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Old 23-04-2013, 07:55   #1
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A Cautionary Tale

I havenít made many mistakes in two years of the major remodeling of my boat, and those I have made I have been able to rectify, either myself or with the help of suppliers. I havenít succeeded with the water heater for my bath tub though.
The Down East 45 has a bath tub built into the aft bathroom, (I installed a modern one, for the whole story see: http://www.schooner-britannia.com/hot_tub.html ). But there is not enough water in the 11 gallon calorifier to fill the tub. So a separate heater was needed.
The 1.5kw heater the new bath makers supplied was from Hydroquip, in Corona, California. It broke down after only six months of intermittent use, (we do not live aboard), and the manufacturers only very reluctantly repaired it under their supposed two year warranty.
Three months later it failed again, and this time I got to the CEO. It turns out their dealer specified the wrong type of unit, but they assured me they consulted with Hydroquip about my particular application and the way it was used.
After a long and rancorous correspondence, (which I will happily e-mail to anyone contemplating dealing with Hydroquip ), they flatly refused to honor their warranty. The CEO had the nerve to try to sell me another heater, but with no mention of a discount for a dissatisfied customer. I wouldnít touch Hydroquip again with a barge pole.
I am now looking into the possibility of a tankless gas heater, running off the propane tanks. Iím thinking of a Marey L10. They say it will fill the tub in about ten minutes, and also serve as an instantaneous supply to all the other outlets on the boat when at sea.
If anyone has experience of an application like this I would love to hear from you.
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Old 23-04-2013, 20:16   #2
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Re: A cautionary tale

Tankless heaters could be very dangerous on boats unless you're careful not to use it under sail or while heeling. Depending upon the design, pilot lights or burner flames might ignite something. IIRC several well-publicized deaths have also resulted from heaters using up all the available oxygen in closed cabins. You feel warm and happy while you nod off to sleep in the tub... We use a sunshower.
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Old 23-04-2013, 21:17   #3
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I have a tankless propane at home and it is great but would worry me on a boat...would be a real challenge to install w both proper ventilation and protection from the elements. They do make electric versions which would address these concerns, but I expect they draw a lot of juice. Probably worth investigating though.
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Old 23-04-2013, 22:18   #4
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I'm a plumber not a world cruiser and would not consider a tankless heater for this application on a dare. An electric tankless would be bad too due to the amperage loads. 20 amps of 208 VAC is used for 1/2 GPM electric tankless units and they are useless IMO.

If you have room for a bathtub you should have room for a proper 30 gallon electric tank style water heater too. That should be more than adequate for your tub and the rest of your boat too.
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Old 23-04-2013, 23:14   #5
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Re: A cautionary tale

Seawind catamarans have been using propane/gas water heaters successfully for many years.

Track down a Seawind and have a look at their system. CF poster Factor is a Seawind dealer in Australia could give you some info if you PM him.

Cruisers & Sailing Forums - View Profile: Factor
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Old 24-04-2013, 01:55   #6
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Re: A cautionary tale

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Originally Posted by downunder View Post
Seawind catamarans have been using propane/gas water heaters successfully for many years.
Catalacs have also three decades of gas water heater use. The difference is that catamarans are not reknown for heeling!

Use of these heaters in a boat that is heeling will be dangerous. Obviously you can make a rue that they can only be used when alongside or at anchor, but sooner or later someone will ignore that rule.

An alternative approach is use of an eberspacher water heater plumbed into a decent sized calorifier. I have this, and can use it for hot water and heating or just for hot water, or I can use the 240v immersion in the calorifier, either through mains, or by use of my generator.
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Old 24-04-2013, 03:32   #7
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Re: A Cautionary Tale

We've had a LPG fired flash water heater on board for years. Only used for our shower, so heeling has never been a concern, but I can't see just why heeling would be an issue anyway.

Ours is vented vertically through the deck, plus we have a small fan that blows air from the saloon into the head compartment whenever the heater is going. This completely eliminates the possibility of oxygen depletion which is unlikely in a typical shower compartment which is vented for air circulation.

Note that we only light it when we are showering, other times the gas is shut off... no pilot light going.

We're happy with the system and don't worry about all the imaginary or just unlikely hazards often associated with these units.

