But what Im really after is self sufficient heat ..ie no power consumption required... or very very little anyway..and of course the cheapest BTU for the buck that makes the most sense in terms of weighing out all the pros and cons.
I hear that. I already have forced air heating via my Mermaid Marine Air heat pump...but it eats 17 amps at start-up and the March pump is 115 AC...a super pump, but offshore A/C and heat from electrical sources are very expensive in electrons. If I'm on shore power, I don't think twice...the water can be 40F/5C and I can get heat from it.
I need either a "whole boat solution" running on diesel, or a "zone" solution (also diesel) in the form of a saloon bulkhead heater. I am leaning toward a whole boat solution not just because we'll be liveaboards, but because keeping the boat warm and dry is part of keeping it uncorroded, as condensation on a metal boat is a bigger problem than on a F/G.
I've even considered capturing waste heat from the engine and using little block heaters and fans, but this set-up is likely too fragile for the kind of sailing we'll do.
The strange thing is that the pilothouse gets quite warm in the daytime from the sun and the engine heat (when running), but the aft cabin and the saloon (both down three steps) remain cool, unless the stove is running. So maybe I need a ceiling fan in reverse?
The layout of the boat is