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Insulating for year around houseboat living in Minnesota

by Chez
(St. Paul, MN)

A classic all Aluminum Kingscraft Houseboat

A classic all Aluminum Kingscraft Houseboat

We are purchasing a 55' Kingscraft houseboat, all aluminum with plans for year around living. We are looking for ideas or tips on cold climate houseboat living. Any ideas on how to insulate perimeter walls and heating. Any experience or suggestions?

Thanks Chez, St Paul, MN

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Reply - Answer
Well Chez, congratulations on your purchase of an excellent all aluminum Kingscraft houseboat. They have always been one of my favorite models, and the all aluminum construction make for a sturdy, long lasting houseboat.

As to tips and ideas for year round living in a cold climate, you may want to read some of our pages with helpful information:

Houseboat Living Tips - Winter or Cold Climates

Houseboat Living - Winter Heating Tips

As to tips and ideas for insulating perimeter walls, condensation is an issue when the inside is heated and the outside is cold. This all depends on what type of changes that you would like to do?

Do your refurbishing plans involve more than just changing the curtains and painting, or are your looking at removing the interior paneling and adding an "R factor" insulation.

It would be wise to add some insulation between the interior & exterior walls. This would call for some more extensive refurbishing, but well worth your time and effort. It may also allow you to update any electrical and plumbing.

You may also want to add some clear exterior heat shrinkable plastic warp to the windows, this helps in cutting down on cold drafts. (Home Depot's have it)

Lastly, hopefully some of our readers will share and post comments about their winter houseboat living or insulation experiences.

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Comments for Insulating for year around houseboat living in Minnesota

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Condensation & Heating
by: Liveaboard

I've tried various methods to keep the warmth in and condensation out. Suffice to say my efforts to date have varied.

This winter I gave up trying to insulate the interior hull since it was difficult to clean and carry out inspections. Finally I covered the outside cabin roof with boat carpet that could be rolled up and stored off season and this is working.

My next job is to install a 12v extractor over the galley. My radiant heater also helps as does my deliberate timing for cooking. If I can cook during the day and less at night and early morning this also helps reduce the condensation.

I keep a food flask, of course my aim is to buy a diesel heater which hopefully can handle alternative fuels.

Cold Climates
by: beached guy

You have more courage then I have. I spent several winters as a liveaboard in and around Victoria BC, which is the banana belt in Canada.

It was rough enough there and I can't image the situation in your area with any boat that has the high AB ratio of a houseboat.

Houseboat Insulation Help
by: Anonymous

I work part-time for a company called Energy Doctor Inc. in Illinois. The product "Energy Guard" is "Heat Reflective" for Summer & a "Heat Retainer" for Winter that is normally used in the attics of homes, laying directly on top of the existing insulation!

Construction is 2 mils thick made of 2 layers of 99.7% pure aluminum bonded together with a polymer. It has a Class I fire rating. Tear resistant.

Thinking of how it would be correctly installed in a home's attic, you can use this layering theory on the houseboat application.

Remember, it works best with some type of existing insulation, not sure what a houseboat has, but I'm guessing the foam board type.

The houseboat interior wall material would have to be removed. (great if you are building your own or total gut remodel!

O.K., from the outside moving inward:

1) Houseboat outer skin.
2) Wood framing for cabin.
3) Energy Guard tacked on to wood framing.
4) Foam board insulation or regular insulation.
5) Inner wall finishing material.

My name is Glenn & you can review more about it @ Energy Doctor Inc. (Iowa) on the Internet ...can't say I have yet sold an installation to a houseboat owner, but this would be for you to decide! FOR HOMES, we are very sucessful in saving 20% to 40% of the monthly utility cost!

Since this is made from 99.7% pure aluminum, I can't say this would affect any electrical transmissions.

IE: Ship to Shore Radio, Wireless Internet, Phones ??? , just a thought.

I would love to own a houseboat...and planning for it closer to retirement! Thanks, Glenn L from Energy Doctor!

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