Cabin Heater Type and Arrangement - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 51 Old 09-30-2009
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I must respectfully disagree with the performance and design of the Force 10 or Cozy Cabin heater as it is now called. It is a PITA and very poorly designed for use in small confined spaces unless you like rain from condensation in your vessel.

Mine has been disconnected for the last three years. I'd rather go without heat than sop & drench the inside of my vessel due to the non-sealed & very humid combustion of the Force 10.

LP combustion can be about 50% moisture. Not ALL this moisture vents out the arguably undersized 1" flue vent and the boat windows quickly fog and condensation begins to form rapidly.

While it looks nice it is an awfully expensive decorative fireplace...

I agree with ceramic disc heaters like the Pelonis or similar. Nice dry heat. The Dickinson's are much nicer and MUCH drier as they employ sealed combustion meaning none of the LP moisture from combustion gets expelled into the cabin. They also incorporate a fan to circulate the heat where a Force 10 does not.

If you want the ultimate system then a Wallas or Espar system would be very sweet..

With two ceramic disc heaters, 3000 watts, I can do varnish work in temps to 0 F in Maine.. Electric is the easiest and least expensive up front cost, of course the monthly electric bill may choke you but at least you won't be lugging propane or diesel down the docks and under a winter cover either..

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Last edited by Maine Sail; 09-30-2009 at 09:55 AM.
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post #12 of 51 Old 09-30-2009
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I installed a Wallas 40D forced air furnace a year ago and I'm really impressed with it. Last winter we had to move the boat out of the marina because of a week of low tides so we were tied to the fuel dock with no electricity. As luck would have it we got hit with a severe blast of Arctic weather (30+kts of wind and temps in the low teens F. for 5-6 days). I ran the furnace continuously and it kept our 40' boat nice and warm, not T-shirt warm, but comfortable. Since that time we have used it extensively with no problems. Installation was not nearly as difficult as I feared.

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post #13 of 51 Old 10-09-2009
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Cabin heaters

My PSC 37 has a Force 10 mounted to the bulkhead port of the V-berth doorway. I live aboard and just sold the heater. Some sailors love them but even after tweeking it by several means, I found it's much too labor intense. The pressure needed too much attention. We used a 20lb propane tank attached to a small version of Mr Heater, purchased at Tractor Supply. We also ran two very small ceramic heaters, one under our V-berth and one in our engine compartment. The propane is MOIST! Until we can afford to install a diesel fired, forced hot water system ($9000.) I'll keep hauling those 20 lb tanks.
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post #14 of 51 Old 10-09-2009
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Originally Posted by sailorgirl60 View Post
The propane is MOIST!
We have the Dickinson bulkhead mounted Propane heater; properly vented with the duel sleeve flue, "direct vent" as Dickinson calls it, it is both safe from oxygen depletion and it also is not moist. Its also very efficient.

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post #15 of 51 Old 10-12-2009 Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of the feedback. I just got back from the Annapolis Boat Show, and had Webasto / Espar type forced air heaters rammed down my throat by everyone I spoke with.

I'm may do a quasi-proper engineering trade study to determine what to pick, but I have 80% made up my mind to go with a Dickinson diesel heater (pot burner), for the following reasons.

Firstly, my philosophy of naval architecture (too many years designing naval vessels perhaps) and cruising is to be as low/no electrical power as possible, and maximize the number of systems that are stand-alone and redundant where possible. Everything should be able to be fixed by me in a remote corner of the world.

The Webasto type furnace uses up to 8A of power in the max condition. That's just a lot of power on a day to day basis. The Dickinson Newport draws a 1-2A for the fuel pump and if I add a day tank and manual pump, it's back to zero power. For very windy days when the 12V assist fan is required on the Newport, I'll be getting enough power from the wind generator, so it's still a break even proposition. That cannot be said for the Webasto.

The forced air types burn, on average, more fuel than pot burner type. At the low end, they burn a little less, but at the high end burns close to a gallon more per day. That is a lot of fuel.

From articles and books, the forced air types require about $200 worth of maintenance annually, some of which can only be performed in a shop by a trained technician. The pot burner can be cleaned by anyone (if messy).

Finally, an all up Webasto system is going to cost between $3200-5000, the lower being Defender's online price and the higher being Webasto's "Boat Show Special". An all up Dickinson is probably going to be $2000, I'm still waiting on their official quote.

I understand that the cons of the pot burners are soot deposition, but also understand that if they are operated and adjusted properly, this isn't a problem. Same as a diesel engine.

So, more power, more fuel, more cost, (this is for the same BTU range), more matinenance, lower reliability, pretty much makes the Webasto / Espar / Wallas system a non-starter for me.

However, I'm trying to ensure that I've exercised due diligence in this decision, so if anyone has a persuasive counter argument, I'm all ears.

