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Old 01-01-2011, 01:09 PM   #1
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Hot water heater

Happy New Year to all!Question-
Our aging 15 gallon hot water heater may need to be replaced this year. I have a new Atwood 6 gallon hot water heater I had purchased for our 28' Bayliner which sank in Hurricane Katrina that the first mate will not consider installing due to the reduced capacity.
Other than not heating water with no shore power or gen set running, what are the drawbacks of installing a much cheaper 15 gallon home version on the boat?
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Old 01-01-2011, 01:19 PM   #2
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RE: Hot water heater

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Forkliftt wrote:


Other than not heating water with no shore power or gen set running, what are the drawbacks of installing a much cheaper 15 gallon home version on the boat?
You won't have the heat exchanger with a house hold unit.* The only way you will heat water is via shore power or generator.

*
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Old 01-01-2011, 06:37 PM   #3
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RE: Hot water heater

I guess you will have to get one with a 120volt element a lot of the household ones are 220v.* Most people appreciate the free hot water from the engine on the marine unit.
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Old 01-01-2011, 07:29 PM   #4
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RE: Hot water heater

Is your wife just guessing or does she know for a fact(experience) that 6 gallons isn't enough? These hot water heaters get the water SCALDING hot and when mixed with cold water, the mix can go a LONG LONG way. In fact, I have lived with 6 gallon heaters all my boating years and have never ran out of hot water....just my experience.
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Old 01-01-2011, 07:37 PM   #5
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RE: Hot water heater

Good point John,
I have considered seeing how long it takes to run through 15 gallons. The only times we have run out of hot water was when we arrived at a transient slip with guests, everyone showers separately (4) before heading to the restaurant.
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Old 01-01-2011, 08:19 PM   #6
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RE: Hot water heater

I would imagine 4 would do it. Those things get HOT!!!!!
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Old 01-02-2011, 06:33 AM   #7
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RE: Hot water heater

If you have the space, I'd recommend a 15 -20 gal unit designed for a boat, using engine heat as suggested above. The efficiency and holding power of a new unit (Torrid?) this size is amazing. In the PNW, nothing beats a hot shower - our unit will easily service 4 showers with engines off and lots left over for dishes.
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Old 01-02-2011, 07:31 AM   #8
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RE: Hot water heater

Does the home unit run off 110V? If not you'll have to have 220V available. The home unit would work fine, but probably corrode out a lot faster than a marine unit. If the home unit has a sacrificial anode (magnesium) it would last longer.
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Old 01-02-2011, 11:44 AM   #9
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RE: Hot water heater

Quote:
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If the home unit has a sacrificial anode (magnesium) it would last longer.
Baker,* we have a 16 gallon water heater on our charter boat, and it seems to be plenty big enough for showers and dishes.* I do tell our guests that if they shower instead of soak, our water supply will go further, and there will hot water for all. It seems to be more than enough though.

Otherwise, In my entire life, I have never had a water heater fail due to leaks.* I'm aware that some recomend replacement of the anode, but have never done it either at home or on my boats.* I wonder if others do this as a regular maintenance item, or do most folks simply let them go? Our current home water heater is at least 20 years old, and still going strong...........Arctic Traveller

*
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Old 01-02-2011, 01:30 PM   #10
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RE: Hot water heater

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Arctic Traveller wrote:In my entire life, I have never had a water heater fail due to leaks.* I'm aware that some recomend replacement of the anode, but have never done it either at home or on my boats....* Our current home water heater is at least 20 years old, and still going strong...........Arctic Traveller
Ditto...ditto & ditto.

*
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Old 01-02-2011, 02:23 PM   #11
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RE: Hot water heater

I had a marine water heater tank perforate on me after about 4 years as I recall. Don't know if it had an anode or not, but I never changed one. I chalked that one up as a failure due to a wet cell battery about a foot away. I do change my anode on my Raritan regularly... next time it'll be four years. I posted some pictures of an old one on here somewhere. Here it is again FYI. It is doing it's job.
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Old 01-02-2011, 02:36 PM   #12
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RE: Hot water heater

I thought that mine leaked once but I was wrong. I realized this after I replaced it and still found water under it. Turned out that the fresh water pump, a Paragon Jr., had a slight drip and they were mounted on the same board.

