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Old 01-25-2013
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Issues with Heating in Annapolis, MD

Need some help! My husband and I live on our boat here in Port Annapolis. We live on a Hunter 410. We just moved to Annapolis from NC last October, so the issues we are having now are a first for us both. Not to mention we have only had the boat for about 3 years now. The weather here is about 18 degrees and hasn't been above freezing for the past week or so. Not to mention a little snow night before last and more expected today. We have a heating and cooling system installed on the boat which is really nice and we also use a space heater at the front just to help. Here's the problem.....as of yesterday, the back unit was not putting out heat. The thermostat read at 54 degrees; however it was set at 66. The front unit is doing the very same as of this morning. It is reading 54 degrees but is set at 66. Here are the things I have checked; the raw water strainer....which is fine and has water in it and is running....both units, which are not froze over and you can hear them running it's just not heating. What bothers me is that the water that typically comes out on the outside of the boat through the little holes (don't know what they are called) is NOT coming out! What could possibly be going on here and how can I fix this?? IT'S COLD!!!
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Old 01-25-2013
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Re: Issues with Heating in Annapolis, MD

Back-up heat filaments have gone? There *is* a back-up heat source in yer air handler, isn't there?? Or....
The "heat pump" can transfer calories from a raw water exchanger as long as it's not frozen water; but if it's an air induction type.... The air temp, once too low, will not have enuff BTUs innit to pull heat out.

Avoid the HVAC "rush" and go to Lowe's and but supplemental heat units.

Last edited by deltaten; 01-25-2013 at 08:25 AM.
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Old 01-25-2013
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Re: Issues with Heating in Annapolis, MD

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kraden313 View Post
Need some help! My husband and I live on our boat here in Port Annapolis. We live on a Hunter 410. We just moved to Annapolis from NC last October, so the issues we are having now are a first for us both. Not to mention we have only had the boat for about 3 years now. The weather here is about 18 degrees and hasn't been above freezing for the past week or so. Not to mention a little snow night before last and more expected today. We have a heating and cooling system installed on the boat which is really nice and we also use a space heater at the front just to help. Here's the problem.....as of yesterday, the back unit was not putting out heat. The thermostat read at 54 degrees; however it was set at 66. The front unit is doing the very same as of this morning. It is reading 54 degrees but is set at 66. Here are the things I have checked; the raw water strainer....which is fine and has water in it and is running....both units, which are not froze over and you can hear them running it's just not heating. What bothers me is that the water that typically comes out on the outside of the boat through the little holes (don't know what they are called) is NOT coming out! What could possibly be going on here and how can I fix this?? IT'S COLD!!!
Sounds like you have a reverse cycle unit vs a straight electric one. Once the water temp reaches 50 degrees your system will not be able to work efficiently and pull heat out of the water. It may damage it if you keep running it. You will need to find an alternative way to heat your boat in the very cold water times.
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Last edited by chef2sail; 01-25-2013 at 08:31 AM.
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Old 01-25-2013
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Re: Issues with Heating in Annapolis, MD

sorry to be do dense...but this is all new to us. What is a "heat filament"? Also, if this water temp is below 55, which I'm quite sure it is, what are our options??? How are other people living aboard out here and staying warm? What I am afraid of is pipes freezing and busting. Do I turn the whole unit off at the Nav station....or just let it run so it doesn't freeze? Please be patient with me.....all new and still learning.
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Re: Issues with Heating in Annapolis, MD

Get some more of those space heaters since your heat pumps apparently lack electrical heating elements or they aren't working. Watch your current draw on your outlets or you'll be triping breakers. I've run an extra cord into the boat to get the necessary amps to keep warm in sub zero conditions.
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Old 01-25-2013
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Re: Issues with Heating in Annapolis, MD

My best guess is that you probably have ice in the discharge hoses for the heating units. Reverse cycle heat pumps cool the discharge water when the system is heating. My guess is that this chilled water has frozen either at or inside of the thru hull. You should be able to see that discharge hose and the thru hull from inside the boat. If I had to deal with this, I would swing by the hardware store and get some "heat tape", which is tape that has a heating element in it that is used to keep pipes from freezing in an unconditioned (attic or crawlspace) space in a home. You should be able to wrap the hose with the heat tape and thaw it out and keep it thawed.

My other concern is that if that hose has frozen that it does not have a tear and that you have not burned out your circulator pump trying to move water against a dead head. When the hose thaws you will need to keep an eye on it to make sure that it is not leaking. You may also want to take the discharge hose off the circulator pump and run it a second to see if it is working.

I walked over and checked; the TruValue Hardware Store on the corner of Forest Drive and Bayridge Avenue carries heater tape in several lengths. (If you pick it up at the TruValue, please feel free to stop into the architectural firm in that complex and say hello.)

Water media heat pumps actually work down to much lower temperatures than air cooled (heated) units so I do not think that this is an issue of the water temperature.

Good Luck,
Jeff
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Last edited by Jeff_H; 01-25-2013 at 08:37 AM.
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Old 01-25-2013
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Re: Issues with Heating in Annapolis, MD

THANKS! very helpful responses.....I am definitely going to get another space heater for now...it's about 50 degrees in here! Also, I will get some heat tape....I am hoping and thinking that might do the trick.....fingers crossed there is no damage to the system itself. thanks again for responses!
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Old 01-25-2013
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Re: Issues with Heating in Annapolis, MD

The lack of discharge water supports Jeff's conclusion of a blockage. I'd get a couple of ceramic heaters to keep heat in the boat while you're working on the system and prevent further freezing. I'm also concerned about the pump, I'd shut the system down until you clear the obstruction and determine that the pump is working. But you'll need to work quickly in these temps.
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Old 01-25-2013
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Re: Issues with Heating in Annapolis, MD

Hm, I'll partially agree with Jeff here.

The reverse cycle will function, but it's very inefficent at these water temperatures and may place undue wear and tear on the system by running constantly. Cross your fingers that next week's warming trend boosts the water temperature closer to 40F degrees again.

Yes, you can you buy additional space heaters but please ensure that your boat's electrical system can handle the load, or you're courting an electrical meltdown!

Example: If you have 30 amp shore power, you should not continuously run electrical loads that exceed 80% of that. If you have 50 amp shore power, or two 30 amp shore power cables, then you have considerably more wiggle room.

Future planning:

Annapolis is on "the fringe". Each winter, the jetstream oscillates up and down across the area, giving us unseasonably warm temps at times, and very cold temps at other times.

If you're going to remain in the area, I advise you to investigate installing a diesel heater on your boat. It will draw from your main diesel tank, and easily heat your entire boat to very toasty temperatures, with very little electrical load.
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Old 01-25-2013
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Re: Issues with Heating in Annapolis, MD

Kraden get hold of someone that knows just what you have for systems in your boat. if they are reverse cycle (heat pumps) They will work at any temp but the water has to liquid. If the incoming water is slow or stopped the heat exchanger (looks like a coil of insulated tubing) can burst from ice pressure within. In addition to space heaters you will need some of that heat blowing on the unit itself. Hopefully next week will be somewhat "warmer" then this week.
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