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Old 17-11-2008, 04:54   #91
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I'd like to revise and extend my remarks about the Espar type heaters - forced air diesel fired.

If it's a live aboard in a cold climate, you will want to probably oversize the heater so that it doesn't work as hard. This is a sound engineering decision for many "things". If you drive your car at 100 miles an hours continuously, you will not get the life out of it, or same number of miles driven as you would at 40mph.

Using the same fuel as your engine is a smart decision as well. You can add a guel pick up to your main tank and top off with small jerry cans. I believe mien consumes 1/10 gal per hour so a gallon is good for about a day. You could do this in refills of 2 gallons every couple of days rather easily.

I do like the safety and shut down features with these high tech products and much prefer this to any open flames which seem like a disaster waiting to happen. In the damo environment I also like the forced warm air heat as it seems to keep the humidity way down.
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Old 19-11-2008, 05:26   #92
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i sailed by the north of the south island through marlborough sounds golden bay across cook strait a few times, farewell spit, then up the west coast of the north island snow on mt egmont on the horizon.

whilst i was sailing around golden bay i would occasionally tie a rope around my waist and jump over for a 'bath' i appreciated the snow capped mountains but didnt spend much time in the water. to warm up i would put a crock pot on my gas stove, put clothes on too and feel ok. sailing north the crock pot on the gas stove served me well and the 9kg gas bottle lasted a year, albeit it was mainly used for boiling water which went in the thermos, the closer i got to the tropics the less i had to worry about being warm, but when it started to rain heavily or during a cyclone i would don my wetsuit and sit on the bow sprit to tide things out..

dress for the occasion
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Old 20-11-2008, 01:24   #93
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Originally Posted by Viking Sailor View Post
A friend's boat caught on fire when their heating blanket was left on and bunched up while they were at work. They lost their cat and the boat was a total loss.
Must have been an older blanket. The newer ones have auto shutoff timers, thermostats, and use much less current than older models.

I use a "throw" size since even a twin would be too big for my forepeak. With this size there is no need to fold over on itself, which is the biggest no-no of using electric blankets.

But most of the time I just use a small heating pad, set very low, and placed down by my feet in the berth. Having that warmth generated down there does wonders for staying warm. So does sleeping with a friend.
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Old 20-11-2008, 04:11   #94
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Wallas (late answer to Coot's question)

Originally Posted by coot View Post
What kind of problems did you have with the Wallas?

I've gotten tired of paying for repairs to my Espar and was thinking about the Wallas as an alternative. The guy at Scanmarine tells me that the blower motor is good for 5000 hours and that it doesn't soot up as much as the Espar or Webasto, therefore does not need as frequent servicing.

Wallas says that the end user can perform the regular servicing, though Scanmarine says most people end up sending the unit to them for routine service. Webasto explicitly states that the end user can't service the unit. Espar doesn't explicitly say, but I had to call around to find a dealer who would sell me parts.
We are full-time live-aboard cruisers and have a Wallas 30D forced air system that came with our boat. At the time, Mahina Tiare recommended Wallas anyway, so we were happy. After a mild San Francisco Bay winter aboard, we headed north and had to have the Wallas serviced by Scanmarine while we were in Seattle. The service guy was great and taught my husband how to do routine maintenance.

The next winter we were in Olympia, Washington, but mostly not onboard since I was having surgery and staying at my mom's house. Even so, my husband regularly cursed how high-maintenance and quirky the Wallas was. Last winter we were in the tropics, and lack of heat wasn't the problem.

Now I'm looking at this thread because we're spending the winter in Amsterdam, and the Wallas is out again! We're using a ceramic electric heater at the moment and the marina is about to charge us extra because of our extraordinary electricity usage (electricity is very expensive here) -- and it isn't even really cold yet. We're on our way to buying a portable kerosene heater to get us through the cold while we're troubleshooting the Wallas again.

