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Old 24-09-2019, 17:27   #16
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

My boat is in Norfolk, Hylas 44.

When I bought the boat I was told that South Chesapeake Bay winters were quite mild. 1st winter Christmas temp went to 9 degrees for about a week (2 years ago). We used marine 1500 watt space heaters, electric blankets and survived.

I did not drain the oil or antifreeze, but I did add a marine engine room heater and a 200 watt heat bulb. No problems with the engine. I emptied the water lines, but no antifreeze in them. I did get a few leaks, but the water lines were 30+ years old and needed to be replaced.

Ducks were walking on the water instead of swimming. Snow removal with a broom. Come January temps stayed above freezing.

Last year temps seldom even got below freezing.

This year after suffering due to summer heat, I installed an AC air conditioner/heat pump, cool air in summer and some heat in the winter. This is what many of the boats in my marina do as well.

Will see how it works this winter.
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Old 24-09-2019, 17:59   #17
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

Really appreciative of the ideas!
Yes, we will live aboard. Yes, we'd prefer to still sail on the nice days (and coming from Virginia, I know these can happen at any time, any season). Dehumidification we've already bought for a host of reasons. Electric blanket is a no-brainer, I've loved them when I've had them before.
We've got to look closer at the parking heaters - we saw them online but didn't know what to make of them. Otherwise, we are interested in the idea of many smaller heaters in some of the odd locations to not let those get too moist.
Of course, then we weigh the cost of the utility bills versus buying a diesel heater like the Dickenson. Those seem great, I'e had many stoves and understand downdraft, and I'm sure we could do the install but we very easily could be putting that up for sale if this turns out to be our only year that we stay in the mid-Atlantic, so we are a little hesitant about that.
That leaves the question of the A/C heat pump -- I'd love a ductless mini split like they use in Asia as they are 95% efficient and not nearly the installation cost of water-cooled, in-board units, but finding a spot for the exterior condenser hasn't been tackled well by anyone yet (that we've seen); not sure what model Panama Red is mentioning.
Surprise us with your idea! Thanks
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Old 24-09-2019, 18:17   #18
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

The way to go is wood, which is free and also free to build the heater from old propane bottles.
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Old 24-09-2019, 18:19   #19
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

Best option is a forced air diesel heater. As mentioned above, $200 from eBay plus $300-500 for ducting. You can easily install yourself. Fresh air, dry heat.

Second best option is a split AC heat pump. The efficiencies of these goes to zero though when the temperatures go down. An even better option is a real marine AC but these are overpriced and noisy.

The third option is a Dickinson diesel heater but those are point sources, so it will be difficult to warm up the whole boat. Their best feature is that they are very quiet.

Electric space heaters also make sense, you can get a couple but then you will always have problems with amperage if a 30A boat. Plus, they are noisy. The least noisy electric heater ever is called sunpentown on Amazon. As quiet as it gets, it is only 1,200W which means you need three of them in each corner of the boat.

A dehumidifier may be useful as well but it is a hassle.
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Old 24-09-2019, 20:20   #20
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

Comments:

I have a Dickenson Newport and have used it extensively through Patagonia and Antarctica, with proper installation you won't have issues with downdraft. It has to due with chimney height, draft, and a barometric dampner.

In your situation I would oiok at one of the Chinese knocks off heaters;

go to the MJ sailing youtube channel. He just put one in and they went through the similar though the process. He did a nice installation. it's worth a watch for you. he paid 300 dollars.

this is a quick tip for you that will help with condensation:
go to amazon and get heat 3m heat shrink window kits. under ten dollars. you will thank me.

LD
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Old 24-09-2019, 20:39   #21
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

You can use electric space heaters on times so they donít all run at the same time
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Old 24-09-2019, 20:59   #22
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

If you loose power during a storm you'll be sorry if you only have electric heat. You need venting and the best way is with a diesel stove or heater. Otherwise you'll have water running down the walls.


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Old 24-09-2019, 21:37   #23
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

We anchor out as well as stay in marinas over winter and liveaboard, so we have a few ways like most on here. Best is diesel heating. Our webasto is a little beauty, toasts the boat up like a panini but the best part is it dries everything. Which you need in winter, 10000 percent. Condensation from your breath and cooking will have the walls dripping since you can't open the hatches like in summer. Diesel heat does a great job drying the boat out.

We do use three electric heaters, nothing wrong with them. They have their own circuit on the 220v panel, we turn them off when not on the boat. With shore power, we use these plus a big dehumidifier.

