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Old 12-11-2012, 07:53 PM   #1
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Water Heater recommendations?

The trusty old water heater, is no longer so trusty, talk about a warm water enema for the engine room.

So, does anyone have any recommendations, for a preferred replacement, anything out there I should know about, apart from a chat with the local plumber.
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:45 PM   #2
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Our boat came with a fairly new Isotemp stainless marine water heater. While it's only 13 gallons, we keep the temp VERY hot, so those 13 gals can last awhile (makes a bath for our two year old and then a shower for mom or dad). Pretty happy with it, as we haven't had any problems.
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Old 12-12-2012, 12:57 AM   #3
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The PO of our boat did some nice upgrades to the potable water system

30 gallon water heater
Huge accumulator (about 3.5ft tall)
Additional water tanks in the lazarette

Go with the largest tank you can.
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Old 12-12-2012, 01:02 AM   #4
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We replaced our 12 gal Raritan three years ago with the same model and are very happy with it. 110 volt shore power and engine heat.
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Old 12-12-2012, 01:07 AM   #5
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I'm a fan of Raritan Water Heaters. They have glass lined tanks like home water heaters. I'd stay away from water heaters with aluminum tanks. They don't seem to last as well as the glass lined or stainless tanks.

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Old 12-12-2012, 03:37 AM   #6
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My Raritan is about 11 years old now and running fine with no problem. I change the magnesium sacrificial anode every 4 years or so and that helps.
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:20 AM   #7
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Sounds like you have ended up close to where I did a few yrs ago Andy. Although mine did not rupture, it stopped heating, and no wonder, the lines from the engine were so full of crud, but the new Isotemp 42 Litre replacement went in well, and works a treat. It sort of went like this....
One real bonus is it has a 240v AC heater element, so although we don't use that a lot, as we are strictly 12 v when off the dock, we plug her in when we prepare to leave the dock, and 20 mins is enough to get it quite warm - the engine then does the rest...
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:31 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HopCar View Post
I'm a fan of Raritan Water Heaters. They have glass lined tanks like home water heaters. I'd stay away from water heaters with aluminum tanks. They don't seem to last as well as the glass lined or stainless tanks.

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Yes, the Raritan are good hot water heaters. To extend the life, make sure you inspect/change the anode periodically though.
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:15 AM   #9
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Gee Peter your original heater looked a nasty brute. My late lamented toe warmer looks quite genteel by comparison.



One thing I now realise is that a lot of you consider bigger storage is better for water heating.We have actually gone the other way. we have found that a 24 litre(6 gallon) unit is about fine for us. The recovery time between cold and hot is very quick, about 10 minutes after we shower the water is hot again.

Admittedly this only works for us because we have a generator, Peter I understand that relying on the engine solely for hot water you would want as much hot water as you can carry,which is exactly what I did with my previous Clipper 34'.Living in a warm climate helps, a cold shower after a hot day on the beach is great.
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:20 AM   #10
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The big advantage of a "marine" Hw heater is the engine heat circuit.

If this is not used the only advantage is SOME marine units have a thermostat that will cut off the 120V heating eliment should the tank be empty.

Many home units have better insulation than just a bit of fiberglass .

If hot water 2 days out from the power hose is required , a Quality home cheapo might work best.
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:34 AM   #11
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Too big to remove

I have been dealing with what I thought was a bad water heater that is too large to remove without cutting it up. Hot water had a horrible chemical smell that seemed to come and go. Then, my mechanic (no he doesn't do everything) decides that since replacing the fresh water pumps I don't need an accumulator. The steel accumulator Tucked in the bow was packed full of rust that would go into the hot wat tank and cook. There are obvious goods and bads about buying an older boat. Now we are fresh as a daisy after our shower... Wanted to share as this was one of those OMG moments.
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:01 AM   #12
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Welcome Belle Aurore, lucky you didn't buy that new hot water system after cutting up what would have been a perfectly good existing system.

