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Old 10-02-2012, 12:12 PM   #1
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City: Raleigh,NC
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Winter Living

Hi Guys,

Since liveaboard is down. I decided to stop over here and say hello. I'm currently living on a sea ray 390 ec. I know it's not a trawler but figure we share a lot of the same systems and issues. I want to make sure I don't have any issues this winter as repair bills are no fun. I'm in North Carolina and winters should be mild, with the occasion day or two below freezing. With that said what preparations should I make to ensure that my pipes stay intact and my engines stay healthy?

I heard people installing wolverine oil pan heaters, but they may not be safe for gas engines? Any bilge heaters that you would recommend? Also my outside wash down water, will that be okay or should I empty that? water pipes, do you keep cabinets cracked open with fans to circulate warm to those areas?

I did some searches and didn't see it covered, and wanted some quick feedback to ensure I have a nice relaxed winter aboard.

Thank you!
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Old 10-02-2012, 05:18 PM   #2
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I keep hoping the Live A board site will come back. However you will find many of the same boaters on this sight.

If you leave the boat in the water the items at and/or below the water lines should not freeze as long as the surrounding water does not freeze. However the items above the water line should be drained and/or heated. The marina might shut off the water when the temps drop below freezing, so you should inquire as to their policy and/or keep the tanks full. Since you are a live aboard it would be assumed the interior temp would be above 60 degrees.

The best is to ask/talk to the other live a boards in the marina, especially the ones that have been live aboard for years as they know the drill. People say we are going to have mild winter but I am planning for a long cold winter, making sure the generators work, the alternative heat is working/prepared, the water tanks are fill, keeping the boat dry, and moisture low. Moisture can be a bigger problem than low temps.
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:11 PM   #3
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We spend a lot of winter time onboard in the Pacific North Wet. As Phil has already stated condensation is your biggest problem. I spend zero time worrying about freezing even when there's snow on the dock. We have a forced air diesel furnace which helps a lot with the condensation. Somehow you need to have air exchange to control condensation. At our dock we always run on the tanks and refill them as necessary so freezing water lines isn't an issue - except when the dockside lines freeze, which doesn't happen often fortunately. Personally I would never want to be hooked up to dock water with the tap turned on and me not on the boat. We use two 15 amp cube heaters to supplement the diesel furnace. Our marina charges us a flat rate up to a limited power use and only charges for power if we go over that limit so it is to our advantage to make sure we get up to the cutoff and thereby reduce our fuel usage.
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Old 10-05-2012, 01:43 PM   #4
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Hey guys thanks for the replies - sorry didn't get notifications. There are not any liveaboards at my lake as it's rather small. So I have no one to really ask. The marina shuts off the water when they think the weather will dip below freezing, so eventually it will happen. I have a 100 gallon tank, and they said on weekends I can buy a long hose and fill it up from the water supply near the store. Electric is included in my slip rental so there is no issue there. Currently my only heat is my on board reverse cycle heat/ac. Seems to work pretty good right now, but I'd rather supplement that with electric heaters during the day, just to keep it at 55 degree's or so. Any particular heaters recommended for us, or would you never recommend leaving an electric heater on low while away from the boat? I'm not opposed to leaving my onboard heat on if needed. For the record I have two 30amp hook ups for power, and all my wiring is clean and in great shape.

for condensation I was thinking of getting a large dehumidifier, and having a sump pump push the water into my shower or sink drain? I don't have a way to cycle the air out without leaving a vent or door cracked. Will the dehumidifier not be enough?
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Old 10-05-2012, 02:59 PM   #5
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You might be har pressed to heat a 39 ft boat on 30 amps? If the surrounding water does not freeze, the bilge and engine room will not freeze, so use the amps to heat your main living and sleeping area, and open a window to draw heat into the areas not heated. Heat rises so keep the heat at floor level and heat the lower levels

We use portable ceramic heats and installed permanent Pic A Watt heaters. On bother you can select/change the watts. On the high amp items, heaters/water heater/charger might want to put them on times as one turns off, another turns on. A water heater only has to be heated a couple of times a day, about 30 minutes before hot/warm water is needed. Utilize as many amps for heat as possible.

Humidity may not be to big of a problem if you air out the boat on nice days, and you watch how much moisture you put in the air. No long showers, boiling water, and/or standing water. Sanitation will be another concern so many live aboard use the maina facilities and/or join a gym. We do not keep the Eagle air tight as many of the windows and ports are not shut/clamped down tight which allows air movement, we use the air conditioning units on fan mode to move and clean the air and keep an electric blanket on low 24/7 which keep it dry and warm.

Might want to think about an alternative heat source other than electricity. Since you probable have propane of the boat might want to use as a supplement/back up. When we bought the Eagle we only had 50 amps so I installed a CAT PT12 Product catalytic heater, thermostat controller in the salon, which we used for several years 24/7 until we could afford the Webasto. There are other propane heaters but I wanted a heater that was thermostat controlled and could fun 24/7, which freed up 10 to 20 amps.

Keep us posted!







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Old 10-05-2012, 05:30 PM   #6
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Bill, here are some thoughts.

Your profile says that you are in Raleigh and you are in a marina on a small lake. Raleigh gets cold. My son lives there and last winter temps got down to 12-15 deg F several times at night. The lake will probably freeze at least a skim on the surface and the water temperature will be well below 40.

Your reverse cycle unit will work until the water temps get down to 45 or maybe a bit less and then it will stop. That is to protect the coil from freezing up with ice while on reverse cycle. But use the reverse cycle while you can as it transfers about three times the watts in heat that it consumes in electric power. Even though you aren't paying for the power it is good for the planet.

