Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Northern Chesapeake Bay
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Re: Winter Moisture Control
I've spent several winters aboard in two different boats. Had terrible condensation issues the first winter but have coped better ever since. Ventilation is not just inside out. It is also about internal ventilation, making sure compartments are not sealed off. I keep most compartments open at least slightly, such as the sliding door cupboards and bins. I am a big fan of the old style ceramic heaters such as made by Pelonis. They are hard to find and not cheap. Most electric heaters found in stores are crude technology that was used by our grandparents. But good ones can be found. I prefer to have more heaters, running at lower settings. This allows far better distribution of the heat.
In addition to watching load levels (current, amps), it is essential to pay attention to every connection. The connections are the weak point where failure usually happens. A poor connection can heat up hot enough to melt and burn without tripping a circuit breaker because until two opposite wires actually cross and short there is no over-current. Everything AC electric in the boat is basically on an extension cord, as is the boat itself. Feel the connectors often. Make that part of the routine of time aboard. If the connection is very warm, either the cord is too small for the current, or the connection is poor. I use heavy guage cable and connections that can be viewed and cleaned.
I have a keel stepped mast which in the winter is a cold delivery device. I wrapped it with refelectix and that mae a big ifference. My boat has several large ports with frames get very cold in winter and hot in summer. I cut reflectix covers for them and that helps a lot, too.
I use thin foam panels and reflectix to double layer compartments and as many flat or gently curved surfaces as I can. I have big overhead hatches in my boat that are great for light and ventilation in warm weather, but are escape paths for heat in winter. I cut inserts of the thin foam and fit them inside the hatch. Cuts heat loss markedly.
I also use a lot of Damp-Rid. It works great and can be affforable with careful buying. I get the hanging type in 3-4 pack boxes at WalMart, Home Depot, Lowes, and the like. Usually for $8 or so, sometimes less on sale. One of those in the hanging locker makes a HUGE difference. I also use the tub type as it is far cheaper. The refills can be bought in bulk, enough to fill 3-4 tubs for maybe $3. Sometimes the absorbant grains can be bought as sidewalk ice melter for even less cost. I place tubs where they won't slide and have never had one tip. They make a huge difference.
Baking warms the cabin up nicely, too.
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