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Old 10-03-2012, 12:49 AM   #1
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Central Heating

We are thinking of fitting a hot water (Webasto?) hot water central heating system to Play d'eau using radiators etc.

Anyone have experience of this type of heating?

Thank you - Piers and Lin
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Old 10-03-2012, 06:00 AM   #2
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I installed a Hurricane heater in my 48 footer and have used it for several years in the Chesapeake. It works great, quiet and clean.

Even in the winter when working on the boat "on the hard" it keeps it nice and toasty and workable.
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Old 10-03-2012, 09:45 AM   #3
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I've had both air and hydronic furnaces on my boats and loved them.

They keep the boat warm and dry.

On our 47 footer I decided to go with air heaters.

The reasons I went that route was because ventilation is a big part of boat heating in colder weather. Humidity levels rise in an enclosed boat and those humidity levels lead to having a "damp boat".

Using air heaters allowed us to bring in outside air and mix it with the cabin return air creating a drier, more comfortable boat. Another advantage is that during the summer we just leave the system on ventilate only mode while docked. That way we come back to a nice clean smelling ventilated boat.

For choices we went with Wallas furnaces. We put a 10K BTU model to heat the salon, another 10K BTU unit to heat the staterooms, and a 7K BTU unit to provide heating and defrost in the pilothouse.

The main reason we chose that brand is because they are quiet. Even at anchor on a quiet evening you cannot hear them, not at all. The Webasto, and Espar units sound like a jet turbine running. Outside the boat is very noisey.

Whatever route you go, you'll be very happy to have central heat. It will change the way you boat in cold weather.
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:54 AM   #4
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We installed a Webasto, boiler/hot water, 90,000 btu, the biggest one, in 1999 and run it 24/7 from October through April which keeps the whole boat, engine room and bilge 65+ degrees. Sized down to 0 degree F. We have the Webasto service every year, in fact its going to be service tomorrow as the burn tube, igniter, and injector get carbon up. Very reliable if the Webasto is serviced. I choice the Webasto as it is/was the most popular heating in new and used boats in the PNW at the time, the Webasto parts/service is in Seattle and most diesel mechanics service the Webasto.

I found an installer that worked with me so I did the grunt work, 80% of the install, but bought all the components through him. I would recommend using an installer as they will help size/design/lay out the heating system, and the parts/components cost you the same weather you buy direct or through an installer. Its very important the boiler is size correctly as you do not want the burn time to e to short or to long. 7 double exchange/radiator units, we ran the hose up into closets/drawers which keeps things dry.

We started out with a two zone, staterooms and salon, but quickly changed to one zone to heat the total boat at one time and save fuel. We also installed the ever hot water heater in the engine room that keeps the ER 70+ degrees, and the 671 can be pre heated. The boiler/hot water was the easiest to install as the holes for the hose are 1 1/4Ē and the 40+ ft run if air would have cooled to much to heat the bow area.

As for noise you can insulate the boiler and install an inline muffler to quiet the exhaust. The Webasto exhaust has heat wrap and several 90 detee turns which also makes it quieter. Anyway itís the best investment we made to make the boat a comfortable live aboard.

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Old 10-04-2012, 01:25 AM   #5
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Thanks everyone. It seems like it's a big thumbs up for central heating so I must be thinking right (makes a change!).

In the UK, Webasto is everywhere, so I'll probably keep looking at them.



Can you check my understanding is right?
  1. Ensure the exhaust is as quiet as poss (bends/silencers) so not to annoy other boaters quite apart from, ourselves.
  2. Good idea to have hoses fed around cupboards and drawers to keep them warm and dry.
  3. When using a blower to blow air through a hot water matrix, to make sure the fan is as noiseless as possible.
  4. Size the heater correctly for the heat required.
All the best - and thanks again for the info.

Piers and Lin
(looking fwd to a warm boat this winter!)
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Old 10-04-2012, 05:58 AM   #6
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Most of the Webasto or Espar heaters are bus or truck units that will work in a boat , although not designed for the cont 24/7 service.

Truck items may be rated 12V but are built for 13.8 to 14.4 , the lower voltage may hurt thermostat operation with frequent starts.

Power is required to circ the water and at each and every toe kick heater , or box heater.

How long will your batts last anchored out or when dock power dies for a week or two?

I second the Hurricane , purpose built for a vessel.

On a new build its not that hard to install baseboard radiators , but hell in a retrofit!
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Old 10-04-2012, 06:03 AM   #7
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On a new build its not that hard to install baseboard radiators , but hell in a retrofit!
Hi FF, what's a baseboard radiator?
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:38 AM   #8
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Webasto and Eberspracher are great if you want to "extend" your season. They are very sensitive and require maintenance so if you need them running 24 h for several months not the right solution. A system such as Kabola with watercoil or Dickinson have no moving parts except a small 12v waterpump. I had one running for years for 4 months non stop and it never failed and did not produce condensation (very important). Previously I had several Webastos with lots of trouble.
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:49 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by greatpapabear View Post
Thanks everyone. It seems like it's a big thumbs up for central heating so I must be thinking right (makes a change!).

