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Old 02-11-2021, 09:59 AM   #1
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cooking, bathing and cabin heat - A lot of research - no conclusions yet

Wise ones - I (PNW trawler/tugger wannabe) am making a run at a Nordic 32 on the east coast to be shipped back to puget sound. Of course this is an east coast configured boat (genset (currently blown / gone, boat is discounted for it), 50 amp shore power, 4 golf cart house bank + starter battery set, reverse cycle A/C and an all electric galley) I am a more typical Puget sound boater where the dream system would be more like: No Genset, Propane galley (exploring diesel cooking and induction, so far meh!), hydronic heat + on demand hot water, enough solar for 3-5 days on the hook and a good book to read.

Has anyone gone down this road who might be willing to give me the good (great idea) the bad (yowza 15K if you DIY) and the ugly (Am I reading this right? A/C units have through hulls?)

Looking for: Advice, referral to good advice, war stories, show and tell (post covid) or (if you hurry before I say yes) a NW configured NT 32/34 for a reasonable price.
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Old 02-11-2021, 10:35 AM   #2
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Greg
It appears the vessel is near ideal with the exception of diesel heat. I'm unaware that there is a typical PNW boat. We use our AC frequently for both heat and cool whether in WA, BC or AK. As far as 50 amp, you can get an adaptor and use a 30 amp cord. Consider yourself lucky with the genset, few 32s have them.
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Old 02-11-2021, 10:39 AM   #3
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Whatever you decide, I'd suggest you give it about a year or so first... to assess whether/how what it came with might work well enough anyway... and if not, how best to proceed from where you are to where you want to be.

Costs of using a genset, reverse cycle heat, electric galley... compared to installing and then feeding hydronic and propane? Could be as little as a buck$ two fifty between the two...

Especially if you might add solar anyway...

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Old 02-11-2021, 10:39 AM   #4
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Personally, I'd add diesel heat and solar, but leave the rest alone. A/C is occasionally nice to have even if it's rarely super hot, and when you're at a dock, you can use the reverse cycle on the A/Cs for heat (if power isn't metered that'll be cheaper than burning diesel and saves wear on the diesel heater). Add an inverter to allow for stuff like making coffee without firing up the genset.



If you do hydronic heat, you could plumb the water heater heat exchanger into the loop so it's always kept hot. Otherwise, assuming you run the generator for a bit in the evening to cook dinner, the hot water will heat up during the generator run.



It'll take a lot less work to keep genset use down to at most a 1 hour or less run every day or 2 than to get rid of it entirely. Basically, add enough solar and inverter to cover most of your needs, then use the genset to group as many of the high power demand tasks together as possible (and then you've got it for battery charging if you get a few really cloudy days in a row).
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Old 02-11-2021, 11:03 AM   #5
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SO you have heat. Really, the only thing you are lacking is heat on the hook.
I agree with others, see how it works first then decide what to do.


Does the boat have an inverter?
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Old 02-11-2021, 11:19 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Salish Cruiser View Post
Wise ones - I (PNW trawler/tugger wannabe) am making a run at a Nordic 32 on the east coast to be shipped back to puget sound. Of course this is an east coast configured boat (genset, 50 amp shore power, 4 golf cart house bank + starter battery set, reverse cycle A/C and an all electric galley) I am a more typical Puget sound boater where the dream system would be more like: No Genset, Propane galley (exploring diesel cooking and induction, so far meh!), hydronic heat + on demand hot water, enough solar for 3-5 days on the hook and a good book to read.

Has anyone gone down this road who might be willing to give me the good (great idea) the bad (yowza 15K if you DIY) and the ugly (Am I reading this right? A/C units have through hulls?)

Looking for: Advice, referral to good advice, war stories, show and tell (post covid) or (if you hurry before I say yes) a NW configured NT 32/34 for a reasonable price.
Thanks to those who have weighed in so far. Yes, there is a "xantrax inverter" not sure about specs at this point.

