Heater Installation Guide: Cruisers

Heater Installation Guide: Cruisers


Cruiser Installation Tips

Cruisers come in a variety of shapes, sizes and engine configurations.  Boats in this category include Express Cruisers, Trawlers, Sedan Bridges, Convertibles, Aft Cabin or Sport Fish models manufactured by companies such as Sea Ray, Chaparral, Cobalt, Regal, Bayliner, Four Winns, Crownline, Larson, Rinker, and others.

While every installation presents unique challenges, the following tips should assist you in identifying the best location for permanent or seasonal installation of your Xtreme Heater.

As you read through these tips, remember, there is no precise science to heater placement and installation, rather the goal is simply to maximize circulation.  The more the air is circulated, the more evenly the temperature is controlled in the engine compartment.


Engine Room Configuration

Generally speaking, cruisers offer more space in the engine compartment providing more mounting options.  This extra space also equates to a larger space to heat, and more equipment to take under consideration for protection.

Single engine cruisers may or may not have a generator and other systems to protect.  Placing the heater in a location that directs airflow to the lower portion of the engine, where the water jackets and pumps are located.  If a generator and other equipment are present, consider their location and try to direct the airflow through the underside of the motor, in the direction of the additional equipment.  Whether the heater is placed in the front, rear or side of the motor matters little as long as the air is circulating and reaching the equipment you wish to protect.

Twin engine cruisers may use one or two Xtreme Heaters for protection
(See Choosing the Right Heater: Cruisers)  A single heater placed between the engines, blowing from front, to back will create a pattern of circulation that should evenly distribute heat throughout the compartment.  If you are installing two Xtreme Heaters, place them outboard of the engines, facing in opposite directions, to promote a circular flow of air in the engine compartment. See illustration below:

cruiser giude illustration


Additional Equipment

When mounting your heater, you should take into consideration additional equipment in the engine room.  A cruiser’s engine space may also include a generator, water heater, strainers for air conditioning, toilets, bait tanks, or other equipment.  Go through your boat and identify everything that needs to be protected, and remember, an Xtreme Heater can only protect equipment in the compartment it is mounted in!  Sea strainers may be mounted anywhere in the bilge area of the boat, isolated from the engine compartment.


Permanent installation


If you are mounting your Xtreme Heater permanently in the engine compartment, consider the location and material that you are mounting too.  If your heater is being mounted upright, on a flat surface, the included self-tapping screws will work fine to secure the heater in place.  If the surface is wood, be sure to seal the holes with a bit of caulk to keep water out.  If mounting your heater horizontally, or upside-down, consider through-bolting the heater to the surface, using fender washers for additional support and nylon lock nuts.  Again, if the mounting surface is wood, seal your holes to prevent moisture intrusion.


The power cord on the Xtreme Heater was chosen based ABYC requirements for engine space wiring and is suitable for permanent wiring to a spare breaker on your boats 110v panel.  The 20’ cord should reach most panels without splicing of additional wire into the circuit.  We strongly suggest your Xtreme Heater be installed on a dedicated circuit with its own breaker.  If you are installing two heaters, we suggest each be installed on a separate breaker. Check the breaker requirement for the heater(s) you have selected to be sure the circuit breaker(s) are of adequate capacity.

Wiring should be run away from moving parts such as belts and pulleys in the engine space.   Wiring should be secured and protected from chafing on sharp edges along the run.

We strongly recommend a qualified marine electrician be contracted to permanently wire your heater(s) into your boats electrical system.

Cabin Spaces

Remember, your Xtreme heater is only going to protect the area it is placed in. A heater placed in the engine compartment, will not protect the hoses running the plumbing in the cabin area (sinks, showers, ice makers, etc). Some customers add additional Xtreme Heaters to their cabin area to prevent freezing of cabin plumbing. The same safety and efficiency features that make them terrific in your engine space assures your cabin temperature is maintained above freezing without wasting energy unnecessarily heating to levels comfortable for humans.

Keep the boat covered

Keeping your cockpit cover on the boat will help preserve the heat, reducing heater runtime and maximizing effectiveness and efficiency of your heater.  Covering the vents that provide fresh air to your engine also helps keep the warmth where you want it. Some customers have had snap-on covers made that work well for this purpose.  Others have used shrink wrap tape with good results.


Testing Your Heater

The LED power light on the back of all Xtreme Heaters indicates that your heater is powered up and ready for use. Learn more about testing your heater.




The installation of my Xtreme Heater was a breeze

The installation of my Xtreme heater was a breeze. Literally a tape measurer, screw driver and four screws is all that it took to install the heater.

I chose my 600 watt Xtreme Heater [Large] because of its compact design and good looks. I like that the Xtreme Heater can safely remain in its place year round and not be a hindrance when I need to do maintenance.

I wanted to maximize the boating season and with this product I feel confident staying in the water until December. This adds a month to my boating season each year. The cost of the heater will be recouped after the first year in storage fees alone!

Thank you,

–Pat B
Chesapeake Bay