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Old 30-12-2013, 11:51   #31
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Re: Air Versus Hydronic Heater

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On my present liveaboard I have an Espar D5 L. She is a 47 foot boat.

Even in the relatively warm Puget sound it is not enough.

Though it throws out plenty of heat the blower has difficulty reaching the bow.
Thankfully it is mostly only me. She is well insulated and it rarely gets below freezing.

The unit was well suited for the bay area where it was installed and was used to keep the boat dry in winter.

I have a huricane ii in my future - after the weather warms up.

Mub

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If you go to a Hurricane Heater , say goodbye to your dry boat in the winter, I take it that your Airtronic D5 is using outside air for an intake ?

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Old 30-12-2013, 13:02   #32
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Re: Air Versus Hydronic Heater

We installed an ITR hurricane hydronic heater and it introduces no moisture into our boat than before we had it. It pulls in outside air for the furnace and exhausts it outside. Heat is delivered via hot propylene glycol mixture run throughout the boat with fans pushing air through small radiator units.
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Old 30-12-2013, 13:12   #33
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Re: Air Versus Hydronic Heater

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We installed an ITR hurricane hydronic heater and it introduces no moisture into our boat than before we had it. It pulls in outside air for the furnace and exhausts it outside. Heat is delivered via hot propylene glycol mixture run throughout the boat with fans pushing air through small radiator units.
Its not the Hurricane I speak of in particular, it is just the nature of recircullating warmed air in inside a a closed space , moisture builds up .

From a previous post
"I agree, In heating a boat you need to bring in as much outside air as you can . It takes more to heat cold air but you will drive out the moisture inside the boat and be ahead in the spring. So get a high BTU unit and try to use outside air, not recirculated damp boat air.

This is hard to do with a hydronic system unless you use something like this

New Hot Water Heater Kit Military Army 6x6 Truck M35 M35A2 M275 M109 M54 5 Ton | eBay

This is what I am installing this spring with a Webasto 2010. I have installed the heater cores all around the boat before and I don't foresee this install to be anymore work then that .

And another.

This will be my second install with the hydronic setup. the last time I did the hose around the boat with heater cores in every cabin , worked fine but the unit was noisy . The biggest drawback was with moisture buildup in the boat , this ruins wood around the port-lights , heater cores just recycle the air in the boat, if you don't know what I mean switch to recycle heat in your car and see how much moisture builds up , then go to fresh, bam! it's all gone .

This install I will have my 2010 which will stay in the aft lazerate,plumbed into one large single heater core with 40000 btu with a single centrifugal fan blowing just over 300 cfm located in the engine room amidships. . These are made by Hunter, they are used to heat heavy equipment. Then some very simple 4 inch ducting forward and aft from the center engine room. I will have the abilty to draw all fresh air or a percentage of it with a lockable baffle on the intake which will draw air from a clamshell vent in the cockpit.
My Bristol has amazing cabinetry in it and I really don't want any moisture problems ruining it , also say goodbye to any mold associated with moisture . You have to keep the air dry when there are cold surfaces involved, boats are not insulated like homes . There are millions of cold spots that mold loves to grow. This experience I have had . Darn cold up here in Canada.

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Old 30-12-2013, 13:16   #34
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Re: Air Versus Hydronic Heater

I had a look at your install Tim .

Very nice job, how long have you had it up and running?

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Old 30-12-2013, 19:13   #35
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Typhoon, we run a dehumidifier during the day and that gets us to about 35% humidity. I installed the heater in 2010 and this will be our fourth winter with it. I am sitting in my salon right now in a T-shirt. It is 18 degrees outside and there is not a drop of condensation. We will have some in our cabin in the morning from our bodys but not enough to generate a drip. The dehumidifier will take care of the little bit our bodies put into the boat. We do also get some in the galley from cooking but again that will be gone by the time we get back to the boat tomorrow evening. Good luck with your installation and keep us posted as to the progress. Remember, photos or it did not happen!
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Old 31-12-2013, 11:24   #36
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Re: Air Versus Hydronic Heater

I think that the summary is..

