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Old 03-08-2013, 04:20   #16
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Re: Heating System Question?

I have used both Diesel and AC heating in San Francisco Bay, which is a far bit warmer than were you are going.

If I was going to cold places like Boston I would install a Diesel Water Heating System, because it is more versatile. You don't need 120v to power it and it uses very little diesel.

I like the Webasto:

Webasto:*Marine heating solutions: water heating
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Old 03-08-2013, 05:58   #17
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Re: Heating System Question?

Boilers make hot water or steam... the hot water or steam is often circulated to various types of radiators... or it can be part of a forced air system where it heats the air then circulated by fans.

The HVAC system you design needs to be matched to the boat and the climate. I think it's safe to say that the boat will be air conditioned. And that means it will likely have a central unit with an air handler and a distribution network of ducts which can be balanced to provide comfortable temps for each room/cabin. AC is an electricity hog... in fact HVAC systems are.

From the standpoint of both simplicity and saving space using one set of ducts to supply either heat or cold air is the way to go. It will be a compromise because cold air is best supplied high and heat low. But in small spaces with enough air pressure in the system you should be fine with either high or low or a mix. Insulation will make make the conditioned spaced more comfortable and save on fuel.

Circulating hot water with local fans has advantages and disadvantages. It requires a completely separate AC system and ducts.... obviously more expensive. But it does offer a bit more control in each cabin. Lots of wiring, piping and so forth.

Webasto and Espar have small diesel fired furnaces which can heat air or water directly. Most small systems use forced air. The furnaces are remarkably small and high tech and do an excellent job. The ducts are small diameter flexible hose which can usually be work in running through bilges inside cabinets. Forced air is fast and dry and in the marine environment this adds to comfort. Condensation sucks! The air in the interior needs to exchanged as well to keep the co2 levels at healthy limits. These heaters are very fuel efficient... very.
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Old 03-08-2013, 06:15   #18
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Re: Heating System Question?

Galaxygirl,

your question really cannot be answered without some idea of what you have installed already. If it is a water based system with fan coils, you can add a little Webasto Diesel heater without any problems, and you will have the most comfortable system being able to switch between reverse cycle and Diesel heat. So if you want sound advice, dig out some details and enlighten us...

...I installed a double compressor heat pump, a Diesel heater and 5 fan coils last winter, so I know what I am talking about...

Oliver
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Old 03-08-2013, 06:44   #19
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Re: Heating System Question?

Oliver...there sure is something to be said for experience. I think GG is faced with trying to access experience of others ... which is called taking advice. But how does one know which advice to take? You might be a good consultant for GG having gone through the decision matrix yourself. But there are many ways to skin a cat too. No?
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Old 03-08-2013, 06:49   #20
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Re: Heating System Question?

If I had the money and really wanted to do it right...I'd take my boat tio wherever they specialize in installing whichever system you choose.

Too many yards (including yards that may be dealers for the product) just don't have the expertise to do it REALLY well.

Good yards/dealers will fly somebody to Boston if necessary to correct install and warranty issues.

So is you find one in Boaston OR Florid...great...if not chect the real deals and stop by them along the way.

Of course I'm talking diesel fired hydronic sytem that includes exchangers, hot water, engine warmers, towel warmers if you want them, radiant heat if desired, etc....etc..etc...big bucks but what I would have in a 50+ cruiser that I lived in somewhere other than the tropics.

Sure...you can get by with less...but good ain't cheap and installing it poorly is a nightmare.[/
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Old 03-08-2013, 07:01   #21
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You might check out Rhode Island on your way to Boston.

We have been much happier with the diversity and skill of the Marine trades here as oppose to downtown Boston.
We have kept our boat in both locations.
For sure the labor rates are at the high end (no worse than Boston) but they work on high end racing boats are familiar with what is available and have experience with the install.

Depending on what system you decide you may find the install not that difficult. I have a few live aboard friends who have tackled heating and cooling installs on their own boat with what appears to me as great success.
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Old 03-08-2013, 08:30   #22
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Re: Heating System Question?

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Phil,
Do you think that I would be better off with a diesel furnace rather than a boiler to keep the condensation to a minimum???
The boiler uses diesel. The boiler is also dry heat as tbe its an enclosed system like a vehicle heating system except the boiler heats the coolant rather than an engine. The boiler is easier to install as 1" hose is ran instead of large air ducts, and the coolant and hose hold keep the heat better for the long runs.

The hose can also be ran up into closets storage areas, so it keeps the whole boat warm and dry. Even the bilge and engine room. The Webasto is run 24/7 from October thru April, and it heats the hot water.

Use an installer as theye will design and design the system. The Eagle is sized down to 0 degree. Best improvement we made on the boat.
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Old 03-08-2013, 08:44   #23
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Re: Heating System Question?

The hydronic (boiler) systems are the least likely to produce condensationt...especially if you are willing to run lines all around the perimeter of your hull and through lockers...you will have the driest boat on the water except for a completely open interior one.
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Old 03-08-2013, 11:19   #24
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Re: Heating System Question?

Until you have walked down your snow-covered, wind-swept dock about a half mile to your snow-covered, wind-swept boat at the Constitution Marina (Boston) you have not lived aboard through a typical Boston winter (not one of the recent mild ones!). There are much better places to be a live-aboard. IMO most of the live-aboards in Boston do it from necessity, not choice!
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Old 03-08-2013, 11:24   #25
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Re: Heating System Question?

