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Old 01-13-2011, 01:27 PM   #1
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insulating a boat

ok, been living aboard my 43 albin for 1 year. on my second winter. I installed a diesel boiler (same as you would in a home) put kick space heaters in the tight areas and ran heating elements through out the boat. With diesel fuel at a cost of $3.50 a gal Its costing me $325 per month to heat the boat. I want to reduce my heating cost so obviously I need to insulate. I'm going to look into thermal curtains as there are 16 large windows on the boat that are big heat loss factors. I'm wondering if anyone here has insulated their walls? hull doesn't seem too important as heat rises and the heating elements are in the cabins. I'm also thinking about adding a small wood stove for the time im*on board to*cut down the run time on the boiler, has anyone had any experience with those? thank you*

-- Edited by albin43 on Thursday 13th of January 2011 03:29:50 PM
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Old 01-13-2011, 04:10 PM   #2
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RE: insulating a boat

Albin43, here's a description of the insulation I put into my boat.*

http://delfin.talkspot.com/aspx/m/556407

Pretty hard to boat in the NW in the winter without it.* Or in the tropics in the summer for that matter....Where you are in Rochester, I can't imagine trying to keep the boat warm in your winters!

I don't have experience with a wood stove, although I have seen boats with them.* A major hassle storing the fuel, it seemed to me.
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Old 01-13-2011, 04:48 PM   #3
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RE: insulating a boat

Not doubting the benefits of insualtion in the PNW - Do you feel a steel or aluminum*hull would*have a different*thermal coefficient*than FRP? Our FRP boat vessel seems marginal to OK without insulation.
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Old 01-13-2011, 04:59 PM   #4
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RE: insulating a boat

Yes, good point, Tom.* Fiberglass gives you an edge.

However, an inch of fiberglass only has an R value of just over 3, or the same as 1/4" cork, which we lined the hull with, then put 2" fiberglass coast guard batts over that.* Probably overkill, but I was looking for warm and quiet and thought it would help.* We do a lot of winter cruising so I'm happy we went to the effort.*

By contrast, 3.5" of fiberglass house insulation has a R value just under 11, which is now considered marginal for insultating a house.* If your hull is cored, the R value would be slightly higher too.
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Old 01-14-2011, 04:16 AM   #5
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RE: insulating a boat

"Fiberglass gives you an edge."


Not really there might be some difference between metal and solid GRP but when the Delta T (difference between inside and outside temps) gets over 50 or so it takes loads of heat, even on a marginally better wood hull.

Rugs on the floor helps , but the best answer is simply a heating plant with enough output , and the ability to circulate the heat in the vessel.

The baseboard pipe units seem best at even long term heat , but usually have to be built in at the boats assembly. Toe kick heaters will allow less engineering and easier zone control.
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Old 01-14-2011, 08:31 AM   #6
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RE: insulating a boat

If the boat has a interior walls with a space between is better than a hull with fabric/fur on it.* If the boat did not have interior walls then I would build install them.* Since the Eagle has teak interior walls we cut down the drafts, carpeted the floors and even up the sides of the hull a bit, made/install cabinets/selves along the hull, installed thermal curtains over the window, and covered the larger salon pilot house windows with plex a glass.* This has increased the temp 5 to 10 degrees.* Of course adding the Webasto Diesel heat has been the best investment in the boat we have made. **If you can keep the cold from radiating off the cold surfaces that goes a long ways.* What is the R factor of books, pillows, cushions, blankets, cloths, thermal curtains etc. ***
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Old 01-14-2011, 09:53 AM   #7
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RE: insulating a boat

the walls measure 10 degrees cooler than the room tempature. if i put 3/4 pink insulation board over the wall it measures 1 degree cooler than room tempature.

windows with clear plastic shrink wrap (home depot) measure 10 degrees cooler than room tempature, same as the un insulated walls.

windows with nothing on them are 20 degrees cooler.

im looking into thermal curtains.. need to find some.
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Old 01-14-2011, 11:03 AM   #8
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RE: insulating a boat

"im looking into thermal curtains.. need to find some. "

Don't know if you are aware that there are insulating shades on the market. We have them in our home.
That might be an option if you need one.
An alternative to "thermal" curtains might be "blackout" curtains which usually have an extra layer of fabric on the window side.
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Old 01-14-2011, 06:22 PM   #9
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RE: insulating a boat

