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Old 23-01-2016, 21:28   #16
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Re: Heaters. Propane? Diesel?

Many seem to be fans of Refleks heaters. And given where they're made, the folks who build them know something about keeping warm.

One tip passed on to me, which makes total sense, is that whatever type of heater you get, make sure to get it with built in heating coils for water. Whether you use the heated water to run radiators for heating. Or simply use the hot water for showers, & dish washing.

And my personal $0.02, is to go through your boat, spending some time & $, to make sure that she's well insulated. To the point of borrowing a thermal imager/scanner (which you can temporarily get on loan), that they use to evaluate the insulation in homes. And to give your boat a good going over on a cold & windy day, to look for gaps in your insulation.

As properly insulating your boat pays HUGE in terms of keeping the heat in, plus for greatly lessening condensation. => So, consider it a part of your heating "package".
I did my first boat, a 33'er, with closed cell foam, & automotive headliner carpet (& some cans of 3m spray glue), in the course of a long weekend. And the improvement was gigantic, & immediate.

Also, good insulation makes a big difference in hotter climates too. With or without A/C. Many times rendering the need for the latter unnecessary if you're anywhere which has consistent breezes.

FYI: Beth Leonard gets into some detail on heaters & insulation, on their website, & in her writings. Including covering "free heat" AKA Bus Heaters, for when you're running your engine. And they were fans of their Refleks, BTW.


PS: A cheap addition to any heating system, is a few good fans. Both to move the heat around, & to move air through places which otherwise wouldn't get the warm air they need. Such as underneath of bunks, & in most lockers onboard.
From conventional fans, to computer fans, & even those which are powered by being atop a heater, who's rising warm air, causes them to spin.
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Old 24-01-2016, 06:47   #17
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Re: Heaters. Propane? Diesel?

The heating situation begins with reducing heat loss through the envelope. Boat makers are not really paying attention to this I think correctly assuming that most boats are use for recreational use in warm climates and seasons. Insulation is a low priority in the design if it is even considered at all. The ports and hatches are a perfect example... no insulated glazing... no thermal brake frames... and of course the hulls are solid glass or cored glass, or metal which have little thermal resistance.

This means that your heating cost will be high because your heat loss will be high! If you are living dockside you can use a plastic cover to help... it can work like a green house and provide passive solar heat when the sun shines. If you are sailing the boat this is not happenin'.

You could apply insulation blankets to the walls or the headliner. Not attractive, but they will help... and of course thermal plastic over ports and hatches.

The Espar and Webasto exits the combustion gases to the outside... you don't want to be breathing that! And both use exterior air for combustion air. My experience is with 3" hot air ducts... which were not hard to install.... plumbing would be perhaps even easier... but then you have to have blowers or rely on radiation which is slow.

I use a fuel pick up from the main diesel tank... easy to replenish at the pump or using jerry cans. The Espar Airtronic 4 burns about 1/10 gal / hr... but less when the heating demand is lower. It's very quiet once the design temp has been achieved and it is controlled by a thermostat. You can close off the outlets... also.

My T stat is close to where I sleep (aft cabin thingy) and so the comfort temp is in that area... I close off the other outlets in the evening... and close the aft cabin outlet in the day.

I think the system is excellent... and is great to reduce humidity. But you do need fresh air and more insulation for the envelop for real comfort.

I don't want open flames if possible that I am not literally watching... like when cooking... and I think propane can be dangerous and less of it is better.

The heating extends my sailing from spring through fall. So it's well worth it... and keeps the spousal unit content (as long as we are not "tipping").
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Old 24-01-2016, 07:15   #18
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Re: Heaters. Propane? Diesel?

The diesel heaters are the way to go. Our boat is covered with snow right now, and we are cozy as can be. The hydronic systems are the best, but cost more to install, and do use more power. but you can set them up with separate zones, and the heat is more comfortable. You can heat your hot water with the same heater.

