How To Winterize A Houseboat

Houseboats have become a very popular choice of many people and are mostly chosen as weekend getaways, adventurous trips etc. They have proven to be a fun filled yet soothing place for family and friends alike. Most people who use houseboats for vacations do not see the amount of work that has gone behind making it what it is. 

There are so many things to be done and so many questions to be answered if you go from renting a houseboat to owning one. One main question that houseboat owners need to know the answer to in order to maintain their houseboat properly is how to winterize a houseboat.

What exactly is winterizing?

Before we get into the process and tips on how to winterize houseboats, let us first discuss what exactly the term winterizing means. Just as the name suggests, it means preparing something for the winter season that might be coming up. The winter season is often an extreme climate change that presents problems like frozen plumbing systems (burst pipes), fuel going bad over time, water freezing and cracking the wood, etc. So every houseboat owner needs to be prepared for such problems that might arise during that time. 

This is why winterization is done. It is sometimes done when the inhabitant of the house is planning to leave it vacant for a long period of time as well and it doesn’t necessarily have to be done immediately prior to winter. It just should be done sometime prior to the winter season.

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Now, let us get back to our main question on how to winterize houseboats. It is extremely important to keep your boat safe and well maintained during all times. There are so many questions that might be in your mind while preparing your houseboat for winterization and we will try to answer some of them in this article. 

Should I winterize my boat even if it is docked in a place or area where it is not cold?

To the people who dock their houseboats in warmer places during winter and think that winterization may not be needed for their boats, well, you are wrong. Winterization is required anytime you are not planning on using the boat for an extended period of time. Fuel goes bad when unused unless you put stabilizer in it no matter whether the climate is warm or cold. 

You might not have to put antifreeze in your water or septic pipes in a warm climate but there are still things that you should do when you plan on not using your houseboat for a while. 

There might be animals such as bugs or rodents etc. that have the ability to sense a change of seasons even if it is not very extreme. These could create serious damage to your houseboat if they chew their way into your houseboat and wreak havoc. As mice are small, they could hide in places you might never check. Make sure you have taken precautions against such disturbances by these critters like mice, bugs etc.

One step that you could take to prevent these small animals from entering and staying in your houseboat is to make sure that all small places like holes, voids, niches etc. are stuffed closed with some material such as steel wool etc. It would be even better if it is stainless steel wool. If the holes or niches are pretty large comparatively, then you should seal them properly. 

Water that is left sitting on deck or other areas could cause problems with time even in warm climates. Rust, rot, etc. all can cause issues so you will want to make sure to deal with any standing water to prevent those sorts of problems. 

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What are the precautions and steps to be taken on the plumbing system when winterizing your houseboat?

For preparing the plumbing systems in your houseboat against the cold winter season, most people usually use an antifreeze so that water does not freeze and can be used by the inhabitants. But be careful if the plumbing system is connected to your drinking water system. If that is the case, be sure and use an antifreeze that is safe for people.

You should also make sure to completely empty your septic tank and make sure that there is nothing left in your septic pipes as well. The last thing you will want to discover in the spring is a burst septic pipe or tank., 

What are some of the things that can be done for winterizing a houseboat as a beginner?

There are a few easy yet crucial steps that need to be taken care of while winterizing your houseboat. These can be done even by a beginner who might have just purchased a houseboat. 

First, make sure that all important items on the houseboat and things that could be damaged easily are well maintained and protected at all costs. Also, you should insulate all of your pipes before the onset of winter season.

Another thing that you can do is remove things from the boat that could be damaged in cold weather or would go bad over that time. If you have issues with rodents or critters, removing all clothing, blankets, etc. might be a good idea for you as well. 

Simple precautions taken before wintertime can save you a lot of work come spring. 

What are the things that need to be done about the doors and windows on a houseboat?

If you are planning to winterize your houseboat, make sure that the doors and windows of the boat are closed and sealed properly. If water freezes on the deck, it might turn out to be dangerous to walk on the deck and if there is a lot of water it could even freeze and damage the boards as well. 

You should remove all standing water on board your boat before winter. 

What should you do about water that might get collected in some parts of the houseboat during winterizing it?

Water might collect in some nooks and corners of your houseboat. During winter, this water has a chance to freeze and therefore expand and cause damage to a variety of things on your houseboat. To prevent this, make sure the drainage system of your houseboat works properly and does not allow water to collect anywhere.

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In short, winterizing a houseboat is a process that requires time and patience. You should always do proper research before you start winterizing. There are many things that you will need to take care of and if you will be living in the houseboat during winter, the process will have to be done even more carefully.

Some of the few important things to be taken care of are:

  • Keeping the doors and windows properly sealed or locked if you are not living on the boat
  • Making sure the plumbing system works fine and will not freeze
  • Protecting all important items
  • Clearing off any unwanted water that has been collected on the boat
  • Having a heating supply
  • Using proper antifreeze for the drinking water supply systems 
  • Many more

Taking care of a houseboat, especially during winters can be a tough job. You need to make sure that no mistakes are made and everything needs to be well maintained and properly secured. So the next time you are winterizing your houseboat, keep all our tips in mind. 

You should always read a lot about the whole process of winterizing your houseboat before you start doing it.

Do not leave out even one point. You do not want a mess of a houseboat after winter, do you? So take care of your boat and prepare it before the onset of the winter season. 

Happy boating! 

Matthew Robbs

I love the outdoors and especially spending time with my family. Whether on a boat or at the beach, my happy place is near the water.

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