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Old 24-09-2017, 13:09   #1
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Heating options

I am trying to optimize the heating of my boat for the winter and would like to ask for feedback on a couple of options. This is Southern California, so it is a very mild climate but it does get cold and humid at night, i.e. typically temps drop to 55-60 and humidity would often exceed 80%. I typically use electric heat when at the marina but need options for the time spend going to and staying at the nearby islands for a few days at a time.

Option 1. Diesel heater, forced air, about $500 installed, the easiest option to install. One potential downside is that they could be quite noisy, with a turbine like sound.

Option 2. Hydronic heat, one or two blowers would be enough (31' boat). Heat will come either from the engine or a small propane water heater. I am thinking of mounting the heater on the rail, next to the barbeque and connecting it in parallel to the 6G water heater I already have. Looks kind of messy to build but I like the fact that it is nearly silent at night, easy start, option to heat the whole boat or just the sleeping areas. Not sure if the tankless water heaters are designed to operate for a few hours at a time. One pound gas cylinders contain about 21,000 BTU, equivalent to running an 800W electric heater for about 7-8 hours (adj. for losses) which looks expensive but totally adequate for my needs. Plus, you get hot water.

Option 3. Using a 250W infrared light (the ones for terrariums). I have one now and I am quite happy with it. It takes about 20 DC amps (goes through an inverter) and since it is infrared it just heats your body and less of the surroundings. For example, you can put it in the cockpit, under the dogger and it is a great addition on a night watch to keep hands warm. I would put it above the sleeping area and bake like a reptile. To make it useable overnight though, I need to add at least 200-300 Ahrs of batteries and run the engine more often. Looks marginal as a long-term option plus it is only individual heating, less exciting for the guests.

Anything else I have not thought off? Bulkhead heaters I have discarded (takes too much space), I have occasionally used the alcohol stove in the past but it takes a considerable effort to rotate the air and watch for CO.

Lastly, I have a great dehumidifier/air purifier based on a desiccant wheel technology. It does wonders to reduce the humidity, takes 330W to run on Low and also produces the equivalent of 300W of heat. This is another reason to consider investing in more batteries but again, marginal benefit.

Thank you,
SV Pizzazz
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Old 24-09-2017, 13:24   #2
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Re: Heating options

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Old 24-09-2017, 14:21   #3
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Re: Heating options

Just spitballing in a marine context, but your hydronic idea coupled with the diesel-fueled water heaters that work from the engine block.

You don't need to add much more weight to get thermal mass, and when you're running the engine don't need to feed the burner.

Plus easier starting when you're crossing the Northwest Passage. 8-)

Espar and Webasto
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Old 24-09-2017, 15:06   #4
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Re: Heating options

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pizzazz View Post
I am trying to optimize the heating of my boat for the winter and would like to ask for feedback on a couple of options. This is Southern California, so it is a very mild climate but it does get cold and humid at night, i.e. typically temps drop to 55-60 and humidity would often exceed 80%. I typically use electric heat when at the marina but need options for the time spend going to and staying at the nearby islands for a few days at a time.

No genset? Reverse cycle AC/heat out of the question?

Your "cold" is much warmer than ours.

-Chris
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Old 24-09-2017, 15:13   #5
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Re: Heating options

most yachts in the uk use wood burners which are cheap to run
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Old 24-09-2017, 16:20   #6
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Re: Heating options

sail south. By the time you get to latitude 26 more orr less, the last thing you will want is a heater
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Old 24-09-2017, 16:47   #7
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Re: Heating options

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Originally Posted by Pizzazz View Post
Option 1. Diesel heater, forced air, about $500 installed, the easiest option to install. One potential downside is that they could be quite noisy, with a turbine like sound.
Could you provide a little more detail about what you're considering for Option 1? Could you really get it for $500 installed?
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Old 24-09-2017, 17:34   #8
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Re: Heating options

Clarifying option 1, a 2KW Planar heater is $490 and I already have all the ducting in place, fuel pump, it is just the 1" throughull which I can do myself. Actually, may be higher, just realized there is $90 shipping.

