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Old 09-13-2019, 02:45 PM   #1
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Inside Heated Storage

Well, the calendar is rapidly approaching that time of year (in Canada anyway) when one must begin preparations for the long winter sleep. Since previous owners have stored my boat in heated inside storage since she was new, I intend to continue that tradition.


Other boaters have suggested that, though more expensive, the boat loves it. She'll apparently remain cleaner and allow for more comfortable winter maintenance. And I can avoid full winterizing of her engines and systems, as well as shrink-wrapping, and all the associated substantial expenses. Also, I'm told that by avoiding the freeze/thaw cycle, the boat is saved from the possibility of expansion cracks when the minute traces of moisture that typically reside in the hull and deck freeze and expand.


My current home marina has suggested that some work be performed, such as battery disconnects and water flushing. And of course, oil and transmission fluid should be changed for the twin Yanmar diesels and genny, not to mention fuel, oil and air conditioner filters.


May I ask what all you old salts feel about this process? What should be done to prepare? And when - fall after hauling or spring before launch? Aside from removing all clothing and linens, and leaving the fridge/freezer open, what do you advise for the cabin interior? Since it's inside heated, should I do anything for moisture/mould prevention?


Any ideas would be much appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 09-13-2019, 03:10 PM   #2
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My practices are...
Oil in fall to avoid any contaminants from sitting in engine for 6 mos
Fuel filters at the same time but could also be done pre launch in spring or over winter.
I have never stored inside heated so no direct experience but wondering...
Does your storage facility GUARANTEE they won't lose power / heat? Or is there a best effort / act of God clause in the contract that relieves them of any liability if engines, etc freeze?
Winterizing may be fairly cheap insurance just in case.
You could lose a season if engines had to be replaced even if others covered costs.
Re: moisture, mold, mildew, etc I'd ask other customers or previous owner what their experience is for that facility. I shrink wrap and haven't ever had a moisture problem but I do open ports & vents under the cover, block mattresses up, open hatches, etc to let the hidden areas breathe. Many people use several "damp away" units during storage.
Hope that helps... how was your first season aboard your Mainship?
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Old 09-13-2019, 03:27 PM   #3
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We store inside but unheated. We winterize everything, engines, A/Cs, water system, heads, shower sump, raw water wash down and genset. We remove ALL food and anything else that may draw mice. Bars of soap will be eaten. All clothing removed. We do not shrink wrap but put a huge tarp over the boat to keep bird poop off the boat. Even though it is inside birds do get into the barn. The tarp also helps contain heat from a propane heater. We work on the boat all through the winter unless it goes below zero. Last winter we only used part of one tank of propane to heat the boat while working on it. I will get down to just a T shirt and be sweating while working. We donít seem to have any issues with moisture or mold and donít really do anything to prevent it. We are able to leave the boat plugged in all winter. I am usually the only one to regularly be in the barn during the winter to work on the boat so I get to do whatever I want to. This year I am going to replace my port fuel tank so first I have to pull the port engine and pump out the tank. The only downside to unheated storage is when I want to paint it is difficult to get temps up to 45.
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Old 09-13-2019, 03:44 PM   #4
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What type of batteries do you have? If open lead acid, I would want to stop by once or twice during the winter and give them a charge. Probably less important with AGM. Definitely disconnect them for storage.

Whether the water tanks are full, empty, or somewhere in between, I would empty them in the spring and fill them with municipal water (some chlorine). If municipal water isn't available, I would commission the tanks in the spring.

I would plug all through hulls such as bilge pump discharges, to prevent anything from taking up residence inside the hose.

Change oils in the fall and antifreeze if it's time. Everything else probably doesn't matter as much.

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Old 09-13-2019, 08:31 PM   #5
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Thanks, Don, for your comments. I agree that oil should be changed in autumn. Someone suggested that fuel filters could be done every 2 years, but perhaps that depends on the fuel they've filtered. Right? I suppose it's cheap insurance to change them every year. What do you think?


I've not yet seen the storage agreement, but will certainly review it carefully. It's a rather large former manufacturing plant with many heated zones. They assure me that it's never been a problem for them. But all it would take is one significantly long outage. I'll investigate further.


That's an interesting practice of opening hatches and ports; you've never felt it would increase dampness inside? I thought that since it's heated that dampness absorbents wouldn't be necessary. Nevertheless, I'll ask my fellow boaters who also store there.


Thanks for asking about our first season aboard our Mainship. We love the boat and have enjoyed our limited travels with zero problems. Well, except for a minor mishap when my aft port fender rode up against a lock grey wall due to very high water levels. The port side corner at the transom grazed the wall and removed a small 1" surface piece of the paint and gelcoat. I plan to have it repaired over the winter, or in-water if the guy said it's possible. The damage is only about 6" above the water line, so it may have to be on the hard for the repair.


I hope you're all well.
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Old 09-13-2019, 08:39 PM   #6
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Thanks, Dave, for your comments. I can certainly understand full winterization in a non-heated building. We intend to remove our clothing and food, but I hadn't thought about soap. Good suggestion about the cover to save her being spoiled by bird shit. Perhaps spiders in a heated building will be a contributor too.