Ryan

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Last edited by SVArgo; 10-12-2009 at 11:44 AM.
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post #16 of 51 Old 10-12-2009
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Thanks for all of the feedback. I just got back from the Annapolis Boat Show, and had Webasto / Espar type forced air heaters rammed down my throat by everyone I spoke with.

I'm may do a quasi-proper engineering trade study to determine what to pick, but I have 80% made up my mind to go with a Dickinson diesel heater (pot burner)....

Ryan
Dear Ryan, if you are looking that seriously at a pot burner (for all the right reasons, I think), I suggest you also look at the Refleks heaters available through Hamilton Marine (I have no affiliation with either). I was leaning towards the Dickinson because it has a more finished look. After watching their videos I have decided on the Refleks. The Dickinson needs a 12V stack fan when lighting, when running on high temperatures, and in any high winds. The Refleks does not. This indicates to me that the Dickinson may be a marginally engineered burner which works OK with a bit of "help" from a 12V fan.

I had a Refleks for two years on my previous boat and loved it. When starting up there was some smell of diesel -- like being behind a city bus. Once going you could stick your nose right at the stovepipe and smell only warm metal. The Refleks does NOT like sailing along at a constant angle of heel but in more common (hoped for) downwind sailing it is fine. I used a 5 gallon gravity feed tank and so eliminated all electrical needs except for the fan which was nice to move the warm air around.

Let us know what you eventually decide,

Jay

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post #17 of 51 Old 10-12-2009
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Hi Ryan- I don't have the figures at hand but the reason I went with the Wallas vs. the Espar or Webasto was for the reasons you cited. Wallas uses considerably less amperage on start up and maintenance can be done quite easily it seems to me. My cost with me doing the entire install was around $2500. Granted, any diesel furnace is going to be considerably more complicated than a stove so if the main priority is simplicity you are heading in the right direction. I probably would have gone with the Dickinson if I had a good place to put it. Fuel usage seems to be very low, the thermostat usually is set fairly low or else it cooks us out of the cabin.

John
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post #18 of 51 Old 10-13-2009
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Ryan,

I'm not sure what the limitations are with the diesel variant, but one nice aspect of the Dickinson Newport propane heaters -- they work at all normal angles of heel and can be left on continuously while sailing. Plus, the stack cap and optional guard are low profile, so there is virtually no risk of interference with running rigging. (And of course, no soot on deck).

The other big advantage is the near complete absence of power draw. No pumps, fan optional. In a real pinch, the remote propane solenoid shut-off can be by-passed, resulting in ZERO power draw.

Whatever you end up with, you'll be thrilled to have heat aboard. We just returned from a chillier-than-usual fall trip, and having a warm cabin "on-demand" makes such a huge difference in comfort level. It really extends the sailing season.

Also, there is just something primordially gratifying about a visible flame. Hopefully the diesel unit you're considering has this feature.


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post #19 of 51 Old 10-14-2009 Thread Starter
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Refleks, Wallas, & Propane

Jay,

Thanks for the suggestions. I took a look at the Refleks, and I agree that it is a pretty good looking heater. The issue I'm struggling with is space. The Dickinson Newport is smaller than the Refleks and I'm having some difficulty determining where to locate it. I've heard good things about the Dickinson heaters, so think it will be up to the task.

Where are you planning on installing your heater?

John D,


It does look like the Wallas is less expensive. I got a bad vibe from the Webasto folks. They quoted me a "boat show special" that was about $1500 more than what Defender is offering it for. The Wallas is tempting, especially since I can mount it somewhere out of the way. As you mentioned, finding space for the bulkhead mount is a challenge. So, I'm stuck between space and current considerations, if I can make space I'll go with the Dickinson.

John P,


The diesel unit does have a flame window, and it should run on reasonable angles of heel. I picked up The Warm Dry Boat and one of the technical arguments therein was that diesel is more efficient than propane in terms of space and weight for a given amount of heat. Of course, that cuts into the PSC's 45 gals of fuel (I'm considering adding some more tankage). And, I think that diesel is going to be more available generally around the world. A broker at the show who was trying to talk me into a propane bulkhead heater, insisted that propane is available anywhere. I have to take issue with that, as even in the Bahamas it was only available in certain places, on certain days, and that isn't remote by any stretch. I should be able to find diesel, fuel oil, heating oil, kerosene, or biodiesel in nearly any port.


Cheers,
Ryan

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post #20 of 51 Old 10-14-2009
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Ryan, I like your thinking re the pot burners (and diesel vs propane). I have a Refleks for the very same reasons, as it was way cheaper than the Dickinson (Refleks is made in Denmark). Those ovens are used in many fishing vessels too, and provide great service for them (and us). The Dickinson is better looking, though..

Watch great footage about the story of one manís slow odyssey around the UK:
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