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Old 03-01-2019, 05:46   #1
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Glembring vs Refleks Diesel Heaters.

Happy new year everyone!

I would very much like to hear from sailors with first hand experience with Glembring diesel heaters.
Until a couple of weeks ago, I was determined to order a Refleks diesel heater manufactured in Denmark. Even though I hate making irreversible alterations to the boat, I have come to the conclusion I simply need more heat on board to keep on sailing comfortably during the winter months. The Refleks heaters are installed in countless fishing boats, and have proven to be extremely reliable, capable of 24/7 operation during the harsh Scandinavian winters. My mind was initially set on the 2000K (4,2 kw) or the 60M (5,8 kw model) The former, being a convection model, would hopefully distribute the heat more efficiently than the latter, being a regular model relying primarily on radiant heat. Hopefully the convection effect might compensate for the 28% lower output. Both of these models can be equipped with a cook top and a tiny round window so I can see the flame going on in there. No matter which heater l will buy, Ill probably add an EcoFan or something similar to facilitate air circulation. Unfortunately, Im not able to install water circulating radiators to distribute the heat. Simply not an option given the interior of my boat.

In the process of researching, I came across some pictures of the Swedish made Glembring heaters. With the exception of not having a convection model listed on their website, the heaters seem to be pretty much equal to the Danish counterparts, both regarding technology, fuel consumption and physical dimensions. However, the swedes can be delivered with a rather large rectangular window, which I find extremely aesthetically pleasing. Much of my (tentative) thinking has taken place in front of a fireplace, as I find the flames very cozy and relaxing. Therefore, Im most tempted to install a Glembring heater, rather than the Refleks. The Glembring IG 92/7 (4 kw) or IG 92/8 (8kw) models are the only options I guess, but assuming all models are created equal (only different sizes), I very much would appreciate information regarding any Glembring heaters, no matter which model you are familiar with!

I am primarily interested in information regarding reliability. How much heel will the Glembrings tolerate? Will the regulator turn off reliable in case of overheating, excessive heel etc? Will they tolerate running on low effect without clogging or leaving the cabin smelling diesel? The latter is very important if I should pull the trigger for the 8 kw IG 92/8 model, as I suspect it might be a tad too big for daily use. Nonetheless, the hole I have to cut in the deck, the extra diesel tanks (both a big one for fuel supply and a smaller expansion tank mounted below the regulator in case of an overflow), the pipes and shielding needed, and the interior alteration to my salon will be the same no matter which model I choose, so a heater with some extra output certainly is no deal breaker, as long as it runs clean on low effect as well..

I know quality of combustion and risk of backfire will be related to good draft, so while not sailing, I will rig a tall insulated and easily detachable flue pipe on deck. Im not planning on using the heater while under way, at least not sailing upwind.

The Glembring factory is located in Gothenburg, which is a three hour drive/ a long weekend sail from here, so an added bonus with the swedish heater is I could easily go there to pick the brains of the manufacturer. Needless to say, I dont cut 5 holes in the deck of my beloved boat on a regular basis, so this is a ask five times, cut once situation.

By the way: I have two Webastos on board (AirTop 3500 and 5000) so theres no need to recommend forced air heaters as an alternative. My Webastos work very well for heating the cabin in an instant, but I long for a reliable heat source that doesnt use electricity, that can be used 24/7 without annual labor demanding/ expensive rebuilding or replacement. Also, the added bonus of putting the kettle on top of the heater in case I run out of propane in priceless. Im no good without my coffee..

I dont post links to any products, as Im not here to promote neither the Refleks nor the Glembring heaters. I just want you to tell me the juicy details I wont hear from the people selling them..

So, I already know the refleks has an excellent reputation.
My hope with this thread is to learn how the Glembring performes in comparison.
How they compare pricewice is not a factor in this equation. Safety, reliability, fuel consumption, comfort and aesthetics is all that matters.
Thanks in advance, your first hand experience is highly appreciated!

Best regards,
-kjetil-
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Old 03-01-2019, 07:48   #2
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Re: Glembring vs Refleks Diesel Heaters.

