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  #11  
Old 03-14-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulk View Post
How much more efficient is diesel fuel compared to compressed gas? Are the savings big enough to warrant thousands of dollars in up-front installation costs, or will it take eight to ten years to break even on a new diesel stove/heater, compared to just using gas in the unit that's already there?
Eight to ten years to break even on a $1-2k stove and less than $500 for installation, tops?

I admit I'm a newbie and haven't seen as many marinas/anchorages as some folk here, but it seems to me I'd be making lots of trips inland, lugging two 20 lb tanks back and forth with annoying frequency when most marinas have diesel facilities already on hand or close by. Could propanes be more popular with the weekender/daysailer crowds who simply stop at the gas station and pop a tank or two into their trunks? Or, since fuel efficiency is not why they're doing it, is there some other reason that escapes me? Maybe diesels stink?

Overheating was mentioned, but a quick peek at the Dickenson's (they have propanes and diesels) shows that diesels aren't locked into high heat, they can be turned down to the same low BTU range as propane furnaces. That could be false advertising, though, or perhaps its newer technology.
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Old 03-14-2009
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My vote after living on board (mostly in Toronto) and cruising south for the occasional winter over the last 15yrs.
Propane stove - one 20lb. tank lasts about 4 -5 months.
Espar diesel furnace - which can be mounted in a cockpit or transom locker and does not make for space-taking bulkhead mounting.
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Old 03-14-2009
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It is hard to control a diesel heater or stove at low heat settings, due to the nature of diesel fuel. They also tend to pollute more and burn more inefficiently at low heat settings than does propane.
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Old 03-14-2009
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Alright, thank you everyone for your advice. I guess I'll give the propane a try, it can't hurt.

Boatpoker, I'm going to be living aboard in Toronto too, so your comment about your configuration really helps. I didn't know I could keep the Espar in the lockers. Most excellent!
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Old 03-16-2009
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Careful about the espar. My espar installation on my c-36 used quite a bit of battery power. My next boat will have a stand-alone propane bulkhead mounted heater.
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I had a diesel stove which was our heater on our 36 footer and I loved it. In my opinion it's superior to propane. However on my 25 footer I wouldn't even consider it. I'd choose propane. Thing about propane is it's wet. You may experience water on the headliner and stuff like that.
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Old 03-16-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stephenronning View Post
I had a diesel stove which was our heater on our 36 footer and I loved it. In my opinion it's superior to propane. However on my 25 footer I wouldn't even consider it. I'd choose propane. Thing about propane is it's wet. You may experience water on the headliner and stuff like that.
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Stephen,

You're correct, one byproduct of propane combustion is H2O. Propane stoves and ovens will produce a fair bit of moisture in the cabin if used for long periods.

But most of the improved propane heaters, such as those sold by Dickinson (the Newports, for example), have sealed combustion chambers that exhaust all the moisture out of the cabin through a chimney. The chimneys are double-walled, so they also draw air for combustion from outside of the cabin.

Force 10 used to market a little bulkhead propane heater that lacked the sealed combustion chamber. If your only propane heater experience is with that model (now offered by Sigma, I believe), be prepared for a pleasant surprise!
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Cheapest heater is to put a clay flower pot upside down over one of your stove top burners, turn it on low and in no time, you'll have a cozy cabin.
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Good way to get CO poisoning too...
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnshasteen View Post
Cheapest heater is to put a clay flower pot upside down over one of your stove top burners, turn it on low and in no time, you'll have a cozy cabin.
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Great point John. I had a Dickenson on a 30 ft sailboat I sold right away thinking of avoiding the wetness...now I realize that wouldn't have been an issue. DAHHH!!
I'll use a little red portable heater buddy on my Cal 2-25. I've used them before and they work great! Keep the cabin vented a tad and your good to go.
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