And remember, there is currently no genset at all so I think "trying it for a year" which is generally terrific advice is not so feasible. No way to do much of anything except at the dock.
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Old 02-11-2021, 11:28 AM   #7
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Folks thought the boat had a genset since you said it did in your original post.
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Old 02-11-2021, 11:30 AM   #8
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Folks thought the boat had a genset since you said it did in your original post.
Sorry for the confusion, I will edit it ASAP.
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Old 02-11-2021, 12:30 PM   #9
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My current boat has a propane galley and diesel heat (Espar system), and it is a dream. I had never even considered it or thought about before I got this boat, but for me it was a game changer. Extends my "on the hook" season by a lot... earlier in the spring, and later into fall cold weather. It's cozy, warm, and quiet. In colder weather, it's much nicer than running the reverse-cycle. My boat is on the Chesapeake, but I used to live in the PNW, and if I were back there, I would have the same checklist as you. Propane galley and diesel heat would be much higher priority than a reverse-cycle ac/heat unit. My boat came from Maine, so it was equipped like this when I bought it, and it makes so much more sense for cooler climates. On the Chesapeake, I run the a/c a lot in summer, but I don't use the unit so much for heat -- it's louder and not as cozy with the forced air.
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Old 02-11-2021, 12:44 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by TrawlerJoe View Post
My current boat has a propane galley and diesel heat (Espar system), and it is a dream. I had never even considered it or thought about before I got this boat, but for me it was a game changer. Extends my "on the hook" season by a lot... earlier in the spring, and later into fall cold weather. It's cozy, warm, and quiet. In colder weather, it's much nicer than running the reverse-cycle. My boat is on the Chesapeake, but I used to live in the PNW, and if I were back there, I would have the same checklist as you. Propane galley and diesel heat would be much higher priority than a reverse-cycle ac/heat unit. My boat came from Maine, so it was equipped like this when I bought it, and it makes so much more sense for cooler climates. On the Chesapeake, I run the a/c a lot in summer, but I don't use the unit so much for heat -- it's louder and not as cozy with the forced air.
Great - you get it. We don't even have AC in our house. If it gets hot we go out on the boat. If it is hot on the boat we put our feet in the water and risk freezing to death in the heat of summer! I have run heat on our sailboat in August!!! So, do you have a hydronic system or forced air?

Fine tuning: Old a/c units I suspect, old hot water heater, older galley appliances. No genset at the moment. I am leaning your way.
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Old 02-11-2021, 12:59 PM   #11
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I did just that in 2018. Bought an AT34 in Tennessee, built as an east coast boat: electric galley, two reverse cycle A/C units, no other heat (but an NL 6KW genset), no inverter. The original owners were marina - marina cruisers so unlike many east coast boats the genset had only 150 hours. Trucked it to Anacortes, cruised Sept - Oct in the 2018 season. It is good advice to try it like it is and see what you like/don't like.

I found the electric galley and heat to be a PITA. Have to fire the genset just to make tea. Run it half the evening and morning to heat the boat.

In early 2019, I removed the Force 10 electric range and replaced it with the propane version in the same cutout. I added the propane system in a way identical to the factory install. I removed one of the AC units and replaced it with a "whole boat" dehumidifier using the same ductwork. I installed a diesel hydronic heat/domestic water system (ITR Zephyr). Added a Victron inverter/charger. I also did many other upgrades at the same time unrelated to ease vs. west coast boats. Cruised July - Oct to SE Alaska and return.

I did all the work myself, buying the parts discount online, if I'd paid a boatyard the prices would be substantially higher. Roughly:

Propane range and system: ~ $2000 for range, plumbing, tank, regulator, gas sniffer.

ITR hydronic system: ~ $7000 for full blown 4 zone heat and domestic water. An air system like Webasto would have been about $4000 but would not heat water.

Whole boat dehumidifier: ~ $1300 replacing one AC unit.

Victron 2000W inverter/charger: ~ $1700 with a few upgrades to DC systems.

The ITR hydronic system was the only thing for which I got rough "professionally" estimates, $10K - $15K was the labor estimate. It did take me the better part of 3 weeks to do. I got one day's hired help (a smaller guy who could get into places I could not to help run the hose).

The change to propane for cooking and diesel for heat was a huge improvement. The genset got about 6 hours total run time in 2019 - could have been removed and I wouldn't have missed it. If it broke, I'd put in solar (on the list anyway) and not replace it. The dehumidifier (which was a bit of an experiment) has been one of the best improvements. The PNW can be pretty humid as you know, and can feel downright sultry at temps above 75 or so. The dehumidifier has fixed that and kept the boat dry 100% of the time. The remaining AC unit has been on twice in 2019 for a couple of hours.

