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Old     (RanchDweller)      Join Date: Jun 2010       11-30-2011, 7:36 AM Reply   
I have heard a few times that people put a light bulb in the engine compartment with the deck lids closed to keep the engine from freezing. How safe is that really? I drained my block but is is going to be very cold the next 4 nights around 7-10 degrees. I don't want to spend $300 on an engine compartment heater. Thanks for your thoughts.
Old    Brendan (kybool)      Join Date: Aug 2004       11-30-2011, 8:16 AM Reply   
We do this a lot up in Tahoe, make sure to use a high wattage light bulb like a 90 watt. The newer spiral bulb won't work, no heat. Remember it doesn't need to be warm, it just needs to stay above freezing. If you want to get real fancy you can go to a hydroponics store and purchase a $20 thermostat that will automatically turn on the light when the temp in the engine compartment gets below a certain temp.
Old    Brett Yates (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       11-30-2011, 8:33 AM Reply   
Why not just get a magnetic block heater? My company sells a ton of these. They are about $40-50 and have got to be safer then a light bulb.

http://www.nwtc.ca/new_details.cfm?ProductID=66
Old    Sparky Jay (wake_upppp)      Join Date: Nov 2003       11-30-2011, 10:42 AM Reply   
Not quite sure how a lightbulb in the engine compartment would be unsafe? I did it for years. West Marine sells thermostaticaly controlled cabin heaters for around $150 and will last you for years. Only danger with a bulb that I see is if the bulb goes out and you don't catch it.
Old    LR3w8kbrdr            11-30-2011, 10:51 AM Reply   
Down here in FL i put a shop light in the engine compartment of our boat on the nights we had freezing temps. My buddy always uses heat pads/blankets for his 3 Nautiques.
Old    Michael Hunter (mhunter)      Join Date: Mar 2008       11-30-2011, 11:03 AM Reply   
Are you in a northern area? Do you have a heater?
Old     (RanchDweller)      Join Date: Jun 2010       11-30-2011, 12:12 PM Reply   
I have a heater. If i go with the light bulb, I was going to put one up in the observer seat storage. It should keep the heater warm. I live in Colorado and the night time temp for the next five or six days will be 10 degrees with the daytime high in the upper 20's. So it will be cold. I drained out the block. I am pretty sure that I found all of the drain points. Just for this cold snap, i will feel better if I have a heater. Some say it will not be needed, just cheaper to buy some shop lights than fixing a motor due to something I missed. I was just concerned with an ignition source in an enclosed space. It should not be an ignition source if the bulb does not break. It sounds like tons of people have tried the light bulb without blowing up thier boat. I have not heard any stories of a light bulb starting a boat on fire. Although I am sure there are a few out there.

