Toms Tips On A Winter Problem
By Tom Neale, 12/28/2007
1. There’s an oft unsuspected danger associated with winter and boats.
2. Depending on where you are when you store your boat for the winter, you may be able to work in it during the cold months, especially inside the boat.
3. Many use electric “space heaters” to provide temporary heat while working aboard.
4. These produce heat by resistance and usually consume, when on high, at least 12 or more amps. This is a lot of amperage for many 120 volt wiring circuits, even though they are supposedly rated for 15 or 20 amp service.
5. Often boats stored in the winter, particularly on the hard, don’t have a normal supply of electricity. Owners frequently stretch extension cords across the yard. Also, there may be unusually high electricity consumption in the yard’s circuit. Low voltage from extra winter usage and extra runs in supply wire can cause increased danger of overheating or burning of wires.
6. Over the years we’ve known of several space heaters to overheat and melt down or burn.
7. On one occasion this happened when the unit was turned off completely, although still plugged in.
8. I think it’s best to not use this type of heater aboard. If you use these, buy only high quality units. Don’t go cheap. Be sure that they have a tip over cut off and overheat cut off. Never leave them unattended. When you leave them, always unplug them. Also consider setting them on a stable metal sheet such as a heavy cookie pan or similar piece of metal to provide some protection should they overheat.
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