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Old 02-06-2009, 04:55   #1
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Tankless Water Heaters

What is the consensus regarding propane fired tankless water heaters on sail boats?
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Old 02-06-2009, 20:51   #2
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I was very happy with my Wolter propane water heater on our old boat. Being outboard powered, my choices were limited. Itgot as hot as you would want, for as long as the water lasted. I don't think the temp fluctuated any more than the tank type we have now. I had a good location... outside the cabin, which was fine for Wolter made of stainless and brass and maybe copper. Otherwise, venting the exhaust is imperative.

It was always ready to go, even if I stopped by the boat to do a job some afternoon and then needed a shower. I never leave the water heater in our new boat switched on, so it wouldn't be hot in those situations. And it was kind of neat to have a hot shower mid ocean to Bermuda having been under sail for several days.

I have no experience with the models available now. Shame the Wolter is no longer made. It was quite compact and well made.
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Old 02-06-2009, 21:09   #3
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Been there, have one. They work. Mine is getting old and could use some replacement parts to feel better, but the hot water tank won't last much longer either. A 20 lb propane tank lasts a LONG time.
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Old 03-06-2009, 20:37   #4
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I love them for both home and boat. I've had the electric ones in apartments in europe and they are quite effective but do have a ridiculously high current draw. But then again you only use them when you need them. The propane ones are a little bit slower to heat, but nice as well.
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Old 03-06-2009, 23:32   #5
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One came with my boat and worked well enough, but the install was terrible (only about 6" of stack and bad ventilation), so I could smell products of combustion and observe water vapor when using it. Obviously dangerous.

The surveyor didn't like it either, and mentioned it... causing the insurance company to require me to remove it... mostly because it was the standing-pilot type (flame on all the time, firing the burner when water flowed). Though I considered it "attended" in the same way the galley stove is, I took it out as requested and sold it on eBay.

Moral of the story is that there are a lot of answers. Newer ones fire a piezo igniter with water movement, eliminating the standing pilot. I recommend mounting it low to get decent draft. The technology makes wonderful sense, and it wastes minimal energy.

(I ended up with the Isotherm 6-gallon tank model, with both AC and engine coolant loop.)

Cheers,
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Old 07-06-2009, 11:12   #6
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I bought the very cheapest one available and I had doubts about it. It was $200.00 at my door from Defender. I used it full time for 3 years and sold the boat. It's been on the boat for 12 years now and it still works.
I was completely happy with it, no issues at all. It was a Piezo ignited propane unit. When my hot water heater at my house dies I will replace it with an on-demand unit.
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Old 07-06-2009, 11:48   #7
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I'm putting one on my boat, I forget the name (written down at work!) but they are inexpensive and get very good reivews. I had a Paloma on my boat in the mid 80's and it was pretty good but ran Hot and cold while showering. I understand that has now been resolved in the good ones.
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Old 07-06-2009, 17:35   #8
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There are earlier threads on this with lots of good comments. Might do a quick search and review them.

George
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Old 07-06-2009, 18:44   #9
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I have searched Defender and haven't found any??
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Old 07-06-2009, 19:34   #10
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The Paloma propane water heaters that I've seen on boats, have a label right on them that says it should not be installed on any boat, and they don't meet the standards for propane equipment as specified by ABYC. Don't take a chance with it, propane should be taken seriously.
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Old 07-06-2009, 19:47   #11
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Mine has an Oxygen Depletion Sensor so it won't suffocate you. Bosch had one for a long while. Ours has been installed a very long time now. Since it is easy to start I don't ever leave it on when we don't use hot water.

Propane is serious. I saw a house that exploded when a landlord failed to shut of the supply and walked back into the house with a cigar,. He died instantly (important to note) but the roof rose about 2 inches and came down. Every single window was blown out and they could do nothing but tear the whole house down. It shattered all the structural components. From the street it just looked a little bit out of plumb in several directions yet still standing.
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Old 07-06-2009, 21:26   #12
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Take a look at the Bosch units too - they offer models with water-powered ignition and oxygen depletion prevention. They aren't cheap, but they look like a well built unit. I'm seriously considering one of these to replace a long-dead Wolter...
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Old 07-06-2009, 22:54   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redcobra View Post
I have searched Defender and haven't found any??
They don't have them anymore, that was 12 years ago. The cheapies all over ebay look just like the Chinese junk that I bought that I was completely satisfied with. I don't always buy junk but exactly how happy do I expect to be with a water heater?
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Old 09-05-2010, 06:50   #14
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Makes a marine grade propane heat on demand hot water heater hope this helps
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Old 09-05-2010, 08:08   #15
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Hmmm.
My Wolter was made in Cincinnati, I believe.
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