Last edited by RanchDweller; 11-30-2011 at 12:15 PM.
Old    Brett Yates (polarbill)      Join Date: Jun 2003       11-30-2011, 12:24 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by RanchDweller View Post
I have a heater. If i go with the light bulb, I was going to put one up in the observer seat storage. It should keep the heater warm. I live in Colorado and the night time temp for the next five or six days will be 10 degrees with the daytime high in the upper 20's. So it will be cold. I drained out the block. I am pretty sure that I found all of the drain points. Just for this cold snap, i will feel better if I have a heater. Some say it will not be needed, just cheaper to buy some shop lights than fixing a motor due to something I missed. I was just concerned with an ignition source in an enclosed space. It should not be an ignition source if the bulb does not break. It sounds like tons of people have tried the light bulb without blowing up thier boat. I have not heard any stories of a light bulb starting a boat on fire. Although I am sure there are a few out there.
That is pretty damn cold and for a good stretch of days. Insteady of putting a lamp in the observers area I would just witnerize the heat correctly. Jut take off the hoses where it connects at the block(should be 2 of the them, one to the heater and one back from the heater) and use a compressor to blow the water out. did you draing the oil cooler? That is something that is easy to overlook. I think you will probably be fine with a light bulb or 2 but seeing as how you are in an area that is cold every winter buying a magnetic block heater might be nice. I am not sure if one would be sufficient for entire engine area at those temps.
Old     (RanchDweller)      Join Date: Jun 2010       11-30-2011, 12:37 PM Reply   
Oil cooler??? Cr@p. How do you drain that? Thanks for the heads up on blowing out the heater, i can do that. Those block heaters look good. Do you just stick one or two on each side down low? Thanks for putting up with such basic questions.
Old    Nacho (denverd1)      Join Date: May 2004       11-30-2011, 12:47 PM Reply   
tranny oil cool is back by the tranny. two hoses come off the trans and go into a cylinder that 2" diameter and about a foot long. should be a screw at the bottom to drain it.
Old    Jim Young (jyoungusa)      Join Date: Sep 2009       11-30-2011, 2:15 PM Reply   
Lightbulb still good idea too since also serves to keep checkvalves and hoses in ballast system from freezing were not all of water got out -the cheaper than replacing engine but still more expensive than burning lightbulb
Old    Michael Hunter (mhunter)      Join Date: Mar 2008       11-30-2011, 2:57 PM Reply   
I have a feeling I will be reading a post by you in the spring titled [Milky oil what do do now].
Do yourself a favor and take it to a professional and get it completely WINTERZED.In your state it should have been done a month ago .
Old     (packrat)      Join Date: Mar 2005       11-30-2011, 4:27 PM Reply   
I use this one from West Marine. It has both heat and a fan to circulate the air. http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs...classNum=50671
Old    Jamie Corvin (Bumpass1)      Join Date: Oct 2010       11-30-2011, 4:58 PM Reply   
I put 2 el cheapo plastic drops lights from Lowes before this past spring. I got my boat in Feb and come Mar. I could not wait anymore. I put one up close to the vdrive and transmission and one back by the pulleys down by the block. The engine compartment seemed to stay around 45 - 50 degrees everytime I checked it. I checked every morning before I would leave for work to make sure that the lights didn't burn out during the night. I could see the light coming thru the engine compartment vents. I never had any issues at all. I'm sure that the first or second nice day after the winter I will be doing the same thing again.
Old    J McLemore (supra_21v)      Join Date: Apr 2008       11-30-2011, 6:25 PM Reply   
I use 2 cheap drop lights and I havent had a problem. I just wouldn't let them lay on the carpet. Mine have the metal clamp on them (cheap but works). I'm in Texas so it's not typically too cold out here. Last year we had some weather in the 20 - 30 degree range most of the day and mine was fine. Just make sure you drain ballast lines so nothing cracks.

Last edited by supra_21v; 11-30-2011 at 6:29 PM.
Old    Adam Curtis (acurtis_ttu)      Join Date: May 2004       12-01-2011, 6:22 AM Reply   
IMO the bulb "trick" is for those of us who live in parts of the country where it doenst' get that cold...very often, or for very long. You live in colorado.....I wouldnt' chance it...just buy the proper equipment.
Old     (RanchDweller)      Join Date: Jun 2010       12-01-2011, 7:29 AM Reply   
I hear what you are saying. I drained the block several months ago. So last night, i decided to run 7 gallons of antifreeze through. The antifreeze also went through the heater lines. I should be good to go now. Thanks everyone.
Old    Haugy            12-01-2011, 10:42 AM Reply   





So let me get this right. Some of you agree that putting a light is safe in your boat's engine hatch.....?

A light, with filament that if the bulb breaks or pops creates a huge spark? In a compartment that houses and engine and fuel??? A compartment with fuel that hasn't been properly ventilated in weeks? A compartment that most of you (if done properly) is topped off with fresh fuel to ensure plenty of vapor is drifting about?

Right, got it. You're all insane. Check.

Good luck with that.

Here. Buy a proper heater for $45-60. That is safe with no sparks, has tip-over protection, adjustable thermostat, and even a timer so you can set it to come on at night only. I use one in my boat near the engine bay on the lowest setting. Also have a digital thermometer that has a display in the house. Boat engine and hatch area never gets below 45 even in 10 degrees.

DeLonghi safety heater
Old    Timmy! (timmyb)      Join Date: Apr 2007       12-01-2011, 10:59 AM Reply   
If it's properly winterized, you don't need a heater. I live in Colorado too and never had any problems when my boat wasn't in the heated storage that it is now.
Old    Bruizza (bruizza)      Join Date: May 2009       12-01-2011, 12:14 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by timmyb View Post
If it's properly winterized, you don't need a heater. I live in Colorado too and never had any problems when my boat wasn't in the heated storage that it is now.
This
Old    Haugy            12-01-2011, 12:20 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by timmyb View Post
If it's properly winterized, you don't need a heater. I live in Colorado too and never had any problems when my boat wasn't in the heated storage that it is now.
While I agree with you 100%, on an older boat like mine keeping it from gettting bitter freezing helps prolong the life of other things besides the engine. Like the upholestry.

