You may find localised spots with excessive condensation, it varies from boat to boat. In ‘Joanie M’ we get condensation in some of the top cupboards and behind the sofa. We find glueing foam cut from cheap camping mats to these areas stops most of it. also useful to put at the side/head/toe of the bed to stop contact with the cold sides. If you then store al;l your spare clothes and bedding in vacuum bags the not a problem
Living retirement in the slow lane.
20 years hiring, 6 years of shared ownership and a Continuous Cruiser since 2007 but still learning!
The condensation problem does appear to be endemic to canal boats, but each boat will have its own problems and I can only give you our solution.
In a properly insulated boat (spray foamed throughout) we have found that the only place we get condensation is on the windows and particularly on the metal window frames.
At the risk of teaching granny to suck eggs I just want to explain the reason for all this water. It’s very cold outside, in your boat the heating is running and you’re toasty warm. But this means that the air is holding a lot of moisture. This contacts the very cold windows and frames and suddenly you have rivers of water running down them.
First of all make sure that the drain holes in the bottom of the window channels are clear. Then, in winter, buy some of the secondary double glazing film that’s available from B&Q and several other DIY outlets. This stuff is supplied with sticky tape to apply it over the window area so enclosing that area, not allowing the warm, moist air from reaching the cold metal and glass. it works for us, no more mopping up every morning.
Of course all of the above does depend on the rest of the boat being properly insulated because any uninsulated metal inside the boat will condense in winter, and if this is behind panelling where you can’t see it, then a lot of water can accumulate before you notice it and you may even think it’s coming from somewhere else.
Working on the basis that there is no such thing as a stupid question, I’d like to ask why don’t narrow boat builders use the same type of windows and frames as used by caravan makers? They seem to have resolved a lot of the condensation problems that used to be associated with the old metal and glass windows of days gone by in caravans – they have also moved with the times by having double glazed units with incorporated blinds and insect screens.
Hi Gwespyr. Welcome to the forum. I think that narrowboat builders have moved with the times. Double glazing, screens and blinds are all available. Don’t forget that boats last a lot longer than caravans. It’s quite usual to see boats on the system that are thirty years old. My own boat is 35 years old and good for many more years to come. As far as I know, I have the original windows. They are single glazed but I don’t have much of a problem with condensation. I just have them covered at night by well fitted curtains which reduce the condensation problem.
Are you thinking of buying a used boat, or having one built to your own specification?
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Not bought my own boat yet but from years of living in a council house with only a single coal fire plus boating on a nb with similar I can only suggest:
1. make sure your nb has sufficient ventilation and good insulation
2. a multi/solid fuel stove will provide dry heat, better I believe than gas CH
3. whilst waiting for your kettle to boil for your morning cuppa, wander around your boat and wipe the windows
4. Don’t leave your clothes on the floor or against the steels sides.
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