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Old 24-11-2013, 08:31   #1
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Heating Question

What are some safe ways of keeping your boat warm in the winter when you are not there? We have a forced hot air kerosene heater and a space heater that we plug in, but I don't feel comfortable leaving either on when we leave the boat, I am am afraid things may freeze in the dead of winter without a little heat. What do other cold weather liveaboards do?

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Old 24-11-2013, 08:36   #2
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Re: Heating question

i found that 2 cats and 2 heating pads on a cold---38 f day and night do quite nicely, but only covers one room.
in marinas i used to use a temperature controlled electric heater on very low and 2 cats.
on a mooring, i used only one or two cats. when i was home i added oil lamps.
here is always above 72f, so one cat kept far away. he aint stoopit.
there is no safe way to keep boat warm when not there.

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Old 24-11-2013, 08:43   #3
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Re: Heating question

I've used 150 watt long life bulbs a lot. They keep the boat dry. One in the engine room also. However, if you arent around... they can burn out! The little boat drier's (Caframo?) that plug in are great... kinda expensive for what they are, but reliable and good. They are like a minimal wattage (500?) heater with no fan and not much to go wrong. They come in different sizes. Here's the small one:
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Old 24-11-2013, 08:47   #4
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Re: Heating question

GoldenRod Dehumidifiers - Dehumidifiers for Gun Safes, Airplanes, Cars, Boats, Cabinets, or Any Home Enclosure
O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,

Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.
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Old 24-11-2013, 09:02   #5
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Re: Heating question

Most efficient and trouble free in the PNW was 120-150 watt light bulbs in engine room and salon. They would last 24/7 for a month or so before burning out. Temps were occasionally below freezing at night and with the boat buttoned up remained dry and relatively warm in my absence. Phil
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Old 24-11-2013, 09:12   #6
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Re: Heating question

If you use a light bulb make sure it is protected. They work, I'm not sure how efficient they are compared to a heater with a fan and thermostat. Depends on the size of the boat I guess. Whatever you use make sure it can't come in contact with anything combustible when the boat moves. In other words make sure it is secured in place and nothing can fall onto or near it. A thermostat operating a small fan in the V-berth can keep that area dry if you have a heater in the main cabin. Make sure all your closets and storage areas are vented.
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Old 24-11-2013, 16:01   #7
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Re: Heating question

West Marine has a little forced air electric unit that will go down to 45 deg. We use that during the week when we are off the boat. If there is a predicted cold snap then I add some electric lights in the engine room. If the dock were to loose power then we have an Espar and kero back up.
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Old 24-11-2013, 16:32   #8
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Re: Heating question

Just to reiterate, since most don't seem to actually go to links-

How GoldenRod Works
GoldenRod® heats to a surface temperature of less than 150° F (which is almost too warm to hold) and circulates warm, dry air throughout an enclosure on a 24 hour basis. This increases the temperature of the air inside to several degrees above the ambient outside temperature. Expansion of the heated air forces the moist air outside through the vents or loose fitting doors leaving the dry air inside.
Installation Instructions
Installation is simple. Attach the universal bracket using the stainless screws supplied with the unit and snap the GoldenRod® in place into the bracket. GoldenRod® must be mounted horizontally at the bottom of an enclosure to work effectively. It can be mounted as a freestanding application or brackets may be attached to a vertical wall. GoldenRod® MUST always be mounted horizontally in order to work correctly.

Safety is important for any form of dehumidifier left working in any unattended area. The GoldenRod® Dehumidifier is the safest on the market.

Unlike a light bulb that many people leave burning and hanging over a hook, the GoldenRod® mounts securely into place so it will not swing or fall, possibly breaking and causing a fire. Unlike a light bulb that creates intense heat in a concentrated ball, the GoldenRod® distributes heat evenly over the length of the Rod.

The light bulb uses 75 to 100 watts. This not only generates a possible fire risk, but is also very expensive. The GoldenRod®, with a maximum power of 38 watts, generates the necessary heat without ever coming close to the flash point of paper or plastic and does its job for just pennies a day.

Some people use a space heater which usually operates between 1200 to 1500 watts. This generates excessive heat and is an expensive operation. The GoldenRod®, with its even heating, saves the risk and cost of fire as well as saving money.

The GoldenRod® is available with a removable plug for instances that require the wire to be routed through a wall, partition or cabinet. Following the instructions, just remove the plug, push the wire through the hole and reassemble the plug on the other side.

Running Cost of the GoldenRod® Dehumidifiers
With the smallest GoldenRod® running at 8 watts (100 cubic feet) and the largest at 38 watts (500 cubic feet) GoldenRod® dehumidifiers cost a fraction of other electric methods. It literally amounts to pennies a day!

GoldenRod® has a Lifetime Guarantee. Plug it in and forget about it! UL listed and made in the USA.
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O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,

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Old 24-11-2013, 16:34   #9
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Light bulbs work better than you may imagine, regular incandescent light bulbs are horribly inefficient, losing most power to heat, so they are good heaters
For a real heater, I only trust the ones that look like old fashioned steam radiators, they are oil filled and electric of course, but nothing about them gets hot enough to cause anything to burn. If you use any real heater, be sure your electrical system is in good shape, electric heaters pull an enormous amount of power
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Old 24-11-2013, 17:23   #10
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Re: Heating question

On the dock in Toronto winters .... For almost twenty years we had infrared heat lamps under our bed, under our engine and in our galley bilge. All areas were vented with 12volt computer fans, Always had warm floors and never had a problem of any kind.
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Old 24-11-2013, 17:39   #11
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Re: Heating question

We run the Webasto diesel 24/7, October to April.
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Old 26-11-2013, 16:46   #12
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Re: Heating Question

I live in the tropics so heating is the last of my problems but what about a heated towel rack .... low wattage, long life and no bare elements.

But I used to live in a house in a cold climate and to just take the chill off the air and prevent that cold damp humid atmosphere and I used to use an electric oil filled column heater with a thermostat and timer. I would set it to turn on only during those wee small hours until sunup and only at about 5-10 degrees celsius. This was enough to take the dampness out of the air for the rest of the day.

I assume you are in a marina with access to shore power.
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Old 26-11-2013, 19:26   #13
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Re: Heating Question

I like the "Goldenrod" idea for winter layup in the Northeast. I'm wet storing my boat this winter without shore-power. Since electrical is one of my weak points, can anybody tell me if I can run this thing off my power inverter with a 500 amp hour battery bank and an Air-Breeze wind generator? I'm thinking not, but I wouldn't mind being corrected.
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Old 26-11-2013, 20:24   #14
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Re: Heating question

+1 could not agree more
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Old 26-11-2013, 20:50   #15
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Re: Heating Question

Winterize the boat if it going to be left vacant at all. Only takes a few hours without heat to totally mess up a boat or engine. Shouldn't be a problem running antifreeze through the engine raw water system. There is antifreeze for the potable water system. Wouldn't want to drink the stuff but a gallon water jug will last a while for drinking if you are going to be on the boat for short periods.

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