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Old 22-04-2021, 07:18   #1
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Water heater replacement

First post here, so be gentle people. I am replacing a old rusted out water heater on my passport 40. I have chosen a Sigmar marine 5.3 gallon compact water heater as the replacement. Choice is due to space limitations and the fact that the Sigmar unit has a 800W heating unit rather then the 1500W found in many other water heaters. (Yes, I know this means longer heat times, but I prefer the lower draw).My boat is already plumbed for the engine driven heat exchanger so the physical connection should be (hopefully) straight forward. My question is this; when using the engine driven heat exchanger (i.e. heating the water by running the engine), does the water heater draw any electricity? If I did not connect water heater to the boat's electrical system, would it still heat water when I run the engine?
To answer all the "Why would you want to do that questions", I intend to wire the unit to a GFCI fuse protected plug, and power it with a Honda EU2000 generator when I am on the hook. I don't need the water heater while I am at the dock, and would like to avoid running the engine to heat water while at anchor. I intend to use the water heater on a limited basis (showers), so running the generator for a short time to heat water for a shower seems to make the most sense.
Anyway, if anyone out there is a water heater guru, hear my prayers and send me some advice. Thanks.
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Old 22-04-2021, 07:49   #2
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Re: Water heater replacement

No, It doesn't draw when using the engine heat. It heats from the engine when it's run and will if no electrical connection. It's a great system for cruising. I found that the water will still be warm enough the next am for a shower.
SO if you move anchorages much, you wont need the generator all the time.
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Old 22-04-2021, 07:54   #3
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Re: Water heater replacement

Mallory44,

On my boat I keep the breaker to the electric water heater off unless we are taking showers at night. Mine is run off of the inverter,

When motoring if the valve is open, and I always keep mine open, the heat exchanger heats the water. Breaker switch is still off. It is nice if you motor a bit into an anchorage as you have hot water all ready for showers. No electricity used, at least on mine.

I would check the manual of the heater you are looking at, but I am guessing it is the same.

Calm seas and warm showers,
Peter
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Old 22-04-2021, 08:41   #4
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Re: Water heater replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
No, It doesn't draw when using the engine heat. It heats from the engine when it's run and will if no electrical connection. It's a great system for cruising. I found that the water will still be warm enough the next am for a shower.
SO if you move anchorages much, you wont need the generator all the time.
We have two boats, each with this set-up (hotwater tank can be heated electrically, or with the engine). The engine heat system works well. We don't use a generator when away from the dock but after a few days at anchor and the engine heated hotwater is depleted, we use a solar shower to heat water. They also work well.

And in the tropics, water at ambient air temperature is just fine for bucket bathing in the cockpit.
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Old 22-04-2021, 08:51   #5
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Re: Water heater replacement

I am replacing a 5 gallon Force 10 WH with a 30 ltr WH right now. I added a thermostatically controlled water temperature valve on the hot water outlet. By increasing the temperature of the water in the WH I hope to increase even further the quantity of available hot water for showers and galley.
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Old 22-04-2021, 11:01   #6
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Re: Water heater replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
No, It doesn't draw when using the engine heat. It heats from the engine when it's run and will if no electrical connection. It's a great system for cruising. I found that the water will still be warm enough the next am for a shower.
SO if you move anchorages much, you wont need the generator all the time.
Mine has a small electrical load for the circulation pumps etc - but itís very minor, not the 800-1500W of the heating element.

I am considering adding a diesel fired water heater into the system. It uses less fuel to heat the water, is quieter than the Honda 2.2 - if thatís the only reason why youíd need a genset Iíd consider it heavily.

There are options ranging from something like an ITR Hurricane Zephyr to a Chinese knock-off of a Webasto depending on how much you want to spend. The cheaper end of that, is much cheaper than a genset.
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Old 22-04-2021, 11:45   #7
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Re: Water heater replacement

Slightly OT, but does anybody know where the water heater connections are on a fresh water cooled Volvo MD11c? It's a factory installed heat exchanger system.
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Old 22-04-2021, 13:04   #8
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Re: Water heater replacement

Another option, which I just did, is change the 800 watt(ours was 1500) to a 12 volt, 300 watt element.
If you have sufficient solar it isnt a big draw to run this for 3-4 hours a day.
Since I made this change, we have had more than enough hot water and our batteries are full or really damn close every day still.
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