Guest blog by float home owner David Carmichael
My family has lived on a floating home in Bluffer’s Park Marina in Scarborough for a grand total of 6 months. While that hardly makes me an expert on floating homes, it does let me relate our experiences in moving from a 5-bedroom home in North York to the Toronto waterfront. The differences are many and dramatic, but for this blog, let me focus on just one – Mother Nature.
In North York we knew about the change of seasons, watching new growth in the spring, cutting the grass in the summer, watching leaves change colour in the fall and shovelling snow in the winter, but that was about it. Here at the waterfront, Mother Nature is a daily force to be reckoned with, for example:
When there is no wind, the floating home floats peacefully on a mirror-like surface of beautiful water. However, when the wind picks up, the float home can start bobbing like a cork in water, held in place only by the strong ropes tying us to the dock.
We have learned to pay attention to wind direction as well, as the northerly and easterly winds whip up the water in our marina, while the westerly and southerly winds barely affect us. No one in North York cares about wind direction.
When we moved into our new home in December last year, we quickly learned about two technologies I had never heard about in North York, but which are critical to understand on the water – heat tracer lines and bubblers.
Since the floating home floats on water, ice becomes a major concern in the winter. Water intake pipes and sewage disposal lines are under water, so are subject to freezing in sub-zero weather. Heat tracer lines are wrapped around these lines with a small electric current keeping them above zero. Bubblers are basically underwater fans that keep water moving and prevent ice from forming around the float home.
When these devices don’t work, as during a power failure, consequences can be serious, but more about that in a later article.
My next blog post will deal with weight and weight distribution in a float home. Stay tuned!