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Old 10-01-2013, 09:22 AM   #1
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Winterization of boat in South Carolina

Hi All, I am planning on taking my trawler from the lower Chesapeake to Hilton Head this winter. I will be staying on board sometimes, but most of the time it will be vacant. I want to keep some sort of heat on to keep things dry. I was thinking of a couple electric space heaters, rather than my 2 zone cruise air units, while the boat is un-attended. Any thoughts on what type of heaters would be best for a 36' boat's cabin? I have a single 220 hp cummins equiped with a 120v engine block heater. A friend of mine, who is a retired coastie, told me to leave in plugged in, as this would keep condensation out of the engine and also heat the engine room area. Sounds like a good plan, but would there be any pitfalls to doing this? Any input is appreciated, as this is my first winter with the boat. Thanks
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:28 AM   #2
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block heater..depending on how powerful is often a great way to keep a boat warmer and dryer...especially where it counts.

the most common space heaters used are the oil filled ones...they seem to have earned everyones trust...the other popular ones are the incredibly expensive marine ones from marine reatailers...no matter what you use...make sure they are securely held down and I wouldn't be using any more than about 60-75% load on your shore power cord(s).
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:44 AM   #3
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In Hilton Head? No need for either. It will be cold and dry, but not enough to freeze (if that is what you are going for). The only time have wanted to heat in NC is when I know I will be back down in just a few days and don't want to wait for the reverse cycle to heat it back up. In colder water, it can take a while.
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Old 10-01-2013, 10:55 AM   #4
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If you do decide to leave a heater plugged in and unattended, may I suggest a radiator type heater. They do not get hot enough to cause a fire, are fairly efficient eventually and are relatively cheap.
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Old 10-01-2013, 02:21 PM   #5
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I would add a fan to keep air circulating. Mold and condensation will be your problems.
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Old 10-02-2013, 05:35 AM   #6
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Most electric heaters are 1300W , or about 10Amps .

IF you are metered the electric rate might make it a very expensive way to heat.

We were charged 25c a KW decades ago, at marinas. The E bill might be breathtaking.
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Old 10-02-2013, 10:48 AM   #7
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You might try simply turning on 60-100 watt incandescent light bulbs in saloon and engine space. Amazing how such simple things have worked quite well in the chill and humidity of the northern Gulf of Mexico coast over the past winters. I should think you'd have about the same weather as we do where you plan to winter. Good luck!
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Old 10-02-2013, 01:24 PM   #8
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A light bulb in a metal coffee can will do more than you would ever think.

And it's cheap.

Set the can on a block of wood or a brick.

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Old 10-02-2013, 02:46 PM   #9
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A light bulb in a metal coffee can will do more than you would ever think.

And it's cheap.

Set the can on a block of wood or a brick.

SD
What a great idea! Sounds like a terrific improvement on mine. I'll be trying that this coming winter...if I'm stuck up here in the Redneck Riviera and can't make it down to the Keys.
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Old 10-02-2013, 02:56 PM   #10
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I use a 15 pint dehumidifier that I bought on ebay. I cannot remember the name but I will post up when I go down to the boat later. Works very well and I think I paid about $130 for it. I just put it in the sink and plug it in!

The block heater is an excellent idea and should be considered a maintenance item. Engines are heat sinks and they do not heat and cool as rapidly as the air changes temp. So you end up with condensation on the engine which leads to corrosion. A block heater is an excellent way to keep corrosion at bay!!!
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Old 10-02-2013, 05:29 PM   #11
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I'll be facing the same situation as I'll be storing my boat somewhere in NC/SC region (yet TBD).

Do you guys think that something like this heater should do the job (oil filled and programmable)?

Amazon.com - DeLonghi TRN0812T Portable Oil-Filled Radiator with Programmable Timer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Baker View Post
I use a 15 pint dehumidifier that I bought on ebay. I cannot remember the name but I will post up when I go down to the boat later. Works very well and I think I paid about $130 for it. I just put it in the sink and plug it in!

The block heater is an excellent idea and should be considered a maintenance item. Engines are heat sinks and they do not heat and cool as rapidly as the air changes temp. So you end up with condensation on the engine which leads to corrosion. A block heater is an excellent way to keep corrosion at bay!!!
I was thinking on getting some kind of dehumidifier. I'm using them at home and they work great. They just seem to be too bulky for the boat. I would also set it up by the sink to have the drain run off in to the sink.

