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Bilge Heaters

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Old 11-25-2005, 12:20 PM
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Default Bilge Heaters

I'm seriously considering a bilge heater this year for the first time ever. I have a 38' Cig with twins. I'm in East Tennessee and the weather is not near as brutally cold as in the northern states. However, it certainly does get below freezing for extended periods between now and sometimes late March. I've always had the desire to be able to get the boat out on that freaky 78 degree February day that sometimes comes along but was never able because I was winterized. And, a good bilge heater is similarly priced to winterization.

I'm very curious to get some input from anyone that has experience with bilge heaters so that I can make an educated decision. Obviously I don't want the boat to freeze.

Anyone here use bilge heaters instead of winterizing ? What's your experience ? I'm on a lift and am more susceptible to wind and cold because of it. Will the water run out of my Bravos up on a lift ? Are my drives in danger of freezing as well, even though they're up. ? My marina has solid power and most people using heaters have lights attached to the heater power that the marina personnel monitor daily to check for heaters working. I would have an indicator light as well. I might add that the people that I'm aware of using heaters are all cruisers sitting in the water.

I will appreciate any input here. It's getting cold outside !
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Old 11-25-2005, 12:44 PM
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Default Re: Bilge Heaters

The thing that would worry me the most would be that you might get a freak storm and the temp really dropped and your electricity when out, what would you do??? I live in Northern Michigan so I have to worry about it more then most. JB
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Old 11-25-2005, 01:11 PM
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Default Re: Bilge Heaters

winterize and use the bilge heater... you would have to be crazy to take that chance to not winterize....
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Old 11-25-2005, 01:28 PM
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Default Re: Bilge Heaters

Key words here are "solid power" Years ago a friend had a 47 Fountain with triple SC800's. It was a real bear to winterize so he bought some killer bilge heaters that worked well for years. One year we had a freak storm,power went out. He said no problem I'll drive to the lake with my generator. Storm had knocked down trees,roads were impassable,he could not get there,power was out for a week. All 3 motors popped.
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Old 11-25-2005, 01:33 PM
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Default Re: Bilge Heaters

I would use bildge heater only on a temporary basis for a week or two to extend the season... even then a lightbulb suspended in the bildge works unless you get -20*... any longer than that I would winterize, not to do so would be penny wise and dollar foulish.
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Old 11-25-2005, 07:05 PM
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Default Re: Bilge Heaters

I am a dealer for Extreme Heaters try this link

http://cocktail-cove.com/index.php?name=CCart&id=5
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Old 11-25-2005, 08:29 PM
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Default Re: Bilge Heaters

Here is my plans. I live in Maryland and the winter here is never that bad. I bought 2 600 W Xtreme Heaters. One for each engine. Last year I had the boat safe heater 700 W, but it was so big I could ony put it on the far side of the bilge. I just didn't feel good about the boatsafe heater. But these Xtreme heaters are so small I put a 600 w under each engine. That should keep the bilge nice and toasty. Maybe a little overkill, but I like overkill. In addition, when winter is really here and the river I'm on starts to ice over, I will run some antifreeze through the system. I will run some antifreeze through the exhaust sysem but won't worry about the block. Like someone else said, if the power goes out for an extended period, I would just drain the bolck. No problem.
The only question I have is fogging. What is the purpose of fogging and can't you let your engines sit without fogging for a couple months?
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Old 11-25-2005, 08:35 PM
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Default Re: Bilge Heaters

This is where closed cooling with the pump comes in handy...
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Old 11-25-2005, 08:52 PM
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Default Re: Bilge Heaters

I live in middle TN and for years all I did was drain the water from the blocks, heat exchanger, manifolds, and sea water pump. Never had a problem. On most Cig's you have shut off valves for the sea water intake to the sea strainers. Close these, open the fresh water flush ball valves into the sea strainers and hook up a bucket rigged with a short hose. Run antifreeze/ water mix thru the fresh water hook up until engine comes up to temp, or if you do not run a thermostat, until all four gallons go into the water system and some comes out the exhaust. Use safety freeze type antifreeze. Joe Murray
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Old 11-26-2005, 12:34 AM
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Default Re: Bilge Heaters

I have used a heater for a long time and never had a problem. I also used to use a xtreme heater in my well house which was more reliable than a light bulb.
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