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Water Heater: 5 or 6.5 Gallons?

I plan to install a water heater in my boat. It never had one, but I can use a storage bin in the engine room. A 6.5gal will fit, but just. A 5 will be easier to install, leave a little storage space. This will use a heat exchanger, not electric. I plan to cruise the boat south in the fall, then spend some time aboard over the winter. She has 200 gallons of fresh water and a pressure shower already. So, if you have a 5, is it enough? Do you wish for more? Or did you install a bigger one and wish you had the space back?
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Re: Water Heater: 5 or 6.5 Gallons?

So how many people are on board? how much hot water do you think you will need between heat ups? How many showers will you be taking?
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Re: Water Heater: 5 or 6.5 Gallons?

I have a 15 and it's barely enough for two people taking a shower and washing dinner dishes.

Gary
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Re: Water Heater: 5 or 6.5 Gallons?

Quote:
Originally Posted by travlineasy View Post
I have a 15 and it's barely enough for two people taking a shower and washing dinner dishes.

Gary
What temp do you have it set at? We used to have a boat for 2 couples and we had a 12 gal. We did just fine with it.
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Practical sailor did a comparison review of these a couple years ago. Anyone w a subscription can get to back issues. One of the things I remember from reading it was that the heat exchanger option had a very quick recovery time, allowing for smaller tank vs shore power electric. I've got an old five, but never use as I'm restricted to day or weekend sails by job/family.
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Re: Water Heater: 5 or 6.5 Gallons?

I'm with those above;the largest possible.
However, a word of warning, the engine heating will take the water to 180+or- (whatever your engine runs at) which is dangerously HOT so be very, very careful.
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Re: Water Heater: 5 or 6.5 Gallons?

Dec 2013 issue, if you wanted to get a copy. You can get a premix valve added to deal with the superheating that comes with the exchanger off the engine, which appears to be a very recommended addition.
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Re: Water Heater: 5 or 6.5 Gallons?

In this day and age, an anti-scald valve should be considered mandatory. It doesn't add much cost or complexity to the install.
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Re: Water Heater: 5 or 6.5 Gallons?

Thanks for the constructive replies. The boat doesn't have a shore tie, this will be strictly on heat exchange. The units I'm looking at are Isotemps by Isotherm. They come with mixing valves. Mostly I'm concerned with a warm shower for my wife while anchored, and for myself too in cool weather. I very rarely dock while cruising, and when I do, we shower ashore.
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Re: Water Heater: 5 or 6.5 Gallons?

You ask about 5 or 6.5 gallon. Not much of a difference. Go for more if you have room. Hot water is a rate issue. Bigger does not mean much if you can't keep the tank continually hot. Since the temps are high you use little at a time.

Watch out for the Very hot water, These tank are poorly temp regulated as mentioned above comments. I mean Really hot.
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