In the UK, Webasto is everywhere, so I'll probably keep looking at them.




Can you check my understanding is right?
  1. Ensure the exhaust is as quiet as poss (bends/silencers) so not to annoy other boaters quite apart from, ourselves.
  2. Good idea to have hoses fed around cupboards and drawers to keep them warm and dry.
  3. When using a blower to blow air through a hot water matrix, to make sure the fan is as noiseless as possible.
  4. Size the heater correctly for the heat required.
All the best - and thanks again for the info.

Piers and Lin
(looking fwd to a warm boat this winter!)
I think you have a great plan. The webasto will work great.

The big trick with any of these heaters burning diesel is to have them serviced as a preventative maintenance measure. Every year or two depending on how much you run the unit. Carbon/soot builds up in them and causes outages. Having the unit serviced will keep you from having to repair them under the stress of a cold boat.

On a hydronic system add isolating valves so you can completely rewmove the furnace for servicing. Put the unit in a location you can get to. It will need service so make it easy on yourself.
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:56 AM   #10
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I think you have a great plan. The webasto will work great.

The big trick with any of these heaters burning diesel is to have them serviced as a preventative maintenance measure. Every year or two depending on how much you run the unit. Carbon/soot builds up in them and causes outages. Having the unit serviced will keep you from having to repair them under the stress of a cold boat.

On a hydronic system add isolating valves so you can completely rewmove the furnace for servicing. Put the unit in a location you can get to. It will need service so make it easy on yourself.
Thanks for the great advice. I see you are in Alaska. Lin and I went on a cruise last year from Vancouver to Anchorage in May 2011. We were utterly taken aback by the sheer beauty of the endless mountain ranges, the scenery and the whales. Can't wait to go back. We can understand why people move there....
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:02 AM   #11
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Thanks for the great advice. I see you are in Alaska. Lin and I went on a cruise last year from Vancouver to Anchorage in May 2011. We were utterly taken aback by the sheer beauty of the endless mountain ranges, the scenery and the whales. Can't wait to go back. We can understand why people move there....

I moved here 22 years ago this month as a way to have an adventure. I was a young single parent.

I looked at my little son and said, "do you want to move to Alaska, buy a floatplane, and a cabin and shoot a bear?"

Well, 3 months later we were on the way, with a great job waiting, and all my relocation paid by my new employer.

We did all those things. I bought a floatplane, then hired someone to teach me how to fly it. Bought a cabin in the woods, and shot a bear from less than 10 feet away.

Now, I'm planning on spending winters somewhere warmer. Alaskan winters can be hard on a now older body.

This summer I'm planning on taking the boat and exploring Kodiak Island
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:04 AM   #12
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I moved here 22 years ago this month as a way to have an adventure. I was a young single parent.

I looked at my little son and said, "do you want to move to Alaska, buy a floatplane, and a cabin and shoot a bear?"

Well, 3 months later we were on the way, with a great job waiting, and all my relocation paid by my new employer.

We did all those things. I bought a floatplane, then hired someone to teach me how to fly it. Bought a cabin in the woods, and shot a bear from less than 10 feet away.

Now, I'm planning on spending winters somewhere warmer. Alaskan winters can be hard on a now older body.
What a great story! So many people seemed to have planes as well as boats. I used to fly for British Airways and really wanted to try a float plane, but time was against us in the various ports we visited. Next time....

As they say 'don't wait for your dream to come in, go get it.'
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Old 10-04-2012, 02:20 PM   #13
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We been running our Webasto 24/7 for 6 months straight for the last 11 years with no problems, and so have hundred of other local boats. However, I do have the Webasto service ever fall as they do carbon up. We installed the Webasto exchanger in three zones, master bath bed room, middle bedrooms, and the salon on a 3 zone manifolds with valves so each zone can be service with out shutting the whole down. We did not heat the pilot house as heat raises. The heat exchanges we choice have muffin fans so they are very quiet. To keep the hanging closest dry we installed an exchange unit in each. There are several different styles/sizes of exchange units to choice from.

Webasto is the number one installed on new and old boats in the PNW. Very few Hurricanes where around in 1999, as I crawled around over a hundred new and used boat looking at what heating they had and Kabota was not even heard of. We found the installer to be very helpful and worth while. The biggest reason for Webasto is parts and service is readily available in the Puget Sound area.

This morning had the Webasto serviced, took about 1/2 hour clean/service the boiler than another Ĺ hour to running it though the cycle from being cold, until it was up to temp and shut it self down. Being a good customer did not charge me. I have spare parts that might be need on the boat if needed.
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Old 10-05-2012, 06:13 AM   #14
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Hi FF, what's a baseboard radiator?

Baseboard Heaters - SlantFin Baseboard Heaters - Hot Water Baseboard Heaters - PexSupply.com

These are a piece of copper tubing that has aluminum fins pressed on that simply radiates heat by convection.No internal fan is required.

Probably the "best" US heating system made was the old Way Wolff.

These are home style gun systems that were built to pass USCG requirements for inspected boats.

