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Heat lamp for the winter?


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Is anyone using a heat lamp on a timer or temperature sensitive switch over the winter? In the past i have always winterized my boat by draining the block but living on the lake now i wouldn't mind the ability to take a cruise on a nice day without winterizing multiple times during the winter. The occasion 60 degree day is common during the winters here in NC. I spoke to a neighbor the other day who said he never winterizes and only uses a heater bulb on a temp sensitive switch set for 37 degrees and has never had an issue. It would be nice to have the boat accessible all winter but i like not worrying about it also. BTW i plan on keeping the boat on the covered lift either way. Any thoughts and has anyone used or seen the switch he is talking about. I neglected to ask him where he got it. Thanks,

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For nights in the 20's I think you would be fine, but if the temps dip into the teens or lower I would be really nervous. The marine block heaters put a lot more heat out than a 100 watt bulb. The other risk is if the filament on the bulb breaks and you aren't aware you will be sorry.

Another thing to add would be the heater and ballast system if the boat has them.

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I just leave a room space heater (cube type) in my engine compartment for any cool nights before I get the boat into storage for the winter. No issues yet doing this, but I do get paranoid the heater will quite working for some reason and I won't know it.

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Is your boat on a lift or in the water? A boat on a lift will freeze easier than one sitting in water.

On a lift. And it rarely gets down into the teens here but i would be keeping an eye on the weather and drain the water if it was going to get that cold. I am worried about the bulb going out or not coming on. there is really no way to know unless i go check on it everynight. I'm thinking now it may be a good idea to use the bulb to extent the season but still winterize in December or January when it gets cold enough to keep me off the lake anyway. Does anyone know where to get the heat bulbs or are they just the shop type lights with the cage and hook? Also any seen the temp sensors?

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Light bulb works for me in the early spring and late fall, but whenever the temp starts to get down around the 20s, I take out all the water. It may be fine for boats without showers, but I doubt the heat from the bulb will make it to the rear of the boat where the shower mixer is.

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Jcon, I would not trust it to a light bulb. I use an Extreme bilge heater, not cheap but a small price to pay...plug it in and the thermostat takes over. Like you say, depending on the forecast I sometimes drain the block and manifold just in case.

. http://www.bakesonli...il.aspx?ID=1769

Wow, that is pricey..... for that price they should guarantee your block wont freeze... I'm thinking winterizing is the way to go, even if i have to do it a few times at least i'll sleep at night.

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I would never sleep at night with a light bulb. I would end up checking every night and then wondering if it burnt out after I checked it. I would drain the block everytime plus the light bulb, plus a back up light bulb and possible overnight or two in the boat depending on temp with a third back up light bulb.

  • Like 1
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I would never sleep at night with a light bulb. I would end up checking every night and then wondering if it burnt out after I checked it. I would drain the block everytime plus the light bulb, plus a back up light bulb and possible overnight or two in the boat depending on temp with a third back up light bulb.

I would probably do the same, I am constantly worrying about the bulb burning out.
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Wow, that is pricey..... for that price they should guarantee your block wont freeze... I'm thinking winterizing is the way to go, even if i have to do it a few times at least i'll sleep at night.

That link is for the medium, you would want the small, still $350 though, but as it notes it is specially made for this application. Lightbulb is a significantly higher risk of both failure and explosion/fire.

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I ended up building my own 200 watt bilge heater last fall. I'll have to dig them up and post up some pics in a thread sometime this winter.

did the heather you built have a power wedge on it or a disco ball?? a simple heater sound like a walk in the park for you... :)

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I ended up building my own 200 watt bilge heater last fall. I'll have to dig them up and post up some pics in a thread sometime this winter.

did the heather you built have a power wedge on it or a disco ball?? a simple heater sound like a walk in the park for you... :)

I'm sure he rigged up something to communicate to his smart phone and give live temp readings and developed an app to control the temp as well :biggrin:

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Wow, that is pricey..... for that price they should guarantee your block wont freeze... I'm thinking winterizing is the way to go, even if i have to do it a few times at least i'll sleep at night.

