Author Topic: Bilge Heaters - any experiences?  (Read 189 times)

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Offline 185GXSF-Guy

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Bilge Heaters - any experiences?
« on: September 08, 2020, 10:50:46 AM »
The recent cold snap up here in north central MN has me thinking about picking up a bilge heater.  I am thinking of this one (Xtreme Heater Small : https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0113JX4RW/ref=twister_B08285JPQX?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1).  Allegedly safe for marine use and designed to be used in your bilge, certified by ABYC, USCG, etc.

Any experiences using this specific bilge heater or bilge heaters in general?  I wouldn't trust one of these in lieu of winterizing but just want some cheap insurance against an unexpected cold snap as we get toward the end of boating season (at least for us in MN!)

Thanks!
2001 GX 185 SF

Offline Plugcheck

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Re: Bilge Heaters - any experiences?
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2020, 11:44:37 AM »
Never knew they made such a thing, kinda spendy, but it obviously do not have a flame or heat source that can ignite fuel vapors obviously.   What about a block heater?  Or maybe just a light bulb(s)?   I can see the concern, was 100 degrees here Sunday, now its 50.   If you do go this route, I'd like to hear your results.
Michael
1979 CVZ-18 388 CI Vortec Mouse
1980 CVX-16SS 140 Mercruiser
1979 CVX-16 Johnson 175
2002 Bennington 2275CC 90 Mercury
1985 Intimidator project
1989 Lowe 200 Redneck fishin Toon
2001 Godfrey Sweetwater pontoon 115 Rude

Offline Diamond Chad

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Re: Bilge Heaters - any experiences?
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2020, 12:14:34 PM »
Sometimes I kept my 18 out later in the season for fall colors.  If the night was going to get to freezing, i lowered the drive to drain it, and I set a old fashion trouble light with a 60 watt bulb down in the bilge.  I was curious so I put a remote thermometer on top of the motor so I could monitor the temperature under the hood.  Coldest night was 29 degrees, and the temp under the hood was a cozy safe 49 degrees in the morning.

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Offline 185GXSF-Guy

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Re: Bilge Heaters - any experiences?
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2020, 08:43:08 PM »
Good suggestions all ! 

The gotcha for me is that the boat is on a lift at my lake home and I may or may not be up there when the temperature drops.  So, the thinking is that as the season gets later and later I could just plug the boat in when I am not around and the heater will kick on automatically when the temperature in the bilge drops below 40 degrees (and will turn off when the bilge heats up to 50).

If I pick one of these up, I will report back on my experiences and post some pictures.

Thanks!
2001 GX 185 SF

Offline 185GXSF-Guy

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Re: Bilge Heaters - any experiences?
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2020, 03:45:17 PM »
So, I ended up picking one of these up - I didn't purchase the one previously listed but rather this one (Twin Hornet 45) :
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00F996452/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Reasons for picking this one up instead of the other one :

1) Cheaper.
2) Dual Components (no single point of failure other than power / grid)
3) Waterproof (completely submersible)
4) More powerful (700w)

I put this in the bilge last night and all seemed well.  I didn't wake up to a boat fire this morning so that was good!  Prior to putting in the boat, I tested by placing in the freezer for an hour and then plugging it in to see it in action per the instructions.  Everything seemed to work as it should (kicked on for a few minutes as it came up to temperature and then automatically turned off).  This is a pretty robust little heater.

The biggest downside of this heater by far is the electrical cord.  You can tell this is a company built by and run by engineers as this thing was made to be super reliable, simple and foolproof.  You literally just supply power and that is it.  No switches, dials, etc. for the user to screw up.  As such, the electrical cord isn't detachable (one less point of failure) so this device would be pretty awkward to permanently mount in your boat (see pictures). The cord is so long that they must have been thinking about minimizing risk from bad extension cords or an extension cord that gets unplugged, etc.  It is kind of over the top for my purposes.   

I bought this anyway as I don't plan to permanently mount in my boat - just want to bring it out to extend the boating season / cheap insurance against cold snaps.

Overall - happy with this and I'll sleep better on cold nights when the boat is still on the water.  I would not recommend using something like this in lieu of winterizing.

Hope this helps!




« Last Edit: September 11, 2020, 03:55:43 PM by 185GXSF-Guy »
2001 GX 185 SF