We did take the Wallas to the local dealer for servicing after my husband couldn't get it to run the first time it quit. There we learned that there's some kind of timer that has to be re-set by an authorized shop with a special computer gadget. The serviceman said the maximum time between re-sets was 500 hours, but we think he may have meant 5,000 hours because our furnace has 10,000 hours and this is the second professional servicing. The fan also needed to be replaced. That's OK, but the furnace only ran for a few days before the furnace quit again. My husband replaced the glow plug, and it ran for another 18 hours and stopped.

The dealer here (Technautic) says they do not recommend Wallas for live-aboards. We've been trying to figure out where we would put the Dickinson Newport in Quixote's solution. We have the same boat, but our interiors are very different. If we were boat shopping again, knowing what we know now, my husband says the Wallas would be a deal killer.
Shirlee Smith
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Old 25-11-2008, 10:11   #95
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A number of heating options tied together

Here's what I've put together for a heating system that I hope will give us a number of options for heat. System is installed and has been run for testing purposes only, however, since it is new and we haven't launched yet, I don't have any idea whether it will live up to my expectations, but I'm hopeful. Will post real world results both positive and negative when it's been field tested for a while.
My goal was versitility in heat sources.
The main source is a Webasto DBW2010 diesel water heater @ 45,000 btu. This unit heats a total of about 15 gals of 50/50 antifreeze water mixture which is pumped first to the heat exchanger loop in a 20 gal Super Stor domestic water heater. Exiting the water heater it then flows through a heater exchanger made up of 8' of 3/4" copper pipe loops which sit on top of a wood burning stove located in the main salon. The wood stove has a 16"x20" cooktop, so the exchanger lays flat on the top, with an additional plate covering the pipe work, effectively raising the height of the stove by 1". The flow can be diverted at this point to bypass the wood stove. It then flows onto a 10 gal hot water heater/buffer tank which contains a 1500 watt heating element and the engine heat exchanger loop. Exiting the buffer tank, it goes onto to the main zone control manifold whereby it is diverted to the 5 radiators located throughout the boat. Radiators can also be bypassed. I used 3/4" heater hose wraped in foam pipe insulation for all connections. Included in system at highest point is a 2 gallon expansion tank.
Heating Options are:
1. Shorepower heating 2 - 1500 watt elements in tanks (separate 30 amp connection for this).
2. Wood heating, stove heats up main salon, also heats water for circulation throughout system.
3. Webasto heater, can heat entire system or be diverted to heat only 20 gal of domestic water.
4. Engine heat exchanger heats buffer tank.

As I mentioned earlier, have only tested system for leaks, over boiling, circulation etc. have no idea yet how it will perform over the long term as to maintenance, fuel consumption and so on and on and on.

Here's a rudimentary drawing of the layout.
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Old 25-11-2008, 10:41   #96

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Ld, that sounds very interesting but may I suggest adding an overpressure relief valve to the tubing that runs on top of the stove?

If for some reason you have that section bypassed (closed off) and someone lights the stove, that section will heat up and may burst a seam if there is no relief valve on it. The relief valve could be plumbed parallel to the shutoff valve, so it feeds back into the main lines instead of a tank or drain, I suppose.
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Old 25-11-2008, 15:46   #97
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Be mindful that kerosene heaters and wood stoves can be bad for electronics. A properly vented wood heater should not really be a problem, but unvented kerosene heaters can. Marinized electronics should theoretically be less susceptible to damage, but consumer electronics can suffer.

This was the first link I found. Not as authoritative as I'd like, but it spells it out pretty good.

Taking care of your computer.

I've quoted the relevant part:

"Beware of auxiliary heating devices, especially kerosene heaters and wood stoves. Even the most efficient kerosene heaters emit a kerosene mist. When the mist condenses on surfaces, circuit boards, chips, disks, tapes, and screens, it leaves a greasy, conductive film that can do immeasurable damage. As a rule, if you own a computer, don't use a kerosene heater anywhere in the same building. Similarly, wood stoves are "dirty' devices that lead to the unavoidable spread of ash, smoke, and dust. Though not as damaging as a kerosene film, these contaminants must be removed from both the outside and inside of the computer, perhaps as often as three or four times a week."

