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Bilge Heaters / Engine Compartment Heaters

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Engine Compartment / Bilge Heaters / Boat Heaters How-To's

Xtreme Heaters Presents: Choosing The Right Engine Compartment Heater for Your Boat

There are a number of factors that go into choosing the correct bilge heater or engine compartment heater for your boat. Some of these will do with your location and others with the specific type of boat. Another thing to consider, are you looking to extend your boating season, or are you looking to avoid winterizing your boat altogether? Lets start with the following basic guidelines and then factor in information about your local weather conditions as well as where and how your boat is being stored. 

  1. Generally speaking, the small Xtreme Heater (300 watt) is best for small boats with tight engine compartments. This can include ski/wake boats, runabouts and deck boats that are up to 21' in length. 
  2. The medium heater can handle larger engine compartments typically found in smaller cruisers, or runabout boats of up to about 26' in length. These can also be used for more protection on a smaller boat in climates with a deep freeze.
  3. Large cruisers or any boat with multiple engines (and large engine compartments) would need a large heater (600 watt). There is generally more equipment to protect, including fresh water systems, strainers, generators, etc.  Some houseboats or large cruisers, with wide beams may require 2 heaters.


How Big Is Your Engine Compartment?

Begin with figuring a rough volume of the space you are trying to protect. A simple width x height x depth calculation will give you a starting point. Remember that any open space that your engine space is connected to must be figured into it as the heat generated will be shared with any connected space. Volume of space is only a starting point when choosing the right heater - larger areas will require higher heating capacity.


What Is In Your Engine Room?

The more equipment in your engine space and the more cluttered it is, it will be more challenging to circulate warm air. If you have multiple engines, plumbing systems, air conditioning, etc. in your the space you are heating, it may be a better idea to install 2 small heaters rather than one large heater. If you have a smaller boat with just a single engine and one or two batteries, a single heater will work well in circulating the air around the space.


Weather / Storing Conditions

One of the biggest considerations is how cold does it get (and how cold does the water get) and how long will it stay below freezing? Also, is your boat stored on the water, on a lift, or on land?


There are many factors that go into choosing your Xtreme Heater, including boat / engine compartment configuration, weather conditions, storage location, etc. The above are guidelines to help you make an informed decision but with so many unknown variables involved, it is impossible for us to make a definitive recommendation for a specific boat. Shop the entire selection of iBoats Engine Compartment Heaters to find the right fit for your boat.


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