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would this be a good type of frost heater for my boat?

the cold months have started and I'm worried about frost, i have found this tubular heater http://www.jc-direct.co.uk/heatstore-tubular-heaters-1ft-6ft.html and wondered if it would be a good to keep the frost away or maybe you have an alternative?

Asked by: gareth  | 2.57pm, Sunday 23 October

WW says:

These frost heaters are very useful at protecting the interior of boats, if you have a good quality 230V power supply and don't mind paying for their running.
They can be very effective at preventing calorifiers, engines and frost sensitive equipment from being damaged.
However, draining down water tanks, plumbing and calorifiers if the boat is not to be used for more than a few days, this really would need to be done anyway if conditions well below freezing point was predicted.
Frost heaters can work well, but they then usually mean that ventilation is reduced- a better course of action would potentially to be- ensure that everything that needs to have water in is frost protected- engine coolant circuits and wet central heating. Anything else is empty of water- including bilges. Then ensure that there is good ventilation around the boat- including letting a few windows remain open if safe to do so, lockers and cupboards opened and a good end-of-season clean to reduce the amount of viable mould spores. This can be far cheaper to do, and better for the b oat- good air movement will help keep a boat in good condition than shutting it up with heaters on. Also, you might consider that this is a more environmentally acceptable approach.
Using your boat every month or so throughout winter will help as well- especially if you go for a cruise for a few hours and get the engine heated up well.
There is more winter laying up advice available in back issues of WW- or search in the article box on this page- otherwise please do let us know if we can be of help.

Mark Langley  | 2.43PM, Thursday 27 October

Readers say:

In my boat I have two fixed heaters (2kW and 500W) but both have very precise thermostats. I set these to 5 degrees, and have a min/max thermometer in the coldest part of the boat (the bathroom, which has no electric heaters in), and check every week or so it's being kept above freezing then adjust heaters as required. Just be aware that some digital min/max thermometers only provide the last 24 hours' readings, so check first. I also open up any cupboards and removeable panels that have pipes behind, and almost completely drain the water tank so I've got a small water supply I can use if I'm on the boat. If this small amount freezes it should just expand upwards and not crack the tank. I do however have a couple of access panels removed that allow heat to get to the tank from inside the boat. Be aware that if you have an electric heater with a digital thermostat this may turn off if there is a brief power cut. Also set the inverter so it won't try to power the heaters. You could use either a domestic central heating type thermostat or a battery-backed plug in one. This saves me having to completely drain the fresh water system so I can use the boat in the winter, but you really have to know what your doing! You also need to be sure you've got a reliable mains supply. However if you're not 100% sure what you're doing, I would suggest following Mark Langley's advice!

Robert Wood  | 7.47PM, Saturday 12 November

I have used tube heaters linked to a thermostat in my Freeman 24 for two years and they have proved their worth. However, I live 16 miles from the marina and to save lying awake at night wondering if the electricity is subject to an outage or if another problem has arisen I installed a Sensometrix Argon 100. It allows me to text the boat from my mobile anywhere in the world and receive back a text with the temperature in the key area or areas if more than one sensor is used. Yes, it costs circa £120 plus a £5 per month Sim card but when the ambient plummets it gives me the comfort of knowing the electricity is on and the heaters are doing their stuff.

Patrick Bell  | 5.14PM, Monday 14 November

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