Win­ter smells...

Canal Boat - - Ask The Experts -

QWe’re sea­sonal boaters and pack up the boat for the win­ter, but come the spring, how­ever much we try to air it, the boat smells musty, a bit mouldy and damp when we open it up. What would you ad­vise?

MAR­CUS PETERS, via email

ANICK REPLIES… Fresh air is a good friend all year round, es­pe­cially dur­ing the win­ter. If win­dows are left closed and the sur­face of the walls and win­dows be­come colder be­cause the out­side air tem­per­a­ture is lower, con­den­sa­tion will form inside, hence the damp, musty smell.

Some peo­ple leave a win­dow hop­per or two open over the win­ter to keep air cir­cu­lat­ing around the boat and that cer­tainly helps. If you can get to the boat reg­u­larly, then do that and thor­oughly air it; run the en­gine, too, be­cause me­chan­i­cal items sim­ply hate just sit­ting around do­ing noth­ing for months on end, plus it will keep your bat­ter­ies charged up and they’ll last longer.

You can also get a de­hu­mid­i­fier; they aren’t ex­pen­sive nowa­days and re­ally do work. They re­duce the hu­mid­ity in the air by suck­ing it in, re­mov­ing the mois­ture and then blow­ing dry air back out. You’ll cer­tainly no­tice the dif­fer­ence. You’ll need to check how the water drawn out of the air is dealt with; some de­hu­mid­i­fiers have a tank that col­lects it so you’d need to drain that reg­u­larly, while oth­ers sim­ply have an out­let pipe so you’ll need to think where that ex­cess water is go­ing to go.

Also, how are you go­ing to power it? If you have a mooring with a shore­line then leav­ing one switched on is no prob­lem, but if you haven’t and you run it through the in­verter, you’ll risk run­ning the bat­ter­ies down very quickly.

But per­haps the best so­lu­tion is to con­tinue to take the boat out through the au­tumn and win­ter, the cruis­ing can be great at this time.

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