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Seagypsywoman 12-04-2004 04:34 AM

solid fuel heaters
I''m considering installing a solid fuel heater on my boat. What are some of the makers? And what are the benefits and drawbacks as opposed to diesel. Thanks.

WHOOSH 12-04-2004 05:44 AM

solid fuel heaters
The ''makers'' are few because solid fuel heating stoves are so antiquated that almost no one considers placing them on their boats these days. Cole used to make a variety of these things; you might Google them.

On a per-BTU basis, solid fuels take w-a-y more space than e.g. kerosene. They are also far dirtier and require periodic clean-up and disposal of ash. Also, the heaters I saw tended to have a large flue, which means a good updraft is difficult to obtain without a lot of heat being generated...but which was probably there due to the potential for a large fire that needed to be accommodated. Getting a fire to draw initially may therefore be an issue, especially with a wind across the deck that might generate a downdraft without the right kind of charlie noble.

You might sniff around the BB''s at and see if their ''heating aboard'' threads offer you some possible mfgrs./vendors.


Seagypsywoman 12-08-2004 03:16 AM

solid fuel heaters
Thanks Jack. I think I''m alergic to diesel smell and just love the smell of charcoal, so I''ll put up with a lot to get one (except danger of fire).

Seagypsywoman 12-08-2004 03:23 AM

solid fuel heaters

wpsimas 03-07-2005 07:08 AM

solid fuel heaters
Any thoughts on forced air diesel heaters like Espar or Webasto?

Sasha_V 03-07-2005 10:35 AM

solid fuel heaters
Having just finished reading "At The Mercy Of The Sea" about the first female non-stop circumnavigation aboard the Spirit of Birmingham.... I am left feeling iffy about the 1995 era vintage of forced air deisel heaters. (read the book). Otherwise, I have no experience of them. I live in Australia, it never gets cold here. Not ever.


jkumin 03-08-2005 11:47 AM

solid fuel heaters
We live and sail in Alaska where some might say it never gets warm. Not ever:) Over the years we''ve had a variety of heaters. The latest generation Espars are great. They are far more reliable than older ones. We have an Airtronic 4. It heats a well insulated 41'' boat easily at temperatures below freezing. It only draws .6 amps on low and 1.1 on medium. We have it setup to bring in 100% outside air (no recirc) and have woken up at below 0C temp''s to find no condendsation in the boat anywhere.

Downsides are initial expense, and they can be a maintenance issue. We''ve learned that European heaters like Espar despise American diesel fuel. They run on it but it is not as refined as European diesel so the soot and sulfer plug them up. We have two fuel tanks with the Espar drawing off the forward one. We put kerosene in that one except when fueling for a long trip. Costs more but it only burns .25 l/hour on medium so no big deal. Like most gear, good installation is key. Get proper fuel line routing, pump placement, low backpressure on the ducting etc. and you''ll like it.

pjfsail 03-15-2005 05:02 AM

solid fuel heaters
Seagypsywoman, over the years, looking at older boats, I came across many that had wood burning or coal burning stoves. While it is not common today it sure was in the past, that is all they had to heat and cook with. I''ve been aboard several modern boats in the past two years that had woodburning heating stoves and even a boat that had a woodburning cook stove. This sailboat was only 32''. Yes, the stove took up a goodly amount of space but it was what the sailors wanted. There is sailboat in the marina where my boat is slipped and they have a woodburning heating stove. It is lovely on a cold winter day to smell the wood burning. I have heated my homes exclusively with wood in the past, something that most home owners would not do. I loved the cuting, stacking, chopping kindling and the smell of the fire. I am refitting our 34'' sailboat as we speak and plan to install a woodburning stove for heat. I bought mine on ebay. I also bought the charley noble, and the adapter where the flu pipe exits the cabin top. You can find any number of small used woodburning stoves for sale that you could adapt to any vessel. You must install a charley noble but that is not a problem. You also need an adapter where your flu pipe exits the cabin top and you must take care to keep your stove and flu pipe a safe distance from your bulkhead and use a good fireproofing system to ensure your safety. As you continue to explore possiblilites you will find many others who are likeminded and don''t pay a lot of attention to the naysayers. If I can help more than this little piece of encourgement let me know. Peter

wpsimas 03-15-2005 10:40 AM

solid fuel heaters
Sounds like you are very happy with the Espar. Let me ask you this; Do you pump any of the heat into the bilge to keep the condensation out of there as well? In the winter do you keep any water in your tanks? If so how do you fill?

jkumin 03-15-2005 07:06 PM

solid fuel heaters
We don''t directly put heat into the bilge but have not seen a condensation problem. We have a waterstop in our keel stepped mast and the bilges are dusty. Which is a good thing as our shallow bodied boat has minimal bilges under the floorboards. We have ducts delivering heat to key places like the head and wet locker. One duct runs to the forecabin under the settee. A locker or area where a duct runs through stays warm and dry. You can poke a small hole in a duct to dribble a little more heat in that area if needed. If you run a duct forward in the bilge it will throw off enough spill heat to keep things dry.

We drain our tanks, hot water heater and lines each fall as we don''t trust everything to stay warm when off the boat. We haul water in a jug that has a spigot and basically treat it like camping. We''ll heat dishwater on the stove. The harbor drains the water system but keep one line running continuously up at the ramp. Some liveaboards will move their boat by the ramp and run a hose to their tanks in good weather.

A comment on solid fuel or wick type diesel heaters. They have their charms but we got tired of cleaning tiny soot marks off the deck. We also got fumigated periodically when a gust would backdraft and fill the boat with smoke. We tried several different charlie nobles. A 3'' extension helps but the best strategy was put it out when it starts blowing hard.

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