Cheers,

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Old 24-04-2013, 04:24   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psk125 View Post
Tankless heaters could be very dangerous on boats unless you're careful not to use it under sail or while heeling. Depending upon the design, pilot lights or burner flames might ignite something. IIRC several well-publicized deaths have also resulted from heaters using up all the available oxygen in closed cabins. You feel warm and happy while you nod off to sleep in the tub... We use a sunshower.
Most current tankless heaters ignite on demand. Either via 12v or D cells. They are no more dangerous than cooking in your cabin with a propane stove. I have seen many boats with them installed in the head or in a separate locker even.our last boat had one it was incredible and worked great it was a smaller marley unit. I didnt care for the battery setup would go hard wired next time.
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Old 24-04-2013, 06:09   #9
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Most current tankless heaters ignite on demand. Either via 12v or D cells. They are no more dangerous than cooking in your cabin with a propane stove. I have seen many boats with them installed in the head or in a separate locker even.our last boat had one it was incredible and worked great it was a smaller marley unit. I didnt care for the battery setup would go hard wired next time.
Its worth pointing out that all non room sealed gas appliances are banned on European boats , stoves being allowed by necessity

Known as gas geezers here , I wouldn't have them on a sailboat for any money

Dave
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Old 24-04-2013, 06:41   #10
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Its worth pointing out that all non room sealed gas appliances are banned on European boats , stoves being allowed by necessity

Known as gas geezers here , I wouldn't have them on a sailboat for any money

Dave

Banned by the government ?? Are they illegal to have on board? Hot foods a necessity but not hot showers? Interesting.....
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Old 24-04-2013, 06:41   #11
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Re: A Cautionary Tale

Thanks for these replies everyone.
I had a “Geezer” gas heater on a boat many years ago and it was never a problem, except the pilot light would be blown out occasionally. It was on the galley wall and vented directly through deck.
The Marey model has battery ignition, and will not ignite or continue to run if there is insufficient air. I really can’t see why they should be any more dangerous than say a gas cooker, provided they have sufficient ventilation. My location would be next to a port which we keep open all the time anyway.
We fit many things on boats which are inherently very dangerous. Notably gas (petrol) engines, LPG bottle storage, (the bottle on a Down Easter is on it’s side in the lazarette, vented thought the aft cabin. I soon changed that), and gas stoves with long lines.
I recently had a battery explode, which I had never seen before, but it was in a box which took most of the blast. Makes you think.
I am also considering a larger water heater calorifier, but going from 11 gallons to thirty is another 190lbs weight, not to mention twice the cost of the gas heater, and we already draw nearly 7’.
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Old 24-04-2013, 08:36   #12
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The issue i had was the battery box lid seemed weak, that and we had it in a forward bow locker that was damp and took water on occasion it worked great until we sold the boat, and the price was awesome!
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Old 24-04-2013, 09:14   #13
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Re: A Cautionary Tale

1) I would consider emailing Mr. Crappy Bathwater Heater CEO the link to this thread, so he may fully savour the bitter taste of his lousy customer service. When you make a product with such limited appeal, it had better be fully supported. The corpses of companies that did not understand this are found in the bins at the fence line of most boat clubs.

2) You really like your baths, don't you?

3) Have you considered a collapsible bath you could fit in the cockpit, weather cloths for modesty and a black tarp to let the sun heat the water therein? Like many here, I question the safety of some of the "tankless" solutions. I like 'em ashore, but...

4) As I am constantly being warned against eating the cheese in the trap of "more complexity to achieve simple goals", I will do the same for you. Have you considered putting in a deck fill above the bath, having an insulated form-fitting cover for the bath made, and then having a ten-gallon black flexi-tank discharge from the deck? Such a tank placed in the sun at 10 AM will have very hot water in it by 12:30. Open a cock, let it fill the tub, and mission accomplished.
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Old 24-04-2013, 15:18   #14
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Re: A Cautionary Tale

Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
Its worth pointing out that all non room sealed gas appliances are banned on European boats , stoves being allowed by necessity

Known as gas geezers here , I wouldn't have them on a sailboat for any money

Dave
Dave, considering that besides my good experience with such a device, several others find them useful, just why are you so adamant about rejecting them?

IF they are vented, and there is a good air supply guaranteed, why the vehement opinion?

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 24-04-2013, 15:35   #15
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Re: A Cautionary Tale

Jolly Roger,

We have a friend, who maybe about 15 yrs. ago, in trying to get cooperation from a CEO, said, "I can't believe, in this day of blogs and chat rooms, that you are willing to have a customer as unhappy as I am about to be." For him, it was a highly successful phrase.

We do leave the pilot light off in our flash heater. I can light it, too, so it doesn't require the more mechanically adept partner for its use. We don't like sitting in bath water, so a shower's okay for us. 30 gals. for a bath is a LOT of fresh water, I guess you have a large capacity watermaker, too. Enjoy!
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