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Old 05-01-2018, 19:33   #31
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Re: General advice for cabin heat in northern lattitudes

We have recently installed a cubic grizzly solid fuel stove on our 40 foot boat and are delighted with its performnce.
The instillation was complex and costly but we have a 'bullet proof' set up that I have tremendous confidence in.
It's a very small stove-burns logs of a maximum 5 inches- so carrying fuel is not too onerous- one large bucket full will see us through an evening when we then switch to anthracite to keep the fire in even longer if needed overnight.
The added bonus is the drying effect in the cabin- we can keep the humidity down to under 55% with no issues. We have a fan on top of the stove which helps to direct the heat to the outer margins of the cabins.
I can also cook on top, and make coffee.
We are very pleased with the final result, even though it was expensive.
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Old 05-01-2018, 20:48   #32
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Re: General advice for cabin heat in northern lattitudes

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
......

3. Hydronic heater (Eberspacher, Espar, Webasto, Planar, etc.). More expensive because you have a whole hydronic part to install. Advantage compared to air-based truck heaters – you can distribute heat far and wide very efficiently via skinny and easy to run water pipes, rather than ducts. So this is preferable for larger boats. But another big advantage is that these will make your domestic hot water via a coil in your calorifier. Drawbacks – same as air-based truck heater. Advantages – all the same.
..,...
I'll add one more to the hydronic diesel heater. The ITR Hurricane Zephyr has some advantages. It is a hotwater on-demand system. This means you no longer need the hotwater tank. The ITR will fit in the space where the tank used to be. In the summer you get hotwater on-demand, in the winter heating throughout the boat.
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Old 05-01-2018, 22:27   #33
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Re: General advice for cabin heat in northern lattitudes

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Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
Just wanted to qualify this, true for unvented heating only.

Propex HS2211 is a counter example, can be mounted outside, all exhaust vented in any case.

Not saying I'd use propane heat on a boat anyway, just clarifying an overgeneralization.
Hi john61ct, I like reading your stuff and can't wait to see you get out there!

OP, john61ct is correct, my statement is pretty categorical, and I should have specified unvented propane heaters. That being said, vented propane heaters have their own problems in cold climates, and I still say they don't belong as space heaters on a boat. If you already have one, and you are a weekend sailor at most, or just run a heater to take the chill off during day sails, you are fine, but for liveaboards or cruisers, I just don't see the logic.


Reason 1: I don't think you should use exploding fuels in CONTINUOUS DUTY applications unless you are absolutely certain the equipment is rated for it. Personally, I think a simple and robust cooker, oven, or manually-operated and immediately accessible instant hot water heater install is worth the risk--because if you had all of these things, you'd still probably have a total run time of less than an hour a day. Something which will be running balls-out (tits-out for me, obvs) for 18 to 24 hours a day, days to months on end, and has a failure mode of 'explode' needs to meet a higher standard of safety. I'm sure those heaters are out there, but I don't consider propane heaters designed for the short duct runs, easy ventilation, compact volume, insulated structure, and intermittent duty of van conversions to meet this standard. This is the least important reason I'll list, for me, but I'm going to put it out there for the people who might be reading who have kids.


Reason 2: Propane is less energy dense than diesel or biofuel, so you need to carry more of it.

Propane: ~91,000BTU/gal

Diesel: ~138,000BTU/gal. (151% of the thermic capacity of propane)

How much would you need for a week in winter? Well, the Propex HS2211 suggested above is rated at 2KW heat input (approx. 6800 BTU), or suitable for up to 24ft sailboats, with a burn rate of 150g/hr (0.33#/hr). So a 24ft sailboat, in the same (relatively mild) winter climate as mine, with a heater similarly maxed out as ours, will require the Propex to operate 18 hours a day. 41#/week. Most propane tanks are filled 90% or less in winter, in case the users bring the tanks into warm buildings and the gas expands. So plan on (3) 20# tanks a week. Most boats don't even carry a standard 20# bbq tank, so be prepared for this as an additional requirement of installing a propane heater for anything more than a day sail. Propane storage is regulated--you will need to have room on deck for a secured tank with gravity drainage overboard, build a box meeting the safety requirements somewhere on the boat, or buy (for $$$$$) and install a box.

