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Old 21-08-2016, 06:57   #1
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Prices of water heaters.

Time to replace Bluestocking's Raritan 1700 engine heated/120vac water heater.

Seaward at $275.00, Raritan at $900 !! What gives? -- is there REALLY that much difference. Experienced technical advice please.
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Old 21-08-2016, 07:57   #2
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Re: Prices of water heaters.

I dont know the technical difference, but here is my thought on these things....

1. Is it critical? Is there a possibility of death?

2. If the cheap one lasts 1/3 the time, do i come out money ahead changing it 2 to 3 times as often?

In this case i believe I would buy the cheap one. I am not surprised anymore that when I compare side by side they look and feel just as good. I have a few things i replaced so cheap i bought several extra for less than half the cost to have spares. If any of the above questions present an issue, do a little extra research and go with a good quality product.

Just my opinion.

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Old 21-08-2016, 07:58   #3
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Re: Prices of water heaters.

There really is that much difference. Raritan water heaters are glass lined with replaceable anodes. When the anode wears out--the rotten egg smell in your hot water will tell you when it has--you just replace the anode, about a $50 part and a simple job...just pull out and replace the discharge fitting. And unlike older models that had steel shells, today's Raritan water heaters have a polymer shell that doesn't rust. And they're still made in the US. A Raritan water heater will typically last 15-20 years, even longer. Mine were 11 years old and still in good shape on one boat when I sold it...21 years old and still in good shape on the next boat. How old is yours?

Seaward and other inexpensive water heaters, otoh, have metal shells and anodized metal water tanks...when the anodizing wears off the inside of the tank--which it will in a few years--the only solution is a new water heater.

So you do get what you pay for. Btw...I did a quick google search and found Raritan 6 and 12 gal water heaters for under $700. Don't know if those included heat exchanger option though.
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Old 21-08-2016, 08:42   #4
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Re: Prices of water heaters.

What peggy said.

Raritan and some others have a glass lined tank and will last a Longgg time. The British copper clorifiers are good too but have a lower working pressure.

The cheap marine water heaters have an aluminum tank and a steel element. You will get galvanic action between the heating element base and the aluminum tank. After 4-5 years it WILL develop a pin hole leak at a weld. Been there done that.

The poor engineer option might be be to buy a 6 gallon residential heater $210 (amazon), change out the 240V element for a 1kw 120V, $10, add a tiny plate and frame heat exchanger $46 (amazon) and a 12V solar pump $30 (amazon) to make hot water when the engine runs. For $350 with shipping and a bit of plumbing and you have a roll your own marina water heater that will last as long as the spendy ones.

For those with more room, you could buy a 20 gallon residential water heater and bask with a long shower. More then one way to skin a cat.
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Old 21-08-2016, 09:03   #5
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Re: Prices of water heaters.

I avoid aluminum tanks for the reasons that Sailorchic has pointed out plus I once cut one open and it had a lot of nasty looking stuff on the sides.

A step down from the Raritan but still a good water heater is the Iso Temp Spa series.
They have stainless steel tanks. Isotherm SPA Water Heaters
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Old 21-08-2016, 09:09   #6
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Re: Prices of water heaters.

Well I'll be! I learned something today!

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Old 21-08-2016, 09:29   #7
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Re: Prices of water heaters.

Our original Seaward water heater, installed by the factory, lasted 5-years and about 300-nights at anchor. It failed and flooded the compartment it was in the day before we were to leave Seattle for Mexico. The flood destroyed a lot of important stuff stored in and around it.

The IsoTherm we installed after the Seaward failure lasted 14-years and 2,000 nights at anchor. We lived aboard the boat for 9 of the 14-years it was installed. It did not fail but the valves were leaking and the pressure regulator was starting to open at the wrong time.

I replaced the first IsoTherm with a 2nd IsoTherm and was very happy to do so.

The new IsoTherm cost $495 from Defender in September 2014.

Our waterheater is in a compartment that is difficult to reach and it is painful and awkward to work on. Longevity and reliability is far more important to me than saving a hundred dollars.
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Old 22-08-2016, 08:26   #8
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Re: Prices of water heaters.

Good timing for this thread. My boat does not have hot water and I'd like to add that option. I see some residential units with 2.5 and 4 gallon tanks and I also see a lot of Point of Use hot water heaters. Anyone using a Point of Use tank-less hot water heater? Is this viable in a boat?
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Old 22-08-2016, 08:29   #9
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Re: Prices of water heaters.

I replaced my Raritan with a Seaward. The Raritan had the steel jacket & was rusting badly & the Seaward has a stainless jacket that looks great & was less than half the price on sale so it seemed like a no brainer. Wrong. The Raritan would keep the water hot for a couple of days while the Seaward won't even keep the water warm overnight.

FYI: Defender has Isotemps on sale regularly. That will be our next purchase.
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Old 22-08-2016, 08:33   #10
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Re: Prices of water heaters.

Scout, Raritan uses a plastic outer jacket now.
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Old 22-08-2016, 08:34   #11
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Re: Prices of water heaters.

As others have suggested, the amount of time/labor involved in installing anything on a small boat (less than 100') makes the material cost the smallest cost of most jobs Buy the best you can find, follow all of the manufacturer's installation instructions and then you'll spend your time sailing boats as opposed to working on them.

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Old 22-08-2016, 08:39   #12
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Re: Prices of water heaters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hsi88 View Post
Good timing for this thread. My boat does not have hot water and I'd like to add that option. I see some residential units with 2.5 and 4 gallon tanks and I also see a lot of Point of Use hot water heaters. Anyone using a Point of Use tank-less hot water heater? Is this viable in a boat?
Be very careful with propane point of use water heaters, most tests I have read indicated substantial amounts of carbon monoxide ending up inside the boat.

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Old 22-08-2016, 08:42   #13
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Re: Prices of water heaters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hsi88 View Post
Good timing for this thread. My boat does not have hot water and I'd like to add that option. I see some residential units with 2.5 and 4 gallon tanks and I also see a lot of Point of Use hot water heaters. Anyone using a Point of Use tank-less hot water heater? Is this viable in a boat?

Some do, I believe all are propane which means you have that risk, and I think you have to vent the combustion gases too.
Not worth it to me.
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Old 22-08-2016, 08:50   #14
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Re: Prices of water heaters.

Anybody have experience with Quick Sigmar heaters? They have Stainless Steel tanks, and mine is (was) raw water heated. My old one tried to sink me when one of the aluminum fittings rotted off.
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Old 22-08-2016, 13:31   #15
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Re: Prices of water heaters.

Don't really think it could have sunk you unless you have a giant fresh water tank. :-)
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