I have Refleks 2000K (with cooktop and round window, no radiators connected) on my 39ft boat near the companionway. Works like a charm in marina / anchor, but I still have problems making it work while sailing
I can post a photo of my installation if some one is interested.
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Old 03-01-2019, 08:25   #3
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Re: Glembring vs Refleks Diesel Heaters.

Thank you for your reply, xslim Much appreciated!

Yes please, I would very much like to see a few pictures of your installation!

Starbord side main bulkhead will be the location of my heater, so the retractable chimney will be located between the mast and (inline) shrouds. Curious how you managed to fit the chimney in the same location as the dodger/ sprayhood..

Sorry to hear you havent succeded using the heater while sailing. Is that due to chimney placement, blowback or fuel supply- difficulties while heeling? Other reason? Did you mount an overflow tank below the regulator, and if so, does it fill with diesel if you try to leave the heater on while sailing?

Do you think the 4,2kw 2000K is the right model for your size vessel?
Do you think the so called convection- effect helps distribute the air, or is this creative marketing?

Looking forward to hearing from you!

best regards,
-kjetil-
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Old 03-01-2019, 08:39   #4
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Re: Glembring vs Refleks Diesel Heaters.

Many years ago I had a Refleks as sole hater on a 51' boat. Worked good while sailing. Only thing to be wary of was not to position the boom above the Charlie Noble. The downdraft from the sail would make for a cloud of diesel fumes inside.

It is important to position the regulator in the correct position, otherwise the heater will not work properly when the boat is at heel. Also a Draft regulator is a good addition. No need to use excessive length of flue pipes above deck.
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Old 03-01-2019, 08:53   #5
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Re: Glembring vs Refleks Diesel Heaters.

Thank a lot, MartinR. Much appreciated!
Yeah, the regulator will be mounted longitudinal.

Does anyone have first hand experience with the Glembring heaters?

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Old 03-01-2019, 09:22   #6
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Re: Glembring vs Refleks Diesel Heaters.

I have been using myGlembring since around -95. Sailing works fine. The problems I have faced are about certain winds which makes make the fire go out, and in some cases fills the boat with diesel smoke. I presume it's a problem with the chimney rather that the heater as such.


The heater is placed on port side of the mast on my 33' (sail) boat. It's showing it's age, I consider replacing it with a new one of the same kind. I just need to figure out the chimney problem first..



Overall I'm happy with the heater. The support is also fine.
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Old 03-01-2019, 09:43   #7
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Re: Glembring vs Refleks Diesel Heaters.

Glembring was the agent for Refleks before they started manufacturing themselves. I guess under license from Refleks. There is very little difference between them, and I think they use the same regulators.

Do they really have heaters with windows in stainless steel?
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Old 03-01-2019, 10:09   #8
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Re: Glembring vs Refleks Diesel Heaters.

Ouch, that’s not exactly my definition of a relaxing winter sail..
You’d better get in touch with the manufacturer to sort it out.. I’ve heard similar stories from sailors with Refleks heaters too. Hopefully you’ll be able to sort it out ASAP. I called the Glembring factory today. Very friendly and easy going guy in the other end. I was invited there to show some pictures and measurements of the interior of my boat, in order to pinpoint all mounting details in order to prevent accidents like the ones stated by leamas.Great first impression after speaking to them on the phone. Glad to hear you are satisfied with the customer support as well, after using their product for 20+ years.. Good luck with your blowback- situation!

Anyone else with first hand experience?
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Old 03-01-2019, 10:25   #9
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Re: Glembring vs Refleks Diesel Heaters.

Thanks, that’s great info MartinR! I’m excited to hear this, as I was hoping the quality would be just as good as the Refleks heaters..

Now that you mention it, I’ve only seen windows with black framing.. Don’t know if the frames are available in stainless. Sure looks good in black though..
(On the Glembring website, the 4kw IG 92/7 is pictured with a black window)
Do you think discoloration would be a problem with SS framing?

Best regards!
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Old 04-01-2019, 00:44   #10
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Re: Glembring vs Refleks Diesel Heaters.

Click image for larger version

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Picture of my Refliks installed near navigation table.
Sorry for the mess, bot under renovation )
Could not install it near the mast for different reasons.
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Old 06-01-2019, 06:38   #11
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Re: Glembring vs Refleks Diesel Heaters.

