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Old 28-02-2019, 16:23   #1
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Heating your new live aboard

Have any of you added one of these diesel hot air heaters?
There are competitors Escobar and Wabasco. We have installed one of each of these in RV’s and they worked very well. My son has one on his overthe road semi and he really likes it.in the winter he leaves it run 24/7 with a thermostat.
He also has the engine heater and it kept his big diesel warm enough to start at -30f, it even has a fuel heater.

https://planarheaters.com/

This co. Is much cheaper but very complete kits. They claim 24/7 capability and you can get a thermostat.

I’ve had excellent support on email questions and reached then directly by phone. In both cases my questions were answered promptly and knowledgeable.
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Old 28-02-2019, 17:02   #2
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Re: Heating your new live aboard

I am running an Espar D5 Airtronic onboard my boat. It runs perfectly fine 24/7. I have had zero issues with it, though monthly I Jack it to max heat setting and let it run for 30mins to 45mins.

Beyond that, I just keep tanks full of fuel, and let the bugger run and do it's own thing.
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Old 28-02-2019, 17:21   #3
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Re: Heating your new live aboard

Thanks. That’s encouraging. It’s being a really cold snowy winter this year. -30 f to -20 for a solid week then 0 to -20 for another week. And three weeks of single digits +/- . Most of the live aboards are using propane. Some have shore big tanks others are using portable tanks. I told Planar that the unit would be running at some level 24/7 for nearly 6 months. He also said it’s good to run a gallon or two of kerosene once a month to help keep the burner clean.

I’ll probably use a larger unit for the main and a smaller unit for backup. If the main has an issue you are stuck, so I think for this climate a back up is necessary. Electric is very, very expensive. Propane just scares me.
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Old 01-03-2019, 16:07   #4
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Re: Heating your new live aboard

Hey something I know something about! My boat came with a Webasto system, works great I have 2 zones in a 35 foot boat, main cabin and the forward cabin, forward cabin is also piped into the head.

Kept the boat toasty in PNW winters, don't use it much in SoCal. The PNW has nothing on a Minnesota winter so I can't speak to suitability there. As a liveaboard in the PNW at the dock I would just use an oil filled electric heater, the Webasto burned a fair bit of diesel under more constant use. I think maybe a tank in a month and a half (40 Gal) but my memories hazy and I didn't pay close attention.
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Old 01-03-2019, 16:14   #5
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Re: Heating your new live aboard

Check out the Ybw forum, there a bunch of Brits that use them and the UK distributor was contributing to the forum. No idea of the distribution and repair network in the USA.

Planar heaters
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Old 01-03-2019, 17:02   #6
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Re: Heating your new live aboard

I waded through most of the links and forum you listed. Thanks. I feel even better about them now.
These are made in Russia to be used in Siberia. Many are used as primary home heating. I’m assuming the homes are smaller than what we are accustomed to here in the States.

It says they sell 150k of these a year and they have been around for a while before being exported. The company division I called in BC was very helpful and courteous.

He didn’t think I’d need the largest one but it gets really, really cold here and the wind blows substantially at times. Our glass boats have virtually no insulation so it’s like heating a stand alone uninsulated garage.

As far as getting carboned up he said just burn a gallon or two if kerosene every month or so. You used to be able to get K. for $2.00 a gallon but few of the local gas stations sell it now. A big truck stop might have it. Otherwise the home stores have gallon cans of it but it’s horribly expensive.

As soon as the boat gets in the water I’m going to order one and install it.
The other thing I forgot to ask about was if I could run a battery charger to the battery essentially all the time. Some electronics can’t handle this

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Old 01-03-2019, 19:14   #7
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Re: Heating your new live aboard

do you have any insulation?
i have 8 batteries, four large solar panels, lots of insulation and use electric.
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Old 01-03-2019, 19:49   #8
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Re: Heating your new live aboard

There is no real insulation. The boat will be shrink wrapped in the water so there will be quite a large more or less dead air space over it. I’ll use the so called milky clear as this is like a green house on sunny days. The sun does shine sometimes here. Often on the very cold days so it does warm the dead air space some.

I was just down at the marina today. There is open water now. I’m not sure why. It was pretty well frozen over the last couple weeks except where the bubblers were running.

There is three feet of snow all around my boat. I’d like to get into it to shake off the snow but I just can’t wade through the drifts. It will slide off on the first warm day.
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Old 02-03-2019, 03:19   #9
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Re: Heating your new live aboard

If you are going to use the heater under wraps you need to be very careful of the exhaust.
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Old 02-03-2019, 04:31   #10
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Re: Heating your new live aboard

Yeah, I’ve given that some thought as they really wrap the boats down low even in the water. Right now on the hard mind is only a foot or so above the waterline.

I did an experiment on a portable generator with a cooled or heat exchanger exhaust a couple years ago. This worked pretty well.

