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Old 09-09-2012, 12:51   #1
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Paraffin or Diesel Heater?

Hi All

I wonder if you can help with a dilemma we have - opportunity to purchase a bargain 'taylors 079 paraffin heater' although we were looking at diesel originaly - all new to us..Can you buy paraffin at marina's, it is much more expensive than diesel - any other pro's/con's - help/advice would be much aprreciated, thanks
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Old 09-09-2012, 13:07   #2
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Re: Paraffin or Diesel Heater?

I'll let someone else post from that side of the pond. In the US, Paraffin (or mineral spirits as its called here) is available at hardware stores, but is a bit costly. Kerosene could be substituted too but not always easy to fine. Most marina's in the US carry diesel.

I looked at a paraffin heater once too, but the difficulty finding the fuel put me off.
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Old 09-09-2012, 21:48   #3
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Re: Paraffin or Diesel Heater?

I don't know much about either of the heaters you mention, but I have heard really good things about this catalytic heater.
Camco 57331 Olympian Wave-3 3000 BTU LP Gas Catalytic Heater : Amazon.com : Automotive
I hear it is very safe to run.
-Bruce
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Old 09-09-2012, 23:16   #4
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Re: Paraffin or Diesel Heater?

A diesel heater would be logistically a better buy as it would use the same fuel your engine does. What kind of stove do you have in the galley?
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Old 10-09-2012, 00:29   #5
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Re: Paraffin or Diesel Heater?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ballenxj View Post
I don't know much about either of the heaters you mention, but I have heard really good things about this catalytic heater.
Camco 57331 Olympian Wave-3 3000 BTU LP Gas Catalytic Heater : Amazon.com : Automotive
I hear it is very safe to run.
-Bruce
I would be leery about using any heater on board which releases the combustion products directly into the cabin, rather than venting them outdoors. It is pretty easy to get a deadly concentration of CO in a boat interior.

I would be doubly leery of a device which uses gas -- another potential source of potentially disastrous leaks into the cabin. Besides that, we have the problem of where to keep gas bottles big enough to run a heater.

We have an Eberspaecher (Espar) central heating system. It runs on diesel fuel. This is not an ideal fuel, because the combustion chamber cokes up on a regular basis. Kerosene (paraffin) is much better. But you would have to have a separate tank and somehow buy the fuel -- PITA. Might still be worth it.

For a smaller boat, gravity-drip-fed simple bulkhead mounted diesel stoves like the Wallas work excellently -- and apparently are extremely reliable and don't mind the diesel fuel (unlike my Espar). You have to whack a hole in your cabin top for the flue, but I think that's a fairly small price to pay.

Edit: Sorry, I was thinking about the Dickinson stoves, not Wallas. There are other drip-feed bulkhead-mounted diesel stoves, too.
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Old 10-09-2012, 00:58   #6
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I have seen threads turn ugly, as members suggest what works for them, to have other members say how dangerous that idea is.

Usually someone says something to step on a toe or two, and the raging fire begins.

Respectfully, I and others will suggest extreme caution trying to stay warm in a cold boat. The potential is there to kill someone, destroy your boat, or both. All anyone posting warnings in this thread are trying to do is help everyone stay safe before anyone gets hurt.

My fear is fire or explosions. Both deadly. Also carbon monoxide is a silent killer but just as deadly.

Whatever choices we all make this coming heating season, think through every move you make before you make it.

I have a vented charcoal briquette stove in my sailboat. Four coals keeps the 32' ketch toasty for hours, in a modestly safe vented heater that looks like a mini pot belly stove. I will post a photograph tomorrow.

What ( I ) would not use to heat a sailboat IMHO

Propane
Gasoline
Sterno fluid


If you have shore power, I think electric heat is pretty safe as long as you let in a little fresh air. The newer electric heaters do not burn up oxygen as they do not get hot enough to deplete the oxygen. Still, 110 volts on a house on water still has safety issues.

Seems there is no 100% safe way to warm a sailboat.

Be careful everyone.
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Old 10-09-2012, 01:11   #7
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Re: Paraffin or Diesel Heater?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryMayo View Post

If you have shore power, I think electric heat is pretty safe as long as you let in a little fresh air. The newer electric heaters do not burn up oxygen as they do not get hot enough to deplete the oxygen. Still, 110 volts on a house on water still has safety issues.

