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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 10-07-2007
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Cabin Heat during the Winter

I will be winterizing my boat for the first time soon (Pacific NorthWest). I have fixed all the leaks (so far) and assured good ventilation. I would like to put in a small heater for the winter and would like advice on what type and if it is left on all the time or by timer???? Also, do others in the Pacific Northwest remove all the sails every winter?? Any other advice would be appreciated . Thanks.
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Old 10-07-2007
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If you do put in a small electric heater, be sure that it has a tip-over safety switch. Then if it does tips over the power supply will be cut off. Also mount it on a broad base and there will be less chance of it toppling over.
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Old 10-07-2007
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A lot of people up here sail during the winter.
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Old 10-07-2007
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We have one of those round, lots of holes on the top, heater that helps control the moisture. We also have a small box heater that we set on low and it goes on and off as necessary. I got it at Walmart for not a lot of $ and it works pretty good for what we are using it for.

We take off the furled genoa but leave the main on with a bungie on the end of the cover to keep birds out. Then we cover it with a tarp. I've been chatting about what we do in my blog http://pacificnorthwestboating.com/2...terize-a-boat/
if you want to look at that...engine stuff is coming...we just have to do it so I have pictures. Keep in mind it's what we do, so pick and choose
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Old 10-07-2007
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Electric Heaters Can Be Dangerous

Electrical problems are responsible for 55% or more of all boat fires (2003 data). Many of these are caused, directly or indirectly, by the use of electric heaters.

As noted above, heaters can tip over and catch fire. They can also cause a fire by being placed too close to flammable materials. And, they're very dangerous to use on gasoline-powered vessels as the thermostat controls cause a spark which can result in an explosion if used in the presence of gasoline vapors of the right concentration.

However, the main problem seems to be that they are often run "wide open", i.e., at their highest setting. This is typically 1500 watts or about 13 amps @ 115VAC. If your boat wiring is compromised in any way (too small, too old, cracked, bad connections, improper fusing/breakers, etc.), the wiring can overheat and cause a fire.

Unfortunately, there's often no other or no better choice available in some situations. Therefore, if you're going to use electric heaters BE VERY, VERY CAREFUL, and be sure you've got all the above-mentioned bases covered.

Bill
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Old 10-07-2007
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Try one of those oil-filled heaters (look like an old-fashioned radiator); they run at a lower temp than ceramic heaters. If you can, rather than running it thru your boat wiring, run a cord from the dock thru a hatch - keeps the stress off your boat wiring as the pervious post suggests.
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Old 10-08-2007
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At the other end of my street, a friend lost their house last winter when a cord to a space heater caught fire. She made it out of the house right before the propane tanks on the back deck exploded. The house was gone before the fire dept. could arrive.

I am not a fan of any type of unattended space heater.
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Old 11-06-2007
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Old thread but here is some personal experience.

I lived on an old wooden cabin cruiser during college in Maryland. One day I was leaving, walking to my car, when the girl I had just broke up with showed up. She had driven all the way from Annapolis. I don't blame her, I broke it off with a phone call. Bad me.

Anyways, as we are talking in the parking lot, I glance over to the boat, and it is on fire. The electrical cord was aflame where it connected to the boat. The fire had just started, and I jumped aboard, put it out with an extinguisher, and after a "whew, that was close" we went off together. I ran a 1500w heater 24/7for heat, and I guess the outlet was defective - but I certainly had put it through it's paces with use.

I replaced the cable end and the boat connector and board it was attached to. Nothing else was damaged.

So the moral of the story is - always break up with girlfriends over the phone.

Chris
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Old 11-06-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by witzgall View Post
So the moral of the story is - always break up with girlfriends over the phone.

Chris
OK, you are probably a *****...but you are a funny *****.
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Old 11-06-2007
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Electric heaters in unattended boats, whether in the water or on the hard is very dangerous and inconsiderate to your neighbouring boats in the yard.
It's not the particularly the type of heater, but the AC extension cord feeding it. We ran 4.7amp de-icers (3/4 hp) continuously for four months all winter under our liveaboard boat, and the female sockets on the cord melted and deformed with this kind of longterm use. Indeed...the boat next door in the winter marina fried an extension cord which torched the enclosure and deck. We have changed to heavier 12 gauge contractors cords but it's the still the connectors which suffer from high resistance connections and heat. Your boat desn't require heat all winter. Winterize the water and engine systems, fill and charge your batteries and walk away!
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