Espar vs Webasto heaters - SailNet Community
 
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post #1 of 8 Old 11-26-2009 Thread Starter
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Question Espar vs Webasto heaters

Opinions for use of heaters on a 40' FRP sailboat? thanks-
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post #2 of 8 Old 11-26-2009
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I believe that both Espar (actually, "Eberspacher" in Europe) and Webasto had their origins as truck heaters (so the trucker could turn off the engine without having the coolant freeze in European winters). They use similar technologies. We've heard people who are happy with each brand.

We have a Webasto and have been happy with it (frame of reference: San Francisco, Calif.). The only failures have been due to poor installation, not the unit's fault. Excellent customer service from their US distributor. Takes maybe 10 minutes to produce water too hot to shower in without mixing in some cold. Takes maybe 15 minutes to start putting out heat to the cabin.

One tradeoff for you to consider is Air vs Hydronic. We like the Hydronic units because (a) the hoses that route the hot "coolant" through the boat are much more compact than air ducts, and (b) a Hydronic unit can also supply hot water for showers and dishwashing.

Larry Shick
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post #3 of 8 Old 11-26-2009 Thread Starter
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Thank Larry. Is the heat in the hydronic method simply radiated or is air blown over some "radiator" coil? The smaller hoses appeal. Do you regular diesel? don't feel the need for kerosene?
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post #4 of 8 Old 11-26-2009
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Originally Posted by ebreeden View Post
Opinions for use of heaters on a 40' FRP sailboat? thanks-
I installed a Webasto system in my 40 ft boat two years ago. Cheaper than Espar at the time. Works great and is one of the best expenditures I've made on the boat. I installed the Air Top 3500. My boat is an older design with long overhangs. A more modern 40 ft'r may require an Air Top 5000 because of the larger interior space.
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Thanks Petmac. Where & when do you sail? I am looking for a Beneteau First 42. Currently have a Pearson 10M w/ Force 10 lpg heater. OK, but I want more btu's and inertia in a bigger boat.
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Thanks Petmac. Where & when do you sail? I am looking for a Beneteau First 42. Currently have a Pearson 10M w/ Force 10 lpg heater. OK, but I want more btu's and inertia in a bigger boat.
I sail in Atlantic Canada and Coastal Maine. My season begins in late April and ends in late Oct. Boat is a B40 sloop. My Webasto system is forced air and this has the advantage of keeping things dry in damp cool weather. I had a Force 10 heater before and the heat was not as uniform and the boat really didn't dry out because of lack of air movement.
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post #7 of 8 Old 11-27-2009
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Originally Posted by ebreeden View Post
Thank Larry. Is the heat in the hydronic method simply radiated or is air blown over some "radiator" coil? The smaller hoses appeal. Do you regular diesel? don't feel the need for kerosene?
On your questions: Yes, there's a radiator (3 of them on our 42'), maybe 9" on a side, with a fan that blows over the coil, out into a short duct that can take the hot air to exactly where you want it. Regular diesel, plumbed right out of our regular diesel tanks, no kerosene.

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post #8 of 8 Old 11-27-2009
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I have a Hallberg-Rassy 40 fit from the factory with a Webasto Airtop 3500. I'm a year-round liveaboard, mostly on Chesapeake Bay. It was lovely for the first year. Over the last two I have spent thousands of dollars on maintenance and repair. The Webasto parts people don't know much of anything except inventory, and the tech support people can't order parts for you. You have to do all the leg work. It's been miserable.

Wednesday I installed an Espar D4 Airtronic for about the same cost as the repairs I had made last year, and less than the rebuild I was facing this year.

US diesel is not as clean as what one finds in Europe. Running a gallon of kerosene through the heater each month or so is quietly recommended by many dealers. Owner experience is improved performance of the heater and reduced maintenance.

The Espar is already quieter than the Webasto ever was, and my boat is once again warm and cozy (although it is only 40F out today, damp, gray, and drizzly). Reliability and operating costs remain to be seen.

sail fast and eat well, dave
S/V Auspicious
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