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Old 20-09-2021, 13:26   #1
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Cabin heating for cooler climes?

Grateful for advice.

I had 39 years with a wooden (teak) gaff cutter with two successive Shipmate solid fuel stoves. But the ability to carry enough fuel for long spells may persuade me towards a diesel, this time.

First, the boat.

Here she is; a GRP offshore racer from the 1970s.



(Yes, the topsides do get polished from time to time)



Down below she looks like this:



She had an Eberspacher, and since the ducting etc. for it is still there it may as well go back in. But since these things do sometimes break down I want a conventional stove, with flue, also.

There are two obvious places to put a Dickinson, a Refleks, or whatever. By abolishing the bench seat on the bulkhead at the fore end of the cabin table we can put one there, or by abolishing the locker at the forward end of the port settee we can put one there.

A quite important point is that both these locations are adjacent to the mast, and I would want a balanced flue.

Advice welcomed…
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Old 20-09-2021, 14:16   #2
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Re: Cabin heating for cooler climes?

My advice for what it's worth (probably not much, lol) -

Stay with your Eberspacher hydronic diesel heating system. Tie the fuel supply lines directly into your diesel fuel tank if they aren't already. We love ours and used it daily during the winter months in the pacific northwest for two years, and still use it occasionally during the winter months cruising the Sea of Cortes in Mexico.

It is amazingly efficient, keeps the boat dry inside, and doesn't create a mess to clean up like wood fuels would. (Plus sourcing the wood?) And, it has remained maintenance free since 2013. Amazing heater.
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Old 20-09-2021, 14:55   #3
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Re: Cabin heating for cooler climes?

Built a Bruce King 31’ and heated it with a Newport diesel in New Bedford in the winter. Heavy bronze deck iron, Fisherman H pipe top. Down on the sole with serious heat shielding. Number of gales and a few full storms. Insulated boat. Nice and warm. Heavy socks if toes down low. Never blew out or backdrafted. Two CO alarms , two fire alarms, commercial high temp fuel shutoff.

Current boat aluminum 6” insulation, big Espar hydronic. Seriously hot.
Air top 5000, takes the chill off fall mornings.
Fireplace. Removed the Diesel. Thinking about a propane, just for dinner stuff.
Best warmth. Real down comforter, flannel sheets and a Irish bunny under them.
Best ambiance. Dutch oil lamps with round wicks running the expensive wax oil.
No smell. No noise. Well unless it starts with smooshing.
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Old 20-09-2021, 15:18   #4
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Re: Cabin heating for cooler climes?

I should have spelled it out; the absent Eberspacher was an “airtronic” not a “hydronic” unit.

My thoughts at the moment boil down to refitting the airtronic Eberspacher, to be used occasionally, and to fit a drip type heater with a flue through the deck for near constant background heat in cold places.
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Old 20-09-2021, 16:04   #5
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Re: Cabin heating for cooler climes?

We have a forced air diesel heater. Planar brand. It's very easy to setup, even easier if all duct work is in. Heats up quick and doesn't use much fuel.
If your forced air unit is functional still, I would definitely stick with it
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Old 20-09-2021, 16:13   #6
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Re: Cabin heating for cooler climes?

Evans Starzinger highly recommended the Refleks. If you have the real estate to install one, you should seriously consider it.
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Old 20-09-2021, 16:26   #7
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Re: Cabin heating for cooler climes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggy View Post
Evans Starzinger highly recommended the Refleks. If you have the real estate to install one, you should seriously consider it.
Thank you.


A big point in its favour is that it can have a balanced flue, greatly reducing the downdraft issues.
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Old 20-09-2021, 16:28   #8
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Re: Cabin heating for cooler climes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chris mac View Post
We have a forced air diesel heater. Planar brand. It's very easy to setup, even easier if all duct work is in. Heats up quick and doesn't use much fuel.
If your forced air unit is functional still, I would definitely stick with it
Thanks. It isn’t there, but it’s air ducts are, and they seem to be intact.
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Old 20-09-2021, 17:48   #9
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Re: Cabin heating for cooler climes?

I know three liveaboards in the Toronto area who installed the Chinese Espar knock-offs last winter. They are thrilled with them for under $169.00Cdn. or $132US.

Since the US border is closed to us and we are stuck wintering onboard in Ontario, we'll be buying one of these. So cheap you could buy a spare
https://www.amazon.ca/Portable-Heati...dDbGljaz10cnVl
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Old 20-09-2021, 18:01   #10
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Re: Cabin heating for cooler climes?

Hello Andrew, long time no see hereabouts.
My thoughts.
As you say refit the eberspacher - very good for getting heat into the ends of the boat.
Typically we would run ours for an hour in the morning, sometimes if very cold for a little while in the evening.

