Cheap and Easy Cabin Heating? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 56 Old 10-21-2011 Thread Starter
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Cheap and Easy Cabin Heating?

My boat didn't come with a bulkhead heater, and though I plan on eventually purchasing and installing a diesel heater, for now I have bupkis. While docked I simply heat my cabin with a small space heater (which works magic!), but if I want to go cruising and anchor out one night, I need something which will not draw electricity. I have a two burner kerosene stove, and I've heard that putting a terra-cotta pot over a burner is an effective way to heat the cabin. Does anyone have experience with such a thing? I'd obviously pop a window to vent the cabin, allowing me to do that whole breathing thing. Ideas? Advice?

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post #2 of 56 Old 10-21-2011
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Clearly, placing a pot over a burner adds no BTUs. Simple urban legand.

It does spread a little radiant heat, but to me it isn't worth the storage or trouble.

But try it on your kitchen stove, don't ask us.

Advise? pop for a vented heater, skip the CO2 / CO headache and wake up in the morning.

http://sail-delmarva.blogspot.com/20...e-be-heat.html

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post #3 of 56 Old 10-21-2011
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The pot thing has its fans. Turn it off at night when you are asleep. I never use any heater at night.

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post #4 of 56 Old 10-21-2011
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Any flame-based heater that is not specifically designed for nighttime use is dangerous. All combustion puts out carbon monoxide. Leaving a stove burner on, pot or not, is a recipe for someone eventually finding a body at air-temperature, after wondering why that yacht has been sitting at anchor all week.

It wasn't too many years ago, the SCA lost a family of 4 at the Estrella War because they zipped up their cabin tent and fell asleep with a small propane heater burning to keep the chill off.

Really - cabin heaters need to be properly vented.
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post #5 of 56 Old 10-22-2011 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdqaltair View Post
It does spread a little radiant heat, but to me it isn't worth the storage or trouble.

But try it on your kitchen stove, don't ask us.
A liveaboard around here has suggested and sworn by the terra-cotta pot idea. Buying a pot and trying it out for myself seems a waste if the idea sucks. Why go through a stupid idea without vetting it among liveaboards who might actually know something (the terra fan is kind of a dufus, so I wanted some second opinions )

I think I'd rather just dock somewhere for the night, and plug into power for my heat.

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post #6 of 56 Old 10-22-2011
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I use a 0 to -10 C sleeping bag and never use a heater. I have sailed every month of the year in Canada.

BTW - I also will not use an electric heater overnight.

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post #7 of 56 Old 10-22-2011
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I to have spent many nights on boats and in rv's out here on the west coast of Canada where it gets wet and miserable and cold and wet and miserable and...and...cold, and never ever have I used a heater during the night when I sleep.
It is far to dangerous.
Get some good bedding, bundle up and whether it be an electric, diesel, propane or solid fuel heater "shut it off at night".
When you are able to wake up the next morning you will be greatful for having it shut off.
At least you will be alive to turn it on again.
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Boats can get dam chilly at times. One of the best solutions we have found to make sleeping more comfortable under these conditions is a hot water bottle. It takes the chill out of the bed before you climb in and keeps your feet worm all night. At times, I also like to put one in the small of my back. The heating of the water takes the chill off at night and making coffee in the morning takes the chill off in the morning.
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post #9 of 56 Old 10-22-2011
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15 years ago a charter company in the Gippsland lakes advised us on the upsidedown terracotta pot idea. They even had the terracotta pot as standard equipment on the boat! The idea works fine, only raises the temperature a couple of degrees, however it is enough to take the chill out of the cabin. My guess is that it will only work on a small cabin (this was a 25ft yacht). I used it a couple of months ago on my UFO 34 and it works fine (I have a metho stove).

As with using the stove normally, you need to ensure adequate ventalation; I normally leave the front hatch open a couple of inches and the back hatch open so there is airflow through the boat. Leave the flame on low and shut it down when you go to sleep. Common sense stuff.

For those who are stating that this is a bad idea; it is no different from using the stove normally.

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post #10 of 56 Old 10-22-2011
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Lots of blankets. Then more blankets..

We have 4 berths and I'm usually solo during winter overnights (Connecticut usually). I grab blankets from the other berths and just pile them onto mine. It's tough to be cold when you have an excessive number of blankets on you. (A good sleeping bag is a very good idea if you are space limited. If you aren't, then stockpile some blankets.)

No stove or oven on during the night, and we have a carbon monoxide detector too. In the morning, the stove quickly heats the cabin up a bit while making breakfast or a hot beverage. The propane oven seems to burn cleaner, so during the day I'll sometimes sail with the oven on and the hatch boards in place. If I do go below, the cabin is warmish and dry. (Occasional use of the stove/over seems to dry the interior. Perhaps because the heat lingers after I turn the stove off, but the cumbustion-created water vapor vents out quicker.)

By the way, our insurance company mandated a carbon monoxide detector. I'm glad they did. I wired it to the master switch. So if we are on the boat the CO detector is on.

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Brad

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Last edited by Bene505; 10-22-2011 at 08:11 AM.
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