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canalman

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One of the most common questions I get asked about Narrowboats,( are they warm in winter?) well they are very warm and cosy. So what are vans like in the cold? Do a lot of people use there vans in the winter, or just park them up till March?

I'm going to pick my first van up (an old ish Lunar Clubman) next Sunday, spend a few days on it then bring it back from Cornwall to Sunny Scunthorpe! Then plan to use it in October.

 

Nigel

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I have spent the last 9 Christmas Weeks in the van. You just need to use a 13kg propane gas cylinder and put the heater on low. (unless you can use a EHU)

Ford C-Max and Coachman Festival 380/2 SE 2006    Motto  Carpe Diem

Still trying to find the perfect pitch. ..110 amp Battery+ 65 watt roof mounted Solar and 25 watt Wind Turbine. LED lighting. Status Aerial 315. Loose chattels marked with UV,. Safefill Gas Fitted.

 

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Blown air systems can cope quite well with the cold. Modern vans are moving towards Alde systems which use radiators. Both work well but it also depends upon how good the insulation is in the van. I dont know much about old lunars but I know the concentrate on being light weight, so do you know how thick the insulation is?

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EHU is the mains point you plug your van in to for 230v. No idea what it stands for! Electrical ???? Unit?

 

Sorry. ..... Electrical Hook Up

Ford C-Max and Coachman Festival 380/2 SE 2006    Motto  Carpe Diem

Still trying to find the perfect pitch. ..110 amp Battery+ 65 watt roof mounted Solar and 25 watt Wind Turbine. LED lighting. Status Aerial 315. Loose chattels marked with UV,. Safefill Gas Fitted.

 

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One of the advantages of a caravan, as you will know from your narrow boat, is that it is a small space so heats up very quickly, whatever heating system you use. Our Burstner is well insulated and really cosy in the cold. One thing to watch though, if you are using the gas heater make sure you are well ventilated, to avoid condensation, and its always best to have a carbon monoxide alarm, just in case.

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Thanks John, believe me, it will be ventilated and alarmed! its part of what I check on boats. I will also carry out a soundness check on the gas system too. To say I'm 50, I'm like a big kid, can't wait to get down there next Sunday!!

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Yes they are colder generally speaking. As touring caravans are built for weight, the insulation on the UK ones are not up to much (not compared to the 3/4-1" insulation and thicker wood lining you get on a narrowboat).

 

Also no solid fuel stove.

 

The only plus side of the van in this respect is that the bottom isn't continually immersed in water so the floor is warmer, electricity is usually more plentiful (due to the EHU) and any gas leaks flow out through the floor.

 

Have fun.

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No problems for us in below freezeing temperaturs - you can't beat waking up to a good frost covering the countryside. We have never had to switch to gas heating, the electric blown air has always been good.

 

We are hiring a narrowboat in October and doing the Chesire ring, will be about the 10th time we;ve hired a baot. Also get nice and snug in the narrowboat with gas central heating and a solid fuel stove going.

 

Sam

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We're PLANNING our first bit of winter caravanning this year but our gas heater's been taken out by the previous owners - and on the site we're on, due to work being done there probably won't be EHU so looking at other heating alternatives for when we're in the depths of winter. Right now though a fan heater or a halogen one does just fine. It'll be wrapping up and hot water bottles in the winter :wacko:

Compass Shadow 1988

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Depends on how old the Lunar is? all vans will have adequate insulation but pre 98 and you will have far too much floor level ventilation, (in boating terms known as leaks!), any heating you apply then simply speeds up the passage of air through the van with little increase of temperature.

This can be simply adjusted by blocking off the excess, obviously gas drop holes near gas appliances connection points should be left as should one or two holes with a total area of 1500sqmm, (100mm x 15mm), normally the door vent if present more than takes care of this.

Many pre 98 vans have several large holes in the walking area or just hidden in bed boxes with gaps to allow air through at your feet, these can all be safely blocked off in winter but can be useful in summer for cooling

Roof level ventilation for up too 10sqm of floor space is taken care of by one 400x400mm roof light, these having the required 14000sqmm of fixed ventilation when shut.

 

With the exception of cooker and hobs, gas appliances are 'room sealed' taking combustion air and exhausting fumes outside, this provides a safe and dry heating, they do not then increase condensation. It must be noted these do need a service from time to time to maintain their correct operation and safety

There are other gaps left during manufacture, particularly the fridge, this again 'should' be room sealed, so at the back, any gaps leading into the van can be safely blocked off.

 

Regards the fabric of the van, although it is relatively light weight, once on site in cold weather, the heat must be left on a high setting until this fabric and not just the air is thoroughly warm, otherwise it will drag heat from the air and you will not feel cosy.

Once though the fabric is warm, this will act as an energy store and the heating can be turned down to a low setting to maintain an even and very cosy temperature

gary1s.gif

 

Arc Systems are specialist Carver caravan product repairers, committed to providing a comprehensive service as well as spare parts for these popular heaters.

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Depends on how old the Lunar is? all vans will have adequate insulation but pre 98 and you will have far too much floor level ventilation, (in boating terms known as leaks!), any heating you apply then simply speeds up the passage of air through the van with little increase of temperature.

