Houseboats are typically built of aluminum or steel, have a wide beam (width) and voluminous engine spaces. Their metal hulls are a poor insulator from the cold.  Houseboats offer some unique challenges to freeze damage prevention.

Smaller Houseboats, up to 14’ in width, with a single engine should do fine with a single Large (800 Watt) Xtreme Heater. Larger houseboats, 16-20’ wide with twin engines should use two Medium (6000 Watt) or two Large (800 Watt) heaters.

It is also important to cover the vents during extremely cold periods to prevent the “chimney effect” from drawing all of the warm air generated by your heaters out of the engine compartment.   Houseboats also have large hatches for access to the engine room.  It is a good idea to examine how well those access hatches seal air in/out of the engine space.

Some houseboats have solid bulkheads between the engine space and “basement” area of the boat.  Depending on how well the bulkhead is sealed, the heat generated by your Xtreme Heater can move from the engine compartment, into the basement area.  Try to seal this bulkhead as well as possible.

There are a number of systems in the basement area of a houseboat that need to be considered, such as the fresh water plumbing, water heater, and potentially air conditioner through hull(s) and strainer(s).  Additional Xtreme Heaters can be used to protect these systems, or they will need to be properly winterized to prevent pipes or strainers from freezing and cracking during cold periods.

Installation instructions can be located here.

Very happy with the Heater and will tell friends how good it works
I purchased Model XXXHeat (Large) Xtreme Heater 800w and installed it in the Bilge Motor Compartment of a 2000 Fantasy 18’ X 84’ Houseboat, which has two 5.7 V-8 engines and a 4 cylinder generator in the area.
checked about once a week and the temp was between 40° and 50° F. I have removed the heater for the summer & will install again in late fall. I am very happy with the Heater and will tell friends how good it works.
— James B



These guidelines for heater selection are intended to help you make an informed choice regarding the size, number and placement of your Xtreme Engine Compartment Heater(s).  The infinite number of variables involved, including boat and engine compartment configuration, storage location, local weather conditions or extreme weather events make it impossible for us to make definitive recommendations for specific boats in specific locations.  Our testimonials page is a great place to see boat and heater combinations that our customers have found effective.