Monday, January 18, 2016

Keeping Warm During the Winter

--Blogpost written by Bob

This is our last winter onboard in cold weather!  Next winter we will be in the Bahamas.   The first part of this winter was unseasonably warm and our 16,000 Btu reverse-cycle air conditioner kept the boat at a perfect 72 degrees F.  As we got further into January, the outside water temperature dropped and the reverse-cycle A/C became unusable.

The two-month long Maryland winters can be brutal as shown in this photo. January
and February are the coldest months.   This is A dock in Annapolis
Landing Marina where I lived aboard in 2010.

We are currently using our two oil-filled radiators, one located just forward of the dining table and the other in the aft cabin.  By directing a small fan toward the ceiling and forward in the main salon, we are able to circulate the warm air within the boat.

We've used this little 12-volt fan in the summer and
the winter to circulate cabin air.

In late-December while we had unseasonably warm weather, we would set the oil-filled radiators to the lowest of three settings and occasionally we cracked the forward hatch open during the night.  As outside temperatures began to drop we increased the setting to the second of three settings.  So far in January we have had several nights with outside temperatures below 20 degrees F and this required both oil-filled radiators set on the highest setting to keep our boat comfortably warm.  Right now, it is 15 degrees F outside with 18 knot winds and snow is in the forecast for Friday and Saturday.

Oil-filled radiators don't get hot enough to cause a fire.  We feel they are
the safest alternative for continuously heating the cabin.  The
Delonghi-brand heater is rated at 1500 watts maximum.

It would be impossible to run both oil-filled radiators on the boat's 30-amp system--we would be popping breakers on the boat's shore power panel and outside on the marina's pedestal.  To avoid popping the breakers, we ran an extra 30-amp shore power cable and used as a dedicated source for the aft oil-filled radiator. 

Heated Mattress Pad

Getting into a warmed berth at night is pure luxury!   The heated mattress pad is made for a conventional full size mattress--we had to cut off the skirt and fold under the corners toward the forward end of the v-berth.   Our heated mattress pad (from JC Penny) has ten settings and will turn itself off after 8 hours of use.

Our two lazy cats in the v-berth during the day with
the heated mattress pad on low.


Having both 30-amp and 50-amp outlets on the marina slip pedestal was instrumental in keeping us warm this winter.  We bought a 50-amp to 30-amp adaptor in order to run the second 30-amp shore power cord. 

We have two 30-amp shore power cords connected
to our pedestal during the winter.

We face a continuing problem of condensation--it is worst when outside temperatures are lowest.

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