But you're right. If it's done right, you should be able to stick in the artic circle for days and be fine.
Old     (RanchDweller)      Join Date: Jun 2010       12-01-2011, 2:10 PM Reply   
@Haugy- I looked at your safety heater. I don't think it is any safer than the light bulb trick. I believe the heater is a safety heater in that if it tips over it will shut off. It has no mention to being intrinsically safe, explosion proof, or spark proof. If anything, the switch constantly turning on and off in the engine compartment could produce a spark. The light bulb is dangerous in that if the glass breaks the filiment will be exposed to fumes. I guess the safest way is a heater designed to be in the engine compartment like the xtreme heaters for $300. I just didn't want to spend that. I did end up running antifreeze through the system so everything should be protected. Does any one know someone that had a light bulb explode their boat?
Old    Timmy! (timmyb)      Join Date: Apr 2007       12-01-2011, 2:55 PM Reply   
If you have anti-freeze in there, I wouldn't worry at all! The RV anti-freeze is good down to -40.
Old    Jo Shmoe (joeshmoe)      Join Date: Jan 2003       12-01-2011, 7:35 PM Reply   
Ranch, how do you know the antifreeze went through the heater? On mine the heater does not work unless the boat is in gear and i'm not going to put it in gear out of the water. Did you check when you ran antifreeze that the heater was actually giving off heat?
Old    Haugy            12-02-2011, 6:18 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by RanchDweller View Post
@Haugy- I looked at your safety heater. I don't think it is any safer than the light bulb trick. I believe the heater is a safety heater in that if it tips over it will shut off. It has no mention to being intrinsically safe, explosion proof, or spark proof. If anything, the switch constantly turning on and off in the engine compartment could produce a spark. The light bulb is dangerous in that if the glass breaks the filiment will be exposed to fumes. I guess the safest way is a heater designed to be in the engine compartment like the xtreme heaters for $300. I just didn't want to spend that. I did end up running antifreeze through the system so everything should be protected. Does any one know someone that had a light bulb explode their boat?
No spark, no exposed heating element, uses oil to heat rather than coils. I can set a towel on this thing on high for 6 hours with no problems. I know that is a fact as I'm a safety nut, and before I put one of these in my baby I test the hell out if it. So I stuck it in a 75gallon garbage bin on high with a towel folded up on top of it for 6 hours. No burns on the towel. Hot as all balls, but no burns. Plus the tip over feature, which works, as a I test that yearly. The only thing I would prefer it to have is a 3-way grounded plug versus a two prong. But I only plug it into a GFI plug so it's good to go.

The Xtreme heaters are based on the same principle. They just have a small fan to circulate the heat, and are very small. Both very nice advantages, but like you said, expensive. With my boat cover on that DeLonghi keeps my boat nice and warm throughout winter, and with the engine hatch cracked it stays warm too. Get the good stuff if you can afford it. But if someone is thinking of a lightbulb heater, get the safety heater instead. It may not be the best, but my god, it's way better than a lightbulb.

And yes, I know someone who lost their prize 32 Deuce to a lightbulb heater. He had it in there so the next morning when he wanted to take it to a show it would fire up easily and run well. He awoke at 4am to his smoke alarms in his shop going off. The car was engulfed. Happily it was an industrial shop and the sprinklers kicked on and saved the building. But not the car. What if that had been in his house????
Old    Sparky Jay (wake_upppp)      Join Date: Nov 2003       12-02-2011, 7:46 AM Reply   
I did not see anything saying this heater mentioned above was spark proof either. And how many times has any of you had a light bulb explode? I got a good laugh out of that one. I have never ever had or seen of a lightbulb exploding unless it is dropped.
Old    Jonathan Bay (john211)      Join Date: Aug 2008       12-02-2011, 8:06 AM Reply   
Haughy, those Delonghi heaters arc. They sure do. I've got 2 in my office here (1 nest to me), and 2 at home. At night, I can see a faint blue arc whenever the thermostat trips. And the clicking, I can clearly hear the thermostat trip both ways. The thermostats in those heaters are noisy. My guess is, they arebi-metallics.
Old    sperbet            12-02-2011, 9:29 AM Reply   
does that space heater even fit in a v-drive compartment? I tried one in mine before and it didn't, had to crack the hatch. I think that heater will have it's own inherent risks just like a light bulb.

