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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 09-05-2011
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Water heater options

My boat has a 15 gallon fresh water holding tank and I am trying to figure out the best way to get hot water. Originally I had one of those Atwood 6 gallon heaters that used engine heat to warm the water, this worked well enough but the fittings rotted out so I took it out of the boat.

I have a raw water washdown system that will supply unlimited water (obviously) and I am thinking of trying one of these for on deck:

Amazon.com: Eccotemp L5 Portable Tankless Water Heater and Outdoor Shower: Home Improvement

Do any of you use salt water for your showers? I am thinking of just hooking this to my raw water system and hanging the water heater on the transom area and showering on deck. I figure this will eliminate the consumption of the limited fresh water I have on board and keep moisture out of the cabin.

Thanks for any input.
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Old 09-05-2011
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I don't know how well that hardware would stand seawater. Before my current boat I did fine with solar camp showers.
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I have never used the solar shower type products, but I think I would rather have something a but more consistent. Maybe I should just go back to the Atwood 6 gallon heater and run the generator to get hot water. I will need to carry about 10 gallons of extra water on extended trips I would guess.
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Old 09-05-2011
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Sounds like you need a bigger boat!
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Old 09-05-2011
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I could go along with that! I am planning a cruise to Penobscot Bay this next summer and I am trying to get my ducks in a row.
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Old 09-05-2011
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The tankless water heaters are typically Stainless but you might have a difficulty getting warranty service running salt water through it.

My biggest question about a tankless water heater on a sailboat is the power required to run the heater. Are you able to easily generate that much current ?
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Old 09-05-2011
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The one I posted uses propane for fuel. I figure I would just adapt a 1 lbs disposable tank to it to make it easier to use. It appears that it uses 1 lbs of propane for every hour of use.
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Old 09-06-2011
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on a 64 ft topsail ketch i was a 4% owner. i took an oil cooler & steam cleaned it out. i piped the engine antifreeze from from below the thermostat with a ball valve to shut it off, through where the oil went around the tubes , and back to the engine above the thermostat. i put a tee & ball valve between where the sea water leaves the heat exchanger & the muffler. i hooked it up to run sea water through the tubes in the oil cooler with a hose that ran through the bilge to the cockpit. i would pull the hose out and open the valves with the engine running & had warm water to shower in the cockpit as long as we wanted.
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Old 09-06-2011
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Thanks for the info guys.

Eccotemp told me that the L5 uses a copper heat exchanger. How long should I expect copper to hold up in sea water? The unit is $110 so I suppose if I get at least 2-3 seasons out of it I would be fine with that.

I guess the other question is, has anyone bathed in salt water and if so is it acceptable for people?
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Old 09-06-2011
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I would replace your 6 gallon heater AND get a Sunshower solar shower. The Sunshowers work suprising well and also give you extra water storage. Cheap too.
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