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Old 26-11-2008, 13:46   #98
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I like your system Idrumond, but the complexity scares me. I plan on a water heater in the aft lockers, with hot water going to the culinary hot water tank and also circulating in the cabin. The flow can be reversed so the cabin can be heated by the engine hot water also. Why the Webasto heater? Is it a reliable unit for deseil heat? Also, what type of radiator did you use?
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Old 26-11-2008, 15:59   #99
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I did work at the boat at dockside this past weekend or last when it was bitter cold in the 20's and low 30's and windy. I expected to find my water jug frozen as a rock. It was not. Regardless of how cold it was outside it was not cold enough to freeze the water bottle.

I fired up the Espar and went to get some lunch and a few supplies. When I returned 1/2 hour later the cabin was warm enough to take my coat off and began wiring (AC rewire) wearing a fleece jacket. After a half hr it was too warm so I was down to a long sleeve shirt. It was not quite toasty and I decided to drop some rubbish in the dumpster. On went the coat, opened the hatch and was confronted by bitter cold and biting wind. Whoa - the boat was really warm and comfy.

Of course, I am on shore charge so all the amps used are replaced immediately and I am using about 1/10 of gallon per hr which is about $0.30. or $2.50 a day when I work. I expect to have to add some diesel this winter for my heating. I suspect for full time heating it would be about $5-6 per day if I were on board 24/7. I wouldn't be though. So let's call it $4/ day or $120 per month. Not cheap, but not outrageous either.


I Drumond has a nice system with multiple heating sources and a large boat to heat. It's a good approach, but would difficult in a smaller boat. I don't care for wood stoves with the problem of storing, burning and removing ash - too messy and complicated. But the rest is super!
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Old 27-11-2008, 10:34   #100
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Hydronic heater

Why Webasto?, price basically, came across NIB unit at a giveaway price.

hellosailor: expansion tank is in wood stove exchanger circuit, cannot be bypassed.

I agree, burning wood is messy, will be experimenting with wood pellets as they are easier to store, however have always burned wood on land, am accustomed to wood stoves and their issues, like the dry heat and the way the system is configured, the exchanger on the stove acts as another radiant heat source when not burning wood and using diesel burner. Besides, here in the PNW, wood is everywhere for the taking.

The rads were quite easy, I fabricated them myself, basically reverse engineering an off the shelf unit by constructing a box out of plywood, epoxied it up, placed an automotive heater core (82 ford escort, $24 at Napa) in the center, placed 4 x 3" holes on one side, installed 2 x 3" muffin fans to draw air in through bottom, blows air through core and out top 2 holes.
Rads are placed inside bottoms of lockers, outside front of lockers show 4 holes covered by grills. Each rad has switch to turn on 1 or 2 fans. No thermostats, although could be added. Amp draw running all 10 fans about 1.5 amps. Construction cost less than $30 apiece, versus $300 plus for off the shelf units. They're very quiet, and put out lots of heat (provided circulating water is at 140 degrees). Fan side of units are removable, have spare core and fans for service if required.

BTW -- cool night here last night, frost, running only the 2 x 1500 watt water heaters did not keep up with demand, I expected as much, water was only luke warm this morning. Rads are taking too much out of the system given the volume of space to be heated, even though boat is entirely insulated with 3" high density sprayed in foam. Pilothouse has a lot of glass so there's my heat loss. Not an engineer, there's probably a way to calculate btu, etc etc, just going by the seat of my pants here with trial and error.
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Old 27-11-2008, 10:52   #101
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I expect the auto heater cores are too efficient for your application, but you might try reducing the air flow.

I spent some time with people in Minnesota who do passive solar heating. It's a bit nippy there, as you can imagine. They had insulated drapes, and tracked sunrise/sundown very exactly with the drapes coming down immediately and not going up until just when the sun did. You needn't be so regimented, but maybe curtains in the pilothouse with top and bottom tracks could help out?

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