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View Poll Results: Propane water heater or conventional heater?
Propane 7 38.89%
Conventional 11 61.11%
Voters: 18. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 25-05-2016, 15:45   #31
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Re: Propane Water Heater ?

Ann,
The surveyors concern is that, as others have mentioned, its not ABYC approved.
Ours is mounted an the saloon side of the galley bulkhead. There is an opening hatch nearly over head and is directly inline..though several feet from the companion way. Like everything on the boat it is in good condition but nearly 20 years old. The po really did an excellent job of maintaining the systems but not so good at upgrading.
As for insurance, we are still on the hunt. We are finding most insurance very prohibative so far. Still looking though.
Thanks for the thoughts.
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Old 25-05-2016, 16:05   #32
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Re: Propane Water Heater ?

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Ann,
The surveyors concern is that, as others have mentioned, its not ABYC approved.
Bingo...

Without the AYBC sticker an otherwise potentially safe and well installed unit is deemed a death trap, making your boat uninsurable. See how the game is played. No thought...no analysis...it's an easy Bureaucratic check the box to save the day.

From what I've seen from my excel unit and it's installation, it's safer than my AYBC approved Force 10 range.
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Old 25-05-2016, 18:12   #33
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Re: Propane Water Heater ?

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Originally Posted by SV THIRD DAY View Post
Thanks amigo,
I followed the entire thread you referenced and made my decision with all the facts laid out and reviewed. No one was suckered, lied to, or bamboozled. Others can review the information and make their own decision, but you will note that nowhere did I say or imply that the Excel heater was ABYC approved, nor was such non-approval a deal breaker for me. Insurance companies and pay-to-play certification agencies don't control every aspect of my life...at least not yet. Until someone passes a law requiring me to buy health insurance or fines me if I don't....but...ah...wait...Obamacare....ah never mind....ha ha ha
No argument, just providing information. I see a lot of scary stuff in my work.
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Old 27-05-2016, 05:57   #34
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Re: Propane Water Heater ?

Boatpoker, wtf is that? It looks like it could heat a house!

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Old 27-05-2016, 06:03   #35
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Re: Propane Water Heater ?

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Boatpoker, wtf is that? It looks like it could heat a house!

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Correct !

it's a domestic natural gas furnace connected to three 20lb. propane tanks.
I get to see this stuff all the time.......
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Old 27-05-2016, 06:34   #36
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Re: Propane Water Heater ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
. . . Perhaps you could get your surveyor to tell you why he recommended it be removed, then re-evaluate what you want to do relative to his statement. Also, look at your insurance policy and see if having a propane water heater would void the insurance, or if you can get a rider to cover it. . . .
No doubt because it violates ABYC standards.

I don't like LPG on boats, period, and my next boat won't have it at all, for anything. In my opinion the risks are unreasonable.

But everyone has to decide for himself, of course. Some of the comments on here show good sense, in my opinion, about how to manage the risks -- outside flue, ventilation, propane detector and alarm, etc. Such measures will greatly reduce the risks, but not eliminate them.

As an alternative -- a diesel fueled hydronic heater will heat hot water without any of these risks, and will heat the boat as a bonus. In a colder climate, that's a no brainer in my opinion. An additional bonus is that you don't have to carry a lot of gas.

I would personally do it this way even in a warm climate where I didn't need the heat. I don't think it's much more expensive than one of these propane heaters, and there's no explosion risk at all, no need for additional safety measures, and future general boat heating if needed.
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Old 27-05-2016, 06:35   #37
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Re: Propane Water Heater ?

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Originally Posted by boatpoker View Post
Correct !

it's a domestic natural gas furnace connected to three 20lb. propane tanks.
I get to see this stuff all the time.......
The stuff of Darwin Awards! Egad!
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Old 27-05-2016, 06:49   #38
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Re: Propane Water Heater ?

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The stuff of Darwin Awards! Egad!
Survival of the fittest ... Darwin must be wrong otherwise all these idiots would have long ago been deleted from the gene pool

I gotta thousand (really) of em' ... like this brand new Jeanneau powerboat.... side loading locker without drainage adjacent to a hatch which opens to reveal three circuit breakers, a box full of batteries, a battery charger and a generator.
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Old 27-05-2016, 08:20   #39
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Re: Propane Water Heater ?

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Originally Posted by SV THIRD DAY View Post
Bingo...

Without the AYBC sticker an otherwise potentially safe and well installed unit is deemed a death trap, making your boat uninsurable. See how the game is played. No thought...no analysis...it's an easy Bureaucratic check the box to save the day.