In the PNW I've seen several vessels that have a "fireplace" for burning pellets, not wood though.
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Old 01-15-2011, 04:58 AM   #10
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RE: insulating a boat

www.cozycurtains.com/

To work they MUST be completly sealed to the hull, usually a magnet strip.
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Old 01-15-2011, 05:08 AM   #11
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RE: insulating a boat

we had a wood burning fireplace on Volunteer... it would run you our of the salon ... but it was a pain to keep going as the volume of the fireplace is pretty small. We used madrona wood chunks for fuel as it produces little ash... speaking of ash... get ready to have dirty decks as fireplaces on boats produce a real mess. It was easy to clean but still a pain. Covering the windows with a second pane or even sunbrella covers really helps. We had a gb 36 we lived aboard for 3 years in the mid 90's. we had a cover that wrapped around the bridge windows. I cut rigid foam board insulation to fit the windows and placed it under the sunbrella cover... that made a huge difference in comfort. The dead of winter was almost too much for the Admiral to take as a live aboard.... she practically has to be drug to the boat kicking and screaming to do a winter cruise. Our new boat has two built in cruise air heat pump units that really work well at keeping the boat comfortable.. as long at the boat is plugged in. The noise of the units is a issue though...
Good luck
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Old 01-15-2011, 07:17 AM   #12
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RE: insulating a boat

You can buy think curtains ate Sears and Pennys.* They do not have to be thermal but thick an at least two layers.* As for heat I would stick with what ever bulk fuel you have on the boat already, diesel or propane.* When we first bought the boat* and house, kids and boat poor we installed a propane CAT catalytic heater that was vented, thermostat controller and ran it 24/7 we installed on the salon so the AC amps could be used to heat the staterooms. *Cost about 500 bucks great heater.
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Old 01-16-2011, 12:34 PM   #13
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RE: insulating a boat

We went to the local/nation fabric stores like JoAnne, and Pacific Fabric which sell curtain and upholstery fabric.* The also sell closed sell foam that you can use for the cushions and bed.* Make sure its closed cell that does not absorb moister/water.* They also have classes.
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Old 01-22-2011, 08:03 AM   #14
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RE: insulating a boat

I have a direct vent, cast iron and soapstone propane stove with 35,000 BTUs of heat pumping in my NYC loft. I use city supplied natural gas. It has a great look and warms beautifully. I thought about getting one for Moondance. I know some brands will work with LPG. Anyone have experience with these on their vessels and what the burn rate would be for a standard tank of propane.
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Old 01-22-2011, 06:39 PM   #15
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RE: insulating a boat

Sal, all I know about propane is from using small units.* Propane puts a lot of H2O into the air so unless they are vented aren't suitable for boats, but you probably already knew that.

Yikes, I looked at your profile and read about your project.* And I thought I had a high pain threshold!* When you pull it off, you'll have my admiration....
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Old 01-23-2011, 08:42 AM   #16
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insulating a boat

Quote:
Moondance wrote:

I have a direct vent, cast iron and soapstone propane stove with 35,000 BTUs of heat pumping in my NYC loft. I use city supplied natural gas. It has a great look and warms beautifully. I thought about getting one for Moondance. I know some brands will work with LPG. Anyone have experience with these on their vessels and what the burn rate would be for a standard tank of propane.
Propane sounds like an easy solution.... with the exception of how much a stove like that would use and the explosion issues.* propane has about 90000 BTU per gallon.... = about 2.5 hrs per gallon of use.... so enough storage is also a problem. There is the condensation issue with propane also. The* easiest long term solution is a diesel heater of some type... hydronic* or air exchange. With the lack of enough shore power in a marina, heat in colder climates will always be either tricky or expensive.* Our new boat has twin heat pump units that seem to be working OK... they have put out plenty of heat even when the air temp is in the mid teens. They recirculate a lot of water and I am still getting used to all the water and compressor noises. Of course this will only work at the dock or with the genny running so they are not a good solution for extended cruising.
HOLLYWOOD

*


-- Edited by hollywood8118 on Sunday 23rd of January 2011 10:43:14 AM
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Old 01-25-2011, 01:40 AM   #17
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RE: insulating a boat

Quote:
FF wrote:

www.cozycurtains.com/

To work they MUST be completly sealed to the hull, usually a magnet strip.
Darn you Fred, Just what I needed, another project. * I went to the site ready to buy for my RV, but after calculating a price of over $100 ea for small windows I changed my mind.* Then I took Phil's advice and went to a fabric store and purchaced quilted fabric to make my own.* Lot's of work, but cheap.* Another project* I didn't even know I needed to do, until I read the solutions..............Arctic Traveller

*
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