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Thread: bilge heater

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Baltimore, MD
    Boat
    sea ray
    Details
    410 Sundancer, 2000
    Engine(s)
    Twin CAT 3116TA
    Posts
    46

    bilge heater

    410 Dancer in water over Winter. Connected to shore power. Batteries left connected. Outside Temps usually in the 20-35 F range. Will a light bulb (turned on of course) in the bilge keep the air in the bilge dry/warm in any meaningful way? Certainly a 40 or 60 Watt bulb would not keep the engine innards WARM. Anyway, what is the point of warm air in the bilge over the winter? Is it really that big a deal? I have not used any heating device in the bilge in past years and the boat does just fine operationally all season.

    Thanks
    Court Ship
    Baltimore

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Williamsburg, VA
    Boat
    Sea Ray
    Details
    2003 480 DB Zodiac ProJet Dinghy Yamaha 110vx WaveRunner
    Engine(s)
    QSM-11 Diesels
    Posts
    10,585

    Re: bilge heater

    Is this 60 watt bulb instead of doing a proper winterization with antifreeze?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    South Shore , Long Island
    Boat
    Sea Ray
    Details
    1995 Sea Ray 370DA
    Engine(s)
    7.4 EFI's
    Posts
    351

    Re: bilge heater

    I have to admit........I've been a light bulb guy for 8 years now. I use 2 clamp style ( with tin shades )shop lights with 100w bulbs......clamped to the stringers....just inches above my bilge pumps. I winterize the entire boat......just use the bulbs to keep the pumps/water from freezing.

    I know this is ...to some people .... a no-no....but it works for me. Bilge heaters are fine.....but the bulbs direct the heat more to where I want it.
    Don
    ___________________
    1995 370 Sundancer
    " Dog Daze "
    Copiague, Long Island

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Above Cape Ann
    Boat
    Sea Ray
    Details
    02' 280 DA
    Engine(s)
    496 w BIII
    Posts
    3,461

    Re: bilge heater

    37 Dancer,

    You don't specify engine type in your sig, so if diesel: never mind

    But for gas owners think about the following:

    1) Incandescent light bulbs are an ignition source,

    2) gasoline vapors are heavier than air,

    Using 100 watt light bulbs in enclosed engine space, unsafe idea unless blowing up your boat is your intention
    Ciao Bella - '02 280 DA - 496 MAG B III
    Air Bella - '07 Zodiac Fastroller -T 6' Alu & Plastic Oars


    ​MMSI 338130198


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    South Shore , Long Island
    Boat
    Sea Ray
    Details
    1995 Sea Ray 370DA
    Engine(s)
    7.4 EFI's
    Posts
    351

    Re: bilge heater

    My 370DA has 7.4 EFI motors.....and like I said its a no-no to some people.....but it works for me....year after year. Its not a source of ignition but a source of heat.

    I don't want to get into a useless battle over this.....but any electrical device...in an engine room.... can be a potential source of ignition.

    Thanks.....
    Don
    ___________________
    1995 370 Sundancer
    " Dog Daze "
    Copiague, Long Island

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Williamsburg, VA
    Boat
    Sea Ray
    Details
    2003 480 DB Zodiac ProJet Dinghy Yamaha 110vx WaveRunner
    Engine(s)
    QSM-11 Diesels
    Posts
    10,585

    Re: bilge heater

    The OP asked why to keep the engine room "warm" and I'll explain my experience.

    Some of the engine room heaters, like the Xtreme ones I've used for various boats I've owned, have a fan on them to keep the air moving. The problem is that you need to keep everything that can freeze from getting below 32 degrees (or a little lower if it's salt water) and there will be nooks and crannies that the outside of the boat will keep cooler than where your heat source is located. Because of that, you need to keep the bilge air moving as well as a "safety factor" so the "cold spots" don't freeze.

    I don't winterize... and if it gets down in the single digits, I have to keep the cabin of the boat warmer than I do if it's in the 20's because the hull sides are not insulated and the shower valves will freeze... really... I know... If the outside air is in the single digits, I crank up the heat inside the boat to be in the 60's... if it's in the 20's, I leave it set in the 50's...

    Hope that explains the logic... The colder it is outside, the warmer you need to keep the inside and have air movement so the remote areas stay above freezing...

