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Old 11-11-2015, 09:09   #16
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Re: Adding a heater to boat

Check out "Red Dot" brand heaters, they seem to be well reviewed and are theoretically marine specific:
Red Dot Heaters | Fisheries Supply
... they work just like a bus heater, take waste heat from your fresh water cooling system and (using a fan) warm your cabin.

I am planning on installing one of these eventually to use for long cold days motoring somewhere (part of the point of a pilothouse)... I don't really want to deal with a bulkhead diesel / solid fuel heater when underway.

But of course to be clear, this only works when the engine's running, and depending on your engine you might not even be able to generate heat when idling at anchor (which isn't good for your engine anyway) as it might not heat up enough with no load.

I don't think the amp draw on the fans on these is too big an issue as you're only using it when your engine's running.

I think (and this is worth the amount you paid for my advice ) the best setup, one I hope to eventually have, is one type of heater for underway under power (Red Dot) and another for when you're at anchor (diesel or solid fuel bulkhead heater, diesel forced air etc)... I guess I'm not too worried about heat underway when under sail, apparently.

-- Bass
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Old 11-11-2015, 10:00   #17
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Re: Adding a heater to boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by basssears View Post
Check out "Red Dot" brand heaters, they seem to be well reviewed and are theoretically marine specific:
Red Dot Heaters | Fisheries Supply
... the best setup, one I hope to eventually have, is one type of heater for underway under power (Red Dot) and another for when you're at anchor (diesel or solid fuel bulkhead heater, diesel forced air etc)... I guess I'm not too worried about heat underway when under sail, apparently.

-- Bass
Thanks Bass,
I recently decommissioned an old water heater that worked off AC and engine coolant. I'm thinking about installing one of these heaters in it's place. Then I'll be covered for both motoring and anchored situations as you point out.
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Old 11-11-2015, 10:26   #18
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Re: Adding a heater to boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboTim View Post
Does anyone know where one can purchase some kind of heater that runs off engine coolant to heat my boat so I can start boating earlier in the year and later in the year?
Hi Tim,

Not knowing anything about the type, size, use, or current/desired cruising grounds for your vessel, I'm providing this feedback in the blind, so it may not apply to your circumstances.

We love the stainless steel Dickinson Radex heater in our pilothouse. [It uses computer pancake fans, so it is quiet- even though our engine isn't...]

In addition, since we have central forced air diesel heat [Espar] we use at anchor or when cool weather sailing, I am preparing to piggyback a hydronic core into the same forced air ductwork to pipe heat throughout our sailboat when we are motoring. [We enjoy winter outings...] This would be supplemental to the previously mentioned Dickinson Radex unit already installed in our pilothouse.

If you are interested in a central hydronic core running using waste heat from your engine(s), I have found that the REAL brand appears to be first rate. [Not that other brands aren't just as good, if not better, but I scrutinized some hydronic core products at the Seattle boat show earlier this year and the REAL brand looked to be superior. However, I haven't purchased anything yet so I cannot provide first hand information about using REAL products... But that is the brand I will be going with.]

I know Sure Marine Service carries the REAL brand and just about every other heating component one might need. [But I haven't done business with them yet...]

I'll close by sharing a couple of thoughts with you regarding the install of hydronic heating loops:

1) Ball valves in coolant loops: We tapped into our engine auxiliary coolant inlet and outlet [same used for your water heater heat exchanger] and installed short bodied ball valves at the engine and to each hydronic loop so we could shut off these coolant loops for maintenance, leaks, or when a hot heater core in the main salon is undesirable...

2) Proper fluid flow: Plumb the hose containing coolant from the engine into the lowest pipe of each hydronic core. [i.e., Coolant flow should be bottom-up in each core- to purge air; just like when changing the lube in an outboard engine lower unit.]

3) Bleeding air from hydronic loops can be quite a chore as the top of each loop is not always conveniently accessible. [I know ours aren't...]

To make this easy, we use small, cheap, automatic air bleeders used in home boiler heating systems. Typically we install a T at the top of each hydronic core and install the air bleeder in the highest port of the T. [i.e., Where the coolant return line to the engine exits the core.] Basically, air bleeders need to be installed at a high point in each coolant loop.

We installed air bleeders on our water and bus heaters. They eliminate manual bleeding- even when first commissioning a hydronic system system...

In case this is useful.

Cheers!

