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Old 26-11-2015, 10:49   #16
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Re: Webasto Hydronic Heater Best Practices

Heat - We had a Webasto 2010 unit for 10 years and used it throughout each winter beginning in boston and finally on the Chesapeake below Baltimore. These were liveaboard situations. Our unit was on 24/7 but would turn off from 11pm to 6am. This hydronic unit had fan-assisted heat exchangers in the engine area, stb locker, under nav station, fwd locker and V-berth. The heat provided was thermostat regulated. It could keep the boat (40') comfortable in the slip or, when under way using battery power. Remember, diesel engines like 3 things - clean fuel, adequate air & to be left on!
For condensation - see if you can slide foil back insulation (rolls from hdwre store) along side your hull above the waterline. And, buy a 25' roll of 3 mill plastic where your get the insulation roll. Cut the 3 mill into small sheets. open all port lights and insert a sheet inside each (assuring full coverage of opening) and close the port which holds the sheet in place. Do the same for all hatches (tape 3 mill to inside coach roof if no screens built-in) If you have removable hatch screens, cut 3 mill so you have 0ne inch overhang on all sides and reinsert below hatch. The 3-mill provides 2-5 inches of air space between the inside and the outside. The procedure lasted well each winter & we reused the 3-mill. NO Condensation was typical! Enjoy the winter seasons and go sailing whenever you can. Also get a 12" wide snow shovel and keep on board if you get that stuff in your area. Makes clearing the decks easier. We kept fans running in all areas which greatly helped.
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Old 26-11-2015, 10:50   #17
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Re: Webasto Hydronic Heater Best Practices

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Originally Posted by rfadler View Post
Absolutely. Assuming it's installed correctly you could run it all winter long. We have a Webasto 2010 and ran it for 5 days straight while anchored in False Creek in Vancouver. I have received very good support from Sure Marine in Seattle where I purchased our system. They are very supportive of do-it-youselfers.
I second the praise for Sure Marine .

I have a 2010 and use it to heat the cabin and water . I have a problem with letting it run when I am not on board as well . The exhaust gets really hot I have it fully insulated with the best stuff I could get from Sure Marine , but that heat running through the hull nags on my mind . But I let it run and run at times and have had no problems at all . Make sure your exhaust runs clear and is not in contact with anything flammable

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Old 26-11-2015, 12:42   #18
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Re: Webasto Hydronic Heater Best Practices

We run Espar heaters, which are Webasto's main competition. They're both great brands.

In any case, the thermostat in the boat stays at 20C winter or summer, the furnace takes care of itself. The last boat's furnace was 5 years old before I had to replace the blower motor. That's actually longer than usual for a heavily used Espar. The motor is $400 or so, and I replaced it myself. Our first boat had the same brand, but smaller btu, heater. We didn't have such a fancy thermostat as the last one, so we only turned that one on in September and off in June.

So yes, turn it on, and keep it on. You'll do more damage, due to corrosion, by leaving it off than by running it all winter. The blower bearings get spots of corrosion on them and sound terrible, then fail. So run it at least once a month, summer too, but otherwise, just set the thermostat and leave it alone, just like in your house.

Maintenance items would be the nozzles, (mesh screens in the smaller Espars) the blower motors, and the water pumps. But they'll last quite a long time, and are well worth it.

Be comfortable, and warm.


Cheers.
Paul.
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Old 27-11-2015, 09:25   #19
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Re: Webasto Hydronic Heater Best Practices

No direct experience here, but a life hack I have heard of for insulating windows and that should work for portlights, is to cut bubblewrap to the same size as the windows, and lightly wet the window-side. Like a decal, they should adhere to the port.

Now, if you have a nice dry heat source, I am sure they would fall off, but I am sure any number of ways can be found to secure them in place.

Tankersteve
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Old 28-11-2015, 07:00   #20
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Re: Webasto Hydronic Heater Best Practices

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Originally Posted by Macblaze View Post
I did ask. He said something along the lines of why would you use an expensive, delicate piece of equipment when you could just use electric heaters. And yes, since it was warm and spring and I wanted to go sailing, I left it at that :-)

His statement is mostly why I am enquiring. What I took as fact and general best practice then now seems a bit specious...I just couldnt find anything to contradict him.

Thanks!
What he told you makes sense. As others have told you, you can run the Webasto 24/7, but every hour of use puts you closer to the time when you need to service it ($$$) and replace expensive parts like glow pins, flame sensors, etc. ($$$). On top of that, diesel fuel is very expensive compared to electrical power, especially if it is unmetered and included in your berthing cost.

Electric fan heaters are zero maintenance and cost peanuts. One down side for you, however, is that using electric heat with 110v shore power produces quite high amperages, which can be somewhat dangerous if your shore power connectors and other electrical gear are not in top condition. Here in Europe, we use 230v which is half the amperage for the same power, so better suited for a heavy use like electric heat. If you have 240v power available where you are, you might consider using that, instead of a wimpy 30 amp 110v single phase connection.