It depends on where I put the exhaust. If I go through the hull mid ship I could install a temporary guard or cover with the pipe itself wrapped with exhaust tape. I’ve used this on my Streetrods a number of times and it works very well especially if the pipes are tailless steel. This probably the easiest solution. Then this device would be removed once the wrap is removed.

If it goes out the transom I could use a water cooled exhaust similar to the main motors. This gets more complicated as it would need to be a closed system with a water pump. I can do any welding or fabrication as I have facilities for that.

I’ll have time to look further into it once I get back in the water ....when ever spring/summer comes around. We just got another 6-8 inches of snow last night. It’s the most snow accumulation on the ground this time of year that I’ve seen for many years.

I went down to the marina late yesterday and there was a good 3 foot drift all around the boat. It would be a very tough slog to get to it now.
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Old 02-03-2019, 04:35   #11
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Re: Heating your new live aboard

CO detectors, cheapest life insurance to will ever buy.

I’ve had a very light wind back the exhaust into our cabin string enogh to set off the detector, uncovered.
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Old 02-03-2019, 05:43   #12
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Heating your new live aboard

I would do what you can to insulate the boat, even if itís going to be shrink wrapped. My boat has 1/2Ē ensolite glued to the hull from m the cabin sole up to the gunwale. A year ago I insulated the underside of the deck and coachroof. Everything you can do to keep heat in (or out in the summer) pays huge dividends.

I have a factory installed Espar on my boat and it works very well despite being old. As far as the jets getting carbonized that should not be a frequent issue make sure the Planar unit is user serviceable and you can remove the jets to clean them, regardless of how often you run kerosene through it (which I have never done).

Assuming you put the exhaust coming out the transom, do be careful about fumes making their way into the boat when wind is off the stern. You need a detector. If you donít have one your first indication of the risk may be waking up in the hospital with brain damage.
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Old 02-03-2019, 07:42   #13
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Re: Heating your new live aboard

I have 6 new CO detectors and 1 new combustible gas detector ready to be installed as soon as I can get get the boat in the water. I also have 3 fire extinguishers, I still need a pair of CO2 extinguishers that I’ll get in the spring.

CO is a very big concern as I’ve lost 3 friends over the years because of it. I really prefer the transom exit with a down pipe through the swim platform..

I’ve even thought about something like a bilge fan to blow under the swim platform to help disperse the exhaust. I’m open to thoughts here. It has to be removable for the summer.

Byron
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Old 19-04-2019, 15:09   #14
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Re: Heating your new live aboard

I moved aboard a Cooper 416 Pilothouse Cutter in Dec. 2017, moored in the Fraser River in Richmond BC. As the boat had no other heat source, I used a couple of space heaters. Although our winters a much milder than many places, the interior did go down as low as 8C deg. At various times. I then decided to look for a more robust solution. I realized due to space constraints, a diesel forced air would not work, so began researching Hydronic. I quickly realized Webasto and Hurricane were well beyond my budget, so decided on a Planar system. Fortunately the distributor is only a half hour drive away, so I went there, discussed, and brought home the Planar Mini TC, which I understand is the largest of their hydronic units. The heater comes in the form of a basic kit. However, itís manufactured as a truck heater, so you will find various parts are irrelevant, and you will also need to purchase several parts separately. As an example, I replaced all the clamps with stainless, and the hose couplings, valves etc. with brass. As well you will need hose, wiring parts, fan heater(s), overflow tank, and some kind of bracket if youíre not making one of your own. Given I was installing it in the summer, and in no hurry, I took about 6 weeks in total. I donít consider myself as super handy, but got the job done and was told by the Planar rep. it was a very good install. After about 6 weeks of use it started failing to restart, and I was given very good service by Planar to rectify. In the end it turned out to be nothing wrong with the heater, I was just feeding it very bad diesel. Problem solved. From a cost perspective, Iím quite happy, given it came in at $3100.00 USD which appears to be considerably less than other manufacturers.. This includes original kit, stainless fittings, hoses, 2 custom aluminium brackets, 2 fan heaters, thermostat, aquastat, coolant, and fan speed controls. Essentially a very comfortable complete system. Iím 7 months past my initial bad fuel ďhiccupĒ and itís worked perfectly.
To anyone looking for this type of system, I would highly recommend checking Planar out. If anyone has any questions re. the install, Iím no expert, but happy to provide input.
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Old 19-04-2019, 16:41   #15
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Re: Heating your new live aboard

I’m glad you have reasonably good luck with Planar. As I noted above, I’m going to order the diesel forced air system. It looks pretty straightforward. We have very good diesel here if you buy from the big sellers. It’s winterized as the weather requires too. I think in my case the hardest part is going to be installing the tank and filler. It got really cold here this winter and even into spring with near record amounts of late snow.

That’s the way it is here in MN. it seems every winter bring some very difficult weather. They moved my slip position much closer to shore so I may be in range of plug in for my cars.

Water is going to be the biggest issue. They may winterize the water connection now that my pier has three live aboards.
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