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Old 16-07-2020, 04:34   #1
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Cruising in hot places- do you need a calorifier?

One of the things on our upgrade list is to ditch our elderly gas-fired water heater and install a calorifier, to be fed by some combination of the engine, shore power, and perhaps excess PV as a dump load. Basically, the standard setup that most boats have.

Our intended usage for the boat is to set off on an Atlantic circuit next year, and perhaps into the Pacific if time etc allows.

We've never had a calorifier on our previous boats, so we are well accustomed to simply boiling a kettle every time we want to wash up, or for filling a solar shower. But we've never lived aboard full time either.

I'm wondering just how much use we will get out of a calorifier? Whilst we do a fair amount of motoring at the moment, we expect that to drop once we are going bluewater- we will have the luxury of much more time to wait for suitable winds, we will be making longer passages, and we will be on a tighter budget. We also don't expect to access shore power very often at all, again mostly due to budget.

For those of you cruising bluewater in the usual places (Carib etc) do you actually get any use out of a calorifier? It's starting to seem like a job that I could take off the list.
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Old 16-07-2020, 04:43   #2
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Re: Cruising in hot places- do you need a calorifier?

never needed to heat water for a shower on 2 circumnavigations untill we got to the lattitude of the azores,sea water temp was 32C in the red sea!
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Old 16-07-2020, 05:39   #3
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pirate Re: Cruising in hot places- do you need a calorifier?

If your used to stove top hot water stick to it.. as Atoll says, once the butter gets soft cold showers get very desirable.
Wash down with sea water, rinse off with cold fresh.
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Old 16-07-2020, 05:44   #4
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Re: Cruising in hot places- do you need a calorifier?

Personally, I hate cold showers no matter how hot it is outside. So I'd vote for having a water heater to make a brief, slightly warm shower an option. I can't say we use a ton of hot water on the boat other than showers, but I think I'd miss having it available.

If you're used to not relying on it, you can probably use a fairly small heater and be fine with it.
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Old 16-07-2020, 05:47   #5
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Re: Cruising in hot places- do you need a calorifier?

That's very encouraging, thanks. Looks like I may be able to shorten the massive jobs list by one item!!
I wonder if I should still remove the gas heater. It would free up a bit of space in the galley but it could be useful... occasionally... and it does seem to work perfectly well, despite my safety concerns.
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Old 16-07-2020, 05:54   #6
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pirate Re: Cruising in hot places- do you need a calorifier?

Spend the calorifier money on upgrading your refrigeration/cold box system.. if its basic.
Keep the water heater.
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Old 16-07-2020, 05:55   #7
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Re: Cruising in hot places- do you need a calorifier?

We find that once acclimated to the air temp, we like a hot shower.
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Old 16-07-2020, 09:30   #8
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Re: Cruising in hot places- do you need a calorifier?

If it was me I would keep it simple, but I enjoy having my wife still with me.............
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Old 16-07-2020, 09:35   #9
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Re: Cruising in hot places- do you need a calorifier?

We fitted a small calorifier in the engine room of our 36 ft yacht ( at that time). If we were not under way we ran the engine for short time and, as well as having hot water for a shower, we charged the batteries. There was more than enough hot water for both of us to have a shower. Great idea and my wife loved it.
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Old 16-07-2020, 09:36   #10
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Re: Cruising in hot places- do you need a calorifier?

We find that, after spending a few days at anchor, we start looking forward to our next passage so we can have hot water again. We really detest cold showers, and are very happy not to wait for water to boil before we wash dishes. Wd did learn that, late in the absorption phase of charging our batteries, our little generator has enough excess amps to manage the electric heating element in our water heater.
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Old 16-07-2020, 09:45   #11
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Re: Cruising in hot places- do you need a calorifier?

You could purchase a couple of those black "solar shower" gizmos and lay them out on deck during the day to heat up. Think they are 20 litres or so which is enough for a shower and maybe washing the pots.

But there is nothing like a nice hot shower to get you clean so personally I'd go for the calorifier (admission - we already have one on our boat in the Med).
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Old 16-07-2020, 10:05   #12
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Re: Cruising in hot places- do you need a calorifier?

Over many times of warm weather cruising, spending months in the Bahamas, we saved our fresh water by bathing in the sea or from buckets of seas water and with a final rinse of fresh water. Our only time spent heating water was with preparing meals. Some soaps, like "Joy", lather well in salt water. We had a means to use a water heater when running our diesel generator, but we never used it in warm weather.
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Old 16-07-2020, 10:12   #13
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Re: Cruising in hot places- do you need a calorifier?

probably better spending your money on 4 or 5 cafrano fans for the saloon and bunks so you can have a cool breeze inside when it gets really hot
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Old 16-07-2020, 10:12   #14
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Re: Cruising in hot places- do you need a calorifier?

I am assuming a "calorifier" is an electric/engine fed water heater. I have a 6 gallon unit. My little 2 cylinder diesel provides enough hot water for at least 2 showers and lots of dish washing. Water stays hot at least 12 hours after engine shutdown. I have only used it on electric to test the function.
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Old 16-07-2020, 10:26   #15
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Re: Cruising in hot places- do you need a calorifier?

We have lived for a long time with hot water only after we run the engine for a bit, coming into port or some-such. Hot water, for us, is a treat when available, even when the weather is warm, and we do treat it as something special. If you are accustomed to limited hot you will be fine and can likely divert the and energy to other projects that might be more rewarding in the long run.
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