cruising or when connected to a 16amp landline.
The only space available for our machine, without requiring extensive remodelling, was in the bathroom, providing that is that a suitable slimline machine could be found. Fortunately, this ground had already been trod by David Johns (Cruising the Cut #161) who, faced with similar problems, had identified a Hotpoint machine worthy of consideration. The machine’s width of only 400mm meant that it would fit comfortably between our shower and toilet. Further research led us to an alternate version of the machine, an Electriq eiQWMTL75, which is the model we purchased.
The position selected for our machine, being adjacent to our shower, meant that an adjacent cold water supply line could be tapped into whilst the drain was connected to a tapping through the hull.
In an earlier blog I mentioned an annoying list to starboard, by installing the machine on the Port side we allowed its 75Kg weight to form a useful aid toward levelling the vessel.