Getting ready for winter

As we all know, winter in the UK is fast approaching. Last year, we found it to be quite cold having just moved onto the canal narrowboat.

This year we are trying to be more prepared and have taken some time to make a series of vlogs to share the steps we are taking.

There are three videos in the playlist:

1. Kath cleaned the chimney of the multi-fuel stove.

2. Kath has applied some insulation to the entry hatch, as this was previously exposed steel and was the cause of a lot of condensation and heat loss.

3. Kath laid some TEMPORARY carpet. This was to improve general comfort levels as wood flooring is very cold to walk on.


Cleaning the chimney

It is very important to keep the chimney, or flue, clear from obstructions. To complete this work, we purchased a pipe cleaning kit from B&Q. There are cheaper alternatives available such as this one recommended by the people on the Canal World forum.

Kath started by clearing all the dust out of the stove. Then she removed the brick and the top flap and removed more dust. After putting a bin liner in the empty stove, she shut the door then went outside to poke the brush down the chimney. She did this twice to make sure that lots of build up was removed.

Suggestions since have included removing the chimney from the outside to make less to clean and also putting a box in the stove to catch the debris more efficiently.

The benefit of completing this work, aside from improved fire safety, is that the fire is now running more efficiently. We are able to keep it going all night which was a failing the previous winter.


Hatch Insulation

The hatch over the stern door on the narrowboat was never lined – it was just exposed steel. I’m not sure the logic behind this because of heat loss and condensation. Condensation in cold temperatures has also previously frozen the hatch stuck. Climbing along the gunwales on an icy morning in the dark is not a fun experience!

For this work, Kath purchased a strip of wood and a sheet of exterior 6mm plywood. Also some very strong multi-purpose glue and a can of expanding spray foam.

Once the area was cleaned, Kath glued the wood strip in place. The next day when the glue was dry, she applied the spray foam and screwed the plywood sheet over the top. As expected, the spray foam leaked out a bit and this was removed very easily when dry.

A few days later, Kath added reflective insulation sheet to the hatch using double sided tape. This sheet was applied to cover any exposed steel on the inside of the hatch. It adds a little extra padding and ensures that the hatch fits snugly in the hole.

This work has improved the insulation of the aft of the boat and made it a lot easier to leave and enter through the doors.



Kath decided to lay TEMPORARY carpet in the saloon and bedroom to improve overall quality of life during winter. This is because carpet is a lot warmer to walk on than wood floor – or so it feels.

For this work, we purchased an offcut of carpet at a reduced price in a carpet shop. Kath cut the carpet into four pieces and roughly lay it on the floor.

Lots of comments suggested that underlay should have been laid under the carpet. I think that if we weren’t putting it on top of an existing wood floor this would have been necessity.

We are all happy with the carpet. The cats like to roll and scram it.  The humans find it nicer than wood floor in winter. Win win.

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