Thanks xslim for the picture!

The 2000K is a very handsome unit.. Im torn between Refleks and Glembring..
Your "grab- rail" looks like a great safety improvement. Ill probably add something similar.

No accidental discharge from the fire extinguisher mounted so close to radiant heat?

Thanks again for your documentation. Much appreciated!

Best regards!
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Old 06-01-2019, 10:29   #12
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Re: Glembring vs Refleks Diesel Heaters.

This is our Reflex heater installation, which may give you some ideas. There is a stainless steel drip tray together with stainless steel rear heat shield and crash bar/drying rail:

Photo credit: Arthur Smeets
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Old 08-01-2019, 01:38   #13
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Re: Glembring vs Refleks Diesel Heaters.

Wow, thank you for posting this beautiful picture, Noelex 77.
It sure looks like a great installation from a safety point of view, but certainly also aesthetically as an addition to the atmosphere under deck.
In addition to warming and drying the salon, the first thing that struck my mind was how well the flames compliment the warm woodwork. Bet it looks even better in real life. The ability to put the kettle on looks just priceless! Dont know what is located to the left of the heater, but due to the shape of the tray, I guess its possible to dry weather gear">foul weather gear there?
Did you install a small expansion tank in the bilge? Even though your beautiful drip tray looks like it could hold quite a lot of liquid, the coamings might not be high enough to prevent a mess if the regulator overflows while sailing.

Thanks again for the inspirational photo. Much appreciated!

Best regards,
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Old 08-01-2019, 02:58   #14
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Re: Glembring vs Refleks Diesel Heaters.

Thanks Kjetil.

The stainless steel safety bar on the right hand side goes up to the ceiling and has horizontal bars that are primarily used for clothes drying. See photo below.

Reflex recommend a 50mm deep tray underneath the heater to catch any regulator overflow. If this cannot be fitted, an alternative is small tank in the bilge. I have yet to see another installation with either of the two features fitted, so they don’t seem to be essential.

Reflex sell as an optional extra a 50mm deep stainless tray to fit under the heater. However, it is rectangular, thin pressed metal. For our installation KM fashioned a beautiful solid stainless steel tray to match the curve of the heater. The sides of the KM tray are the same height as the Reflex tray, but the area is greater so the contained volume is higher. To date we have not had a single drop of diesel in the tray so I think it is overkill, but if a fault developed and a leak occurred the diesel cannot soak into the woodwork or get into the bilge. Perhaps more importantly, if there was ever a diesel leak and fire around the heater (which I think is highly unlikely), the stainless tray provides some containment rather than the heater sitting on flammable wooden floorboards.

The heater is fed via gravity from a day fuel tank. This eliminates noise and electricity consumption from a constantly running pump, but also limits the amount and pressure of any escaping diesel if a leak did occur.

Boiling water and cooking on the heater works well. In summer we have enough solar to boil water and also do some limited cooking via electricity. In winter the Reflex takes over these roles. This has resulted in very low propane use, which is helpful as traveling between different countries the various types of bottles and other problems make this fuel a nuisance to replace.

Sorry, I don’t have any information on the Glembring. We spoke to several skippers who did serious cold weather sailing, including stranding the boat in the ice-flows around the poles. They all raved about the Reflex. There was one owner who had developed his own design of drip diesel heater in a similar style to the Reflex. I saw a prototype and it was very impressive. He was intending to go into commercial production, but I do not have any other details. This is his website if you want to get in touch:
Qilak – High latitude cruises and expeditions
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Old 26-01-2019, 03:28   #15
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Re: Glembring vs Refleks Diesel Heaters.

I prefer Refleks Diesel Heaters because they are not only good for heating up the cabin and to provide hot water while travelling in boats but it is also reliable for cooking. For home, we prefer tankless heaters ( https://bestazy.com/best-tankless-water-heater/ ) but yes, for boating journeys Refleks Diesel Heaters are our first preference because it works without electricity and doesn't give any smell of smoke or diesel. On the contrary, if we talk about the cons of these heaters then their heat is not constant and takes the effort to get going.

Glembring could also be a good option with the choice to control the heat with thermostat but I didn't find much details about the Glembring.
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