The forced air units are a good option as well, if you are not needing to heat 24/7 all winter long. Their achillies heal is the power, they seem to only last a few seaons. If you go this route, keep the duct runs straight, simple and as short as you can. We see units that are owner installed incorrectly where I work, and the heaters are problematic because of flow resistance in the duct work. Do it right, and you will have a much more reliable install.

Actually, the ultimate is a reverse cycle chiller system, with a diesel heater added to the system. Webasto makes a variable speed compressor system that puts out 8k-50k btu. In cool mode it pumps cold water to the air handlers, and hot water when it is cold. The diesel heat add-on works when the water temps fall too low, under 40 degrees in most cases.

It is actually recommended by both Webasto and Espar to run these hydronic and forced air systems once or twice a year on Kerosene. Kero will help to keep the carbon buildup down, and extend your service intervals.

Speaking of service intervals, the Espar Mii-8, 10 and 12 all have dual glow pins, and only need one to be able to start. They alternate using one than the other, so if one fails, the heater will still start - effectively extending your service interval and saving you $$$. These are the best hydronic units in that 8-10kw range, in my opinion.

Chris
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Old 24-01-2016, 07:49   #19
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Re: Heaters. Propane? Diesel?

I fitted a diesel Mikuni system after years of being freezing cold during UK winters. The Mikuni has 4 outlets, is pretty quiet and took me an afternoon to install. I run it straight from the main diesel tank and it gets the boat (steel, 1" insulation) toasty within 10 mins.

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Old 24-01-2016, 08:32   #20
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Re: Heaters. Propane? Diesel?

I go with the idea that a single fuel is the way to go. particularly when I tried to burn my self up the first time I tried to use the Alcohol Stove that was on the boat to start with, when I bought my boat. Now have a Diesel - Dickinson stove and am happy an safer. Also NO extra tanks on deck to spoil the lines of the boat.
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Old 24-01-2016, 08:33   #21
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Re: Heaters. Propane? Diesel?

I have a simple small log burner which run happily on charcoal. Cheaper to run than gas (which I wont have on board for safety reasons and because of problems with getting cylinders where travelling, every area has different ones!). Cheaper to install than diesel. Toasty warm and dry, I will be sat inside in shorts while the snow piles up on deck. When not on board and electric is available I have low power tube heaters. They keep the boat frost free but because there is not such a big difference between inside and out I think it reduces condensation. Mind it is a wooden boat so warm and dry anyway, nothing like an inch or so of teak for insulation from both hot and cold
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Old 24-01-2016, 08:57   #22
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Re: Heaters. Propane? Diesel?

Read this book and apply liberally.

Propane is expensive, problematic in terms of being heavier than air, but most importantly and like alcohol, it is a "wet" fuel that creates moisture when combusted. On a typical stove, this isn't an issue, but throughout a boat, condensation can quickly become a real issue.

This leaves diesel or kerosene heaters, both of which are "dry" fuels in that when they burn, the air is drawn from the cabin (including the moisture from the damp crews' collective breath). So, run a heater and open vents at either end of the boat for proper circulation and you'll have the above-mentioned "warm, dry boat" running on a cheaper, safer fuel easily obtained everywhere.

For the record, we have already a rather amp-greedy heat pump system (Marine Air) that is quite adequate at dock, but we are going to supplement this in the main saloon with a Refleks, if it will fit. FYI, here's a rather good breakdown of how a self-sufficient sailor installed a typical Refleks aboard his boat. Far Reach Voyages Home Page
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Old 24-01-2016, 09:01   #23
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Smile Re: Heaters. Propane? Diesel?

We had Espar diesel heater on a PacketCat 35. They worked OK but were a bit of trouble to get started, and needed more maintenance than our present heater. This is a wall unit heated by propane. It is an older unit from the 80's. It atarts up right away, gives a dry, even heat, and kept up cozy last night here in Stuart on a mooring ball. It uses very little fuel, and is really safe. We have used it every winter since 2010, and love it.
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Old 24-01-2016, 09:07   #24
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Re: Heaters. Propane? Diesel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizzy Belle View Post
Depends very much on where you are -- right now it's winter here in the Netherlands and trust me, while a dehumidifier helps a lot (mine is running 24/7 on max), it's literally raining in my V-berth and the 'walls' (hull) on the inside are all wet. I can see the drips hanging in the cupboards.