Seems there is no 100% safe way to warm a sailboat.

Be careful everyone.
As far as I know, no electric heater deplete oxygen. As long as they are not burning anything, electric heaters do not consume oxygen. High temperatures alone won't do that.

I think electric heat is great as long as your wiring is good, and the heater is installed in such a way as it can't catch anything on fire. Only problem is you have to have shore power. But if you do have shore power, I think it's the ideal heat source for a boat.

Even better than regular electrical resistance heating is a reverse-cycle heat pump -- most marine aircon units do this. This is extremely efficient. Only downsides are (a) noise; and (b) you can't run them in water temps below a certain level, because the evaporators will ice up.

If you want ultimate safety, then after electrical heat, I think diesel fired central heating is probably next. The furnace itself is usually located in a lazarette far away from the cabin and far away from the fuel tank. I have never heard of one causing a fire -- they have multiple fail-safe devices to shut them down in case of some problem. But central heat is expensive and not completely reliable. Also is somewhat noisy if you use fan coils (not if you use radiators).

I agree with Gary Mayo about the fuels I would not use.
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Old 10-09-2012, 01:28   #8
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Electric space heaters get the air going over the heat coils very hot. I do not know what it does to the air, but in a small space, the air in the room soon becomes unbreathable.

I have a couple electric heaters that use a lower heat that contacts the air longer to gently warm the air. These heaters do not tamper with the air in a small room.

These heaters are also reportedly more energy efficient, but I accept that notion with a grain of salt. .

http://www.ebay.com/itm/110802396645?redirect=mobile

I think they are commonly called infrared heaters

They were five hundred a pop a couple heating seasons ago. Now I see them for about a buck fifty here and there. Sales less than a hundred.
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Old 10-09-2012, 03:23   #9
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Re: Paraffin or Diesel Heater?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryMayo View Post
Electric space heaters get the air going over the heat coils very hot. I do not know what it does to the air, but in a small space, the air in the room soon becomes unbreathable.

I have a couple electric heaters that use a lower heat that contacts the air longer to gently warm the air. These heaters do not tamper with the air in a small room.

These heaters are also reportedly more energy efficient, but I accept that notion with a grain of salt. .

NEW AGE LIVING INFRARED HEATER AIR PURIFIER HUMIDIFIER, HIGH EFFICIENCY, HEPA | eBay

I think they are commonly called infrared heaters

They were five hundred a pop a couple heating seasons ago. Now I see them for about a buck fifty here and there. Sales less than a hundred.
AFAIK, it just smells bad.

But regular space heaters are not really the best thing on board, anyway. The very hot elements are dangerous if they touch something inflammable in the confined space of a boat interior. Most people use oil-filled radiators on board. You can buy them as flat panels that can be permanently installed.

I have a couple of portable oil-filled radiators on board which I use when I have shore power. They are not enough by themselves to keep my boat warm in really cold weather, but they take the chill off. I will often run the central heat during the evening, then switch it off when I go to bed and leave the electric radiators going.

I guess you could also buy an electrical resistance heater which you could plumb into a central heating system like mine. But my diesel-fired furnace puts out 10kW of heat -- 34,000 BTU's, and that's barely enough to keep the boat at 20C in sub-freezing weather. So I could not realistically get enough electrical heat in any form to keep my boat warm in really cold weather. But smaller boats will be easier, obviously.
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Old 10-09-2012, 07:52   #10
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Re: Paraffin or Diesel Heater?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
I would be leery about using any heater on board which releases the combustion products directly into the cabin, rather than venting them outdoors. It is pretty easy to get a deadly concentration of CO in a boat interior.
This is the beauty of the heater I posted. It's a true catalytic heater (or so I read) and puts out no CO. Just thought I'd throw that out there to look at.
Please do your own research though, and I agree to be leery of "all" heaters.
I've read about a guy that uses one in a small RV, and has nothing but good to say about it.
-Bruce
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Old 10-09-2012, 08:22   #11
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Re: Paraffin or Diesel Heater?

http://www.cpsc.gov/library/foia/foia05/os/co03.pdf

Quote:
When the catalytic heater was operated in a closed room (ACH ~ 0), the oxygen was depleted from an ambient concentration of 20.9 percent to 8.8 percent. Because the catalytic heater can deplete the O2 concentration to such low levels, the heater poses a serious risk of hypoxia. The degree of hypoxia is further exacerbated by the moderate CO concentration and by an increase in the carbon dioxide concentration that accompanied the depletion of oxygen.
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:32   #12
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Re: Paraffin or Diesel Heater?