If you have a larger boat, the Propex isn't suitable, but scale up the calculations relative to the increase in internal volume, and you'll get a ballpark idea of how much propane you'd need to carry. This isn't doomsday thinking, just practical provisioning calculations.

It's not just storage, though--it's availability and simplicity. Mosey up to the fuel dock, and you've got heat and fuel for a few weeks. Grab a jerry jug and head to shore--any gas station will have diesel, and a thousand other places will as well, and one jug will heat the hypothetical 24ft boat for a week. Install a gasifier stove, and any pine cone is heating fuel--go to shore with a five gallon bucket.

Reason 3: Cost. If you are thinking of installing a propane heater, you can generally install a diesel bulkhead heater for the same cost with 150%-200% the BTU output.

Good luck!

(Also, damn, I spent way too long on this post, so I hope it was helpful in some way, lol.)
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Old 05-01-2018, 23:04   #34
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Re: General advice for cabin heat in northern lattitudes

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Originally Posted by robert sailor View Post
Mike as far as brands many have come and gone over the years unfortunately one that is gone probably made the best one. These days in Canada the only option is Dickerson Heaters. You'd have to look but they used to make a smaller bulkhead model called the Newport and they made a larger sort of free standing one called the Arctic. They have been around forever and most people that use them find them OK. Still reasonably popular I guess. Price wise they are probably your best bet and of course they are Canadian, eh!
Thanks Robert. They do seem to hit all the right notes for my needs. Marineoutfitters lists them for $850 CND (heater only).
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Old 06-01-2018, 00:03   #35
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Re: General advice for cabin heat in northern lattitudes

Mike, look at Hamilton Marine, they are the only place in North America that I know of that sells Refleks heaters . I have no complaints about the Refleks, it has kept me comfortably warm through the worst winter weather that Newfoundland could throw at me. https://shop.hamiltonmarine.com/depa...PH.html?top=20
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Old 06-01-2018, 01:03   #36
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Re: General advice for cabin heat in northern lattitudes

Quote:
Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
Just wanted to qualify this, true for unvented heating only.

Propex HS2211 is a counter example, can be mounted outside, all exhaust vented in any case.

Not saying I'd use propane heat on a boat anyway, just clarifying an overgeneralization.
You are right, we have over-generalized, and I'm also guilty of it.

There are three ways to heat with propane:

1. Unvented propane heater. Just don't do it! Insane way to heat a boat -- fills the cabin with water vapor and combustion products. If it doesn't kill you first by either suffocation or explosion, it will soak you in dampness and start a mildew farm.

2. Vented but unsealed propane heater. Eliminates the water vapor/combustion products problem, but is forbidden by ABYC inside the hull volume because of the risk of leakage and explosion.

3. Sealed burner propane heater. This is OK, but must be supplied by a separate gas line all the way from the gas locker. And do you really want to find, buy, and hump all that gas, when you can just draw diesel from your main tank?
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Old 06-01-2018, 05:15   #37
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Re: General advice for cabin heat in northern lattitudes

Vigah has an old Shipmate pressurised kerosene. It throws out a lot of heat and only had a 1 inch exhaust tube instead of the 3 inch required for all the others I have seen. I just don't have room for a 3 inch hole due to a fife rail around the mast and where the heater is. Unfortunately it is down right now as I have a cracked burner base, another story.
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Old 06-01-2018, 08:49   #38
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Re: General advice for cabin heat in northern lattitudes

I went with a Wallas cooktop/ Heater combo. Works fine on my 30 footer (uninsullated) in the San Juan’s. Keeps the boat dry, warm and no propane safety worries. Replaced the old Dickerson diesel bulkhead heater that stank and was difficult to light.
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Old 06-01-2018, 11:03   #39
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Re: General advice for cabin heat in northern lattitudes