    Also, the wattage of a single bulb won't cut it (even ignoring the safety issue). The colder it is, the more wattage you'll need (see above) and for your boat I'm guessing you'll need 800 watts or so for your engine room... I'm south of you... it gets cold sometimes...

    The other option is to put oil pan heaters on your engines. I did that this year and will be reporting on how well they work. They'll keep the bilge warm but it's really more of a function of being able to start very cold engines to go out fishing in December/January. Those are made by Wolverine engine heaters: http://www.wolverineheater.com/
    Last edited by Four Suns; 11-13-2008 at 10:29 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Marysville, WA
    Boat
    Searay
    Details
    2000 260DA w/Garmin 545s GPS with Standard Horion GX1500S DSC VHF
    Engine(s)
    5.7L EFI with New Gen Bravo III Merc
    Posts
    9,790

    Re: bilge heater

    Quote Originally Posted by 37 Dancer View Post
    My 370DA has 7.4 EFI motors.....and like I said its a no-no to some people.....but it works for me....year after year. Its not a source of ignition but a source of heat.

    I don't want to get into a useless battle over this.....but any electrical device...in an engine room.... can be a potential source of ignition.

    Thanks.....
    Ok, not going to battle you either, but a light bulb is not ABYC, UL, CE or USCG listed
    Skål, Todd

    ~Nehalennia ∆~ Celtic Goddess of the Seafarers
    2000 ~ SeaRay ~ 260DA, 5.7L EFI, Bravo III

    www.vikingbay.co

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Marysville, WA
    Boat
    Searay
    Details
    2000 260DA w/Garmin 545s GPS with Standard Horion GX1500S DSC VHF
    Engine(s)
    5.7L EFI with New Gen Bravo III Merc
    Posts
    9,790

    Re: bilge heater

    Quote Originally Posted by Four Suns View Post
    The OP asked why to keep the engine room "warm" and I'll explain my experience.

    Some of the engine room heaters, like the Xtreme ones I've used for various boats I've owned, have a fan on them to keep the air moving. The problem is that you need to keep everything that can freeze from getting below 32 degrees (or a little lower if it's salt water) and there will be nooks and crannies that the outside of the boat will keep cooler than where your heat source is located. Because of that, you need to keep the bilge air moving as well as a "safety factor" so the "cold spots" don't freeze.

    I don't winterize... and if it gets down in the single digits, I have to keep the cabin of the boat warmer than I do if it's in the 20's because the hull sides are not insulated and the shower valves will freeze... really... I know... If the outside air is in the single digits, I crank up the heat inside the boat to be in the 60's... if it's in the 20's, I leave it set in the 50's...

    Hope that explains the logic... The colder it is outside, the warmer you need to keep the inside and have air movement so the remote areas stay above freezing...

    Also, the wattage of a single bulb won't cut it. The colder it is, the more wattage you'll need (see above) and for your boat I'm guessing you'll need 800 watts or so for your engine room... I'm south of you... it gets cold sometimes...
    Gary
    That's a good point. I was considering a Boatsafe "Bensaco" unit, I don't see that they have a fan.
    Skål, Todd

    ~Nehalennia ∆~ Celtic Goddess of the Seafarers
    2000 ~ SeaRay ~ 260DA, 5.7L EFI, Bravo III

    www.vikingbay.co

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Williamsburg, VA
    Boat
    Sea Ray
    Details
    2003 480 DB Zodiac ProJet Dinghy Yamaha 110vx WaveRunner
    Engine(s)
    QSM-11 Diesels
    Posts
    10,585

    Re: bilge heater

    Yeah... I'm not crazy about the "convection" only heaters... Here's the specs on the Xtreme ones: http://www.xtremeheaters.com/heaterspec

    I think they are better quality and make more sense than those "West Marine Special" jobs...

    The oil pan heaters are convection only but they heat up two very big hunks of iron (QSM-11's) so they work a little better... ;-)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    North GA Mountains
    Boat
    Sea Ray (Everything else is Just a Boat)
    Details
    Looking For Next One
    Engine(s)
    Looking For Next One
    Posts
    7,524

    Re: bilge heater

    Just a quick plug for xtremeheaters.
    I've got the xx(Medium)tremeheater on our 240SD works great!

    Previous Boat:
    2006 240 SunDeck, MS Judy, 350 MAG BR3
    North GA Mountains http://www.ssg-i.com

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