The HeatPal (and alcohol stove) will also produce water and happily add that to the (wet) air in your boat, same as the Zibro I have. Which is why I'm replacing it

Obviously, this is a bigger issue in a Dutch winter then a Caribbean summer

Yes very good points that need to be considered LB. I'm planning to get a 50 pint dehumidifier (not too bad on battery power to run for a couple of periods a day), how big is yours?

If I do get a heater, I'll probably go with one of these:

Taylors 079D

eta: No it won't be a Taylor's, I've just seen their prices and they are now way too much for what they are (price has increased outrageously recently).

But the whole point of me getting the boat, is to keep me away from nasty cold stuff, and chase desperately needed heat and salt air. So I may not need it.
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Old 24-01-2016, 09:28   #25
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Re: Heaters. Propane? Diesel?

We recently purchased a Moody 47 that had the original diesel forced air heater removed. They had purchased a Webasto hydronic system but it is still in the box. I've heard these are nice but very noisy units both inside and out. I would appreciate any feedback before I go through the effort of installing this system. We plan to head South and anchor often. I don't want to be "that guy" in the anchorage that has a jet engine for a heater. I will need to buy the individual radiators but the rest of the system is there.
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Old 24-01-2016, 09:45   #26
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Re: Heaters. Propane? Diesel?

Looking further, I think I'll grab one of these and the flue and fittings, while over getting my boat:

Sig Marine Cozy Heater - Solid Fuel Heater - S00-CCHSF

Handy for getting rid of rubbish on a cruise too (burn it).
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Old 24-01-2016, 09:51   #27
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Re: Heaters. Propane? Diesel?

Natural gas is your best option
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Old 24-01-2016, 09:52   #28
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Re: Heaters. Propane? Diesel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by waltdrechsler View Post
We recently purchased a Moody 47 that had the original diesel forced air heater removed. They had purchased a Webasto hydronic system but it is still in the box. I've heard these are nice but very noisy units both inside and out. I would appreciate any feedback before I go through the effort of installing this system. We plan to head South and anchor often. I don't want to be "that guy" in the anchorage that has a jet engine for a heater. I will need to buy the individual radiators but the rest of the system is there.
Don't be too concerned about the "jet engine". If it's cold enough to be using your heater, most people will be tucked inside and won't be able to hear it anyway

Our Mikuni shipped without the exhaust silencer but I was cold and couldn't wait for it to arrive, so fitted the heater anyway. If you stand right next to the boat, you can hear the exhaust. Our neighbours two slips over have said they can't hear it so I wouldn't be too concerned.

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Old 24-01-2016, 10:04   #29
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Re: Heaters. Propane? Diesel?

Another vote for diesel. Here in the rain forest, we use ours as much to dry out as to heat our Downeast 32. Too much humidity with propane. Our heater drips from a 2 gallon day tank. The only power requirement is from a pump from the main fuel tanks.
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Old 24-01-2016, 10:10   #30
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Re: Heaters. Propane? Diesel?

A couple of comments. Yes we have a gen set and 3 reverse cycle AC/ heat units. At the dock its 78 year round on shore power or gen. The issue why I don't want to use them on the hook for the less than occas use is its a 13.5 kW gen set. Can you say 1 gal/ hr. Run time? Yes I can warm it up v nicely but say for a couple chilly nights? Is it better to fuss with the occas diesel fired heater or the propane fired i.e. As in the Dickerson. As far as propane issues. Alarms sensors etc. I will use a propane stove over alcohol any day. It's already plumbed and has been from day 1. So adding a propane heater is no more difficult than diesel. Can I heat now yes. The q I ponder is should I add the ability to heat by other means ? And no I am not looking at how long to pay for return on investment. I am curious if you fin one system better than another.

And for those up north I pray my boat never ever sees snow again. Bring on 90' temps.



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