They were bulky and quite expensive , but as reliable as house units , a claim the truck take outs can never make.

One problem with HW heat is the problem of mental masturbation in it is difficult to STOP , adding features and complexity .

The furnace can heat domestic hot water , towel racks , pre heat the main engine & tranny and noisemaker.

With a bunch of thermostats individual compartment heat (zone control), cool in the sleeping area , normal in common spaces and warmer in shower area , EZ.

With a few valves the main engine or noisemaker can serve as heat source .

Keep a good schematic if you go wild.

Your boat photo shows a larger boat , 2 truck units might be not much more than a single big unit and would allow redundancy or parts scavenging .

Frankly I , with a boat that is large quite , would consider a home style furnace .
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Old 10-05-2012, 11:13 AM   #15
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Sure marine in Seattle is where we bought our Webasto http://www.suremarineservice.com/webasto-diesel-heaters.aspx

the sight has some good general information about sizing/location/installing, the parts and price. The Webasto we have is the DBW 2020 300 which puts out 104,000 BTU sized to heat a 65 ft boat, down to 0 degree F with 7 double blower 6424 -14,000 Btu or a total of 98,000 Btu. The reason is to limit the number of exchangers but have double the blowing capacity. Also can combine bother the blowers or split to blow in separate areas/room. All seven come on at one time to heat the whole boat. Since the water is being heeted to 140+ degrees you might as well utilize all the Btu.

It cost about $12,000.00 with the installer, but I did 80+% of the install which is mostly grunt work, drilling holes, pullong hose/wire, installing exchangers, thermastas, hang the boiler, manifolds and the exahust, so all the installer had to do was the actaul connecting and bless the system which was required for the one year warrenty.
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Old 10-05-2012, 03:05 PM   #16
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This is all really useful info.

One point that's been made to me is that the diesel pump supplying the Webasto (or similar) can make an annoying ticking noise. Is this so? What can one do to silence it?

Piers and Lin
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Old 10-05-2012, 04:20 PM   #17
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This is all really useful info.

One point that's been made to me is that the diesel pump supplying the Webasto (or similar) can make an annoying ticking noise. Is this so? What can one do to silence it?

Piers and Lin


That is not so. The pump is built into the boiler, so whe there is no dema.d for heat and the boiler will cool down and then shut down/off. The water pump will run without the boiler if there is demand for heat and the coolant/water is hot enough. The webasto can runprovide heat with the boiler is not running. So it might be the water pump,but with the muffin fans running we do not hear the pump. Most of the noise is the boiler, but like most think you get use to it, and will not notice.

Personally I like the noise as itets me know it is running like it should be. I find it no more noise than the central beating in a house. I think the reason you may hear it is you are close to it and boats are not very sound proof.
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Old 10-05-2012, 04:40 PM   #18
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That is not so. The pump is built into the boiler, so whe there is no dema.d for heat and the boiler will cool down and then shut down/off. The water pump will run without the boiler if there is demand for heat and the coolant/water is hot enough. The webasto can runprovide heat with the boiler is not running. So it might be the water pump,but with the muffin fans running we do not hear the pump. Most of the noise is the boiler, but like most think you get use to it, and will not notice.

Personally I like the noise as itets me know it is running like it should be. I find it no more noise than the central beating in a house. I think the reason you may hear it is you are close to it and boats are not very sound proof.
Interesting. I was shown an installation a couple days ago and the small diesel pump (installed some way away from the boiler) was ticking as it pumped.

Piers
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Old 10-05-2012, 05:09 PM   #19
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This is all really useful info.

One point that's been made to me is that the diesel pump supplying the Webasto (or similar) can make an annoying ticking noise. Is this so? What can one do to silence it?

Piers and Lin
The diesel pump is best situated near the tank. Just keep it as far away from the living areas as you can. You probably won't notice it.

What you will notice is the fans in the heat exchangers. Even the nes on the quite heatercraft models of heat exchangers sound like computer fans. that may not sound like much now, but on a otherwise quiet boat that can sound pretty loud.

I'm not trying to changre your mind here, but that is one of the big reasons we went with wallas furnaces. you flat cannot hear them.

Silance is golden
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Old 10-05-2012, 07:08 PM   #20
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Interesting. I was shown an installation a couple days ago and the small diesel pump (installed some way away from the boiler) was ticking as it pumped.

Piers
Strongly recommend you also look at the Kabola units. They are probably more money, but if it is one thing the Dutch know how to do it is to build some of the world's best boilers. I suppose this comes from their experience in horticulture, but the Kabola is very quiet, very efficient and built to last a long time. Sounds like others are also very happy with their Webasto or Hurricane units, but I think if you looked at each unit side by side at a trade show you would see the differences.

The Kabola has a built in fuel and circ pump that I can't hear operating. One thing I would have done differently on my installation is to put an additional pump on the supply side manifold so the system could be more easily bled after servicing, as well as pump water through a heat exchanger in the electric water heater so you can supply minimal heat during the periods the boat is unoccupied without having to have the boiler running.
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