This can be simply adjusted by blocking off the excess, obviously gas drop holes near gas appliances connection points should be left as should one or two holes with a total area of 1500sqmm, (100mm x 15mm), normally the door vent if present more than takes care of this.

Many pre 98 vans have several large holes in the walking area or just hidden in bed boxes with gaps to allow air through at your feet, these can all be safely blocked off in winter but can be useful in summer for cooling

Roof level ventilation for up too 10sqm of floor space is taken care of by one 400x400mm roof light, these having the required 14000sqmm of fixed ventilation when shut.

 

With the exception of cooker and hobs, gas appliances are 'room sealed' taking combustion air and exhausting fumes outside, this provides a safe and dry heating, they do not then increase condensation. It must be noted these do need a service from time to time to maintain their correct operation and safety

There are other gaps left during manufacture, particularly the fridge, this again 'should' be room sealed, so at the back, any gaps leading into the van can be safely blocked off.

 

Regards the fabric of the van, although it is relatively light weight, once on site in cold weather, the heat must be left on a high setting until this fabric and not just the air is thoroughly warm, otherwise it will drag heat from the air and you will not feel cosy.

Once though the fabric is warm, this will act as an energy store and the heating can be turned down to a low setting to maintain an even and very cosy temperature

 

A lot of useful info there, thanks Gary. Had not thought about warming the fabric of the walls, but a good point.

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I absolutely concur with the point about warming the fabric of the 'van.

When I go away for my Christmas-New Year break, without EHU, I find it best to use the Truma gas heater on no. 4 or 5 for the first few hours. After that once the 'van is warmed through I generally find that 2-3 is sufficient to keep the temperature at about 21-22 C, I then turn it down to 1 when I go to bed, and it's always still at about 15C when I get up the next morning.

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So when caravaning during autumn / winter when it's cold do people generally leave the heater on all night. ...I've not been away during the depths of winter before but last October I remember waking at about 7am, getting up and putting the heater on then getting back into bed so that when we got up at about 8 to 8. 30, the van was lovely and warm.

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I find if using the blown air heating on Electric is to turn the heater on, leave it for an hour or so then turn on the fan. Enables the elements to warm up first otherwise you tend to just blow cold air around the 'van.

 

Used the caravan at Broadway CC site end of January this year, got down to about -5 at night. Couldn't believe how well the heater maintained a nice steady heat, just had to turn it down a little in the night otherwise it gets a bit uncomfortable under the heavy tog duvet

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I find if using the blown air heating on Electric is to turn the heater on, leave it for an hour or so then turn on the fan. Enables the elements to warm up first otherwise you tend to just blow cold air around the 'van.

 

 

 

Can I just ask, do you switch the kettle on for a while before filling with water? of course not because the elements will heat up in seconds.

 

No different with your blown air but for the first few minutes the air passing over the elements is more cold than it will be in the hour you leave it, still, it's quicker overall if you switch the heater and fan on together, just use 'A' for automatic on the fan

gary1s.gif

 

Arc Systems are specialist Carver caravan product repairers, committed to providing a comprehensive service as well as spare parts for these popular heaters.

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Some vans by their very design need to have some of the blown air ducting under the van. Worth insulating.

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Can I just ask, do you switch the kettle on for a while before filling with water? of course not because the elements will heat up in seconds.

 

No different with your blown air but for the first few minutes the air passing over the elements is more cold than it will be in the hour you leave it, still, it's quicker overall if you switch the heater and fan on together, just use 'A' for automatic on the fan

 

Hi Gary, thanks for your reply to my post. I've only just found it as since CT has changed its format, I've only just changed the way I receive alerts to posts (which had all been reset to default)

 

I personally have always found while heating up my larger twin axle van is to leave the heater on for a while and then set the fan to a low speed. This allows the main living area to warm up quicker then by turning the fan on, send the heat through the rest of the van, especially the rear washroom.

 

I certainly do not wish to enter in to an arguement with yourself as I respect the position you're in with your work. But the example you suggested with the kettle then sure, the water would heat up as the volume is contained. Place the heating element under flowing water and the water would not heat up as quickly, if at all. I don't dispute the speed in which the heating elements inside the space heater warm up but my thinking behind this is blowing cold air over cold elements would surely slow this process?

 

With respect,

 

Diefer

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Been caravaning for twelve years and average 20+ trips per year (29 last year) Caravan all through winter through rain, snow,, hail storm and tempest. I have Never and thats never been cold in the caravan, mine has blown air 2kw electric heater that runs at 1/2, 1 and 2kw it also works on gas if i am on a cl with no EHU.

As the van is a small space compared to home its easier in my opinion to heat it. Generally i start it at 1kw on about 5/6 then drop it down to 1/2kw on 7/8 and let the interior stat do its job.

Toasty and warm!

Obviously you need to prepare the van and yourselves for winter vanning, propane gas, lagging for the water bottle, i made a cover from water tank lagging that can be bought from any plumbers supplies with a little top to is that velcro's onto the side, also get some pipe lagging (large) split this and drop it over the water pump pipe.

A little thought before you go and you will be fine, some of my best moments in the van have been in winter Thetford forest for new yaer in a foot of snow two years ago was magical.

Go for it and enjoy the van, its to expensive a purchase to store it up for 4/5 months of the year.

Keith

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