Heaters on unattended boats - Page 2 - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #11  
Old 11-18-2008
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I use a "goldenrod" in the engine compartment and a 1000 Watt heater on the lowest setting for the cabin. Together I think the current draw is about 400 Watts when the heater is running, about 4 amps.
I put the heater on top of the stove so that there isn't anything flammable near it just in case. Also don't put it anywhere it is possible to get dripped on, or run the cord over cushions or curtains. I use the closest outlet to the AC breaker panel to minimize the amount of boat wire in use again just in case... Last year I discovered the AC wiring had been connected with acorn nuts and taped up in a ball. It was hot to the touch when I discovered it. Lesson learned. If you leave one on just make sure all your wiring and shore power connectors are in good shape.
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Old 11-18-2008
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Up here in New England, most marinas won't let you leave a boat plugged in regardless of whether it is a marinized heater or not... Just doesn't happen. The reason is that in most boat yards, the boats are so close together that if one catches fire, you'll easily lose four or more boats to a fire.
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Old 11-18-2008
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You New England types need to harden up.
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Old 11-18-2008
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SB - don't you guys have fireplaces on your boats up there in Alaska?
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Old 11-18-2008
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Some people use fireplaces, but the Dickinson oil stoves are by far the most common. Harder to leave a wood fireplace unattended for a couple weeks....
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Old 11-18-2008
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What about a permanently installed reverse cycle heat system? OK to leave on unattended?
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Old 11-18-2008
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It's official, I really, really, really HATE WINTER....
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Old 11-18-2008
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I'm living aboard & using an infrared ray heater.....keeps the inside of the boat 60-65 degrees.....comfortable for me....used to Montana winters
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Old 11-20-2008
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Check your connections. Are the plugs warm? Very warm?? Hot??!!

Plugs are a weak link. If the plug is very warm or hot there is a poor connection. Lots of trouble starts at such points due to heat caused by the resistence in the connection. Check the blades and clean if necessary, same on the recessed blades in the sockets.

Even proper 30A 3 prong twist plugs can get hot enough to burn if the connection is poor enough while the current draw is high enough.

All that attended to, good heaters can be left on if set thoughtfully, with due consideration. I never leave them going full blast, nor where anything can fall down in front of them. And I mostly use the Pelonis heavy duty cube ceramics which never get hot enough to ignite anything though they put out gobs of warm air.

Thinking back to my first liveaboard winters, 30 yrs ago, it is amazing we never caught fire. But after 3 yrs we moved ashore again and the next year a former neighbor had his luck run out. Space heater technology has come a long way since then.
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Old 11-23-2008
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I second the question about reverse-cycle heat. My boat is new to me, and my 1st with A/C. I really enjoyed the built-in AC over the summer, but have some concern about whether it is a good thing to run the heat over the winter, primarily due to humidity issues. If anyone could chime in on this, I would really appreciate it.
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