The total cost related to east vs. west was about $12K in equipment and $19K in trucking or $31K total. That is substantial, but about the same or a bit less than the east vs. west market price difference. In my case though, I got a fresh water boat very well kept in a covered slip and I am happy at the result. If you had to pay a yard to install all of that, the additional cost might be enough to pause and reconsider.
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Old 02-11-2021, 01:01 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Greg Salish Cruiser View Post
Great - you get it. We don't even have AC in our house. If it gets hot we go out on the boat. If it is hot on the boat we put our feet in the water and risk freezing to death in the heat of summer! I have run heat on our sailboat in August!!! So, do you have a hydronic system or forced air?

Fine tuning: Old a/c units I suspect, old hot water heater, older galley appliances. No genset at the moment. I am leaning your way.
The Espar is forced air, but not nearly the drafty feel of the reverse-cycle, which blows a huge volume of air at a high rate, and is noisy.

I also had no a/c in my house in WA. Never really needed it. My windows had no screens either, never really needed those either, as the mosquitoes were not the killers they are on the Chesapeake.

I have questioned many times my decision to leave the PNW. But then, I remember the long, gray, drizzly nine months each year... lol.
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Old 02-11-2021, 01:04 PM   #13
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Where’s the bathing pics?
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Old 02-11-2021, 01:37 PM   #14
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Where’s the bathing pics?
Thanks man - I appreciate your interest.
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Old 02-11-2021, 01:54 PM   #15
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Check out this thread for heat:
https://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/...ter-54446.html

There is an indepth post of someone installing one here:
https://fc8b4d1f-99be-480d-8c8c-1a29...5eeaba0416.pdf

Total cost around $250.00! It is forced air heat, not hydraunic, so you can't use it to heat water unfortunately, but inexpensive, and one unit would probably heat up your 32' adequately.

I'd go propane stove, making sure you adequately house the propane bottle(s), or induction, 2 burner hotplate.

Install 400+ watts of solar, the more the better assuming you have room. Your 4 GC batteries should provide you with 30 or so hours of hook time running diesel heat, etc. You don't mention what your fridge is, but I am assuming electric since you say "all electric galley.

If you can spring for 4 100ah LiFePO batteries, that would do the trick! Put more money into solar and batteries, you will still spend less than installing a new diesel marine generator. Good luck!
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Old 02-11-2021, 01:59 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DDW View Post
I did just that in 2018. Bought an AT34 in Tennessee, built as an east coast boat: electric galley, two reverse cycle A/C units, no other heat (but an NL 6KW genset), no inverter. The original owners were marina - marina cruisers so unlike many east coast boats the genset had only 150 hours. Trucked it to Anacortes, cruised Sept - Oct in the 2018 season. It is good advice to try it like it is and see what you like/don't like.

I found the electric galley and heat to be a PITA. Have to fire the genset just to make tea. Run it half the evening and morning to heat the boat.

In early 2019, I removed the Force 10 electric range and replaced it with the propane version in the same cutout. I added the propane system in a way identical to the factory install. I removed one of the AC units and replaced it with a "whole boat" dehumidifier using the same ductwork. I installed a diesel hydronic heat/domestic water system (ITR Zephyr). Added a Victron inverter/charger. I also did many other upgrades at the same time unrelated to ease vs. west coast boats. Cruised July - Oct to SE Alaska and return.

I did all the work myself, buying the parts discount online, if I'd paid a boatyard the prices would be substantially higher. Roughly:

Propane range and system: ~ $2000 for range, plumbing, tank, regulator, gas sniffer.

ITR hydronic system: ~ $7000 for full blown 4 zone heat and domestic water. An air system like Webasto would have been about $4000 but would not heat water.

Whole boat dehumidifier: ~ $1300 replacing one AC unit.

Victron 2000W inverter/charger: ~ $1700 with a few upgrades to DC systems.

The ITR hydronic system was the only thing for which I got rough "professionally" estimates, $10K - $15K was the labor estimate. It did take me the better part of 3 weeks to do. I got one day's hired help (a smaller guy who could get into places I could not to help run the hose).

