Join Date: Dec 2011
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Shrinkwrapping isn't necessarily so much a function of heat, though it's a nice benefit. You can run an extra shore power cable and plug in double space heaters if you're getting chilly, but with all the caveats that constant high-amperage utilities necessitate.
Shrinking, at least the clear stuff, creates a layer of semi-trapped air, essentially a greenhouse. Sunlight permeates and warms up the area to the point where it's almost tropical in there on a 40-degree day. It also prevents winter wind from blowing heat right away from the deck, helping whatever heat source you have to be more efficient. It's essentially a great layer of insulation.
It also (more importantly) prevents the freeze-thaw cycle: snow piles on deck, the snow melts in the sunshine the next day, water seeps into tiny cracks in the deck or between stanchion beddings, then re-freezes that night, widening existing cracks and eventually (over years) doing significant deck damage which takes either serious money or time (or both) to fix.
Shrinking prevents that. Most other benefits are just ancillary, IMHO.