Boat Heating to Prevent Mould & Mildew onboard
Keeping your boat slightly warmer than the outside air, and helping to reduce significant temperature drops overnight can really help to prevent the growth of mould and mildew. A heat source within the boat will also circulate air, again helping to prevent stale air pockets forming. But what type of heaters should you be using, and which work well? We’ve put some below, as well as some types that you should avoid using if possible…
What not to use...
As a general rule, we never recommend the use of fan heaters on a boat that is unoccupied. They can be a potential fire hazard if the fan ever fails (they just get hotter and hotter!) and should they fall over or something fall in front of them you can end up with a fire. Oil filled radiators are a safer bet, but they tend to come with more complicated timers and thermostats incorporated into them, which don’t tend to fare too well in a marine environment. They are also often on wheels and quite tall, so not recommended of your boat is afloat. Needless to say any gas heater probably shouldn’t be used when you are not aboard either (gas flames also generate quite a lot of moisture, so we don’t recommend gas heaters when you are aboard either).
Tube heaters are a simple and effective way of warming your boat interior slightly. Heating anything uses quite a lot of power, and as tube heaters are low wattage, they aren’t designed to bring your boat interior up to a comfortable temperature. They are simply there to stop things in the boat freezing, and to keep the temperature slightly above the outside temperature, which means that you get a dramatic reduction in condensation forming as the temperature drops overnight. They are very durable, have very few moving parts and are quite compact too. All in all, tube heaters are a great addition to your boat in the winter. Choose thermostat versions if you want to save a bit of money on your running costs.
Frost heaters use a traditional electric element to heat your boats interior. They run on a thermostat and are designed to prevent your boat from freezing (freezing water can cause damage to engines and tanks etc). They have no fan element, so are very robust, and can put out quite a bit of heat in a short space of time.
The Caframo Stor-Dry is a fan heater of sorts, but is very low wattage (90w) so unlike a household fan heater (typically 1500-2000w), does not pose a fire hazard should the fan fail or something fall on top of it. It is designed for the marine environment, and because it has a small fan motor it really helps with air circulation too. It is also designed to run constantly for extended periods.