The change to propane for cooking and diesel for heat was a huge improvement. The genset got about 6 hours total run time in 2019 - could have been removed and I wouldn't have missed it. If it broke, I'd put in solar (on the list anyway) and not replace it. The dehumidifier (which was a bit of an experiment) has been one of the best improvements. The PNW can be pretty humid as you know, and can feel downright sultry at temps above 75 or so. The dehumidifier has fixed that and kept the boat dry 100% of the time. The remaining AC unit has been on twice in 2019 for a couple of hours.

The total cost related to east vs. west was about $12K in equipment and $19K in trucking or $31K total. That is substantial, but about the same or a bit less than the east vs. west market price difference. In my case though, I got a fresh water boat very well kept in a covered slip and I am happy at the result. If you had to pay a yard to install all of that, the additional cost might be enough to pause and reconsider.
Spectacularly helpful. I hadn't thought of the whole boat dehumidifier. Brilliant, also may be accomplished by running the A/C maybe? I was budgeting about 15K for my equipment upgrades and 13.5 for my shipping, which, as you say is somewhat covered by the market premium we pay for boats in this glorious cruising grounds. Some of it wouldn't be "covered", but I would have it just the way I wanted. My labor of course is free, and only a so-so deal at that. but it sounds like I am in the ballpark if I can buy the boat right.

Apparently Sure marine (about three miles from where I keep the boat) are some of the best in the business in the hydronic heat world. They sell an appropriately sized "kit" for DIY folks that runs about 5K. They said it runs about that much again to hire someone to do install. I figure I can do some of the work but will either hire out the final testing etc. or I will get it surveyed at completion to make sure it is compliant / I don't die. It looks like a pretty straightforward conversion to propane galley. I am figuring $1,500 for a range, $1,000 for tank, regulators, locker, solenoid, sniffer, alarm etc and maybe a bit for testing. I am aware of and undaunted by the risk and regulations around propane systems. You don't screw around - it needs to be perfect, redundantly tested, safeguarded and compliant. I did a natural gas install on my house. Paid to have the system pressure tested before I went live. They call me captain careful for a reason!

So I am at $7,500. Because it is DIY and a boat job at that, I am guessing it will be double my estimate for some reason not yet determined (Probably needing to hire some of it out when I get frustrated, bored, etc). Super scientific right? Years of experience at this. It will be that much for some reason. If I am wrong I will greedily gobble up the $$ for inverter, solar and batteries.

All vs $15K for a new genset. And your way replaces some pretty old bits of gear at the same time. (Galley, A/C, Domestic Hot water, Genset already gone)

All theoretical at this point. But.... Your story validates my idea that you end up with a sweetly configured boat for the PNW. It also lets me know I am in the ballpark with regard to $$.

Now the hard part. Acquire boat at price that works!
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Old 02-11-2021, 02:08 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowgoesit View Post
Check out this thread for heat:
https://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/...ter-54446.html

There is an indepth post of someone installing one here:
https://fc8b4d1f-99be-480d-8c8c-1a29...5eeaba0416.pdf

Total cost around $250.00! It is forced air heat, not hydraunic, so you can't use it to heat water unfortunately, but inexpensive, and one unit would probably heat up your 32' adequately.

I'd go propane stove, making sure you adequately house the propane bottle(s), or induction, 2 burner hotplate.

Install 400+ watts of solar, the more the better assuming you have room. Your 4 GC batteries should provide you with 30 or so hours of hook time running diesel heat, etc. You don't mention what your fridge is, but I am assuming electric since you say "all electric galley.

If you can spring for 4 100ah LiFePO batteries, that would do the trick! Put more money into solar and batteries, you will still spend less than installing a new diesel marine generator. Good luck!
On the right track with my thinking too - you can put a lot of solar and battery on the boat for the weight and $$ of a generator which could easily handle everything other than cooking and heating. (and AC which I don't need here) in fact, I may not need any more solar and battery than I have at the moment, so I can "step into this part". Can always run the engine if I am wrong until I upgrade / add solar.

Thanks for commenting!
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Old 02-11-2021, 02:11 PM   #18
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Some A/C units have a dedicated dehumidify mode. Personally, as long as they work, I'd just keep the A/Cs even if you don't need them for cooling often.

Being that the boat is already wired for a genset, you could get one in there for $10k or less. As an example, a 6.5kw Phasor unit is about $8000 from what I can find.

