M/V Cloud Nine

M/V Cloud Nine
A 1973 North Sea 38' pilothouse Trawler, made in Osaka, Japan by Kita Trading Co. Ltd.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Power Management 101

With our Indian summer behind us, temperatures are rapidly dropping, and I am getting a quick study on how to stay warm in the boat.  As stated earlier in the blog, Jerry has the experience of living on a boat for four years, so he knew what was coming.  Me?  This is a whole new experience, and it's not just turning a dial on the furnace to a higher temperature.  Running ceramic heaters all over the boat doesn't work either because the dreaded "30 amps maximum" on our boat is used up very quickly with a couple of electric heaters going.  

For those of you never living on a boat before in the Pacific Northwest, one must become a power-use watcher, vigilantly checking the electric panel to make sure you are staying under the 30 amps available.  Having the water heater on uses 10 amps while it's heating water, so do you want hot water available all the time?  Probably not, if the other option is being cold.  So, we turn the water heater on 30 minutes before we want to wash dishes or shower, otherwise it is in the off position.  The lovely ceramic heaters mentioned above?  They use at least 10 amps if at the 1500 watt position. Running the electric drip coffee maker? Check the panel so you don't throw the breaker.  Do you need to re-heat your cup of coffee in the microwave?  You'd better turn off one of your heaters. 

I could go on and on, but you probably are getting the drift.  Power Management 101 is the class I'm currently taking on this boat. But that's not all.  We're deciding to be assertive and try to improve the boat's ability to maintain the heat inside by adding insulation.  Waking up in the morning and having the boat's inside temperature just one degree warmer than the outside temperature is unacceptable (so says the woman used to a warm house)!

A marina friend, David Cooper, who is also a captain on a ship near Cook's Inlet, happened to be back in Sequim on a break from his regular job and stopped by to share with us some new insulation he found.  It's called Prodex and is approximately 3/8" thick with foil on either side and comes in either 24" or 48" width rolls.  

Prodex insulation in the 24" wide roll

It has an 'R' value of 15.6.  It's installed with a double-stick tape, and let me tell you, this sticky tape sticks to anything and everything.  [Click the word 'Prodex" above to go to the website; they sell the tape there, too.]

So, installation of the insulation has begun on Cloud Nine, starting in the salon, followed by the v-berth, and finally the pilot house.  Of course, this means having to replace all of the header fabric and not just the salon's, but we didn't have anything to do at the moment, so why not.  [Wish I had smiley faces to insert here, as I'd insert the winking "you've-got-to-be-kidding" face.]

Salon ceiling with Prodex insulation installed

The good news is that after the salon ceiling was insulated, our temperature the next morning was 10 degrees warmer than the outside temperature and that was still running only a small 750 watt heater during the night.  Obviously, as the night temperatures drop lower, we'll need to run the heater at 1500 watts (if not add the Dickinson diesel furnace into the mix, too).

Next up for keeping the heat in the boat?  Insulated curtains!  Get to sewing woman!

Until next time,