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JR828 17-10-2010 07:15

Solid Fuel Heaters
Hi everyone. I am new to this site. I am considering adding a solid fuel heater to my Bristol 41. I know that it is not the most efficient and a bit dirty but like the smell and atmosphere that it will give. I will not rely on it for primary heat. Does anyone have one? Any feedback would be appreciated. The other option is propane. Thank you. Rob

osirissail 17-10-2010 07:36

Solid fuel heater???? I would suppose that means wood, coal, or peat. Where would you put a cord of split wood on a boat? Coal bin?
- - Gas (propane/butane) or diesel fuel oil heaters are more practical as the boat already has the fuel tanks as part of its other systems.
- - Heater-wise with diesel or solid fuel the system is pretty much the same. Bulkhead mounting with stainless flue pipes leading through the cabin top and a waterproof adaptor to another stainless chimney pipe and wind-proof cap.
- - I have a Newport diesel heater and it puts out significant heat into the main salon. It is plumbed to the main diesel fuel supply system. Getting it fired up can take up to 30 minutes of patient coaxing (just like solid fuels) but then it merrily roars along making the cabin nice and toasty.

GordMay 17-10-2010 08:02

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Rob.

You may also be interested in some of our earlier discussions:

and many more ...

Microship 17-10-2010 08:58

I like having both - a Webasto diesel heater with no "atmosphere" but plenty of turn-key convenience, and a Little Cod wood stove that is the opposite. But more than the ineffable "quality of life" issue, being able to burn harvested fuel is a step toward ultimate self-sufficiency if it's ever needed. An evening's coziness can be had with a scrap of 2x4 or armload of sticks tossed into the dink after a walk ashore...

Here's a photo of mine...

Cheers, and stay warm this winter!

marc2012 17-10-2010 23:31

I have a solid fuel & love it,plenty of atmosphere & warmth.marc

vintageray 18-10-2010 00:30

Microship, that is a pretty stove and functional too. I can see myself cooking breakfast on one like that. My boat has a Tiny Tot. I'm jealous, although on my boat I can't imagine where I'd put one like yours.

SurferShane 18-10-2010 00:36

I saw an ad for pot-belly style stoves in a recent edition of Wooden Boat mag. After reading L. Francis Herreshoff’s “The Compleat Cruiser” I was stoked you could still buy these things new.

draumen 18-10-2010 06:42

we just bought the Sardine by Navigator Stove Works ( for our Colin Archer 37ft and we are very happy.

Microship 18-10-2010 15:10

The Sardines are adorable... my Little Cod is the same basic design, but 6" wider. I had mine enameled inside and out, and it is beautiful. The new models have a glass-window option, which I would have loved.


JR828 26-10-2010 06:19

I want to thank everyone for all of the input and information. I am still on the fence though. Since the boat is in Georgia, the winters are not that severe. I am still seduced by the romance of the solid fuel heat for it's romance, smell, and beauty. I am also a woodworker with a lot of scrap and a great place for storage aboard. I am not happy to put a 5" hole in the cabin top to accommodate the pipe. I am also concerned about the length of the stack. I will barely have two feet and Dickinson recommends 4. I may have to go propane. With the diesel heaters, is there a trouble with smell?. If I have to plumb for propane, I may go ahead and replace my galley stove and oven.

osirissail 26-10-2010 15:10

1 Attachment(s)
I have the Dickinson Newport diesel heater installed. When operating it does not smell. There is a little fan in the unit that positively moves air through the burner chamber and up out of the chimney stack.
- - I ran the supply line from the main diesel system in the engine room through the cabin to the forward bulkhead where the heater is located. There is a small electric diesel pump in the line so that I did not have to install a small gravity tank by the heater. Using stainless steel plates standing off the teak bulkhead and also between the bulkhead and the chimney stack keeps all radiant heat off the bulkhead. They sell a fitting that you install in the cabin top to insulate the chimney stack as it passes through the cabin top. The fitting also has a screw cap so that when the heater is not used the cabin top is flush and water-tight. They also sell the wind-proof flue caps that only require a foot of pipe above the cabin top outside.
- - All in all, the diesel version fits my needs as I don't have to use any other fuel. Propane is consumed to quickly and other solid fuels introduce all sorts of problems with storing the fuel inside the boat, especially wood which brings with it many 6 or more legged critters living in/on the wood. Keeping insects and bugs out of the boat is a high priority along with dirt, dust, and other pollutants.
- - With a properly installed heater - any type - you should not be able to smell anything associated with the heater. If you do, you are also probably getting carbon monoxide fumes inside the cabin which can be deadly as the volume of breathing air inside a boat cabin is rather small.

JR828 26-10-2010 15:24

Solid fuel stoves
Good point about the bugs and such. I will look at the online manual forth diesel heater. How did you tie into the diesel line? I love diesel but do not want to smell it over dinner. Thanks for the info.

osirissail 26-10-2010 18:17

1 Attachment(s)
The installation involves running a 1/4" copper pipe from your diesel source to the heater - or - installing a "day tank" which you must refill. I did not want an additional diesel tank in the cabin so I ran the 1/4" soft copper pipe through the bilges and behind the furniture and then up the wall to where I mounted the heater. I installed a stainless steel ball valve on the bottom of the heater. You will also need another pipe running down from the heater to a small "overflow" bottle to drain excess fuel from the fire chamber. I converted an old plastic diesel treatment bottle for the purpose and in 7 years it has never accumulated any "overflow" diesel.
- - Properly installed there is no smell from the heater. Lighting diesel - which does not like to burn - takes patience and some practice.
- - The other option for serious heat to all the boat is an enclosed diesel heater mounted in the engine room or somewhere. It has a forced air fan to blow the heat down ducting to each cabin just like an air conditioning unit would have. Espar is one of the brands of this type of diesel heater.

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