Do you guys have any recommendations on dehumidifiers?
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Old 10-02-2013, 05:47 PM   #12
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Here you go. Works very well and quite compact!! Click image for larger version

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In case you can't read, the brand is NewAir.
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Old 10-02-2013, 05:52 PM   #13
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http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B002NXVWGS Showing $165. I did pay less than that a year and a half ago but the thing works very well. Read the reviews. A lot of happy campers. And low power draw as well...under 200 watts.
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Old 10-02-2013, 06:39 PM   #14
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Do you guys think that something like this heater should do the job (oil filled and programmable)?

Amazon.com - DeLonghi TRN0812T Portable Oil-Filled Radiator with Programmable Timer
It will be fine. Avoid programmable ones, though. If the power goes off, they stay off. Just set it at 50 degrees and call it done.

Why would you need a dehumidifier in the winter? Air is dry as a bone down here in winter. Making it drier just dries out the wood interior. Right?

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Old 10-02-2013, 07:39 PM   #15
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Greetings,
All of above are valid suggestions but may I re-suggest fans (post #5). We have 6 running 24/7 when not underway and have yet to experience any mold, odor or moisture problems over the last 3 years.
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Old 10-02-2013, 07:45 PM   #16
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In Hilton Head? No need for either. It will be cold and dry, but not enough to freeze (if that is what you are going for). The only time have wanted to heat in NC is when I know I will be back down in just a few days and don't want to wait for the reverse cycle to heat it back up. In colder water, it can take a while.
I second this.
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Old 10-02-2013, 08:17 PM   #17
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It will be fine. Avoid programmable ones, though. If the power goes off, they stay off. Just set it at 50 degrees and call it done.

Why would you need a dehumidifier in the winter? Air is dry as a bone down here in winter. Making it drier just dries out the wood interior. Right?

Tom-
I guess you should tailor to your climate. Here we get rapid temperature fluctuations in the winter which causes heating and cooling and condensation.

Not only that and probably more importantly, the water surrounding your boat is likely warmer than the surrounding air at night and this might reverse during the day....again, a recipe for significant condensation. You boat there, Tom. So you would know better than I. That is just the way it works down here.
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Old 10-02-2013, 09:41 PM   #18
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Great tips, guys.

Baker, thanks for the link.

Tom, my boats were always stored on hard in NJ and damp collector buckets were always on the boat to control the moisture. This will be my first time storing in water, in remote location of NC/SC climate.

I can see your point during Jan/Feb, but what about other months when the temps are jumping 20deg during the day (Dec, then Mar/Apr)? I think this is the time when humidity level will be up. Am I right?

Couple of additional questions:

- I always set my A/Cs on HU (humidity) mode. Would this be a good idea to use when leaving the boat for a while (at least a month)?

- Do you guys use on board A/C-heating systems or do you shut the seacocks and the units, and only use electrical heaters?

- I've purchased the oil pan heaters for mains and generator, would I need to block the air vents preventing outside cold air getting in to the ER or will the block heaters do the job? I'll be installing the timer for them and run them in cycles (e.g. 4hrs time slots). I wouldn't care if the power goes off and the timers will reset, as long as the power is back up the 4hrs time slots will comeback. They can be shifted, but they will be in affect.
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Old 10-02-2013, 11:14 PM   #19
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Not only that and probably more importantly, the water surrounding your boat is likely warmer than the surrounding air at night and this might reverse during the day....again, a recipe for significant condensation. You boat there, Tom. So you would know better than I. That is just the way it works down here.
That is a good point. Probably true too. So if it comes and goes, could it pose a problem and could a small tabletop dehumidifier remove that much moisture? I suppose it could accelerate corrosion in the engine room.
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Old 10-03-2013, 05:44 AM   #20
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In Fl the solution weather the boat is afloat or on the hard is a dirt house rooftop spinning vent.

These can be installed on a hatch or on sail boats on a box that drops in the companionway slide.

They move the air enough to not get fungus growing up the hull or on the overhead.

Best if purchased in a shore area as the bearings will be sealed.

Shop for roof turbine vent on Google



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