Heating a narrowboat efficiently and comfortably

Heating a narrowboat

Options for heating a narrow boat

Heating a live aboard narrowboat can be a tricky business. Quite often it’s a case of all or nothing or something that really isn’t efficient at all!

If you have a multi-fuel stove on board you’ll know the issue… freezing cold one minute, the next all the windows will need to be opened and the water in the canal around the boat will be boiling… The stove adds character for sure and is great for occasional use but relying on it to heat the whole boat means uncomfortable and often uncontrollable heat. There are other issues too, not least safety – with a multi-fuel stove you need to ensure ventilation, smoke and CO2 alarms, a fully insulated chimney installed correctly, a heat protection panel behind the stove, a fire resistant hearth and so on. You also need to ensure that the stove is in enough space and doesn’t cause any obstruction.

Quite often boat owners will install a diesel based radiator system in addition to the multi-fuel stove, that’s great and they can work well however there’s noise, there are space taking radiators and pipework all over the boat from the boiler to the radiators. There’s also an annual maintenance check required of around a hefty £250 plus parts. On the plus side you do get a flexible system that you can control with timers. The overall supply and installation cost however is going to be a pretty penny at around £3k depending on the complexity and number of radiators etc.

Another alternative would be a radiator based system run off gas bottles. Again there are safety issues and the same space issues with radiators, together with the required pipework through the boat and again supply and install is going to be expensive at around £3.5k.

If you like this, try:  Installing Infrared Heating in Commercial Office Space

Diesel and bottled gas heating systems both have something else in common too. They can be expensive to run!


Efficient & Comfortable Heating

So what’s the answer? When thinking about heating a narrowboat with a mains electric connection this would be our tick list for the best type of heating and installation:

  • Simple installation which can be done by the boat owner
  • No maintenance or annual inspection
  • The ability to timer control or app control (or both)
  • Comfortable heat which will reduce condensation

If combining all of these sounds impossible, it’s not if you have access to mains electricity!


Say hello to integrated flexibility.

Meet the future of heating a narrowboat. A future that you can install yourself on wall or ceiling. Flexible, silent heating providing you with exceptional comfort, efficiently. Infrared heating panels are a surface heating product uniquely optimised for installation on walls and ceilings. They will comfortably heat the structure of your boat and the objects (furniture, people etc.) first rather than heating the air first (so eliminating black spot mould and condensation).


Infrared heating benefits include:

  • Highly Efficient
  • Easy installation
  • Minimal maintenance
  • Fast Heat-Up Phase & Uniform Heating of Space
  • Minimal movement of dust and allergens
  • Solar like Heating – delivers the highest quality radiant heat
  • Beneficial to your boat – reduces humidity, damp and mould


Learn more about infrared heating

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