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Old 22-03-2014, 15:21   #61
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Re: Electric Heater for Liveaboard in Boston

I recommend a ceramic heater with a fan to circulate the hot air. I chose this one but there are plenty of others out there.
Amazon.com - Lasko 675945 Stanley 12-Inch Ceramic Utility Heater -
My salon is huge at 17 x 12 feet but never gets below 55f. Next week might test it out.
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Old 22-03-2014, 18:43   #62
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Re: Electric Heater for Liveaboard in Boston

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I recommend a ceramic heater with a fan to circulate the hot air. I chose this one but there are plenty of others out there.
Amazon.com - Lasko 675945 Stanley 12-Inch Ceramic Utility Heater -
My salon is huge at 17 x 12 feet but never gets below 55f. Next week might test it out.

Do you live aboard in RI?

Also curious if you have any other heaters on board?
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Old 22-03-2014, 19:00   #63
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Re: Electric Heater for Liveaboard in Boston

I sure do live aboard only not in Jan and Feb and I'm in my salon now. Today was pretty hot in Providence at 62 in the salon without the heater on. There is only one heater and I close off the forward cabin. I am perhaps a little different in that I prefer to sleep at 55 or so because I can't sleep at 70.

I'll post the temps for next Tuesday when a big storm is forecast.
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Old 22-03-2014, 19:51   #64
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Re: Electric Heater for Liveaboard in Boston

There is a thing called K.I.S.S. - Yet I keep reading posts about spending $100 for this heater; $500 for that A/C & heat; and so forth, ad infinitum. I glad so many posters have so much extra money that they can throw away or in this case - maybe - light with a match to try to keep warm.

All the boats I know about generally have either 30 amp shore power or 50 amp shore power. The smaller boats generally are always 30 amps. AND - the AC circuity is wired for 15 amp load branches or 20 amp load branches - that is, the max you can plug in before the circuit breaker pops is 15 amps or 20 amps.

Assuming nothing else running in the boat which is unrealistic as you have lights, battery chargers; water heaters, etc. running you get maybe the maximum available for space heaters is 2 times 15 amps.

If you look at the label on the back of all the portable heating units you will find that they rarely exceed 13 amps which equates to about 1500 watts of heating. Using 3.41btu/hr/watt that adds up to 5115 BTU's. So the sellers like to throw BTU's at you as the numbers seem so much bigger.

If you go to Home Depot, Lowes or any discount home center you will find plenty of 1500 watt portable heaters for $10 to $15. These units put out exactly the same heat as all the $100 and higher cost units that are rated at 1500 watts.

So why do you want to spend 5 to 10 times the money for the same amount of heat? Maybe the high priced units are prettier, or funny shaped or whatever. Fact is they don't put out any more heat than the $10 unit. Maybe the high priced ones will last longer - but in this "Made in China" era I don't think so . . .

But - maybe they have better and/or safer mounting systems - again I don't think so as consumer law mandates the automatic shut-offs for tip over, etc.

So we go to Home Depot and by a handful of the $10 units and put them - one unit per electrical branch circuit - in the main cabin and one in the sleeping compartment. We run them both on low at night, or only one on high depending upon which cabin we are in. This keeps the shore power breaker from popping or cable overheating when the water heater or other unit automatically turns itself on or off.

I like the idea a poster had of running a separate 30 amp or 20 amp circuit from the shore power box to the boat strictly for electrical heaters so that you are not stressing the normal circuits in the boat.

In order to get more than the limited heat available from electrical heaters you would need to go to a diesel heater or other fuel type heater which means installing vents and chimneys, etc. so that you are not allowing combustion gasses to get into the cabin. The available heat from these heaters is virtually unlimited as is the amount of money you can spend installing them.

I would suggest if you are going the electrical heat route to spend the excess money you would spend on the "fancy-dancy" units on some form of insulation to keep the heat in the cabin from escaping through the cabin top/roof, hatches, etc. Keep the heat from escaping and you don't need to keep adding so much all the time.

Maybe some form of insulated blanket or maybe a custom-shaped tarp with polyurethane panels cut to shape laid over the exterior of the cabin-top. Take a look at the RV market and they have lots of stuff for temporary hatch insulation pillows, etc. to help keep the heat in (and the cold out).
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Old 23-03-2014, 02:04   #65
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pirate Re: Electric Heater for Liveaboard in Boston

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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
... If you go to Home Depot, Lowes or any discount home center you will find plenty of 1500 watt portable heaters for $10 to $15. These units put out exactly the same heat as all the $100 and higher cost units that are rated at 1500 watts.

So why do you want to spend 5 to 10 times the money for the same amount of heat? Maybe the high priced units are prettier, or funny shaped or whatever. Fact is they don't put out any more heat than the $10 unit. Maybe the high priced ones will last longer - but in this "Made in China" era I don't think so . . .
Hard to argue with math ... but ... my cube $25 Pelonis heater does not compare with the $100 one. For two things, there's more fan action out of the bigger one, and it's quieter. Maybe not 4 x quieter or warmer, tho. The small one keeps the V berth sleepable but is not up to the job in the main saloon. Heh, main saloon, like I have subsidiary saloons!

I've tried adding regular fans to blow the heat around but found it uncomfortable and not all that effective.

Without question, insulating the overhead would be a huge improvment, and would help with condensation which really is awful. I'd insulate if I lived up north, and buy a diesel heater. What price freedom?
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Old 23-03-2014, 05:29   #66
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Re: Electric Heater for Liveaboard in Boston

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I'd insulate if I lived up north, and buy a diesel heater. What price freedom?

As I said in the original post, this is only for next winter. The ultimate heating plan is just not to be where it's cold.