If at dock nothing beats electric. If at anchor in cold weather, why? Go south young person! :>)
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Old 06-01-2018, 13:39   #40
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Re: General advice for cabin heat in northern lattitudes

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
Thanks Robert. They do seem to hit all the right notes for my needs. Marineoutfitters lists them for $850 CND (heater only).
Mike,
The unit I liked quite a bit in the old days was a Fab-all heater. A small group of guys that used to work at Dickenson marine left and started their own company called Fab-all. They improved the burner a bit and got a good reputation for a high quality product. I was referring to them when I said that one of the better ones were no longer but I did a bit of homework and found that they did the opposite of going under and actually grew in size and product but today they are known as Zig Marine. Check them out, i never checked their pricing. They are both located in the Lower Mainland (Vancouver area) BC.
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Old 06-01-2018, 14:04   #41
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Re: General advice for cabin heat in northern lattitudes

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Originally Posted by robert sailor View Post
Mike,
The unit I liked quite a bit in the old days was a Fab-all heater. A small group of guys that used to work at Dickenson marine left and started their own company called Fab-all. They improved the burner a bit and got a good reputation for a high quality product. I was referring to them when I said that one of the better ones were no longer but I did a bit of homework and found that they did the opposite of going under and actually grew in size and product but today they are known as Zig Marine. Check them out, i never checked their pricing. They are both located in the Lower Mainland (Vancouver area) BC.
Thanks Robert. I’ll check them out…

Found them: Sig Marine. Hmmm, no prices on their website. Usually a sign they are pricey. I certainly don’t mind paying top dollar for a quality product that will last me a long time. I’ll ask for a price list...
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Old 06-01-2018, 14:05   #42
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Re: General advice for cabin heat in northern lattitudes

Mike,

Don't know how that Z got in there...old man disease..it's Sig Marine. R
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Old 06-01-2018, 15:15   #43
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Re: General advice for cabin heat in northern lattitudes

Mike,
After doing a little more homework it looks like Dickison acquired Sig Marine several years ago but still manufacture the Sig line. There is a difference in the burner design and the Sig has a larger burner if I can remember correctly. You should be able to get a price from Dickenson. Certainly one way of removing a good competitor. Cheers, R
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Old 06-01-2018, 19:20   #44
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Re: General advice for cabin heat in northern lattitudes

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
Thanks Robert. I’ll check them out…

Found them: Sig Marine. Hmmm, no prices on their website. Usually a sign they are pricey. I certainly don’t mind paying top dollar for a quality product that will last me a long time. I’ll ask for a price list...
Hi;
Sig is sold by Hamilton Marine in the Eastern US. I currently own a Model 170 and am pleased with it. On my old boat I had a 180 rigged with a hydronic system and was pleased with that also.
Below a picture of the 170 with radiation fins I made and added to the stack. Reduces heat at the over head and scavenges many BTUs otherwise lost to flue draft. The other pic is a downdraft prevention cap which has successfully eliminated downdraft problems even in 40 knot gusts.
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Old 06-01-2018, 19:31   #45
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Re: General advice for cabin heat in northern lattitudes

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Originally Posted by Meanderthal View Post
Hi john61ct, I like reading your stuff and can't wait to see you get out there!

OP, john61ct is correct, my statement is pretty categorical, and I should have specified unvented propane heaters. That being said, vented propane heaters have their own problems in cold climates, and I still say they don't belong as space heaters on a boat. If you already have one, and you are a weekend sailor at most, or just run a heater to take the chill off during day sails, you are fine, but for liveaboards or cruisers, I just don't see the logic.


Reason 1: I don't think you should use exploding fuels in CONTINUOUS DUTY applications unless you are absolutely certain the equipment is rated for it. Personally, I think a simple and robust cooker, oven, or manually-operated and immediately accessible instant hot water heater install is worth the risk--because if you had all of these things, you'd still probably have a total run time of less than an hour a day. Something which will be running balls-out (tits-out for me, obvs) for 18 to 24 hours a day, days to months on end, and has a failure mode of 'explode' needs to meet a higher standard of safety. I'm sure those heaters are out there, but I don't consider propane heaters designed for the short duct runs, easy ventilation, compact volume, insulated structure, and intermittent duty of van conversions to meet this standard. This is the least important reason I'll list, for me, but I'm going to put it out there for the people who might be reading who have kids.