I have a Diesel engine and am considering a new heater as well. I am going to stubbornly stick with Diesel because I don't want to deal with two separate sources of fuel on my boat. I see a huge value in avoiding the installation and upkeep of a separate fuel system. Just my two cents...

By the way, there are several Diesel heaters on the market that can run on both paraffin (kerosene) and Diesel. Check some models by Dickinson Marine They are pricey but definitely an option. And yes, paraffin is widely available on both sides of the pond. Any petroleum dealer/distributor should have it available. If you are able to purchase it in drums and have the means to transport the drums yourself, you will save considerably.

Incidentally, paraffin heaters are very common in Japan. They are the primary source of heat in many apartments. Check Japanese heater companies for additional info on paraffin heaters. Use the term kerosene instead, as it is more commonly used.

Hope this helps.
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Old 22-11-2014, 16:56   #13
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Re: Paraffin or Diesel Heater?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post

Even better than regular electrical resistance heating is a reverse-cycle heat pump -- most marine aircon units do this. This is extremely efficient. Only downsides are (a) noise; and (b) you can't run them in water temps below a certain level, because the evaporators will ice up
Yep, some whizz kid installed a heat pump in the bridge of a commercial vessel I'm operating these days. Result, frozen coils and no heat on the windows. Means I can't see where I'm going and I'm cold. It's been cool here, but not cold enough my heater should be failing. Minus 10 or so.
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Old 22-11-2014, 17:31   #14
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Re: Paraffin or Diesel Heater?

Quote:
Originally Posted by newhorizon View Post
Hi All

I wonder if you can help with a dilemma we have - opportunity to purchase a bargain 'taylors 079 paraffin heater' although we were looking at diesel originaly - all new to us..Can you buy paraffin at marina's, it is much more expensive than diesel - any other pro's/con's - help/advice would be much aprreciated, thanks

I have two sailboats. Each sailboat has a Taylor 79 AND a Espar D4 diesel heater. I also have a diesel "pot burner" stove in a hunting cabin.

There are so many variables you did not discuss about your boat and installation that I don't know where to start to answer your question.

The ready availability of parrafin/kerosene (NOT MINERAL SPIRITS - sorry Sailor Chic) is an advantage. It's just a liquid, you pour it in. No worry about specific adaptors as with propane.

For a Taylor's heater to work you need the heater, a chimney ( std 1" SS pipe) and a simple pressurized fuel tank. If that is what he is selling, the whole kit, then it may be a good deal. These do not put out a huge amount of heat. Suitable for a smallish saloon on a chilly day. The burners can be a bit fiddly. They can work under sail because the fuel is pressurized, does not rely on gravity.

Taylors 079K

If you are looking at a pot burner (Dickensen or Reflex) heater then that also needs a heater, chimney (about 4"?) and a fuel tank. The fuel tank needs to be either gravity fed, bottom of tank above carburator in the stove, or have a small constant pressure pump. They come with a fan and you may need to run the fan to assist with the draft. They can put out much more heat, but I find the adjustment not really suitable for a boat. At dock, yeah. Sailing, not so much, I think the heel limit is about 15 deg. Before the float in the carb screws up.

Oil Stoves - Refleks Olieovne A-S - Ringe

The Espar D4 diesel heater is something else again. Forced hot air burner. Still needs a chimney (1") and electricity, but can run off of fuel tank.

Espar - Marine Heaters, Boat Heaters, Suitable Units

I will answer specific questions as I can.
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Old 22-11-2014, 17:50   #15
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Re: Paraffin or Diesel Heater?

Oh hell, I just saw the date of the original post!

I'll just leave what I wrote.

Also, here is an international guide to fuel names.

http://fuel.papo-art.com
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