Don't worry there will be plenty of other things to spend your money on.
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:38 AM   #13
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Greetings,
"Horrible chemical smell"? Was this by any chance a strong smell of sulfur dioxide (rotten eggs)? A number of years back we took on some water at a marina and some time thereafter the hot water smelt like rotten eggs. I eventually figured out that there was a "colony" of sulfur fixing bacteria that had taken up residence in our water system and it was feeding off the iron in the water. A shock treatment with household bleach in our water tank solved the problem.

http://www.water-research.net/sulfate.htm
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Old 12-12-2012, 10:36 AM   #14
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I went with a Kuuma 11 gallon as it fit the space, it cost as much as the other brands and fit the space of the old one. Has lasted about 10+ years. We very seldom have run out of hot water, and quick recovery. It does not make sense heating hot water that we do not need or use. We also have it on a timer so the water is heated twice a day.
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Old 12-12-2012, 10:54 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Andy G View Post
The trusty old water heater, is no longer so trusty, talk about a warm water enema for the engine room.

So, does anyone have any recommendations, for a preferred replacement, anything out there I should know about, apart from a chat with the local plumber.
If you were happy with the old one until it broke, replacing it with the same model will be easiest since you won't have to re-route hoses or wiring.
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Old 12-12-2012, 01:31 PM   #16
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Water heaters can be expected to have a significantly shortened life due to corrosion if no air space is provided underneath i.e. if the unit is mounted in direct contact with a deck. It also helps to have a hose on the pressure relief valve to lead any drips to the bilge.
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Old 12-12-2012, 03:15 PM   #17
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I have read very good things about Torrid water heaters over the years on the GB owners forum and other sites like T&T. Website is Marine Water Heaters They make both vertical and horizontal marine water heaters in various capacities. Their water heaters are made here in Seattle.

We have had no experience whatsoever with Torrid water heaters nor does anyone we know personally have one (so far as we know). But I have read enough very positive comments about them that I feel they are worth investigating if one is in the market for a marine water heater.

We have an Atlantic Marine water heater in our boat. Stainless, ten gallons, rectangular and horizontal. It has a 120vac element and is also plumbed into the starboard engine's coolant system. So we can heat water with groundpower, the generator, or when running on the main engines.

They were rated as one of the best in the industry but they have not been made since the mid-2000s. While ours is only about seven years old and seems to be in great shape, when the day comes it needs to be replaced we will most likely replace it with a horizontal Torrid.

Our water heater is mounted in a cabinet in the aft head, so a horizontal Torrid should fit in the same space.
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Old 12-12-2012, 03:17 PM   #18
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I have a 27 year old 10 gallon Balmar, which is a rebranded Torrid. All I have had to do was replace the P&T valve. I actually called Torrid and they still sold parts for it. They told me to forget about the anode since removing it at this point might just destroy the tank. It still makes mighty hot water! I will buy another once this once goes TU.
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:31 PM   #19
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If you were happy with the old one until it broke, replacing it with the same model will be easiest since you won't have to re-route hoses or wiring.
Yep, that makes sense. However there are no marking at all on the unit and I fear it may even be the original out of Hong Kong circa 1980.

Like Peter and Bruce I do envy the sheer choice of product you guys have, not to mention price.Our marine market is about one tenth of yours, so our choices are limited and costs are higher.

Phil Frill's Kuuma is available here locally, so I will probably go with that, price seems pretty reasonable.
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Old 12-13-2012, 12:18 AM   #20
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I installed a Kuuma 11 gallon unit over four years ago. When I pulled the leaking tank, it had markings indicating it was an original unit made in 1976! I was impressed.

My unit came with a temperature restricting valve to keep the water from reaching scalding temps from the engine coolant. I removed this valve and find we can enjoy hot water on day two of an anchor out. Of course, caveat emptor - the temps are very hot and can be painful if care is not taken. We always caution our guests about the hot water.

When the hot water runs out, it's time for an engine run or fire up the Honda generator.

At $300 US, it wasn't the most expensive or highest regarded water heater, but it works well and was a simple replacement since all the connections lined up nicely. If I were to do it again, I'd do the same thing. I'm sure some products like Raritan are better constructed, but so far in this case, I haven't seen a difference to warrant a 100% cost increase. Now, if this thing fails in the next couple of years, I might change my mind on that. In the meantime, I've got an extra $300 to spend on other things I want but don't really need.
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