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Second the Dixson for that size. I have had one for 5 years. It is a very efficient unit (measured at ~ 90%) that features sealed combustion (intake air and exhaust are managed through a double pipe system).

Sail Delmarva: Let There be Heat!

Yes, a proper installation, with a solenoid, proper locker, continuous line, gas detectors and CO monitor is important. True of any gas appliance on a boat, this requires attention to code and detail.
 

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Schooner Captain
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Propane has one major drawback, energy density, I use to use propane for heat. in the cold weather I would burn about 10 gallons in 7-10 days in a well insulated RV. I gave thought to propane, and how cheep I could get a propane furnace. What I realized is even if i had 100 gallons on board, it would only last about a month, and would take up a spot 4' round, and 5' high. That is a massive spot to hold 100 gallons. Diesel is your best bet for heat. A little esbar, webesto, ECT could be had under 1000 and a rock a 24' boat. Cannot tell you what one to buy, no experience with them.
 

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^^ The other thing to consider is insulation. Perhaps the most important factor.
* storm windows.
* a cover for the main hatch.
* rugs.
* draft seals on sliders and lockers.


I burn about 1-2 pounds/day in a 32' cat when lows are ~ 30F. Cats are tough to heat, but this one is well insulated.

I do not have diesel on board, and the propane system already served 3 other appliances, so I was well down that road.
 

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+2 on the Dickinson Newport. I installed one on my first boat, a 31' Irwin, and it was well-designed and very efficient. One of its best features was the coax stack, which brought in outside combustion air while exchanging heat from the exhaust. It keeps the outer pipe very cool, preheats the combustion air for greater efficiency, and doesn't deplete the oxygen inside the boat.

As the others have said, you need to do it right, regardless of which propane furnace you get:
1. CO/propane detector if not already there
2. Dedicated solenoid with switch near the furnace
3. Continuous line from solenoid to furnace
4. Proper 3" deck penetration for the coaxial intake/exhaust stack
Plan on $300-500 for the peripherals, wiring, etc even if you do the labor yourself.

UnionPacific is correct that the energy density of diesel is much higher but I think that's a moot point unless you're living aboard and using the heater all winter. I don't recall exactly, but I know I got well over a hundred hours of operation out of the Dickinson from a small propane tank. That said, there's no denying that diesel is much safer, so it doesn't require the solenoid/switch/line and may be cost-competitive when viewed from a complete system standpoint. Dickinson makes a diesel version of the Newport for about the same price and is worth a look.
 

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Another vote for the Dickinson as a safe, less expensive alternative to forced air for a smaller cabinspace. We have the large version on our 34 footer (but it's not like today's cavernous interiors).. works well and the ambiance of the visible flame is a nice touch.
 

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I would like a few opinions from everyone on this popes propane fired boat forced air furnace the price seems good at less than half the cost of a diesel unit
Propex HeatSource HS2800 10,000 BTU Forced Air Propane Heater 12 Volt
Price out all the bits and pieces you'll need then compare the price. I have quoted two of these Propex units and every time they lost to Espar or a bulkhead heater like the Dickenson.. I believe they are also painted steel.... Also 1 gallon in ten hours means a LOT of propane consumption...A 20 pound tank, which most boats don't have, is only 4.7 gallons +/-...

I can run my Espar a LOT during the winter and barely watch the tank gauge budge.... If you want to stick propane consider a Dickenson.

Diesel Approx 140,00 BTU / Gal
Propane Approx 91,000 BTU / Gal
 

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islander bahama 24
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all the input I guess I forgot to include the part about this being for the new to us boat a 42 ft Spencer built in Canada and well insulated also already have propane on board with two 30 pound tanks. Also I worked HVAC for many years on houses and am a retired shipwright the unit in question was priced at just about 1500 for install kit as opposed to the wabasco diesel unit at just under 3 k. I just have never installed one on a boat and dad doesn't want a bulkhead unit has to be forced air also what would the units do to the potential resale value would the diesel increase the value enough to offset the install cost any
 

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I would heartily recommend the Dickenson Propane unit . It comes in two sizes ,the larger ,which have puts out 12,000BTU on high. It heats my Freedom 33 with now problem, the unit also has a fan that is adjustable and helps distribute the heat. I generally run on high untill boat warms up(about 15-20 minutes ) then turn it down to maintain heat. While I agree that propane has a low energy densiity these units are quite efficient and my two 6 lbs run my hot water and stove too yet Ive never felt like I didingt have enough propane. I live aboard and run the unnit continuosly when aboard and I have to switch tanks about once every weeks. Im adding a deck mounted 20 lb barbecue size just for the winter so that should last atleast a month.
The other real nice thing is the "AMBIENCE" it is truly wonderful too curl up next to the "fireplace" with a book and a cup of Pete's Coffee !!
 

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The Dickinson P9000 or P12000 are good safe units for boats but not great for liveaboard boats. Their fan is hardly able to distribute heat to a V-berth or after cabin.

The best units would be forced air from Wallas, Espar, or Webasto with the Wallas being the quiet one. All 3 are thermostat controlled forced air furnaces suitable for a boat of 42'. Call Scanmarine in Seattle for your options. If the budget is higher look at a hydronic system from Espar but expect 8 - 10k pricing.
 

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islander bahama 24
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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Brian the budget is rather limited right now just bought new technotics holding plate freezer and refer unit likely will do a Wallis but may not be able to afford it until next summer before going to Alaskan waters and the bulkhead units are not possible we would either loose part of dinette and that berth or loose the two sea berths on the port side and that is not an option so forced air is the best way to go.
 

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Courtney the Dancer
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Our Wallas forced air furnace does a great job in our 40' pilothouse. Just spent three days in sub freezing temps and it was toasty warm. You won't regret going the diesel forced air route if you are going to use the boat in cold weather (or even in warm weather/ cold water). Scanmarine is great to work with for DIY installation.
 

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islander bahama 24
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Yup, a Cal and and a Spencer 42 are a little different. Minor details;).

Diesel forced air.
Im not getting itif you are referring to the confusion concerning boats I own and live on an islander Bahama 24 the Spencer is my dads new boat I have a force ten propane unit on my boat we are needing non electric heating for the 42 right now he is heating with a forced air 110 ac and a 110 ac radiant unit the po before the kid we got the boat from removed the original heating plant for some reason not sure what that was dad is the 5th owner
 

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Newhaul.. it wasn't totally clear, to me, anyway, that we were talking about your Dad's boat at first. Like most, probably, I saw your avatar and made assumptions :rolleyes:

Seems the consensus for a boat that size, is diesel forced air (or diesel hydronic). Not the least expensive options but if you go the 'truck source' route I think you can do pretty well comparatively speaking.

An old-school diesel stove/bulkhead heater would probably do a good job of heating the main cabin but warming the ends of the boat would become an issue, I think.

I don't think a 'inexpensive' propane fired unit that the insurance company might balk at is the final answer.
 
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