Reason 2: Propane is less energy dense than diesel or biofuel, so you need to carry more of it.

Propane: ~91,000BTU/gal

Diesel: ~138,000BTU/gal. (151% of the thermic capacity of propane)

How much would you need for a week in winter? Well, the Propex HS2211 suggested above is rated at 2KW heat input (approx. 6800 BTU), or suitable for up to 24ft sailboats, with a burn rate of 150g/hr (0.33#/hr). So a 24ft sailboat, in the same (relatively mild) winter climate as mine, with a heater similarly maxed out as ours, will require the Propex to operate 18 hours a day. 41#/week. Most propane tanks are filled 90% or less in winter, in case the users bring the tanks into warm buildings and the gas expands. So plan on (3) 20# tanks a week. Most boats don't even carry a standard 20# bbq tank, so be prepared for this as an additional requirement of installing a propane heater for anything more than a day sail. Propane storage is regulated--you will need to have room on deck for a secured tank with gravity drainage overboard, build a box meeting the safety requirements somewhere on the boat, or buy (for $$$$$) and install a box.

If you have a larger boat, the Propex isn't suitable, but scale up the calculations relative to the increase in internal volume, and you'll get a ballpark idea of how much propane you'd need to carry. This isn't doomsday thinking, just practical provisioning calculations.

It's not just storage, though--it's availability and simplicity. Mosey up to the fuel dock, and you've got heat and fuel for a few weeks. Grab a jerry jug and head to shore--any gas station will have diesel, and a thousand other places will as well, and one jug will heat the hypothetical 24ft boat for a week. Install a gasifier stove, and any pine cone is heating fuel--go to shore with a five gallon bucket.

Reason 3: Cost. If you are thinking of installing a propane heater, you can generally install a diesel bulkhead heater for the same cost with 150%-200% the BTU output.

Good luck!

(Also, damn, I spent way too long on this post, so I hope it was helpful in some way, lol.)
I further add on:
I needs a fair amount of gas on board if You don´t wanna run for new gas bottles all the time.
If You are anchored out ..... that´s a real hassle to transport the gas tanks on the dinghi
Let´s asume You have a bigger tank. Then You can only fill up in certain places.

But it´s not only the propane. The tanks also have considerable weight and in case of a catamaran weight is always an issue.

But then why installing an additional system with all the issues like gas lines, etc. That is just adding on more problems.
I definitely recommend using the convenience of having already a big diesel fuel tank on board.
I definitely like the option from Hurrican Zephyr best. It is the most versatile solution.
Includes instant hot water and can also be looped to the engine hot water system.
It allows to distribute the heat through out the boat
There is no noise of fans once the boat is at temperature

And what I like a lot. There are no particles flying around in the air that I noticed when waking up in the morning in my nose with air forced duct system.
The only thing I don´t like is the price and the cost of maintenance I can´t evaluate.
What I also don´t know is the sensability to voltage fluctuations on the boat. What I know is ..... systems like Ebersbacher need a minimum voltage or the electronics don´t work well. So together with the fan there is a good sized battery bank to be considerated and also a way to charge them.
It will also be a lot easier to run water lines then air ducts. How ever there is a big advantage to those systems. They will heat up the boat very fast.

The drip pot systems give a nice and comfortable heat but I believe the distribution is a real issue and the location is many times complicated. I heard they can also be looped to the system of the engine but could not find any info on the topic.

Do You have more info on that ?

To me that would make a big difference.
When I run the engine I also charge the batteries. That means I have two sources of heat and one is already on the boat. With an additional electrical resistance in the hot water tank I also have a third heat source when plugged into shore power
Cheers
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