Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Narragansett Bay
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Rep Power: 14
Congratulations on your new boat killarney sailor and a nice choice.
Most liveaboard sailors I know in Rhode Island have forced air systems installed - although I have heard similar comparisons which you have made between Webaso hydronic & Espar's Airtronic systems.
I purchased a boat that was originally commissioned in Finland with an Espar 3DL diesel fired, forced warm air system. It worked fine during the survey but locked up on us during the first Fall season. After doing research like you have done, I located the northeast Espar distributor, Ocean Options, which was conveniently located just a couple miles from our marina.
We're not liveaboards, and probably never will be. But we made a decision to at least repair the unit for resale value and for having such a nice onboard luxury. Ed Hamilton, sales manager for Ocean Options, came over to my boat, checked out the existing system and convinced me to buy Espar's new Airtronic 4D furnace and digital controls.
The 3DL was phased out and it would cost $850. for the needed, new control box. We negotiated a package price on the new 4D furnace (curiously, removed from another recent installation, after the owner decided she wanted hydronic - due to allergies), a new thermostat, control electronics, wiring harness, some extension ducts, outlet expanders & grilles, new metering pump and an exhaust hose insulating sock. The total material cost came to just slightly more than the cost of repairing the old unit . . . and there were no guarantees it would work again.
The installation went without any issues, by reusing all 6 of the existing outlets and most of the ductwork. I installed it all myself - which was pretty simple due to existing ducts, diesel lines and with Ed's excellent directions and installation manuals. Great guy to work with and gave me some good design installation tips for preventing some common failures, due to incorrect installations.
I love the clean heat and quick air delivery - the boat warms up on the coldest days and nights without failure and maintains a constant temperature to whatever temp we set. I cannot say how easy it would be to do this from scratch though - not knowing your boat's layout.
Expect a lot of hole cutting through bulkheads and casework, snaking of flex duct under floorboards and through tight cavities, much drilling for electrical wires and considerable thought to where the fresh air intake, exhaust hose outlet and duct registers will go. This is not a simple project to do right - but well worth it for a liveaboard situation.
True Blue . . .
sold the Nauticat
Last edited by TrueBlue; 11-09-2007 at 04:18 PM.