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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 11-04-2004
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Propane Cabin Heater

We recently purchased a "loaded? New to us" boat. On it is a propane force ten cabin heater. The heater has no hose or propane delivery hardware included. I don''t think the previous owner ever used it. Our boat has no other propane appliances onboard and we''d like to keep it that way for the time being. My questions are

1) What is the safest way to use this thing?
2) Do most people use the disposable 1 pound propane tanks (Coleman camping kinda things) and if so how do you hook them up?
3) How hard is it to install a more permanent propane tank with sniffer and shutoff safety stuff and is it worth while if I''m only going to use it for the heater?

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. I sail on Lake Huron so I really need this thing to lengthen the season.

Ian
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Old 11-04-2004
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Propane Cabin Heater

I found that installing a proper propane system to be quite expensive. So much so that rather than bring the propane system up to regs on my boat I took out all of the existing propane system. A proper systems includes a tank locker that is sealed from the boat (and cockpit)but vented to the atmosphere at the top and bottom of the tank. It requires a tank and regulator and electrically operated solenoid valve that can be turned off from down below. Ideally there should be a passive bilge venting system and a bilge blower. There should be a sniffer system with a propane/carbon-monoxide sensor in the bilge and near the appliance. It requires hoses and connectors designed for use with Propane. If the propane lines run near the engine compartment you should be using an explosion proof electrical system (alternator, etc)on the engine similar to what is used on a gas engine.

If you don''t already have propane, I certainly would not put it aboard. I am always amazed at people who say, "I would not have a gas engine, it is too dangerous" but who think nothing of having a propane system.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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Old 11-04-2004
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Propane Cabin Heater

May be interested in the heater if the price is right. If it is for sell let me know. I have been wanted to add one to my boats system for awhile.Thanks
James
e-mail gunnyman1@charter.net
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Old 11-04-2004
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Propane Cabin Heater

Jeff or others, what kind of heating system do you recommend when you don''t have shore power?
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Old 11-04-2004
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Propane Cabin Heater

If your boat has diesel power, consider a warm air, diesel-fueled system such as Espar . . . somewhat expensive as an after-market retrofit, but very effective as originally outfitted on my boat.
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Old 11-04-2004
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Propane Cabin Heater

As long time Alaskan boaters, we agree heaters are important! We have stayed away from propane in large part because you''d need a lot of storage. You didn''t indicate the size of the boat but it''s typical for a diesel heater to burn a gallon every 10-15 hours, think of the equivalent in propane. Unless you just use it briefly at the end of the day to take the chill off you''ll be lugging propane cylinders a lot. We like drawing fuel out of the main tank for that reason but your use may be less.

We have had 3 different espars and think the new models in particular are very nice. We have also had a small bulkhead diesel heater (like a Taylor, only it was a Hi-Seas) and it did OK on a 28'' boat. The ends got cold and there would be specks of soot on the deck in the morning which we cleaned off periodically.

The big advantage of the espar type heater is they reduce condensation, as they suck in outside air, heat it (which dries it) and blow it around. We woke up earlier this fall to frost on the decks, toasty warm and zero condensation. Bulkhead heater won''t do that but they are much easier to install.
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Old 11-11-2004
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Propane Cabin Heater

I have installed a Dickenson bulkhead heater this year and am very happy.

Diesel fireplace, gives a nice glow, and has very low electrical draw. The espars are better, but much more complicated to install and draw more power.

You couldn''t pay me enough to have a propane heater below decks.
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Old 06-07-2009
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Interesting Information

Hi, cool post. I have been wondering about this topic,so thanks for writing.
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Old 06-07-2009
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Which force 10 is it? Is it the one that is rounded with an open flame or is it the square one with the window?

The rounded one came with my boat. It is less than impressive. Basically it is a propane stove burner with an exhaust vent. So it's no better than just running the stove and making tea except for the fact that it vents out the moisture created by propane combustion.

We use the stove when we have to because it's all we have for now, but it doesn't do much for heating the boat. All it can manage is taking the chill off our 41ft saloon, no temp change in the bedroom. It also cooks through propane at an impressive rate. A 5gal bottle every week or so when cruising in the spring/fall.

My favorite types of heating are solid fuel and dickenson diesel heaters. The tiny-tot stoves are great looking little solid fuel stoves. I had a cole-stove now made by dickenson which worked well enough. It wasn't airtight though which made it hard to control the flame. Duraflame type logs worked the best and it was easy to make the boat 100deg while it was snowing outside.

The dickenson diesel heaters are awesome as well. Simple, reliable, lots of heat. I feel fine leaving them on at night while I sleep. Some of them are cookstoves as well, but unless you're in alaska and run it all day they're a pain to try and actually cook with.

MedSailor
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Old 06-07-2009
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