Originally Posted by ranger42c
Water temps get cold enough so that latter can mean reverse cycle heat won't work all that well... so some auxiliary heat source would be best.
There are a good variety of ways to heat your boat. Some of them include diesel
, solid fuel
, and propane
. Each has their advantages and disadvantages. As one poster mentioned, they can be dangerous if not done correctly. Don't be scared of any type, but do learn what not to do as well as what to do.
is often claimed to be the safest. This not actually true. While the electric heater
won't give off any dangerous fumes, the shore power
cable can be very dangerous. In fact, the insurance
statistics say that roughly fifty-five percent of all boat fires are due to electrical issues, with just over half of those due to shore power
cable issues. The true figure is probably higher since many causes are never proven. If you decide to use shore power, it would be wise to upgrade to a Smart Plug
(no, I don't sell these!). It is a much more secure system due to the way it locks in place and the exponentially greater surface area for electrical contact. One other disadvantage to electric heating is that you lose your heat if you go out during the winter. If you don't leave the dock
then this is not an issue.
If you use shore power, check with the marina to see what rate they are charging
. There is a marina in the NYC
area that doubles the electrical rate. I know of some boaters who are paying $300 to $400 per month for electricity due to this. Having said this, electrical heating is the generally the quickest, easiest, and least risky (in terms of fumes) way to heat a boat. I have used it and had no issues. Just make sure that you are not overloading your system since they draw a lot of amps. Also make sure they won't tip over and that no combustibles are near the heater
works but it is a wet fuel
. This fuel can have condensation
issues if not vented properly. Like diesel
and solid fuels, it must be vented properly. There are indoor propane heaters. They are not suitable for constant heating due to condensation
, however they are great for instant heat while another heater heats up. I use the Mr. Heater for instant heat and turn it off after thirty or so minutes. I don't get condensation in that short period but I do get quick heat.
Diesel heaters also work well and have the benefit of a single
source of fuel assuming your engine
is also a diesel. An added benefit is that you can get a diesel oven/heater combination thus providing additional usefulness. One acquaintance heats his boat and cooks with a diesel heater/oven and uses no more than a gallon a day for his boat, which is around 40 feet long and he likes his boat quite warm, as in over 70 degrees. They are reasonably efficient and cost effective.
I have installed a solid fuel heater that is designed for coal, as well as some other solid fuels. It is the best heat possible. It is dry and very efficient. Like the other heaters that burn fuel, you must exercise reasonable care. First, you have to make sure it is properly vented, and it is a good idea to get a carbon monoxide alarm
. Actually, it is a good idea no mater the heater since the engine
can create deadly fumes too.
Some solid fuel heaters can burn fuel too quickly if you don't adjust the flue correctly. The Dickinson
Heater is good but needs a slight modification to reduce the drafts and slow down the burn. If you don't slow the burn, you will need to refuel it every half hour or so. The Tiny Tot stove
is cast iron and will burn for a good six hours or more with coal. It is compact (6 inches diameter X 11 inches tall) and well made (no, I don't sell this either) and only some $250. There are plenty of others but these are the ones I am familiar with.
Some solid fuel heaters have the advantage of being able to burn multiple fuels. I have a few friends who have sources of old, seasoned palettes and have essentially a free (not counting their time) source of fuel. The down side to solid fuel heaters is that if you don't adjust the fuel-air mixture correctly you can get soot. They, like the vented propane and diesel heaters are more complicated to install than electric heaters. You should also insulate areas that are within a few inches of the heater with some sort of fireproof material. I know people who have not put any barriers next to the heater but I prefer a little extra protection since it is easy to overheat the flue if you are not paying attention.
None of the above heaters that require installation are terribly difficult to install but they will require time to install. I am not familiar with reverse cycle heaters but they do offer many advantages so you should look into those also. If you are moving to Baltimore now you will likely need to stick with electric since the temperatures are cooling
off now and it will be much harder to get epoxy
to cure properly. You may wish to start with electric heat until you get situated. You don't mention if you already have a boat. If not, you may buy one that already has a heater installed.
If you have any further questions please feel free to call, write, or PM me. Good luck with you move.