I use a light bulb now for the 5-10 times a year I have my boat out in blow freeezing temps. I sleep just fine at night...
Old    Nick in the TC (nick_in_ssp)      Join Date: Aug 2006       12-02-2011, 11:36 AM Reply   
+1 for the magnetic engine block heaters. Why would there even be a question of using a light buld or halegen shop light. I bought a block heater a couple months ago for under $30.
Old    Michael Hunter (mhunter)      Join Date: Mar 2008       12-02-2011, 3:22 PM Reply   
I never knew so many people are willing to take a chance on their engine. It takes less than 1/2 hour to do a minimal winterize that will guarantee no damage. No matter what heat source you use you take a big chance on something going wrong. None will protect your heater unless you put it in the same compartment as the heater core. I guess this why I read so many posts in the spring about cracked blocks.
Old    LR3w8kbrdr            12-02-2011, 4:25 PM Reply   
Obviously im n a different area than most of you where we boat year round so the only reason I used the light or warming blankets was bc I knew the vride was going to be used tht next day or within the week. You guys in those places that have real winters, Id call it a day and either store in a heated storage or winterize the thing till spring. My dads boats sits outside in the midwest from Oct to March fully winterized with no issues in 18 yrs.
Old    Haugy            12-02-2011, 4:35 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by john211 View Post
Haughy, those Delonghi heaters arc. They sure do. I've got 2 in my office here (1 nest to me), and 2 at home. At night, I can see a faint blue arc whenever the thermostat trips. And the clicking, I can clearly hear the thermostat trip both ways. The thermostats in those heaters are noisy. My guess is, they arebi-metallics.
Then you don't have a modern Delonghi SAFETY heater. It's a closed system. What would spark? It's all electric internally. There would be no spark. It's a heating coil in oil. And if you can "see" a spark, you've got one seriously fubar'd heater or you don't have one of those.

I'm not going to argue semantics. As it's been posted, winterize your boat properly and you won't need a heater. Those of us with 21 year old boats do protect our vinyl though.
Old    Matthew Melvin (melvinator)      Join Date: Apr 2001       12-03-2011, 5:50 AM Reply   
What do you do when the power goes out and you bulb/heater isn't working? Support your local shop and drop the $200-$300 for a full winterization.
Old    Jonathan Bay (john211)      Join Date: Aug 2008       12-03-2011, 2:32 PM Reply   
I love the Internet. My heaters are branded "DeLonghi Safeheat." I have the same heaters as Haughty. But, in his opinion, mine are Fubar'd. His are genius. Don't tell me Haughty, you sadly had to switch today from Cain to Gingrich?

I wouldn't advise putting a DeLonghi heater anywhere near fumes. Mine are 1500 W (and they may come in higher wattage sizes). I find them comfortable space heaters because they are oil-filled radiators (the oil is electrically heated). But they do have an arc event. The arc event is either when the heaters trip ON or OFF (not sure b/c I haven't studied this with a field notebook). The trips of both ON and OFF include clicks. Every now and then when in the right light conditions, I notice in the corner of my vision what seems like a low intensity flashbulb flashing along with a click of a trip event. So, these heaters arc.

Whether the arc is from the thermostat or a relay, I'm not sure. Hell, even the relays in my PC's click and chatter when I power ON, and they are sure not handling 1500 watts. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arc_suppression

If I were intense for winter boating, I'd winterize my inboard, and then, also get an outboard. (Oh yeah, I've done that.)

From a guy who doesn't hide his identity on the Internet,

Jonathan Bay
Springfield, Missouri

You can Google that.
Old    Sparky Jay (wake_upppp)      Join Date: Nov 2003       12-04-2011, 12:22 PM Reply   
And these manufacturers love to boast when something is sparkless or explosion proof and the above listed heater does not, at least anything I read.
Old    Jonathan Bay (john211)      Join Date: Aug 2008       12-04-2011, 2:41 PM Reply   
I hate the Internet. I was a bit arrogant in my post. I wish I hadn't been. For instance, my 'outboard' is an 8-hp tiller steer. It's a little aluminum fishing boat, but it works ... uhh ... ok ... just ok in the winter ... as long as I dress up. Me and whoever will brave the cold with me look like the old Salt on the Morton salt label.
Old    Jonathan Bay (john211)      Join Date: Aug 2008       12-09-2011, 11:26 AM Reply   
http://www.news-leader.com/article/2...boats-cruisers

"Jan 18, 2007 - Port of Kimberling fire destroys houseboats, cruisers"

"Kimberling City -- A fire at the Port of Kimberling early Thursday destroyed six luxury houseboats and cruisers before firefighters from two counties were able to control the blaze.

