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Old 30-06-2020, 01:46   #1
Bailing as fast as I can.
GILow's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Boat: Swanson 42
Posts: 6,661
Warm boat, hot water on tap, a tribute to ColdEH

Hi all,

Back in 2015, Cruisers Forum member ColdEh (formally Typhoon) posted an article on his clever hydronic heating design.

You can see it here:

At the time it caught my eye because it was one of the MANY tasks I had in mind for my own boat.

Well, life got in the way, as it often does, and I didnít get around to starting on the system until last year, and I didnít fully commission it until a few months ago.

I built my system pretty much the same as his, with the minor difference that my cabin heating loop runs on a separate pump and hose circuit, to minimise the heat intrusion into the cabin when I only want hot water, not boat heating.

In short, the system is excellent, and his approach of having a buffer tank works brilliantly.

I built mine with a 70 litre buffer tank, because thatís what would fit. I am using a pair of heaters salvaged from a car wrecking yard, from Toyota Hiace vans to be precise, because they were the easiest to remove.

Iíve been using the system for a few months now, but I was reluctant to post about it until Iíd had some time at anchor, just in case there was some aspect he/I hadnít considered.

There wasnít.

I can not easily convey just how well his design works. The buffer tank approach provides a number of advantages, including instant heat in the morning when I wake up. The buffer tank is insulated, and so it is still quite warm after many hours. Therefore, I can turn on the heating circuit and get reasonable heat straight away. I turn on the Webasto Thermotop furnace at the same time, and although it takes a few minutes to reach full output, that does not matter because it is working with coolant that is already warm.

The boat hot water supply is, likewise, instant, and, if water use were not an issue, would also be continuous. I am using a WELS 4 shower head and the system can provide more than enough heat to run the shower continuously until my water tanks run dry.

ColdEH turned a few ideas on their head with his approach, and doing so designed a system perfectly suited to a simple, mid sized sailing boat.

My hat is off to him, and so are my thermals, my warm socks and my scarf.

The rest Iíll leave on for decencyís sake.
Count-down has commenced.
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Old 30-06-2020, 02:58   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 743
Re: Warm boat, hot water on tap, a tribute to ColdEH

Woo-hoo! Take it off, baby! (I mean that in only in a friendly Forum way.)

Well, we've had a few lovely wins on the Forum lately. The one poster with finding the perfect-sized substitute sail, Mountain Man with foiling Murphy and actually FIXING that stubborn prop while in-water (still can't believe he pulled that off), Kate having found her lovely new Ericson 25' and now you with your fantastic new heating/hot water system.

Well done, GILow!
And congrats everyone,
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boat, rib, water

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