Espar Heaters and Co/No2 - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 05-03-2008
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Espar Heaters and Co/No2

Does an Espar heater (or a diesel engine) produce carbon monoxide or nitrogen dioxide? I know Co detectors are now mandatory, should there be a No2 sensor as well. I was under the impression No2 was a by-product of diesel combustion.

Also, is there a less expensive heater (than to install an Espar system) for a 38 foot boat that is not dangerous?
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Old 05-03-2008
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They produce carbon monoxide. If it burns fuel it produces CO so the answer is not really. Less expensive solution is a bulkheaded mounted unit but there are trade-offs in heat distribution. We have a Webasto and love it.
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Old 05-03-2008
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It's a bit difficult to avoid the risk of some CO production from a hydro-carbon combustion, and if it is hot enough to generate nitrous oxides. However, the Espar and similar heaters normally burn diesel quite efficiently with little CO or NO products. Further, the combustion loop is entirely separate from the heating loop and exhausts overboard. So the risk is small, certainly compared with somewhat more open stoves that input cabin air and exhaust through a chimney.

If you choose the Espar that heats water instead of air, the risk can be reduced further, if the heater is separated from the sleeping areas and vented overboard.

None of those types of heater comes cheap, Webasto is another well known make.
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Old 05-03-2008
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Dickenson makes quite a nice bulkhead mounted propane fired "fireplace" - two models 9000 btu and 12000 btu. Complete around $1000 for the larger. They include a fan that helps efficiency a lot, but won't move heated air around like the Espar/Webasto type. On the plus side, though, they are fully vented and safe to use and much quieter (esp for your slip neighbour - Espar exhausts can be quite noisy) Unlike other cabin mounted heaters there are no byproducts of combustion into the cabin space, and no odor either.

At 38 feet the larger version would be just adequate, depending on your plans/cruising area.
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