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Old 08-25-2011, 10:18 PM   #21
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GoldenDawn's Avatar
City: Brentwood Bay, BC
Vessel Name: Golden Dawn
Vessel Model: Krogen 42
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 218
RE: Cabin Heater

I had a Dickinson in my previous boat and loved it. Quiet and simple. We used stove oil rather than diesel to avoid ash and sooting problems. I agree about the running the fan to keep the draft going. It was not uncommon to be out in the winter with ice on the water and snow, and it was toasty.

Our KK42 has a Hurricane forced hot-water system and I love that too. It distributes the heat all around the boat and includes defrosters. The burner requires cleaning (vacuuming) every 1,000 hr. The antifreeze coolant requires changing every year or so. So there is not a lot of maintenance. Yes it has a "brain" but so far, it has functioned perfectly. Next year I will carry a spare ciriculation pump. We couldn't heat the three levels of this boat with Dickinsons.

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Old 08-27-2011, 05:11 PM   #22
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City: Gibsons, B.C., Canada
Vessel Name: Island Pride
Vessel Model: Palmer 32'
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 3,455
RE: Cabin Heater

I should have added that I believe my boat is very similar to Superdiver's. His is a sedan 34', mine is a sedan 32' so the configuration is similar.

Our v-berth can be cold since the heat doesn't go down, darn. I toyed with fans to force some heat forward but decided we would simply pile the covers on and that works fine too.

Some of the boats can make use of a hot water coil in the burner pot to heat a hot water tank. The catch is the tank must be above the stove/heater and on mine that is not the case but the kettle works well on the Dickinson. I know though of two boats that do have a hot water tank heated by the Dickinson and they love it.
There are ways around that but i never figured it was worth it.

As FF pointed out some boats use more than one although not all the same size. They aren't for everyone but once your bugs are worked out it should give very reliable service.

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Old 08-28-2011, 05:19 AM   #23
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 21,960
RE: Cabin Heater

"Our v-berth can be cold since the heat doesn't go down, darn. " -

Here is a simple solution that works dockside , underway or anchored .

Sailing offshore this has made the difference between existing (tired all the time) and luxury living.
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Old 09-22-2011, 12:32 PM   #24
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City: Juneau Alaska
Vessel Name: Arctic Traveller
Vessel Model: Defever 49 RPH
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 607
RE: Cabin Heater

Superdiver, you still looking at heaters?* Were headed your way as soon as this storm lets up.* Look us up and I'll show you our solution to low cost, silent, reliable heat...........Arctic Traveller
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Old 09-23-2011, 08:36 PM   #25
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Vessel Name: LISAS WAY
Vessel Model: BAYLINER 4788
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 5,024
Cabin Heater

We've decided to go with Wallas air heaters in our 4788 Bayliner. Here's why...

Having had several Espar hydronic systems we really liked them except:

They're noisey. They sound like a jet turbine going off. You can also hear the fans in the heat exchangers, especially on a quite night.
They provide great heat, but no ventilation. Our cruising area in Alaska is wet. Think Seattle in the winter, that kind of wet, and thats our summer!

Our understanding is that the Webasto units are the same, as far as the noiseyness goes.

Because of the ventilation issue, we wanted to go with air heaters. That way we could bring in a mix of outside air, and inside air. This will ventilate the boat by removing stagnant air.

Our thoughts were to use mulptiple smaller air heaters, to provide zone control, since our new boat has three levels being cabin, salon, pilothouse.
We contacted Sure Marine, and a major Webasto dealer in the PACNW and got the same answer from both of them. The Webasto air heaters would not hold up in our application because they would run too much, exceeding the "duty cycle" of the heaters. Both recommended a hydronic system.

The Espar marine distributor in the PAC NW was unresponsive, and didn't seem interested.

We'd had a Wallas stove/heater combo unit in out old boat and were pretty impressed not only with it, we were impressed with the service we got from the Wallas distributor, Scan Marine. So we decided t see what Wallas had to offer.