New AIR Top Heater PLANAR Diesel 2 kW 12v Similar to Eberspächer / Webasto

Clarifying option 2, I do not plan to run the engine and the tankless heater simultaneously, it is one or the other. A more relevant question is why a water heater rated at 37,000 BTU sells for $119 on Amazon vs. thousands of dollars for a dedicated Webasto diesel/gas boiler? I do not understand the difference.

Regarding reverse cycle AC+heat, I need to investigate this. AC I would only use at the dock, so no generator needed, the question is how efficient reverse cycle heat is compared to resistive heating? I need about 15-18,000 BTUs through the night. With resistive heat this consumes around 5 kWh. This is at least 400 Ah. Would it be reasonable to say that reverse cycle heat can give me that many BTUs at 1/3 the electricity cost? Assume water temp is 55F and cabin target temp is 70F. If this is the case, then reverse cycle heat has many benefits (AC, dehumidification and heat in one package).

Thank you for the replies.
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Old 24-09-2017, 18:23   #9
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Re: Heating options

I'd go with Option 1.
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Old 24-09-2017, 18:36   #10
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Re: Heating options

There are many brands & models of bulkhead or floor mounted drip feed diesel heaters, that put out more than enough heat for your boat. Ditto ones which run on propane. Couple either one with a thermally powered fan, & the whole cabin's warm. Refleks is a common brand, Force 10, & others. Thermally powered fans are the epitome of KISS. They're placed atop or above the stove, & the rising heat causes their blades to spin, thus moving the warm air around. And they're even great additions to home wood stoves. Also, with the above types of heaters you can buy them with, or later install, hydrionic heating coils if you want heat in more remote areas of the boat. Which also gives you some thermal mass. Plus there are also solid fuel options. A bulkhead mounted heater tends to be the simplest, & least expensive. With heater types that require plumbing or ducting costing significantly more. And needing more maintenance & TLC to run properly, & safely. If you do a search here on the forums, this topic is a fairly regular one. So you'll find a lot of good, self-educational information.
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Old 24-09-2017, 19:15   #11
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Re: Heating options

55° to 60°f thats nust good sleeping temps here. If you are cold when you sleep consider adding a goose down comforter .
Vice that I would look into wallas diesel stove/heaters. Or the little wallas heater
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Old 24-09-2017, 22:47   #12
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Re: Heating options

On demand, hot water heater. Circulation pump tied to cabin thermostat. Heat exchanger/cores in areas requiring heat, sub floor for best results.
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Old 25-09-2017, 05:54   #13
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Re: Heating options

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pizzazz View Post
Regarding reverse cycle AC+heat, I need to investigate this. AC I would only use at the dock, so no generator needed, the question is how efficient reverse cycle heat is compared to resistive heating? I need about 15-18,000 BTUs through the night. With resistive heat this consumes around 5 kWh. This is at least 400 Ah. Would it be reasonable to say that reverse cycle heat can give me that many BTUs at 1/3 the electricity cost? Assume water temp is 55F and cabin target temp is 70F. If this is the case, then reverse cycle heat has many benefits (AC, dehumidification and heat in one package).

I don't know costs for sure, but... I can tell you the heat pumps we have in our house also have resistance heating heat capabilities -- labeled as "emergency heating" -- and only intended for occasional use... because of the cost.

Marine reverse cycle systems are similar, but drawing heat from water instead of outside air. (A former boat neighbor had both: reverse cycle plus added resistance heating... because our "cold" can be way colder than yours... and sometimes the marina freezes in.)

Related issues for examination would be about that genset (if not already available) and ducting. A genset will power a water heater. And charge batteries...

-Chris
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Old 25-09-2017, 06:03   #14
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Re: Heating options

I use a waterproof mattress heater. Shore power or even a fairly small inverter will keep you warm all night without having to heat the whole boat. $100.... Sunbeam Waterproof Heated Mattress Pad, Queen, MSU6SQS-T000-11A00 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0088AHKKW..._MapYzbCJ5V1N1
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Old 25-09-2017, 06:36   #15
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Heating options

To the OP. I have read a lot of bad stuff about the planar heaters. Yeah, it's the web and opinions are cheap, but there's enough negativity out there to put me off them, even though I am a very budget sensitive sailor and their price is attractive.

Have a look for the heating thread started by CF member Typhoon. I still think it is the definitive go-to thread on the matter of hydronic heating.
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