Bill
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Old 11-11-2015, 10:36   #19
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Re: Adding a heater to boat

Bill,

I have existing diesel forced air ducting in our new to us boat (but no forced air system currently), would be very interested in hearing more details about how you plan to piggyback into the whole ducting system... I would consider doing that instead of installing a Red Dot heater if it seemed manageable for the semi (semi-semi?) skilled.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wrwakefield View Post
In addition, since we have central forced air diesel heat [Espar] we use at anchor or when cool weather sailing, I am preparing to piggyback a hydronic core into the same forced air ductwork to pipe heat throughout our sailboat when we are motoring.
Wow, these are three super useful suggestions for this... printing this one out now... thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by wrwakefield View Post
1) Ball valves in coolant loops:
2) Proper fluid flow:
3) we use small, cheap, automatic air bleeders used in home boiler heating systems.
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Old 11-11-2015, 12:52   #20
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Re: Adding a heater to boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by basssears View Post
Bill,

I have existing diesel forced air ducting in our new to us boat (but no forced air system currently), would be very interested in hearing more details about how you plan to piggyback into the whole ducting system... I would consider doing that instead of installing a Red Dot heater if it seemed manageable for the semi (semi-semi?) skilled.
Thanks, Bass.

I'm glad some of it was useful for you.

RE: Having both diesel and hydronic heat sources sharing the same forced air ductwork, there are a lot of variables, but that doesn't mean it has to be complicated.

For example, my Espar is mounted in my engine room [which is underneath my pilothouse.] The Espar has one main duct that branches outside of the engine room to feed 5 outlets positioned throughout the boat.

It is important to note that the Espar return air is ducted outside the engine room in an adjacent cabin [not outdoors... direct marine air wreaks havoc on these heaters...] This means odors from the engine room aren't being distributed throughout the vessel when that unit is running...

I will do the same with whichever hydronic unit I install.

As far as tying into the existing forced air duct, my first try will be simple: I will just insert a Y [not a 90į T...] in the heat duct near the Espar. [One with a diverter flap; e.g., A purpose made unit like this one for heating systems- similar in concept to those you can buy for diverting your clothes dryer vent into the house...] I plan to run a control cable to it for convenient access, and add switching that heat source flap to the check list for turning on the heaters.

I haven't done all of the engineering yet, but some considerations include:

1) BTUs available from engine waste heat [i.e., You can only tap so much heat from a particular engine without causing it to run at lower that desired temperatures. This can be somewhat mitigated by using the individual coolant loop ball valves I mentioned in my previous post as flow controls...]

2) Airflow capacity of existing ductwork: e.g., My Espar D5 pushes 137 CFM air on high. The hydronic cores I'm looking at push almost twice that much. [e.g., I reference a unit, below, that pushes 206 CFM.]

Will that be too much air flow for the existing duct network? [e.g. excessive duct noise, heat loss, etc.] If so, I plan to mitigate by running a couple of new ducts from the new hydronic core to areas adjoining the engine room [e.g., galley, workroom, and pilothouse] thus reducing airflow into main duct system. That would not be difficult in my boat, but does start to dilute the concept of sharing duct work and subsequent shorter installation time and cost...

Multiple ducts could easily be accomplished [in my set-up] with a unit like this one...

I hope this all makes sense. I'm just sharing my initial thinking before I have delved into the minutia... My approach may require adjustments once I get to that stage...

Cheers!

Bill
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Old 11-11-2015, 15:21   #21
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Re: Adding a heater to boat

I have a High Seas diesel bulk head heater that used to be made in Seattle, with ALL the equipment for installation, deck iron,ect., the heater has a brass cover, very nice to look at, it's yours for $ 500, can send photo if interested.
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Old 11-11-2015, 16:30   #22
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Re: Adding a heater to boat

I find the heat exchanger useful only as a gratuity.
You cannot depend on engine running for non-occasional heating.

Also, propane is a no-way, unless boat is moored for long...

For fuel, diesel OR wood/coal/briquette are the alternatives.

Burners like Webasto, Eberspacher, Wallas have these negatives:
- needs electricity
- fan is overly noisy
- ventilation pipes are expensive to assemble, and eat space!

Thus, I considered only traditional Stoves (heaters):
- you see flames, feel-good effect
- they give ambience an old sailor flavour
- they are possibly eternal (!)
- you can circulate air around, easily
- with an air-exchanger, you can later decide to reach another room with a pipe...