No one was injured. The cause has not yet been determined, but an improper heating unit in an engine compartment could have caused the kind of explosion that sparked the fire, said Kelly Swanson who owns the marina with her husband, Randy Swanson."


I was talking this to someone who has a 72 foot houseboat at Port of Kimberling (Table Rock Lake). He said there was a fire on the marina one winter. It was believed started by a light bulb used to heat an engine compartment. The marina has new rules prohibiting light bulbs. But the marina owners will allow heaters approved by them.

If they see a light bulb on in the Winter (I am told), they will cut the power. Eek.

But I've done it (in my boat locker). And others are no doubt going to do it.

With my boat winterized (and no light bulb), I leave the drain plug out. That way, fumes can sink out engine compartment. (Gasoline vapor is heavier than air, and sinks.)

However, if I have a light bulb in there, I believe I would be creating a natural draft and just drag the fumes up past the bulb. The open drain plug wouldn't be any benefit. So, thinking about it, I would be (not real) safe and follow the following practices. I would manually insert and withdraw the light bulb in the engine compartment with the light swithced OFF. That way, if I was clumsy and broke it, I wouldn't have my face in the engine compartment when I sparked a spark. Also, I would switch the light ON and OFF at the wall, well outside of the boat, and not by the switch in the lamp base.

Actually, after giving it some more thought, I think I'm done with lightbulbs. Here is some more advice on light bulbs in engine compartments.

http://www.goodoldboat.com/reader_se...ragitation.php
Old    Karl De Looff (boarditup)      Join Date: Jan 2004       12-12-2011, 11:11 AM Reply   
Install a block heater and keep the engine filled with anti-freeze all winter long. It replaces a frost plug and can be used on gasoline motors - typically about $75 or so. This is the approach used by OEMs. The type is safe in enclosed environments and not too difficult to install.

Personally, I winterize my own by running 5-6 gallons of antifreeze through a hot motor and then draining everything. I use compressed air to blow out the heater, fill it again with anti-freeze, and blow it out again.

Don't use lightbulbs. They do fail and can "explode" if any condensation drips down on them. You also can have problems if the power fails for a long period of time. Winterize anyway and you are safe. It takes me about an hour and it takes $30 in antifreeze. I've had the same can of fogging oil for about 5-6 years.
Old    9Drozd            12-12-2011, 11:34 AM Reply   
I'm not understanding why you would want to put any sort of heater in your boat if its winterized. The whole point of winterizing is to remove all raw water from the motor so that there is nothing to damage your engine when it does freeze. I guess im not over the top as some of you guys on here but if properly winterized there is no need for heaters or running antifreeze through it. Owning and operating a full service marina we do hundreds of boats every fall and have never had one freeze on us. The only boats that do have a heater in them are ones that the owners continue to use throughout the winter. Just my 2c.
Old    CORY MITCHELL (stang_killa_ss)      Join Date: Jan 2010       12-13-2011, 8:05 PM Reply   
ive been doing the shop light trick for years. still do even on my '11.
never winterized a single boat yet.
mostly im lazy and if it aint broke...
Old    L W (501s)      Join Date: Feb 2010       12-13-2011, 11:23 PM Reply   
I live in Canada and for the last month of riding (October) it often gets below freezing at night. not wanting to give up for the season I have used the light bulb trick for years to get us through those short periods and it's worked great. never an issue.
Old    Anthonyv911 (tonyv420)      Join Date: Jul 2007       12-15-2011, 1:24 PM Reply   
done the light bulb thing for 7 years now and never had a problem.
Old    Karl De Looff (boarditup)      Join Date: Jan 2004       12-16-2011, 9:44 AM Reply   
A heater or light bulb can eliminate musty odors or mold growth in some cases. Just don't use it as a substitute for proper winterizing procedures.
Old    Anthonyv911 (tonyv420)      Join Date: Jul 2007       12-16-2011, 11:51 AM Reply   
Boat is properly winterized, I just put a light bulb in there so nothing starts growing (mold)

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