You may need three 1,500 watt space heaters to keep warm on those nights and mornings. So you will definitely need to use your two 30 amp services. But usually when it gets that cold at night, it is crystal clear and sunny the next day. But the first few hours in the morning can be brutal.

Any outside plumbing will freeze. So shut it off and drain it.

Also consider what to do if you get a power outage due to storms or whatever. You can winterize everything and move into a hotel for a few days. That is what we did in a house in Atlanta. But consider how you are going to winterize stuff without power. Can you drain your reverse cycle system or gravity dump antifreeze in it. Keep enough antifreeze on board for this problem

Another solution to a power outage is a portable propane or kerosine heater. I like the kerosine ones. You may or may not be comfortable with running one inside your boat. I would certainly open a vent or two if I used one and never run it while I sleep. 5 gallons of kerosine will provide a lot of btu for a few days, much more than propane. But it is going to get really cold with no power on a 15 degree night.

David
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Old 10-05-2012, 05:37 PM   #7
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Bill390ec

I note the use of reverse air for heat. It will not produce heat when the water temps drop into the low 40's. Just an FYI

We use electric oil heaters for our primary heat source. Our electric here is metered and charged at .10 cents a kil hour. Cheap IMO. As a live aboard they are on 24 / 7 from like Mid November through to March April. But we have good 50 amp power available to us. So we can heat with power left over for chargers and water heater. But be carefull not to tax you power system on the boat or from the dock. It is oh so easy to over load a 15 / 30 or even 50 amp service. Be carefull. We do play the on off game with water heater / coffee maker / space heater.

One electric heater is a 500 watt unit and the other is a 1500 watt unit that can be set to 750 or 500. So we adjust them for when we be off the boat or on , temps etc etc. But when the temps drop into the freeze zone or the power drops out the oil furnace becomes the primary. Fed by gravity from a day tank and takes no power, works great for winter cruising etc.

Our boat is keel cooled so I can not realy use the block heater type set ups. But there are some great after market truck products for winter set ups that could be of some value to you.

Phillips & Temro Technologies

http://www.phillipsandtemro.com/User...rt_Catalog.pdf

Some of the items they list would not be suitable for a gasoline engine compartment but some can be instald outside of the compartment.

I also use reflectex insulation to help hold in the heat. Under canvas window covers , over air vents for the engine compartment etc. It is very easy to use and re-use from year to year.

Products


Condensation on our old wood boat is a huge concern for me. I just cant have it. Cooking and baths are the big issue that create alot of moisture in the air. You just have to keep the air moving around the boat. For us its been as simple as leaving one of the salon windows or a portlight cracked open. Also ensuring air movement behind closed doors like hanging lockers will save alot of cloths. Even a small fan will help move air around.

Just some quik random thoughts.
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Old 10-08-2012, 11:46 AM   #8
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Hi team,

Thanks for all the good ideas. I was just speaking with my mechanic this morning around fall back issues if we lose power for extended periods. We came to the conclusion that it may be best to continue to use the boat through December and winterize the engines and genny in early Jan, and Feb as historically that is the coldest months. He said the lake has never froze at all, but ice storms have cut power in the past, and with no heat in the engine room I'd be taking a risk.

I picked up two 1500 watt electric heaters that draw 10 amps a piece while running. This is the same as my reverse cycle heat/ac when the compressor is on. So my power should be just fine as long as I'm not using the microwave, coffee maker and heating my tank at the same time. The heaters are have a temp control so they don't run all the time. I had one unit set very low that kept the boat at 60 degrees last night, with outside temps around 45. Judging from this, two of them should keep the boat comfortable this winter, and I will likely use them over the reverse cycle. Also I like the cold and sleep better so I will rarely have it above 65 degrees.

I have no propane, and I agree a back up heat source should be on hand. I will look into it (perhaps a small camp propane tank hooked to a heat source for emergencies?). Also to clarify, if I crack the hatch in my bed room, and turn the heat on in the cabin, it will naturally cycle the air, and draw moisture out? If so, I will likely do that. I find some condensation in the bathroom likely due to the water in the toilet bowl.

On a side note, my freezer is almost one big block of snow crystals/ice. I need to defrost it this weekend. Is this caused by a bad seal?
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Old 10-09-2012, 06:12 AM   #9
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For the electric heat folks the modern air, not water "mini split" looks like a good deal.

Its COP is as high as 5 , so one gets 500% more heat than a toaster wire heater, and will work efficiently at temps below -20F .

Saw them all over northern Euroland .

Air cond might be a hassle with the working part of the unit requiring to be outside.

here is one brand,

Mitsubishi Comfort | MitsubishiComfort.com

www.mitsubishicomfort.com/
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:13 AM   #10
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Great to hear you are talking to people in the area so you know what to expect and be prepared.

Actually if you stop breathing it will help the condensation as the human body puts out a lot of moisture. In our mast bath and bed room I have 4 Dri Ease pots, and one of the port holes is not tight to allow air flow.

One of the first things we did was change the stove/oven to propane to reduce the amp demand. Once we had the propane on board, the cheapest and logical heat source was propane. However even if you do not presently have propane you could still install a propane heater. A vented propane heater is recommended.

For the freezer when it ices up, we turn down the temp so the ice melts slowly over a week time and keep the temp just cold enough to freeze most things. However, things like ice cream will be soft, but still cold.
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