When I thought the tank was leaking several buddies looked at it and confirmed that it was indeed leaking. I should feel bad about this but it is only one incident in my long career of fixing things that did not need fixing.
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Old 01-03-2011, 12:08 AM   #13
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RE: Hot water heater

Quote:
Doc wrote:

I should feel bad about this but it is only one incident in my long career of fixing things that did not need fixing.
Don't feel too bad.* Last summer we had an oil leak on one of the generators on the Scorpius.* The bell-housing had oil all over the inside, and the flywheel was throwing oil out the vent screen.* It was pretty clear it was the rear main seal, and the owner confirmed the diagnosis.* It took two days to separate the engine from the gen, replace the seal, and to put it all back together.* Upon start up, I had the same oil leak.* Turns out that the oil pressure sending unit was leaking oil onto the starter, which then funneled the oil to the bell-housing.* Unfortunately, it was impossible to see the sender without moving the generator, so it got missed...............Arctic Traveller

*
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Old 01-03-2011, 01:15 AM   #14
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RE: Hot water heater

I recently, well a year or so ago, replaced our corroded out old hot water heat exchanger cylinder with a new Isotherm Basic 43 litre tank, and it is fantastic - we never run out of hot water. It has a 240v element as well, which we briefly plug in at the marina using the charger lead, (which is the only shore power we use, as we don't have AC at all out on the water), and the 30 minutes it takes for us to get ready to go is enough to raise it to about 37 degrees C. Then the engine takes over.* Yes, she was in pretty bad shape, but still worked.....but slowly......
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Old 01-03-2011, 02:13 AM   #15
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RE: Hot water heater

Several years ago, we downsized from 11 gal to 6 gal along with installation of a mixing valve.* No hot water supply issues for 2 persons, and the 1500watt AC heating coil heats the 6 gallons very quickly.
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:31 AM   #16
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RE: Hot water heater

Six gallon has been sufficient for us as well. We are more conservative with our showers when on the boat, and that is the primary reason we get by with such a small heater.
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Old 01-03-2011, 08:01 PM   #17
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RE: Hot water heater

A lot depends on the temperature of the water coming into the heater. For me as a liveaboard, the ice cold water coming in during the winter limits the showers or dishwashing you can do at one time. If the on-board tank water is warmer, that would let you use more.

In the summer, I turn the water heater off, since the water coming from the hose on the dock is about 130 degrees F anyway!
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Old 01-04-2011, 05:03 AM   #18
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RE: Hot water heater

Back when we were building boats I tried to get Allcraft , a local mfg of SS Hw units to install 3 sets of electric heater ports.

2 would be wired s one or both could run 15A at a dock with 50A 240V or 30A 120V.

For the cruisers the 3rd port would be for a 7A 120V element.

Many out of the way lovely places only have marginal 120V (maybe 95V) and a few amps dockside.

Since these are usually at interesting towns the ability to live would be done with a priority relay.

These are in Grangers and allow one circuit to operate , as long as the priority circuit was not using power.

The fridge/freezer AC unit would be in charge , any time the fridge was off , the HW heater could work.

With today's $10.00+ a foot overnight marinas there is usually plenty of power, so the old Load Shedding concept is seldom wired in.
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Old 01-05-2011, 07:59 AM   #19
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RE: Hot water heater

The water heater on my boat has a 220 volt element that was purposly installed by a PO because he felt it would be more durable. I don't know if that's right or not, but it works just fine using 110 volt power.
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Old 01-05-2011, 08:55 AM   #20
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RE: Hot water heater

About 20 years ago I had a small ranch in Arizona that had a 220V hot water tank in the barn's tack room. The line (220V) that serviced the heater was broken, somewhere between the main house and the barn. (A distance of approx 150 yards.) Not wanting to go through the exercise of finding, digging, etc, the break, I just ran the water heater off the barn's 110V and everything was fine. It just took longer to heat the water.
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