A $400 piece of equipment in a $50k boat is pricey? I'd bet you spent far more than that on a stereo or rims. I have the $200 Boatsafe heater & have found it was well worth the investment, protecting my boat's engine from $4000 in damage.

Short term the light bulb should be fine..... assuming it doesn't burn out or catch your boat on fire.

But long term, learn to drain everything &/or install a bilge heater in the boat. It'll be a lot safer & you can sleep at night knowing it will work 100% of the time rather than HOPING it'll work.

If you have a heater then you better think about getting heat near it too. The heater core will be the first thing to blow in freezing temps.

Edited by Bill_AirJunky
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Is anyone using a heat lamp on a timer or temperature sensitive switch over the winter? In the past i have always winterized my boat by draining the block but living on the lake now i wouldn't mind the ability to take a cruise on a nice day without winterizing multiple times during the winter. The occasion 60 degree day is common during the winters here in NC. I spoke to a neighbor the other day who said he never winterizes and only uses a heater bulb on a temp sensitive switch set for 37 degrees and has never had an issue. It would be nice to have the boat accessible all winter but i like not worrying about it also. BTW i plan on keeping the boat on the covered lift either way. Any thoughts and has anyone used or seen the switch he is talking about. I neglected to ask him where he got it. Thanks,

I'm sure if I was actually in your situation I may think differently, but I wouldn't think even if you did nothing, you would have too much to worry about. I have an uncle that lives in Denver and I dont know the exact temps thru the winter, but it averages what, 50s day and high 20s night for a few weeks? I cant imagine its below freezing for much more then a couple hours at nite. All day you have the sun heating up the boat, the engine bay is some what insulated so it will hold heat, the lake water under the boat is probably 45-50degs letting off heat going rite up around the boat hull. It takes a bit of time for water to freeze hard enough to break something. I would bet the temp wouldn't get below freezing in the engine bay, maybe around the heater core. I really wouldn't think it would be a big issue, but again, I'm not in that position!!! Have you ever had a bottle of drinking water freeze in your car? Just asking, not being a smart a**.

Edited by mainekneeboarder
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One of my dealers on my previous boats told me that in order to raise damage they use a 24 degrees for 24 hours rule of thumb. I have not tested that theory but it made sense to me!

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One of my dealers on my previous boats told me that in order to raise damage they use a 24 degrees for 24 hours rule of thumb. I have not tested that theory but it made sense to me!

Your heater core will blow sooner than that though. I've also seen mufflers, water pumps, and shower valves crack. Not sure when. Your gambling at that point. So good luck.

Edited by Bill_AirJunky
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I added quick drains to my block, manifolds, impeller pump and heater. One minute of work and I can get a good night's sleep knowing that I haven't made a costly mistake. All I do is close the quick drains and fire it right back up after a cold spell. We were down to about 16 at night a couple of weeks ago so it can really extend the season for me. The only gotcha is making sure that everything is sealed back up tight and the impeller is actually drawing water again. I almost had a very bad day once and I learned to double check the water flow before increasing the rpm's above idle. Pretty much just like start-up in the spring.

Total project cost is about $60 if buying from a boat store (SkiDIM) or less if you go to a hardware store. -Marc

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Your heater core will blow sooner than that though. I've also seen mufflers, water pumps, and shower valves crack. Not sure when. Your gambling at that point. So good luck.

I'd never attempt it! Just stating what one dealer told me. I have always been proactive in that area. A few years ago a buddy didn't drain one plug on his block and first ride out in the spring he was towed back in with a cracked block. Several weeks and several thousand later he was back on the water.

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Your heater core will blow sooner than that though. I've also seen mufflers, water pumps, and shower valves crack. Not sure when. Your gambling at that point. So good luck.

My heater has been bypassed since i bought the boat so there is some truth to this. The boat originally came from GA so south of me and ii havn't pulled the core to look at but i'm sure it froze and blew. I will be draining the water out and winterizing as i have in the past this winter but may get a heater in the future. the boss wont let me drop the coin right now. Not sure about the 24/24 rule and i could probably be safe not to winterize at all but why risk it for a few minutes of work.

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