What we found is that Wallas makes a range of forced air diesel furnaces, designed specifically for boats. We worked with the distributor and ended up with a 30DT 3Kw output heater for the salon, and an identical model for the stateroom level. Even though*the distributor offered a way to heat the pilothouse (which would have seved some $$$) we went with a 2Kw unit for the pilothouse.

Here's some of the cool features these units have that the others don't.

The heat output is infintely adjustable. As the cabin gets warmer the heat output decreases. As the room gets colder the heat output increases. This eliminates the on/off temperature swings you get with any thermostat only system. It also elminates the startup/shutdown process which is what seems to drain the batteries. (for example our hydronic system would turn on and off every 15 minutes or so all night long as the thermostat called for heat.)

The units have a ventilation mode so that if its warm and you don't need heat, but the boat is stuffy, you can ventilate only.

Ther heaters are QUIET. They will not keep you or your neighbors up. The noise (in the engine room) is approx the same as a low conversation in a peaceful boat. I can attest to this quietness having had one of their stoves. I'm betting we don't notice the heaters at all.

This is not a system that will keep this boat toasty warm all through a bitter cold Alaskan winter. Its a system designed*for 30 degrees ambient air and warmer. If we were going to try to live aboard in the winters, we'd have to run the electric heaters which the boat has plenty of, or we'd have to get a larger system.

-- Edited by ksanders on Friday 23rd of September 2011 09:41:02 PM
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Old 09-24-2011, 07:29 AM   #26
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City: Port Orchard, WA
Vessel Name: Isobel K
Vessel Model: 37' Custom Pilothouse
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 355
RE: Cabin Heater

fwiw,* we use a newport bulkhead propane heater when anchored.* I carry 3ea 20# propane bottles, so have a good bit of fuel available.

Mounted on the aft bulkhead of the saloon.* It puts out an ok amount of heat and would keep a person alive if it was 20 degrees outside and you curtain off the salon area and close the insulated curtains.

The 'flame' can be seen through the glass when operating, which provides nice ambience.* Two heat settings, 2 setting fan may be used or not.

The unit provides its own cumbustion air and exhaust through the same vent pipe, so the moisture that propane normally brings is absent.

No burner maintenance with propane.


I don't really know how well this kind of 'furnace' would practically work in chronically cold areas, but it is quite sufficient for our use in the PNW, where we cruise mostly in the warmer weather May-Sept.* If winter cruising, we will more often than not tie up and plug in - in that case we use portable electric heaters.

When the boat is driving, we also have engine heated 'red-dot' style heaters which do a very good job of heating the entire boat.* Also, this defrosts the pilothouse windows well.


pic is not ours, but similar.
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Old 09-24-2011, 09:08 AM   #27
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City: Concrete Washington State
Vessel Name: Willy
Vessel Model: Willard Nomad 30'
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 18,116
RE: Cabin Heater


Where have you been??? Been missing you on TF. Wonder where you are and if you're going to stop in here. We are home but as you know it's been very wet recently so our greenhouse building has'nt progressed much for about 2 weeks. A friend caught you w his camera on your last visit. I assume you're headed south.
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Old 09-26-2011, 06:56 AM   #28
City: Carefree, Arizona
Vessel Name: sunchaser V
Vessel Model: DeFever 48
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 9,255
RE: Cabin Heater

FF* -- What is the high maintenance on the Hurricane II you mentioned? After 3 seasons mine is trouble free. Hydronic systems in one form or another have been around forever* it seems in houses, cars, offices, hotels etc.
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Old 09-26-2011, 07:29 AM   #29
Scraping Paint
City: Fort Lauderdale
Vessel Model: CHB 48 Zodiac YL 4.2
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 3,804
RE: Cabin Heater

My Hurricane heater works great as well. Just fired it up after a long layup and had no problems. It served without problem for an entire Winter live aboard in the Chesapeake.

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