Air heat forces fresh air transfer which makes humidity control easier. The system is a lot simpler. But large systems have difficulty evenly heating the boat. Maximum heat output is limited.

Hydronic heat is generally easier to install because of the smaller pipes but the system is more complicated. It is easier to control the heat distribution on larger boats. Humidity control is more of an issue and requires doing things like taking the combustion air from the cabin or having a dedicated forces air intake which can reduce the difficulty of managing the issue. The complexity of the system is countered by the ability to make hot water as well as warm the engine.

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Old 31-12-2013, 11:47   #37
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Re: Air Versus Hydronic Heater

That's pretty much my read on all this as well. I ordered more parts from Sure yesterday. Next up, installing the exhaust line.

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Old 31-12-2013, 12:00   #38
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Re: Air Versus Hydronic Heater

We are getting ready to pull the trigger on an Espar MII-10 hydronic unit on our 44 foot ketch. She too has a center cockpit with engine room below. I have previously installed a Webasto 3500 air duct unit - I think that the Espar will be an easier unit to install. Running 3/4 hose should be much easier than 4" duct.

If you are having issues with identifying the correct connections on the Webasto you bought, and you are buying other parts of the system from Sure, have you asked Eric or others there to help with the identification. They know the units very well, and I would not be surprised if one quick phone call to them will help you with your issue.

We too considered buying a used unit, but have decided to buy new, for the support, warranty and piece of mind that it has not been abused.

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Old 31-12-2013, 13:43   #39
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Re: Air Versus Hydronic Heater

mub said:
Quote:
Air heat forces fresh air transfer which makes humidity control easier. The system is a lot simpler. But large systems have difficulty evenly heating the boat. Maximum heat output is limited.
I don't think that air heat forces any fresh air transfer. It all depends on how the system is ventilated. Both systems need proper ventilation. If you recirculate inside air with an air heat system you get the same problem as recirculating air with a water heat system. Ventilate the cabin the right amount (should be adjustable) and you have even comfortable heat.

The analogy of a car heater using recirculated air is correct, however, one can adjust the amount of fresh air coming into the vehicle to balance heat and humidity so that the car is warm and the windows are clear. Humidity in a boat should be controlled in the same way.

I have emailed Webasto asking them what they suggest in the way of a ventilation system. I will post their answer when/if I get one.
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Old 31-12-2013, 17:57   #40
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I've installed Ebespachers Airtips and one hydronic , the latest being an Airtop 5 in a 40 foot boat with three cabins. I always recirculate interior air through the unit , the boats all have reasonable ventilation , but main condensation occurs on aluminium window, port light and hatch frames.

The Air systems in my experience are much easier to install , and generally less troublesome then the hydronic.

Dave
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Old 02-01-2014, 08:02   #41
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Re: Air Versus Hydronic Heater

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mub said:

I don't think that air heat forces any fresh air transfer. It all depends on how the system is ventilated. Both systems need proper ventilation. If you recirculate inside air with an air heat system you get the same problem as recirculating air with a water heat system. Ventilate the cabin the right amount (should be adjustable) and you have even comfortable heat.

The analogy of a car heater using recirculated air is correct, however, one can adjust the amount of fresh air coming into the vehicle to balance heat and humidity so that the car is warm and the windows are clear. Humidity in a boat should be controlled in the same way.

I have emailed Webasto asking them what they suggest in the way of a ventilation system. I will post their answer when/if I get one.
But the recommended way to install an air diesel heater is to have the fresh air (dryer air) supply from outside the boat so if it's installed correctly, nobody "recirculates air with an air system," whereas a hydronic unit usually uses ambient air within the boat.

