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Old 10-01-2010, 20:19   #1
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Propane vs Electric Hot Water Heaters

Currently cruising and having issues with our Walter 300 Propane On-demand hot water heater (delayed ignition results in scary ball of fire) and due to the risk factors of fireballs on boats, we're considering purchasing an electric water heater instead. Anyone have suggestions as to models/setups we should look at, or is it more worthwhile to bring the current system into (safely) working order? We're considering something like the Tiny Titan from Lowe's, and any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 10-01-2010, 20:45   #2
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It all depends on your power generating capability.

We used to have a catamaran with an outboard motor, so a propane flash water heater was the only reasonable option. I installed a Wolter, and was very happy with it.

I just found wolterwaterheater.com Maybe you can get help fixing what you have.

It's a shame the Wolter is no longer produced.
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Old 10-01-2010, 22:41   #3
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We make our domestic hot water with diesel (when we're not on shore power). It's great. We have a 10kW Eberspaecher diesel-fueled heater which also heats the boat with fan coils in all the spaces. It will make hot water so fast that it you almost can't run out of it. Nice piping hot showers for several people in a row, if you don't mind the expenditure of fresh water, just like on dry land.

The only flaws of such a system are (a) it's pretty expensive, similar to air conditioning in cost for the whole system; and (b) uses just a little too much electrical power to run off our battery bank without cranking up the generator every 4 or 5 hours.

Still, I think this would be at the top of my list of amenities for cruising in cool climates. Almost worth installing an extra battery bank.
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Old 10-01-2010, 23:04   #4
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"(delayed ignition results in scary ball of fire) and due to the risk factors of fireballs on boats"...and that's a bad thing???
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Old 11-01-2010, 08:26   #5
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Thanks for the replies thus far. We're hoping to keep the cost of a new heater at around $200 tops, so the diesel option is out for now. Celestialsailor: the fireball thing is actually pretty cool to see, unless it's your bare, un-showered body that's about to get licked by one.
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