Guys... anything can be done if money's not an issue. GG needs to find the compromise which works for her. If money was no issue she'd be having a boat designed and built to spec. She's looking to find a good match and make it better. The heat and ac retro fit is need be will be determined by multiple factors. She's about to find out what they are.
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Old 03-08-2013, 11:40   #26
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Re: Heating System Question?

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Until you have walked down your snow-covered, wind-swept dock about a half mile to your snow-covered, wind-swept boat at the Constitution Marina (Boston) you have not lived aboard through a typical Boston winter (not one of the recent mild ones!). There are much better places to be a live-aboard. IMO most of the live-aboards in Boston do it from necessity, not choice!
I would agree...living aboard even down in the Annapolis/NJ area in the winter can be miserable, even with pretty mild winters....the basic boat can make a big difference but most big "trawler like" vessels have plenty of windows and doors and drafts.

That's why I would want to spend the money and get a good system (and there is a choice of both technology and price range) so everyone aboard has a good experience and it's not a one winter event and sell the boat.
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Old 03-08-2013, 16:19   #27
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Re: Heating System Question?

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Boilers make hot water or steam... the hot water or steam is often circulated to various types of radiators... or it can be part of a forced air system where it heats the air then circulated by fans.

The HVAC system you design needs to be matched to the boat and the climate. I think it's safe to say that the boat will be air conditioned. And that means it will likely have a central unit with an air handler and a distribution network of ducts which can be balanced to provide comfortable temps for each room/cabin. AC is an electricity hog... in fact HVAC systems are.

From the standpoint of both simplicity and saving space using one set of ducts to supply either heat or cold air is the way to go. It will be a compromise because cold air is best supplied high and heat low. But in small spaces with enough air pressure in the system you should be fine with either high or low or a mix. Insulation will make make the conditioned spaced more comfortable and save on fuel.

Circulating hot water with local fans has advantages and disadvantages. It requires a completely separate AC system and ducts.... obviously more expensive. But it does offer a bit more control in each cabin. Lots of wiring, piping and so forth.

Webasto and Espar have small diesel fired furnaces which can heat air or water directly. Most small systems use forced air. The furnaces are remarkably small and high tech and do an excellent job. The ducts are small diameter flexible hose which can usually be work in running through bilges inside cabinets. Forced air is fast and dry and in the marine environment this adds to comfort. Condensation sucks! The air in the interior needs to exchanged as well to keep the co2 levels at healthy limits. These heaters are very fuel efficient... very.
Thanks for such a comprehensive explanation!

The small diesel furnace system that you are referring to, I wonder if that is similar to a kind of system that I have used in home renovations, it sure sounds like it. It's called a high velocity system. It uses flexible 2" air ducts that are easy to install and save space.

the boat currently has a ducted a/c system, so are you saying that I have 2 choices? Either add an air furnace to the existing ductwork OR install a separate heat only system which can use hot water fed by copper OR a small ducted forced air system fed by a small furnace?

If I am understanding correctly, I would still have use of the a/c even if I added the heat to the existing ductwork. Is this correct?
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Old 03-08-2013, 16:28   #28
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Re: Heating System Question?

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I would agree...living aboard even down in the Annapolis/NJ area in the winter can be miserable, even with pretty mild winters....the basic boat can make a big difference but most big "trawler like" vessels have plenty of windows and doors and drafts.

That's why I would want to spend the money and get a good system (and there is a choice of both technology and price range) so everyone aboard has a good experience and it's not a one winter event and sell the boat.
I couldn't agree more and I have never lived aboard. When I renovated my house I had 3 furnaces installed. 1 per floor, because I hate being cold.

This is exactly why I started this thread to get some good info and begin to figure out where to have the heating system installed. The cold here in NE will be here very shortly. As soon as I get the boat back up here, the first stop will be to a boatyard to have the heating system installed. I was planning on doing it before the boat leaves Florida, but I'm going to take the advice that I was given here and wait until I get it back.

Do these guys ever make installations such as this at the boats location or does it always get done at the yard. It seems to me that they could just bring the materials to the boat and install them right there, or maybe its an issue of noise and liability?
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Old 03-08-2013, 16:51   #29
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Re: Heating System Question?

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Originally Posted by chrisjs View Post
Until you have walked down your snow-covered, wind-swept dock about a half mile to your snow-covered, wind-swept boat at the Constitution Marina (Boston) you have not lived aboard through a typical Boston winter (not one of the recent mild ones!). There are much better places to be a live-aboard. IMO most of the live-aboards in Boston do it from necessity, not choice!
Chris, your such a pessimist.

Have you read this story.
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Old 03-08-2013, 17:32   #30
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Re: Heating System Question?

Having researched thoroughly, I have to say a water based system separate from the AC system has just as many if not WAY more advantages than disadvantages to a true cruiser who is in cold climes and uses the boat a lot...right off the bat is the engine warming capability and the reverse to save fuel by using waste heat when cruising. I just installed a Wallas forced air heater...but only after a lot of hand wringing AND knowing I was never going to spend a northern winter aboard my boat....otherwise it would have been hydronic hands down.

Granted not all boats are suitable for this setup...but pretty much any cruising powerboat above 40 feet can certainly handle both systems.

Just like in houses...heat rises, cold sinks so using the same ducting is a compromise on sheer common sense alone. Again...each boat has to be studied carefully to see how it can or can't take advantage of different systems...most boats can get through a winter on piecemeal...to wait and see what you might really need.

But a few things on a boat are usually non-negotiable to liveaboards..you just have to decide whether being warm and cool are in your top 5 or so...if they are...spend the money there and get the best you can afford...you won't even enjoy the view if you are shivering.
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