As far as electric vs propane galley, don't forget to factor in fuel types. With solar / battery / inverter / genset and an electric galley, you just have 1 fuel type that does everything (diesel). There's a convenience benefit to that vs needing to fill propane tanks.

You're going to want solar and an inverter no matter which way you go, as having a way to power smaller stuff from the batteries is very useful. And depending on just how much solar you can fit, how big an inverter you install and the size of the battery bank, you may even be able to do a bit of electric cooking (at least coffee and breakfast) without needing the genset.

You'll also want diesel fired heat no matter what, as nobody wants to run a genset non-stop for heat when away from the dock.
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Old 02-11-2021, 03:25 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Greg Salish Cruiser View Post
Spectacularly helpful. I hadn't thought of the whole boat dehumidifier. Brilliant, also may be accomplished by running the A/C maybe? I was budgeting about 15K for my equipment upgrades and 13.5 for my shipping, which, as you say is somewhat covered by the market premium we pay for boats in this glorious cruising grounds. Some of it wouldn't be "covered", but I would have it just the way I wanted. My labor of course is free, and only a so-so deal at that. but it sounds like I am in the ballpark if I can buy the boat right.

Apparently Sure marine (about three miles from where I keep the boat) are some of the best in the business in the hydronic heat world. They sell an appropriately sized "kit" for DIY folks that runs about 5K. They said it runs about that much again to hire someone to do install. I figure I can do some of the work but will either hire out the final testing etc. or I will get it surveyed at completion to make sure it is compliant / I don't die. It looks like a pretty straightforward conversion to propane galley. I am figuring $1,500 for a range, $1,000 for tank, regulators, locker, solenoid, sniffer, alarm etc and maybe a bit for testing. I am aware of and undaunted by the risk and regulations around propane systems. You don't screw around - it needs to be perfect, redundantly tested, safeguarded and compliant. I did a natural gas install on my house. Paid to have the system pressure tested before I went live. They call me captain careful for a reason!

So I am at $7,500. Because it is DIY and a boat job at that, I am guessing it will be double my estimate for some reason not yet determined (Probably needing to hire some of it out when I get frustrated, bored, etc). Super scientific right? Years of experience at this. It will be that much for some reason. If I am wrong I will greedily gobble up the $$ for inverter, solar and batteries.

All vs $15K for a new genset. And your way replaces some pretty old bits of gear at the same time. (Galley, A/C, Domestic Hot water, Genset already gone)

All theoretical at this point. But.... Your story validates my idea that you end up with a sweetly configured boat for the PNW. It also lets me know I am in the ballpark with regard to $$.

Now the hard part. Acquire boat at price that works!
Your costs sound about right. Trucking may be more than that - make sure the truckers know the height on the trailer when they quote. On mine the truck was $12.5K and escort fees due to height were $7K. I don't think a NT32 is much lower than an AT34.

Beware that the Suremarine REAL heat exchangers do not produce the advertised amount of heat (the figures are the max for the core only in lab conditions). On a small boat an install of a Webasto type boiler ends up taking a fair amount of space - lots of components. That's one of the reasons I went with the ITR Zephyr which is more highly integrated (but also more costly).

AC units do dehumidify, but they are very inefficient at it and take a lot of power. Practically speaking, they can't be run without plugging in or starting a genset. A dehumidifier is built differently and much more efficient for the task. The one I put in uses about 450w when running, and runs around 20-30% of the time. We have it on anytime we are at the dock or moving, running from the inverter which the alternator can easily supply. We run it in anchorages from batteries. An AC unit is designed to cool the air, dehumidification is a byproduct. In the PNW, you generally don't want the cooling. A dehumidifier will add a small amount of heat (the 450w) which in that climate is usually welcome. As it does not need a cooling water intake, it can be run in dry storage (we run it all winter on the hard) or in the water unattended without concern about an open thru hull.
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Old 02-11-2021, 03:49 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by DDW View Post
I found the electric galley and heat to be a PITA. Have to fire the genset just to make tea.
Does the vessel have a microwave, house bank and inverter setup? Along with an induction (portable even) cooktop - coffee, toast, tea, oatmeal, eggs etc can be done without firing up the genset. There are so many ways to do things, no one way holds the top rung when it comes to making tea.
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