A big consideration for boat owners is heating method. Simon Sharp from Funky Heat offers some invaluable advice on a new alternative

Heating a narrowboat can be a tricky business. If you have a multi-fuel stove on board you’ll know the issue… freezing cold one minute way too hot the next.

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

• Simple installation which can be done by the boat owner

• Invisible heating

• Space saving heating

• No burn risks

• Cheap running costs

• 12V and mains compatibility

• Low power draw

• 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 things sounds impossible, their not, read on!

Yes, 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.

Diesel and bottled gas heating systems both have something else in common too.

They’re expensive to run!

So here it is, efficient & comfortable heating that can be installed…

In your ceiling,

in your floor,

or even in your walls

Say goodbye to visible heating. Say hello to integrated flexibility.

Meet the future of heating a narrowboat. A future that you can install yourself in wall, ceiling or floor. Flexible, invisible, silent heating providing you with exceptional comfort efficiently. FlexIR infrared heating mat is a surface heating product uniquely optimised for installation in walls and ceilings and for use underfloors. It is a low surface temperature heating system, which will comfortable heat the structure of your boat and the objects (furniture, people etc.) rather than the air (so eliminating black spot mould and condensation) all from 12V or mains power.

The boat and all the objects in the space are heated equally. The comprehensive testing produced a safe surface temperature of 22 – 24ºC combined with an air temperature of 22ºC. In short, perfect.

FlexIR FAR infrared heating mat is flexible and easily installed. What’s more after you’ve installed it, you can even install lighting, shelves etc. through the material (drill holes) without impacting on performance.

• Underfloor

• In walls

• In ceilings

Constructed compressed fibre composite material is heated using 12 V to 36 V (AC or DC) supplying a Low Surface Temperature radiant heating system. FlexIR matting is flexible, washable, corrosion-resistant, low mass, incredibly lightweight (83 g per m²) extremely thin (0.4mm) and environmentally friendly

FlexIR Infrared Heating Matting

FlexIR infrared heating mat benefits include:

• Low Surface Temperature

• Highly Efficient – Low running costs

• Anti Ligature (fully concealed installation)

• Easy installation

• Minimal maintenance

• Fast Heat-Up Phase & Uniform Heating of Space

• Minimal movement of dust and allergens

• Invisible Heating

• Suitable for use under real wood flooring

• Permanently dry surfaces

• Low investment

• Solar like Heating – delivers the highest quality radiant heat

• Energy Efficient – converts electricity to heat with almost zero loss

• Renewable Energy Ready – is fully compatible with and complements solar panel installation

• Beneficial to your boat – banishes humidity, damp and mould

• Space Saving – no need for radiators, pipes, storage heaters and boilers

The heating quality and cost effectiveness is far better than any of the conventional heating systems in use today. Simple to apply and virtually invisible after installation.

Simple installation – how simple?

Please see the video below for an example, it’s equally easy to install in the wall, behind tiles, under floors etc.

DIY kits are available in a range of sizes perfect for the space you want to heat. If you’re looking for any further information please contact Simon at Funky Heat or learn more about the best way for heating a narrowboat.

Visit the Funky Heat website for more details www.funkyheat.co.uk

Please note that unless you are willing or able to install a large solar array and / or wind turbine, this heating system is only suitable for mains or generator powered electric supply.

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