Some diesel heater thoughts. The best set up I ever saw had a pair of peltier effect fans sitting on the hot plate. It also had fins attached to the uptake and a pair of cheap computer fans - 3 or 4 inch - secured under the deck head and blow air down the outside of the uptake.
If visiting - even if sub zero outside - I would sit as far away from it as I could and still end up stripping down to - almost but not quite - jocks and socks so I didn't cook.

Another handy bit of kit would be a 'bus heater' for use when motoring. A friend in the Falklands reckons the heaters out of Ladas are the best - Yes, Ladas even got to the FI.
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Old 20-09-2021, 18:14   #11
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Re: Cabin heating for cooler climes?

I just finished installing an Eberspacher S3 D5E 5kw hydronic heater in my 50ft Gulstar, and pulled about 40ft of 4" ducting that went with an old (non-functional) Espar "Jet engine" air heater I'd removed when I repowered earlier this year.

I considered leaving the ducting in place and adding a 5kw Chinese air heater Webasto Airtop 5000 knockoff) in addition to the hydronic heater for fast heat and also the ability to bring in outside air to help dry the boat. If it wasn't for the difficulty/inconvenience of running two exhaust systems I may have done it (I'd even already bought the air heater off Amazon). After using the boat last week with 4 on board I realize I'm going to have to make some modifications for humidity control in the sleeping cabins - probably add additional hydronic exchangers that can pull/heat outside air.

Otherwise I'm thrilled with the Eberspacher - it's tiny, reasonably quiet, power efficient and was easy to run 5/8" PEX tube through the boat, plus heats the water heater (calorifier). I added a braised plate heat exchanger to put waste engine heat into the hydronic system so can heat water with either the engine or hydronic heater.
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Old 21-09-2021, 09:00   #12
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Re: Cabin heating for cooler climes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bellinghamster View Post
Otherwise I'm thrilled with the Eberspacher - it's tiny, reasonably quiet, power efficient and was easy to run 5/8" PEX tube through the boat, plus heats the water heater (calorifier). I added a braised plate heat exchanger to put waste engine heat into the hydronic system so can heat water with either the engine or hydronic heater.
We do the same and are very pleased. Takes a little longer for heating (from cold start), but once warm works great.

(We also have a Dickinson Antarctic furnace with two water coils -- which are VERY fast heating up water -- but haven't been using it lately as we are so happy with Espar hydronic. Might be different balance of use if sitting still for several cloudy days with comcomitant battery worries. )
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Old 21-09-2021, 09:30   #13
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Re: Cabin heating for cooler climes?

I have an Espar/Eberspaecher I installed 21 years ago - forced air, not the hydro system. For the last 16 years I've lived in Southern California and during the early winter mornings, temps get down to the upper-40s sometimes, low 50s are common (many people are not aware of this) so we run our heater every morning, in the winter to take the chill out, so maybe we are not running it hard like if we were in the Northeast, but it gets used daily, 5 months of the year, and sits dormant the other 7 months and always works. All that time, 21 years, only problem was about 10 years ago the thermostat control died, in the cabin, 50 bucks I think for a new one. The most reliable piece of gear on the boat after 21 years of living aboard. Zero maintenance (is there something I am supposed to do, if there is, I am unaware of it), the thing just works, year after year after year. This is rare. I am a big fan of Eberspaecher (formerly Espar).
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Old 21-09-2021, 09:47   #14
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Re: Cabin heating for cooler climes?

I live and do yachting in Sweden (Denmark, Norway and Finland). The summer is very short and it is very cold and wet in the spring and fall.
I would strongly recommend you to put in a system with radiators and water circulation. Yes it is a lot of work, and has to be done carefully. But you will never regret it. You will have the sweetest warmth in every place of the boat where you can route a rubber hose, from where you will have your feet in the forepeak, to the very end of the after cabin. In the Loo you can have a bigger radiator and use it for drying wet clothes. If you like you can put an aerotemper by the hatch to stop the cold air coming down, etc. etc.
This system can be connected to a Eberspaecher Hydronic (8kw, 10kw or 12kw) which I have had for 6 years without any trouble (you can even start it with your cellphone an hour before getting to the boat). In my old boat I had a Webasto, also very good.
In the same system you can connect for example a Refleks 66Mv or you can have only a Reflex with a water coil. I would wait with the Refleks, you will not need it, but please be certain that this is a completely different, much quieter and enormously better system than ducted air.
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Old 21-09-2021, 09:48   #15
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Re: Cabin heating for cooler climes?

I just installed a Russian Planar. Only used it a couple of times so far, but looking forward to having heat available. I hesitated to cut all those holes for ducting and combustion, but I'd do it in a heartbeat if that was already done. The fan consumes less power than I expected and the heat output is higher. I couldn't bring myself to go the full Chinese knock-off route but haven't heard any horror stories.
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