I live a fair part of the year on board, rarely South of 50N, so in a fairly high latitude. I have no electrical power on my mooring, so I use my Eberspacher hydronic system (similar to your system) quite a bit. But in the depth of winter I usually spend two or three months in a marina with an electrical connection, and one of the several reasons for doing that is so that I can run heat all the time without racking up hours on the Eberspacher.

Note well one peculiar thing about these:

They soot up and require service much, much faster if run at a low heat setting. When running full blast, the temperature of combustion tends to keep them clean -- they like that.

For that reason, I don't really like leaving mine on all the time except in very cold weather, because it will end up idling a lot, which is bad for it. So in the fall and spring, I tend to put on sweaters during the day and crank up the Eberspacher only in the evening, letting it run full blast and heat up the boat, then shut it down again when I go to bed.

As someone else said -- they will not soot up if run on kerosene, and it is said (I haven't tried it) that running them for a couple of hours on kerosene will clean them out.

Could be worth installing a small kerosene tank for this purpose.


As to dampness -- if you heat up the air by 20 or 30 degrees, you will reduce the humidity automatically. Also the warm air will tend to escape through your dorades and produce some air circulation, which is also good. You should not be having problems with damp in really cold weather, unless it is due to condensation. If you read the archives on here, you will find different techniques for fighting with that. Obviously a well insulated hull is extremely desirable for living aboard in cold weather.
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Old 28-11-2015, 11:39   #21
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Re: Webasto Hydronic Heater Best Practices

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What he told you makes sense. As others have told you, you can run the Webasto 24/7, but every hour of use puts you closer to the time when you need to service it ($$$) and replace expensive parts like glow pins, flame sensors, etc. ($$$).

...

They soot up and require service much, much faster if run at a low heat setting. When running full blast, the temperature of combustion tends to keep them clean -- they like that.
Again, thanks for that. I still think it odd that I can find a lot of anecdotal information but very little on "Best Practices." Seems to me that the manufacturers and all the sales and service places would have more about this. Even manuals that come with your car explain more about the heater than I have been able to find. :-) Maybe a call to Sure Marine is my best bet.

But thanks to all, y'all I am slowly putting it all together...
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Old 28-11-2015, 13:01   #22
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Re: Webasto Hydronic Heater Best Practices

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Originally Posted by Macblaze View Post
Again, thanks for that. I still think it odd that I can find a lot of anecdotal information but very little on "Best Practices." Seems to me that the manufacturers and all the sales and service places would have more about this. Even manuals that come with your car explain more about the heater than I have been able to find. :-) Maybe a call to Sure Marine is my best bet.

But thanks to all, y'all I am slowly putting it all together...
Hydronic heaters on boats is not a major market. Probably 95% or more of all hydronic heaters produced in the world are used on busses and over-the-road trucks. They are used to preheat the engine as well as provide cabin heat to avoid running the engine when driver is resting. Recent laws prohibiting idling truck engines when resting have created a big demand for such heaters.

If the truth were known most big brand makers of hydronic heaters would probably prefer boaters didn't use them at all for liability reasons. Some makers say they are for marine use but provide no complete marine solution. That's why you find mostly just aftermarket kits for boats. I don't think you can buy a complete hydronic heater system directly from a big name manufacturer for installation on a boat. Most people buy them from a local outlet that adds special parts and offers installation services. So it is not surprising the manufacturers don't give a lot of read-me type information for boaters. That isn't their main customer base.

There isn't any problem running a diesel heater 24/7. They burn fuel which is more expensive than dock side electricity in most places. They need service when they quit working. The manual will also give periodic maintenance recommendations that are the same whether on a boat or a truck. The more hours it runs the more often maintenance will be needed. Pretty much true for every on-board system (even system that don't get used a lot need maintenance).

Electric heat is also not foolproof. In the US the standard 30A shore power twist/lock plug is woefully inadequate. They cause a lot of fires because of the poor design IMO. SmartPlug has a good 30A alternative as is the standard round 50A twist/lock inlet. Both of these are many times better than the standard 30A round yellow plug. If you want to heat your boat with electric shore power then consider installing either of these over the 30A round yellow plug. You will not regret it.

BTW, Sure Marine is not the big name brand in this market. The big world-wide brands are Espar (aka Eberspacher) and Webasto. They have a lot of info on maintenance in their manuals and on their web sites.
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Old 28-11-2015, 16:54   #23
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Re: Webasto Hydronic Heater Best Practices

Webasto service reps are very helpful.
I use a household digital thermostat and my unit only runs on high.
Sure marine was not nearly as helpful.
Webasto service rep was the one who suggested the thermostat from homedepot and to run it on kerosene.
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Old 30-11-2015, 21:15   #24
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Re: Webasto Hydronic Heater Best Practices

I have a air snugger which is the same thing only about a third of the price I run it from November to March sometimes April without turning it off it uses between 1 gallon and 1 & a half gallon in 24 hours it keeps the boat approximately 70 degrees I have had it since 2007 and I just had it serviced this year cost me $65 for the service you can still buy them for approximately $750 whole lot cheaper than the others but it is a direct air only and I am in the Pacific Northwest as well
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