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post #1 of 8 Old 05-22-2007 Thread Starter
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Diesel Heaters and Noise

I'm about to purchase either a Hurricane II by ITR or an Espar. Currently my preference is the Espar Airtronic D5 due to its price - about 25% cheaper than the Hurricane. What I'm most concerned about is the noise level. How loud are either of these units? I plan on installing in the lazarette with the cockpit between myself and the main salon and main berth. Any opinions would be much appreciated.

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post #2 of 8 Old 05-22-2007
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I have an Espar D-5L on my 42' sloop. When it was first installed a couple of years ago, I couldn't believe it was so loud, since I was replacing a smaller and older unit which was pretty quiet.

Turned out the problem was with the air suction. They make a sort of muffler for it. Once installed...a simple task...it quieted right down.

Initially, with a cold cabin, the heater runs full speed and you can hear the air blowing. After it heats up, however, the fan slows to a crawl..just enough to keep the boat nice and toasty. Most of the time you don't even know it's running.

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post #3 of 8 Old 05-22-2007
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Ditto on my Webasto diesel heater. It's a bit noiser when it starts (sucking fuel from the tanks and higher fan speed) and then it quiets right down.

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post #4 of 8 Old 05-22-2007
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I have one of the Hurricane units on Whampoa and can offer the following comments on the noise levels.

The furnace unit is mounted aft in the starboard lazerette with rubberized feet to deaden vibration transfer to the hull (wooden in my case). The noise from this unit when running is a very low hum when inside the main cabin (also ahead of my cockpit) and almost unheard forward in the v-berth.

When I first used the system, I was surprised by the noise of the pump circulating the water throughout the system. This pump is mounted under my cockpit in the engine compartment. The noise of that pump was about 1/2 as loud as my pressure water pump. On closer inspection, I decided the noise was mostly due to the way the pump had been mounted with no vibration absorbing material between the pump and mount. I refashioned the mount and the noise level was reduced to just a low whir as the pump runs.

The fans in the vent units come on once the aquastat in a given vent is serviced with 120 degree water and run until the temperature called for at the main thermostat is satified in the boat. These fans make the typical low fan noise and are not excessively loud.

I have been very satisfied with the Hurricane unit and on the one occasion I have had to call ITR for a replacement part (my bad not a unit failure ),
the ITR folks were extremely helpful and prompt.

Good luck with your project.
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post #5 of 8 Old 05-23-2007 Thread Starter
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Well talk about equal representation from the three biggest diesel heating manufacturers

It sounds like the noise level is not really too much of a concern. Special attention to mufflers and making sure vibration is minimized appear to be in order. Of course talking to the various dealers they all point at the other diesel heater company complaining that their heating system sounds like a jet taking off. Actually I heard this complaint more often for the Webasto heaters than anything else. Being that I'm just about to move into a liveaboard community I don't want to tick my fellow neighbors off. But Webasto definitely wins for price.

btrayfors - I've been told by the local dealer that to make the Espar last longer it is best to trick it into operating on high output all the time and cycle it on and off this way via a thermostat. It sounds like you are using it the way it was designed; namely, let it cycle between various power outputs: high, medium and low. Have you had any problems with it so far? Would you buy the Espar again if given a choice?

Whampoa - from the research I've done it seems the Hurricane is one of the best units around. I'm sure you looked at all the options before purchasing - any particular reason why you decided to go with the Hurricane and would you do it again?

I really appreciate your opinions. For me this it a huge cost considering the major refit I undertook this winter.
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post #6 of 8 Old 05-23-2007
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Early last season, I upgraded the 3DL Espar, originally commissioned with my boat, to the new 4D Airtronic. This decision was due in part, to that archaic 3DL control box requiring replacement. The cost for just the module alone was $850.00. It did not make sense to throw good money into an old, discontinued system.

We love the new Airtronic Espars and have not found the noise levels to be an annoyance at all. We don't live board off season, so can't provide testimony to winter efficiency. But, the comfort level of a total balanced air system on a boat is such a luxury for those cold early and late season nights and chilly damp days.

I bought all the components directly from Ocean Options in RI - luckily for us, just a couple miles from the boat and the East Coast dealer for Espar. Ed Hamilton was a great guy to work with - gave me 50% off a package deal on a new 4D unit, which was recently installed in another boat - but removed after the owner decided to go hydronic . . . less than 8 hours use.

I installed a new Digital thermostat, a few feet of new duct to replace smaller diameter trunk lines, reducers, muffler, new exhaust pipe insulation sock, all new wiring harness, metering pump, mounting brackets, etc. I reused all 6 supply ducts and registers and the stainless steel exhaust port - so the work wasn't that hard.

The system does cycle through gradually after turning on and off but does reach the required velocity in short time. The fan is very quiet - uses 1.5 to 3 amps maximum while away from shore power. It's quiet enough that the tic-tic-tic . . . sound of the metering pump is more audible - but not annoying at all.

In fact, our dockmates commented last weekend on how quiet our system is, especially compared to the boat across the channel from us - a large Freedom with another diesel system. That sounds like a jet taking off.

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post #7 of 8 Old 05-23-2007
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It's a little off topic, but this weekend we used our 12,000 BTU Marine Air A/C and heat unit for heat aboard for the first time, and it pumped out a huge volume of warm air from 10 C water. It's strictly for shore power, mind you, due to the large amp draw, but it cools very impressively as well, something to consider when you've got a Lexan greenhous on top of your boat like me.

We are going to get a diesel heater of the bulkhead type for offshore and on the hook, with fans and windscoops for cooling. If I have an energy surplus, my inverter will be able to run the A/C off the battery banks, but it's such a draw down that I'd only do it if I had to and if I thought I could make up the amps shortly thereafter.
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post #8 of 8 Old 05-23-2007
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I can't claim any credit for the Hurricane selection as the PO had the unit installed. I have used it quite a bit this winter and found it to be effective, sufficiently quiet both inside and outside the boat and also to be quite miserly on fuel.
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