I chose a DICKINSON SOLID FUEL STOVE, handy, inexpensive, strong built, simple wall installation (130cm chimney length required).
OK, I must stow wood/coal, and operate it live, but it is part of the FUN I expect from it, as well as is PARFUME and LIVELY FLAMES.
No electricity needed, although a fan may help cold-start ignition...

I am considering to decommissioning the gimballed propane stove/cooking plate in favour of a Dickinson stove fuelled by diesel, with as serpentine to operate an outer fan....
They look solid, eternal marine eqt.
Gimballing not possible with chimney!...

WALLAS (Finland) has a similar product too, maybe more modern/stylish

REFLEX/HEATPOL is making nice heaters, but no cooking eqt., and heaters look like being a bit too light in design (imo) vs Canadian competitor

Honestly, I really can not understand why Eberspacher/Webasto are sooo popular (???)... for sure campers outnumber boats....but not a good reason to me! And maintenance required is high, I was told, and electronics prone to fail.....

60% of DICKINSON customers in Holland are LIVEABOARDS.... no further comments required :-)
.
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***
I really feel like there is a DIVIDE, between boats with/without a serious, fixed heating system (which includes bulkhead/roof insulation on top)
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Old 11-11-2015, 17:00   #23
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Re: Adding a heater to boat

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Originally Posted by TheThunderbird View Post
I find the heat exchanger useful only as a gratuity.........

......I really feel like there is a DIVIDE, between boats with/without a serious, fixed heating system (which includes bulkhead/roof insulation on top)
The only reason I don't have a 'bus heater' is space.

One of the features of 'high latitude' sailing is that you do a lot of motoring... a 'bus heater' provides *free* heat when motoring and means that when you come to anchor in the evening the boat is nice and warm below.

I use a more basic system.... opening up the engine room after shutdown..nothing like a big block of hot iron to warm the place up.... good for drying gloves on as well....

Apart from that my boat has 5mm to 8/10mm closed cell foam lining through out, a three outlet Eberspacher, lots and lots of Icebreaker merino kit and possum wool gloves... a bus heater would be a nice addition.
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Old 11-11-2015, 17:32   #24
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Re: Adding a heater to boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboTim View Post
Does anyone know where one can purchase some kind of heater that runs off engine coolant to heat my boat so I can start boating earlier in the year and later in the year?
You asked about heaters that run off the engine coolant, so here goes...

Last year, before our eighth trip down the ICW from New Bern NC to Miami in January, I put a Heatercraft heater (from Defender) in our sailboat. My wife in her blog Irish Eyes to the Bahamas said:

"One of Billís projects was to finish installing a bus heater on Irish Eyes. The heater works like a carís heater. While the boatís engine is running and the heaterís fan is on, hot air pours out into the cabin. It has been a major improvement in winter boat life. The cabin warms up and dries out as we motor during the day. When we stop, we quickly dive below, close everything up, and enjoy the seventy-eight degree warmth until it finally all fades away as bed time approaches."

"The temperature outside was in the forties, but down in our warm cabin it was in the seventies. I canít say enough good things about our bus heater."

I installed the heater with a 3-way valve to cut it into or out of the coolant circuit from the engine to the water heater. As soon as we got south and it got warm, I shifted the valve cutting off the hot water to the heater.

We are happy. The ninth trip is in the plans for this January.

If you want to know more about the installation, ask.
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Old 11-11-2015, 17:53   #25
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Re: Adding a heater to boat

I purchased heater from Red Dot Red Dot Corporation | Mobile HVAC |. They have suppliers all over it was for a school bus. Routed it off the cooling loop for the hot water heater with a Y valve when not needed. Cost a couple years ago $110 the tubing and valve and connectors cost almost as much. Didn't worry about the 5amp service as it was only in used when engine was running. Got a $30 ceramic heater from Walmart and run it off my Honda 2000 at night when anchored and 12V electric blanket when sleeping. Made the trip down the ditch very comfortable.
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Old 11-11-2015, 21:32   #26
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Cool Re: Adding a heater to boat

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Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
You might reach out to Evans Starzinger, a member here. He & Beth Leonard have a Bus Heater listed as one of the favorite pieces of gear which they had on Hawk.
It was evidently a Heater-Craft engine driven heater (model 501-H-B) as listed here on their website Top Rated Equipment
Gotta tell you, love your pic...... I have the theme from 'The Good, Bad, and The Ugly' as my ringtone ....

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