This year, also going to experiment with a big electric blanket when at marina...seems like it would be cosy
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Old 24-09-2019, 21:48   #24
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

Quote:
Originally Posted by boat_alexandra View Post
The way to go is wood, which is free and also free to build the heater from old propane bottles.
Just remove the propane first.
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Old 24-09-2019, 22:58   #25
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

Problem with mini splits is they do consume high amounts of power. They are efficient at getting heat out of air (some can pull heat out of air down to -30íc ish) but still not as efficient as electric heat but added bonus of AC.

$$$ Ideally I would also recommend a webasto type air or hydronic with atmospheric combustion. Dries and moves heat to all corners of the boat. Some of the Chinese knock offs are ok but I know if quite a few failures (mostly just stop working) but it is kind of scary in how they could possibly fail and kill you as a spill-able appliance. Make sure the monoxide detector batteries are good

$$ Next would be a Dickerson type diesel or propane heater, and no a sealed vented propane appliance does not add additional moisture into the cabin.

$Third would be run electric and add a wood heater, charcoal is cheap and can be bought most anywhere; itís less messy than wood, doesnít soot the flue as much and higher btu/lb, easier to store etc. Run the electric at a minimum to maintain the thermal mass and burn charcoal/wood when wanting to boost the heat for comfort. Best part is you can bring the charcoal with you and bbq on the beach when you donít need it anymore.
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Old 25-09-2019, 02:25   #26
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lepke View Post
If you loose power during a storm you'll be sorry if you only have electric heat. You need venting and the best way is with a diesel stove or heater. Otherwise you'll have water running down the walls.

Just thinking of the same thing.

If this is to be your home then some sort of back up system for when the power goes off on a Sunday evening and there is nothing the marina can do until the electrician calls on Monday. So diesel heating, blown air or stove, with a couple of oil filled radiators as an option would be good. Ventilation too even in the depths of winter.

Do you have a cockpit cover/tent? could you make a temporary one for the winter to give you an extra room to keep wet boots etc out of the boat?
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Old 25-09-2019, 04:57   #27
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

All this talk of electric heaters needs a caveat.

You should never approach the capacity of your 30A or 50A (or whatever) shore power connection. Fires happen, on a fairly regular basis, caused by overheated shore power plugs. I have two right now hanging in my barn with melted ends. One was from my own boat, trying to run two 1,500W heaters on a 30A circuit.

Don't think you can casually add "small" loads like 250W heaters and electric blankets with no consideration of your overall draw. And don't forget refrigeration, battery charging, lighting, etc.

My own take is that it's going to get very impractical very quickly to provide enough electric heat to keep you comfortable. And when you're cold, you may not take the time to do the math, or run additional shore power cords. You're more likely to do whatever it takes to keep warm, and disregard the risks.

Of course you CAN heat with electricity, and it's certainly been done. I've done it, on the boat I'm sitting in now, over one New England winter. But I think there are a lot of much better options listed above.
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Old 25-09-2019, 04:58   #28
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lamadriver View Post
go to the MJ sailing youtube channel. He just put one in and they went through the similar though the process. He did a nice installation. it's worth a watch for you.
Thanks for the referral. I had no idea these inexpensive knock-off's existed. As mentioned, I had a Sigmarine bulkhead heater in breezy San Francisco Bay that, despite 3-years of fidgeting and tweaking the configuration, did not work well for me due to downdrafting issues. In hindsight, a Webasto or knock-off would have been a much, much better solution. Given the low cost, and that the OP states he only needs a season out of it, this would be my hands-down choice if I were in his topsiders.
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Old 25-09-2019, 05:42   #29
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

Joyce, one other thought, our club turns the water off and drains down the dock pipes if there is a risk of freezing. Found out the hard way when we ran out of water at 10pm at night trying to fill the kettle. Now if you are English you will know how serious a lack of tea is

Popped the dock hose in the tank and turned the water on, but nothing happened. Then the penny dropped, followed by a walk across the car park with a large jerry can in me slippers

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Old 25-09-2019, 06:25   #30
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Re: Heating our sailboat this winter in VA - HELP!

We are pretty excited about the Webasto type heaters. Obviously the Chinese ones are quite affordable so we might take our chances on a failure (or order a spare heater only at that price!).
I'm not sure how much more anyone can tell us about these systems; from Webasto just now I have heard:
1) kit includes everything but the connection to the fuel tank. Since our fuel tank is only 20 gallons, we'd probably buy a second tank, like their 12 or 20 liter one, just so we add capacity. Standpipe to the bottom of the tank also tells me to go with a fresh tank to avoid any bottom gunk. Not wild about a tank pump but I appreciate that gravity-fed is not an option to get the efficiency they are capable of.
2) heater has 4 connections: 2.5" outlet to duct, 2.5" fresh air make-up for inlet, 1" exhaust from chamber, 1" for combustion air inlet. This last item may not need a hose to a through-hull if heater is placed in a compartment that can supply air--no real advice was given me about how much air we are talking about here so perhaps I use a hose to a through-hull to be safe.
3) Going Chinese may have the downside of poorly written installation instructions, and a kit that does not have "it all." Any advice or recommended brands on this front?
Any and all advice welcome. Thanks!
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