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Old 25-12-2014, 14:39   #1
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Solar hotwater and fiberglass tank?

Hi,
I removed the hotwater tank from my boat years ago because I was cruising in the tropics. I'm in NZ now and thinking about adding hotwater again. The marine hot water heaters are stupid expensive. Would it be possible to make or buy a 5-10 gallon fiberglass tank?
I also don't want to have to run the engine up to temp just to heat water. I was looking at solar hot water panels. Does anyone have experience with this company? Heliatos Solar
Another option would be on demand propane heated water. Anyone heat their water with propane?


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Old 25-12-2014, 16:32   #2
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Re: Solar hotwater and fiberglass tank?

I don't know about that particular company but we have a solar hot water heater on our house that produces water so hot in the tropics its scalding.

I don't think your fiberglass tank would hold hot water for very long but our unit (like 35 years old now) has a built in hot water tank that works off gravity feed.
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Old 25-12-2014, 17:25   #3
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Re: Solar hotwater and fiberglass tank?

A friend has a nonsuch 36 that came with an on demand propane hot water heater. He's quite happy with it.
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Old 25-12-2014, 17:25   #4
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Re: Solar hotwater and fiberglass tank?

We use an "ECO-TEMP" L5 on demand hot water heater.twice every morning plus dishes.. even when its cold, its only turned up 1/2 way........best ever..
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Old 25-12-2014, 17:45   #5
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Re: Solar hotwater and fiberglass tank?

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Originally Posted by zboss View Post
I don't know about that particular company but we have a solar hot water heater on our house that produces water so hot in the tropics its scalding.

I don't think your fiberglass tank would hold hot water for very long but our unit (like 35 years old now) has a built in hot water tank that works off gravity feed.

I forgot to mention I would insulate the tank!


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Old 25-12-2014, 17:58   #6
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Re: Solar hotwater and fiberglass tank?

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We use an "ECO-TEMP" L5 on demand hot water heater.twice every morning plus dishes.. even when its cold, its only turned up 1/2 way........best ever..

This looks interesting! Where do you have yours mounted? Does it need a vent to the exterior?


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Old 25-12-2014, 19:17   #7
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Re: Solar hotwater and fiberglass tank?

There have been posts regarding on demand propane water heaters. None of the devices currently on the market are ABYC approved since they are considered unattended open flames. This is unlike a stove which a person stands in front of.

Some of these units (including the Eco-Temp, I believe) claim to be certified for marine use if mounted inside the hull. Do not believe it. I have been looking into them - I may well purchase and mount one…..on the outside of my cabin. I'm not saying they don't work. I'm not saying they aren't safe. I am reporting what folks a lot smarter and more knowledgable than I am are saying about these units and the ABYC.

I would be curious to see if a solar system worked, altho I have no idea where I would put one more solar panel on my mono hull.
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Old 26-12-2014, 08:03   #8
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Re: Solar hotwater and fiberglass tank?

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Originally Posted by mrybas View Post
This looks interesting! Where do you have yours mounted? Does it need a vent to the exterior?


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Mine is mounted on the bulkhead above the sink in the head . I have cross flow ventalition of air from both ports, side and the rear. I do know of units with caps on them and vented throu the top..

If your worried about ABYC certs on the unit.. it has none.. am I worried about that, not really, its right in front of me, not stuck in some hide-away locker. and controls are right at hands reach.
I have a good number of items working on the boat that are not ABYC certified and I'm ok with that.. what it means is that they will probably have to be replaced or removed befor I sell the boat, And I'm not knocking ABYC, as I see that some of the public needs to be protected. I think I can take care of myself..
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Old 26-12-2014, 08:15   #9
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Re: Solar hotwater and fiberglass tank?

It may have an impact on insuring the vessel if someone inspecting has an eye towards the ABYC standards. It may also have an impact should someone other than yourself, someone not aware of how your system works, uses the hot water tap while showering and suffocates. This has happened. As long as you are the only one on board, unlikely to happen. But many folks coming on to a vessel may not have the slightest clue that your boat doesn't work like their own bathroom. The tragedy that occurs because the system failed in some way and created enough CO2 to harm someone will be blamed on the PIC.

I only mentioned it so that folks had information going into a project - that and to highlight the reality that there are manufacturers and sellers out there who are not providing accurate information about their product.

Caveat Emptor - in the end, we owners and "captains" are the responsible party, not some outside utility.
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Old 26-12-2014, 11:41   #10
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Re: Solar hotwater and fiberglass tank?

How many BTU's is the ecotemp when set on low?
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Old 26-12-2014, 13:00   #11
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Re: Solar hotwater and fiberglass tank?

ABYC is this now the new International standard ??
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Old 26-12-2014, 13:07   #12
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Re: Solar hotwater and fiberglass tank?

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ABYC is this now the new International standard ??
No, its not. But any North American boat whose owner needs insurance will eventually require an insurance survey. Surveyors follow ABYC regs. If there is an obvious item like a non-approved propane water heater in a boat he will note it as needing removal to meet standards. Insurance companies listen to surveyors.

ABYC standards are based on safety first.
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Old 26-12-2014, 13:10   #13
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Re: Solar hotwater and fiberglass tank?

On demand WH's come with 12 volt spark ignite-rs, Auto temp. shut offs, low gas shut offs and a safety shut off in case the flame goes out!!! They do require a vent to be safe. There are several makes on the market. mine is in the engine rm. and vents outside by the deck with a heat guard. (AUQA).
It is nice to be able to take a LONG hot shower or be able to fill the tub with out having to heat stew pots for enough hot water(TUB).
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Old 26-12-2014, 13:20   #14
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Re: Solar hotwater and fiberglass tank?

The ABYC must think you stand in front of your oven the entire time you are baking ?? I have read 2 articles that boat and RV builders have approved marine models. Alto I don't believe everything I read. I do take safety first for any one aboard.
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Old 26-12-2014, 13:36   #15
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Solar hotwater and fiberglass tank?

My propane/lpg on demand hot water unit scares me silly. I will be replacing it with a diesel heater before we travel. As for solar hot water, I looked at this quite hard as I have built my own solar hot water system for our home and I reluctantly came to the conclusion that it would need too much realestate on the boat to work and would only work in the very sunny conditions where hot water was much less in demand.

A diesel water heater seems the smart move as it can also easily be used as a space heater in the boat with some minor plumbing additions.

As for the fibreglass tank. I think it would work but I plan to go poly for simplicity.

Matt


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