Winter 2014-2015, find a way to manage to stay warm in Boston on the water. Winter 2016-2016 and beyond, the Bahamas, Florida Keys, Caribbean, etc.
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Old 23-03-2014, 05:41   #67
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Re: Electric Heater for Liveaboard in Boston

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Nice looking unit and very well done installation!

Does it operate like the Espar/Webasto ones? So it's a forced-air burner with a glow plug ignitor? How often do you have to clean out the combustion chamber? How much fuel does it consume?

Not sure if it operates like the others. It has a compressor that mixes the air with the fuel and ignites with a glow plug. We clean the chamber once a year and it never has much soot in it. Over the last 4 winters we have averaged about 200 gallons per year. This year will be more like 275.
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Old 23-03-2014, 05:44   #68
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Re: Electric Heater for Liveaboard in Boston

JK & Smitty - "As I said in the original post, this is only for next winter.. . ." Ah, That would to me reinforce not spending more than necessary to get some heat, so the economically priced units (cheap) would be my first choice as you can "deep six" them later without too much wallet pain when you do get south.

As to justifying more expensive units, bigger, better fan - Yes that would be worth some extra dollars as usually the fans in the units from cheap to ridiculously priced are underwhelming in performance. So you would need to shop carefully to find a heater with a decent fan system. Getting those BTU's spread around the room down low instead of only in a small pocket of air at the ceiling(overhead) would be worth a bit.

Problem with almost any type of heating is that heat rises and cold sinks - so you end up having to fill up the cabin from the top down and your head is hot and your toes still frozen. So we end up needing a lot more BTU's to get some modest heating effect down where we are sitting/lying. Houses have room for ceiling fans but what about our boats?

Maybe some corner fans mounted high up the bulkhead (wall) can help blow the hot air back down. Or maybe a small fan mounted on top of the portable cheap heater that helps direct the hot air output further away at sole (floor) level? And those fans would come in handy when you do get South. We went through a lot of 12VDC electric fans in our decade in the Caribbean.

When it comes to small 12VDC fans the marine versions are seriously high priced. Again here is where I go to the RV supply stores where the same fan can be half the "marine" price.
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Old 23-03-2014, 06:19   #69
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Re: Electric Heater for Liveaboard in Boston

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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post

There is a thing called K.I.S.S. - Yet I keep reading posts about spending $100 for this heater; $500 for that A/C & heat; and so forth, ad infinitum. I glad so many posters have so much extra money that they can throw away or in this case - maybe - light with a match to try to keep warm.

I like the idea a poster had of running a separate 30 amp or 20 amp circuit from the shore power box to the boat strictly for electrical heaters so that you are not stressing the normal circuits in the boat.

The Cruisair STQ/HDML installation I described happened partly because their original reverse-cycle AC was on it's last legs. (After approx. 25 years, go figure.)

Their boat was already wired for twin 30-amp shorepower, and the second inlet is dedicated to AC.

-Chris
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Old 23-03-2014, 06:22   #70
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Re: Electric Heater for Liveaboard in Boston

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I really don`t like coming on here because the people with so much experience and 20,000 hits and don`t own a boat have so much to say makes me sick.I have lived aboard a sailboat in Nova scotia for 17 years,8years on a 31 Grampion and 9 years on a 36 hunter.The best way that I can find to winter is to insulate your boat from the inside,if you do it on the outside you will get condensation,I have 2 1500 watt heaters and a 9000 BTU dickensen propane heater in the centre of the boat.I have my own power pole which I put in the last time I got back from the Bahamas and a private dock.I put one e-heater for`d and one by the companionway and cold nights I light the fireplace,-20c.+.I like my comfort ,so I`m talking warm.My power bill for for those four cold months is about 900.00.

I remember we shopped on a Mark Ellis designed motorsailor back in the mid-'90s, Northeast 37 or something like that, and they offered a fireplace option.

-Chris
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Old 23-03-2014, 07:15   #71
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Re: Electric Heater for Liveaboard in Boston

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The Cruisair STQ/HDML installation I described happened partly because their original reverse-cycle AC was on it's last legs. (After approx. 25 years, go figure.)
Their boat was already wired for twin 30-amp shorepower, and the second inlet is dedicated to AC.
-Chris
In the CF tradition of thread drift - - my installed MarineAir (now Dometic (I think) owns all the old marine air conditioning brand names) also lasted about 20 years. It would have lasted longer but kept losing freon. I couldn't find any obvious leaks so I had a reputable marine air technician sniff test the units. Turns out the whole unit was "weeping" freon. He explained that after a decade or two the aluminum gets so porous that freon seeps out from everywhere and is unrepairable. So you have to buy a new one.

And rather than just buying new pipes and evaporator units - for the same money you can get the new high efficiency "all-in-one" reverse cycle pan units. So I replaced one unit which was back in the master cabin and switched to fans in the rest of the cabins along with hatch mounted home window a/c units.
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Old 23-03-2014, 08:12   #72
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Either long term or short term, insulation helps north and south.
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Old 23-03-2014, 13:45   #73
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Re: Electric Heater for Liveaboard in Boston

Did someone mention wood ? Wood is the best, except it turn the cabin into something out of the 1800s with wood shavings and ash everywhere. I had a gypsy, a Neptune, and an Olympic all burning wood. Later I bought a small box type wood stove. The biggest problem I found with wood is keeping it going longer than a few hours. 2-3 hours at best for the Neptune and Olympic. Maybe 4 for the box stove.

I liked using prestologs to start the fire, and before that I used motor oil and a propane torch. But again, with burn times, sometimes I was starting a fire 3 times a day. One in the morning, one for cooking, and one in the evening cold.
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Old 30-03-2014, 19:09   #74
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Re: Electric Heater for Liveaboard in Boston

Webasto heaters they are expensive but worth the money about 1 gallon for 20 hrs


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