I like the idea of a small heater, but I suspect that wouldn't be necessary in this facility. Apparently, we won't have power except in the spring when I can do some work on her such as buffing and waxing. For security reasons, I won't have easy access over the winter months, except by special arrangement.


Wow - you've a lot of big projects planned. I hope they all go well for you.
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Old 09-13-2019, 08:44 PM   #7
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I also adjust fuel filter change based on hour usage each season. I feel it's cheap insurance but if hours and fuel usage low I'll let it go. You will get a feel after you have changed s few times just keep some notes on hours and appearance. I also keep a couple of fuel filter changes aboard in case I run I to a problem.
Re openning ports they were always under shrink wrap and no chance of water entry but air flow i.portant IMO... I dont like shutting e everything up tight.
I also had an encounter with avconcrete wall on the Trent Severn this season that put a scratch thru my blue hull paint... not even under power just trying to walk it along a wall to another set of cleats. Early current / high water flow on the TSW were a challenge at times. Just the scars to prove we use our boats vs those that are pristine and hardly ever leave the dock.
Glad you enjoyed your MS... we certainly did this season and met a lot of MS owners along the way.
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Old 09-13-2019, 08:47 PM   #8
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Thanks, Ted. Good advice. The batteries are lead-acid, including 2 Rolls Surrette monsters. They'll be disconnected, but you suggested that I arrange to have them re-connected and charged over the winter? I'll check them to ensure the cells are covered before they're disconnected.


I'd planned to empty the water tank before the boat is hauled. I assumed it was safer to do so. I prefer to not add any so-called non-toxic antifreeze since it's tough to get the taste and smell out. Our first season aboard our last boat, it took an entire season to do so. It had been stored outdoors with full winterization. With heated storage, do you feel it's still important to "commission" the tank? What exactly would that entail?


How could I plug the thru-hulls? With what material? Thanks.
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Old 09-13-2019, 08:52 PM   #9
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Thanks Don. Not that I'd wish anyone that uses their boat regularly damages them, but I'm glad I'm not the only one. :-) The TS was definitely more challenging this year, especially Lock 45 - the scene of the crime. Between strong current, busy traffic and high water level, I've never found it more difficult. Even Swift Rapids was tough. Too bad our routes didn't cross. Maybe next season.
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Old 09-13-2019, 10:11 PM   #10
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I am surprised that you would not have unlimited access to your boat over the winter. That would be a deal breaker for me. I have even been in the barn at 3AM once. The owner gave me a key to the barn several years ago. He even has the drive plowed for me if I request it. If it is heated you shouldnít need any other source of heat since the usual temperature storage facilities are heated to is 45 degrees which is workable. If you are going to plug the through hulls from the outside, I would use bronze wool. Mice wonít chew through it and if you leave bits behind they wonít rust. My friend left some food onboard and the mice apparently walked down the power cord to get onboard or jumped from the rafters. His boat was directly behind mine and we didnít have any onboard our boat since all the food sources were gone.
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Old 09-14-2019, 05:34 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RossWilson View Post
I'd planned to empty the water tank before the boat is hauled. I assumed it was safer to do so. I prefer to not add any so-called non-toxic antifreeze since it's tough to get the taste and smell out. Our first season aboard our last boat, it took an entire season to do so. It had been stored outdoors with full winterization. With heated storage, do you feel it's still important to "commission" the tank? What exactly would that entail?


How could I plug the thru-hulls? With what material? Thanks.
Water tanks and associated plumbing that sit for a long while can get organisms growing in them that can make you sick or worse. Municipal water protects against this with a very small amount of chemicals. If in doubt, it's best to commission the tank and start from clean and safe. Here is one of a number of threads on the forum about it. Read through at least post #6.

cleaning out freshwater system

Plugging holes can be as simple as twisting some aluminum foil and pushing part of it in the through hull.

Ted
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Old 09-14-2019, 06:28 AM   #12
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Thanks again, Ted. I'll check out that other thread. Aluminum foil or bronze wool, eh. I'll check them out. I guess mice can be anywhere, including a gargantuan former assembly plant. And what you say about water tanks does indeed make sense.
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Old 09-14-2019, 07:01 AM   #13
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I winterize RVs and boats and usually blow out the fresh water system before adding AF. If you decide to avoid AF use you might consider blowing out the system to avoid/ minimize standing water in spots.
I drain and bypass water heater and tank then blow out using compressed air and adapter to my dockside connection.
In the spring before commissioning w bleach I connect dockside water and flush the AF with the WH still bypassed. This allows a high flow to truley flush the plumbing. If any AF gets into the WH it takes a long time to clear as it isn't a true flush but rather a slow dilution... same with FW tank.
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Old 09-14-2019, 08:58 AM   #14
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Good advice, Don. Thanks. I'll ask the marina to blow out the fresh water system including the shore-water. And remind them to drain the HWT and close it before undertaking the process.
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