How I remember the days when air conditioning
was the main HVAC
issue on boats for me -- in Florida
Now my home port is above 50N and my favorite cruising grounds are even above 60N -- the Arctic Circle itself is 66.56.
So now obviously heat is the main issue, not aircon. I use heat year around, and I have a lot of space to heat. My boat was built with an Eberspaecher 10kW central furnace which circulates an ethylene glycol mixture around the boat to run three fan coils, plus domestic hot water heating
. The Eberspaecher is not user-serviceable (big minus) and requires a bit of attention on a regular basis, but in general I can't complain too much about it -- after the last service
almost two years ago it has been running perfectly, starting on the first attempt, etc. It does make some noise
and does consume some precious diesel fuel
-- unpleasant when you're paying full taxes
on it -- and for that reason, I rarely leave it running all night. I tend to warm the boat up with it in the evening and shut it down when I go to bed
, unless the temp outside is near or below freezing. Then run it for a couple of hours in the morning.
In the Baltic
, berthing is incredibly cheap
as 13 euros for a 54' boat), and the marinas
("guest harbors") are mostly in beautiful and interesting places, and outside Germany
, the electrical service
seems to be all 16 amps. So here I have been spending much more time in ports
and less time at anchor
than I usually do. With the good electrical
service, I heat with electric
fan heaters most of the time. Two kW of heat (two heaters running on "low") have been keeping the boat nice and toasty (and dry) even in temps of 5 or 6 degrees.
The cheap Chinese fan heaters are a real KISS solution, but I find myself thinking about something more elegant.
For example, about heat pumps. I have no aircon on my boat and don't need it anywhere I have cruised the last five years, but at times like this (air temp 10 degrees; water
temp 16 degrees) a heat pump would be fantastically efficient.
Has anyone ever spliced a heat pump into a central heating
system on a boat? I have trawled the CruiseAir site and see that they do sell central water chillers/heat pumps, but there is no information about whether they can be used in an existing central heating system.
It seems to me that electrical resistance heat could also be added to the existing central heating system, and this should be quite simple, compact, and cheap. But I have been unable to locate suitable equipment
Lastly, I still dream about getting engine
and genset waste heat into my central heating system (there was a thread about this last year, where I got a lot of useful advice, but still couldn't come up with a satisfying conclusion).
Anybody have any practical ideas? Experience to share?