Also, I wonder why you think the supply of fresh air from a diesel heater should be adjustable. A Webasto or Espar air heater will heat even the coldest outside air to high temps, so why would you ever want to "adjust" so you have less fresh air coming in? I suppose that installing a variable way to switch from supplying your unit with cooler, dryer, outside air to warmer, moister, inside air might save you a miniscule amount of fuel on a very cold day, but these units already sip fuel so it seems to me that it is just another complication that would take up valuable space, and yield a not very big benefit.

I don't doubt that it's possible to keep your boat warm and dry using a hydronic heater and a dehumidifier, but an air diesel heater does both jobs, heating and drying at the same time, without the need for any other equipment aboard.

I'm struggling with the question of which type to install on my current boat right now. I've had an Espar air type before and it worked great, including a winter of living aboard in Annapolis. For me there wouldn't be any question about which type I will install if it weren't for difficulties in routing the 4" and 3" ducting. I'm still working on figuring out a way to get the heat from where I want to install the unit to all the places I want to have it to make the boat comfortable.
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Old 02-01-2014, 21:18   #42
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Re: Air Versus Hydronic Heater

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But the recommended way to install an air diesel heater is to have the fresh air (dryer air) supply from outside the boat so if it's installed correctly, nobody "recirculates air with an air system," whereas a hydronic unit usually uses ambient air within the boat.

Also, I wonder why you think the supply of fresh air from a diesel heater should be adjustable. A Webasto or Espar air heater will heat even the coldest outside air to high temps, so why would you ever want to "adjust" so you have less fresh air coming in? I suppose that installing a variable way to switch from supplying your unit with cooler, dryer, outside air to warmer, moister, inside air might save you a miniscule amount of fuel on a very cold day, but these units already sip fuel so it seems to me that it is just another complication that would take up valuable space, and yield a not very big benefit.

I don't doubt that it's possible to keep your boat warm and dry using a hydronic heater and a dehumidifier, but an air diesel heater does both jobs, heating and drying at the same time, without the need for any other equipment aboard.

I'm struggling with the question of which type to install on my current boat right now. I've had an Espar air type before and it worked great, including a winter of living aboard in Annapolis. For me there wouldn't be any question about which type I will install if it weren't for difficulties in routing the 4" and 3" ducting. I'm still working on figuring out a way to get the heat from where I want to install the unit to all the places I want to have it to make the boat comfortable.
There must be 100s of boats here with Eberspacher or Webasto air heater. All take air from inside the boat. I've actually never seen a external air intake.

Dave
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Old 03-01-2014, 06:33   #43
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Re: Air Versus Hydronic Heater

Dave.
Then mine is unique. Just like my neighbours.
In both installs the heater is located in a vented lazurette. Air is drawn from there and pumped into the living space on the boat.

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Old 03-01-2014, 07:08   #44
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Re: Air Versus Hydronic Heater

Real-world snapshot from this morning: Webasto hydronic is our primary heat. We supplement with a 900/1500w electric space heater when dockside to keep diesel usage down. We also use a 30 pint dehumidifier approx. 4 hours a day around dinner time. Family of four full time liveaboards.

I wouldn't consider hydronic easier to install. The only thing easier would be the duct vs hose, everything else is more complicated/complex. If you could meet your heating requirements with an air system and don't care about hot water benefits away from the dock, I would go the air heater route. We live aboard full time, so our need for true whole-boat heating would rule out an ait system for us. Hot water at anchor on a cold day is also sweet!

Be sure to consider the 12v energy requirements of the systems you are looking at, too! These things will eat up some Ah's!

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Old 03-01-2014, 07:32   #45
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Re: Air Versus Hydronic Heater

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Dave.
Then mine is unique. Just like my neighbours.
In both installs the heater is located in a vented lazurette. Air is drawn from there and pumped into the living space on the boat.

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You must have no problem with high humidity and the associated problems that come with it inside a boat , if you are using all outside air, am I right??

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