From what I've seen from my excel unit and it's installation, it's safer than my AYBC approved Force 10 range.
I agree with you -- the ABYC standard allows stoves but forbids "unattended" devices using LPG inside boats. Is a stove really "attended" in a way which so much reduces the risks? It's arbitrary.

But that's how standards work -- and they are inherently arbitrary sometimes, like here.

If I were making the standards, I would forbid ALL LPG on board boats. CNG would be the only type of gas allowed. In this day and age when there are plenty of viable, practical ways to cook and heat water, I believe this would be workable. There would be plentiful CNG for boaters who prefer gas, and others would use diesel or electricity.

But that's only my opinion, and for those who disagree, you will be glad to hear that no one appointed me to make any standards
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Old 27-05-2016, 09:50   #40
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Re: Propane Water Heater ?

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There would be plentiful CNG for boaters who prefer gas, and others would use diesel or electricity.
Gee CNG is not available in many places, least in North America. The Btu's per CF of CNG is half that of propane. So more storage or more filling is required.. It's safer in that CNG floats, but the tank two stage regulator on a CNG tank are more complicated and costly.

In an enclosed space, CNG is only slightly safer then propane. Just count all the buildings blown up by natural gas leaks. Yes propane causes buildings to blow up too.

Propane has issues, but they are well know and the systems generally are simple with a single stage regulator and a propane detector(s). I would not assume that CNG is overall safer then propane. Both with a leak could cause the boat to go boom.
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Old 27-05-2016, 09:56   #41
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Re: Propane Water Heater ?

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Gee CNG is not available in many places, least in North America. The Btu's per CF of CNG is half that of propane. So more storage or more filling is required.. It's safer in that CNG floats, but the tank two stage regulator on a CNG tank are more complicated and costly.

In an enclosed space, CNG is only slightly safer then propane. Just count all the buildings blown up by natural gas leaks. Yes propane causes buildings to blow up too.

Propane has issues, but they are well know and the systems generally are simple with a single stage regulator and a propane detector(s). I would not assume that CNG is overall safer then propane. Both with a leak could cause the boat to go boom.
My point was that if LPG were banned on boats, CNG would necessarily become more readily available.

On the safety issue -- maybe you're right. I have not been consulted by the regulators, so my opinion is of little importance.

But since boats are generally pretty well ventilated, but on the other hand have no way to let out heavy gas (unlike a building), I would guess that it would be 1000x harder to create an explosive mixture, with CNG.

LPG on a boat is essentially a fuel-air bomb. Can be made reasonably safe with a lot of care and the right equipment, but it's easy to screw it up. Doesn't happen all that often, maybe, but boats are regularly blown to smithereens by LPG explosions. I'll do without it on my next boat; what you do is your decision (your insurance company might have some influence, however).
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Old 27-05-2016, 10:15   #42
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Re: Propane Water Heater ?

I have had two Propane water heaters on boats. Both worked well but the newer $120 camping version was much better than the old Paloma. Let's face it, if you want to use it on a boat safely just treat it like your propane cook stove. It's no more dangerous, actually probably safer, than the stove. Turn it on to use it and turn it off when done. Unfortunately ABYC etc aren't smart enough to figure that out, but that's what you get when making decisions by committee.
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Old 27-05-2016, 14:00   #43
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Re: Propane Water Heater ?

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you will be glad to hear that no one appointed me to make any standards
Phew ! ..... that was close
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Old 27-05-2016, 14:36   #44
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Re: Propane Water Heater ?

Anyone have stats on the number of propane fires (or more likely explosions) that happen on boats per year or per 100,000 boats? I drive a car, while tens of thousands of people die in them per year, so am I being crazy to drive? Life is about managing risk and frankly I don't want to live in a world where the regulators have removed all risk. A) You could not afford that world and B) Cruising would be banned anyway since boats sink.
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Old 27-05-2016, 15:24   #45
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Re: Propane Water Heater ?

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Anyone have stats on the number of propane fires (or more likely explosions) that happen on boats per year or per 100,000 boats? I drive a car, while tens of thousands of people die in them per year, so am I being crazy to drive? Life is about managing risk and frankly I don't want to live in a world where the regulators have removed all risk. A) You could not afford that world and B) Cruising would be banned anyway since boats sink.
I agree with your logic, and joking aside, I'm glad that it's not regulated.

We've been around the houses on the statistics question about gas safety in other threads, and no one could produce anything clear. I do know that a roughly similar number of boaters died in gas explosions last year in the UK as drowned getting in their dinghies -- i.e., a few. So as an order of magnitude analysis, gas is one of the main dangers of our sport. Seems to me worth avoiding completely, if it can be done without too much sacrifice of comfort, but everyone will decide for himself.
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