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post #1 of 18 Old 11-01-2010 Thread Starter
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LPG water heater

Anyone have experience with lpg water heaters, especially the "instant on", without pilot liight, vent free, like Excel 1.6 gpm?
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post #2 of 18 Old 11-01-2010
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They do not meet the minimum safety standards used here in the US for marine use. If spotted by a reputable surveyor they may flag it as an unsafe install and your insurance company may force you to yank it out.

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post #3 of 18 Old 11-01-2010
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We have an Excel and are very happy with it. We took out our 6 gal water heater about 8 months ago and replaced it with Excel. We installed a dedicated propane system for it. The Excel has the same safety features as our Force 10 stove.

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post #4 of 18 Old 11-01-2010
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The quote below is one I find amusing and misleading. It is geared to make one think that if you have enough "ventilation" then installing this is perfectly fine on a boat, it is not if you choose to follow current US marine safety standards which most surveyors will do..

New builders CAN NOT install one and even DIY's, who technically can, may get flagged under an insurance survey and then need to yank it. The ABYC gets calls from irate boat owners who have been told by their insurance companies to get rid of them.

They don't mention that ANYWHERE, that your insurance company may not like it, but are more than happy to take your hard earned money. I have a real concern for DIY installers who spend good hard earned money on these devices and who then may be forced to rip them out. I find that quite unfair to the consumer/DIY/end user. I don't like to see unsuspecting boaters mislead by manufacturers about the application.


Why don't they quote a some relevant standards that are applicable to LPG appliances on boats such as the ABYC A-26 standard instead of an article on boat ventilation that has nothing to do with LPG appliances? I am sure buyers would want to read the most current set of marine safety standards we have for the marine market when making this important decision..



From Excel:
"Perfect for Sailboats and Cabin Cruisers with active ventilation systems in place. For More info on adequate ventilation practices for boats , RV's and mobile homes please link to:West Marine: Home PageIn West Advisor use the Searchword: Ventilation"


"Perfect for Sailboats and Cabin Cruisers with active ventilation systems in place."

They might want to add "uninsured, used sailboats or cabin cruisers", to be less misleading, because new builders can't install these and if you have a competent marine survey, and a marine insurance policy, they will very likely flag it in the recommendations section. No amount of "ventilation" changes the fact that it is a vent-free device which does not meet the ABYC safety standards.

That is why I consider Excel misleading. They sell it for use in boats yet it does not meet the safety standards of largest body we have for setting safety standards in the US marine industry, the ABYC.

From ABYC A-26

26.5.1 LPG and CNG fueled appliances shall not be installed in spaces containing internal combustion engines, their fuel tanks, or joints and fittings of their fuel systems.

26.5.3 Appliances shall meet the combustion requirements of ANSI Z 21.57 Recreational Vehicle Cooking Gas Appliances.
(This standard also covers water heaters the Excel does not claim to meet ANSI Z-21)

26.5.4.1.1 venting of combustion products from the appliance.

26.5.8 The design and installation of LPG and CNG appliances and systems shall provide for the consumption of air and the venting of exhaust products.

26.5.9 Pilot lights and other automatic ignition devices shall be permitted only in appliances with room sealed combustion systems.
(The Excel is automatic ignition but NOT room sealed combustion)

26.5.10 Unattended appliances shall incorporate a room sealed combustion system.
(The Excel by definition is an "unattended appliance" and is vent-free, does not meet this either)

26.6.1 Exhaust products shall be ducted to the exterior of the vessel and designed to minimize water entry, back draft, and exhaust re-entry through any hull openings, ventilators, opening ports, hatches, windows.
(The Excel is vent-free and does NOT duct to the exterior of the vessel)

26.6.2 Flues shall be routed and sized to ensure complete discharge of the products of combustion outside the craft, and shall not be obstructed by an accumulation of water.
(The Excel does not even have a flue so can not completely discharge the products of combustion to outside the craft)

26.6.2.1 The flue system shall be continuous and sealed from the appliance to its terminus outside the craft.
(Nope, does not meet this either)

26.6.2.2 Flue terminus shall not be positioned within 20 inches (500mm) of a refueling fitting or fuel tank vent.
(Well, the good news is that it won't be within 20" the bad news is the flue terminus is non-existent),

27.6.2.4 The flue system shall be accessible for inspection.
(very hard to meet this with no flue)


Definitions:

Unattended Appliance - appliances intended to function without frequent attention by an operator, and that may cycle
on and off automatically, such as refrigerators, thermostatically controlled cabin heaters, and water heaters.

Room Sealed Combustion System - a combustion system in which incoming air, the combustion chamber, and the outgoing products of combustion are sealed from the boat interior.




PLEASE be careful with companies that make claims like "perfect for boats" when in fact the device does not even meet minimum US safety standards for use on boats.

As always it is your boat and you can do what you want but I would strongly urge you to find a heater that at least meets the minimum safety standards.

I would strongly advise that you call your own insurance company and explain what you want to do before installing it. Please don't leave out the fact that this device is vent-free and thus not ABYC complainant, and see the underwriting department has to say. If they say "sure go for it, your covered" then you're good to go. They are the ultimate arbiter of what you do on your boat not me or any other SN poster, not the ABYC, not the marine industry, not ANSI, just you and your own insurance company or surveyor who surveys to ABYC safety standards. If they are willing to take the risk then you're good to go. I still would not install one until it meet the applicable LPG standards for marine use.

My opinion is that I dislike companies such as Excel who are intentionally misleading to consumers.





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Last edited by Maine Sail; 11-01-2010 at 09:08 PM.
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post #5 of 18 Old 11-02-2010
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BTW, if do talk to your insurance company, make sure you get it in writing that you're covered for it... and that the coverage clearly states that the hot water heater is an on-demand, LPG powered, ventless unit.

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How is this all any different than an LPG stove which is not vented?

I know that the unit may not yet be ABYC certified, but I don't understand the safety issues. We have ours installed in our anchor locker with a heat shield on a dedicated LPG system.

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post #7 of 18 Old 11-02-2010
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Unattended vs Attended

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tommays View Post
Unattended vs Attended
Much like a stove then, because it can be left on just like a water heater can be left on.

We operate ours in an attended mode. We have a dedicated solenoid that has to be turned on to supply gas to the device. We then turn it off when we are done using it, very much like we use our stove.

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Originally Posted by remetau View Post
Much like a stove then, because it can be left on just like a water heater can be left on.

We operate ours in an attended mode. We have a dedicated solenoid that has to be turned on to supply gas to the device. We then turn it off when we are done using it, very much like we use our stove.
Yes, but a stove can't turn itself on, a water heater can.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
Yes, but a stove can't turn itself on, a water heater can.
Not without the gas flow. When the gas solenoid is off, the unit can not turn on. Then the unit only turns on by user interaction when they turn on the hot water flow.

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