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Old 06-01-2010, 16:23   #1
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Boat Heater and Cold Weather

We're about to get an artic blast tomorrow and I was wondering if keeping the heater going is a sound idea. Temps are predicted to be from the 20's (low) to the 40's (high) for 3-4 days. The lowest setting on the thermostat on the recirculating A/C-Heater unit onboard is 55 degrees.

I've never run the heater in the winter (historically just light bulbs and a dehumidifier) and am wondering if such a temperature differential (inside/outside) might do any harm?

I will say that so far (in milder temps) it certainly keeps things dry. The bilge is full of condensate.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-01-2010, 16:37   #2
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if you're not staying on the boat, just turn off everything, close the through hulls and let it be.........it's not as cold as everyone is making it out to be. Besides the water the the boat is sitting in is still above 50.
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Old 06-01-2010, 17:39   #3
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I'd leave a light on, it'll help with the moisture accumulation. If you have a vent open slightly.
Keep the light down low in a location far from the vent opening so you get cross flow air currents to carry away the moisture. It won't make it hot but it'll stay bearable.
Like he said, it ain't all that cold.
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Old 06-01-2010, 17:48   #4
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Low 20s in Texas! Wow. Never realised it got that cold over there. It's -6c here in UK at the mo.

Ventilation seems to be the important thing here. Condensation is the devil.
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Old 06-01-2010, 20:31   #5
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It's pretty rare down here but it does happen occasionally...

I probably won't be racing in the Icicle series on Saturday.

Thanks
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Old 06-01-2010, 21:05   #6
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Many years ago I left a heater running over the winter in my old Catalina. Sometime over that winter the plug heated up due to a resistence problem in the socket. The area around the socket was found scotched. I was quite lucky the boat did not burn. Most yards do not allow heaters running unattended for this reason.
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Old 06-01-2010, 21:45   #7
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God bless Al Gore & global warming.It is a balmy 32 here in fl.marc
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Old 28-01-2010, 12:16   #8
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North west many many boats run heaters over damp winter months- make sure it is a good marine heater(west marine sells one) and that wattage is not set too high for your system-use lowest wattage on heater and make sure all your lines and fueses arein good condition and adequate for unit. check plug for any signs of excessive heat. A 100 w light in your motor compartment also good idea.
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Old 28-01-2010, 13:14   #9
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The danger of the cold on the boat for a short period of time is ice. Lows in the 20's with water temps above 50 probably won't result in below freezing temps in the cabin but it can happen (I am assuming that you are going to fully close up the cabin). You don't want to allow the temps to get into that range or you will have problems with your systems. The two solutions to this if you think that it will be an issue are to drain the water from all your systems or to use a heater. It is a little bit of work to drain the water from everything but it is a reliable way to avoid problems (this is how people in places that freeze deal with it). The other way to do it is to use a heater. Heaters have their own safety concerns because of the fire hazard they represent and are not always reliable because the power can go out. Your call on how to deal with it.
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Old 29-01-2010, 07:55   #10
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TS-

I've already experienced temps in the teens, and water temps of 32F and severe icing. All I did was burn 75 watt lightbulbs next to the seacocks and everything was fine. Given that your water temp is in the 50's, you should be fine to continue on with lightbulbs and avoid the risk of running a heater.

If you're going to get whacked with snow, don't let the snow bog your boat down. We've had some boats lost due to water pressure backflowing through engine fittings or blowing the hoses off of seacocks. Make sure your seacocks are closed, and if you can't close them for some reason, double-clamp your hoses.
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Old 01-02-2010, 11:21   #11
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Old 02-02-2010, 05:44   #12
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Yeah. He is entitled to the sweat. Just the sweat. The tax man and the banks waste the rest.
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Old 02-02-2010, 09:27   #13
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I used to keep my boat in Sydney, Nova Scotia (Canada), one year it was in the water.
The common practice to prevent the raw water side of the engine cooling system from freezing up was to:
-disconnect suction line of raw water from seacock
-immerse it in a bucket of household or RV plumbing antifreeze
-run the engine till you see pink fluid in the exhaust
-reconnect to seacock which you leave in the closed position
Then should you need to move the boat quickly turn the seacock and go.
All other lines just disconnect from the seacocks, drain, reconnect and dump in some plumbing antifreeze.
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