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post #1 of 6 Old 11-05-2006 Thread Starter
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Heater options

I have a diesel powered bulkhead heater in my Mariner 32. I am probably going to change that to a propane version. However, that heater is taking up space on a bulkhead that I could use better for crew space. What other options are there for heat on a sailboat. I have seen some small forced air systems and would like opinions on them. Thanks.
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post #2 of 6 Old 11-05-2006
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Having tried both kerosene/diesel bulkhead mount and forced air diesel I'd stick with the bulkhead. They seem to work exceptionally well in a small cabin , are cheap to run and quiet. I found the forced air heaters simply too damn noisy.


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post #3 of 6 Old 11-05-2006
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The diesel heater is probably more efficient and probably provides a drier heat than a propane powered version of heater. If your engine is diesel, I'd stick with the diesel heater, as it is often more difficult to get propane tanks refilled than it is to get diesel, especially in some foreign countries, where the tank fittings are very different from the ones you may have.

The forced air heaters, while providing very dry heat, are generally much more trouble as they draw significantly more electricity. Also, from what I've seen, they're a lot noisier. YMMV.


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post #4 of 6 Old 11-05-2006
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If you go with propane looke at the Dickinson propane fireplace. It burns outside air, so no CO2 problems and no moisture in the air. Also as the outside air intake is around the exhast (as a double wall pipe) the exhaust stays cool. It comes as a complete kit with nothing else to buy. I hightly recommend it.
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post #5 of 6 Old 11-05-2006
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Stick with diesel heat for all the reasons mentioned. Our Espar 4D Airtronic, five circuit unit, serves our needs very well and draws less than 3 amps when away from shore power.

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post #6 of 6 Old 11-05-2006
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We also run redcorvette's Dickerson propane bulkead heater - not as bulky as some other heaters, and if you have propane on board already that's not an issue either. As he said, no moisture issues as combustion air is piped in from outside and flue gases are vented outside as well, of course. Both include a circulation fan that works well (greatly boosting efficiency) but is rather noisy at high speeds, my only complaint.

It also has a glass door, providing a pleasant ambience of a visible flame - "fireplace" style. They produce a 9000 and a 12000 btu model, we have the 9000 on a 35' boat and had the 12000 on our last boat, a 40 footer. The smaller heater seems adequate on all but the coolest days.

The espars and their ilk make sense in a lot of ways, but during our last purchase process we saw many boats with espars etc. installed but not included in the listing because they no longer functioned. This put us off these types somewhat. On the noise issue, I think that's more a problem for your slip neigbour than for those onboard.
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