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Old 02-13-2020, 11:28 AM   #21
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"Setting up to run off waste engine heat while underway is a wonderful thing, so I highly recommend it if at all practical."


Also if you set-up the heating system to keep the engine coolant / engine
warm when not underway you will always have warm coolant = engine.

All of our tugs are set-up this way, engines are always around 120 -130F
even when tied-up for extended periods.
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Old 02-13-2020, 11:35 AM   #22
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TT,
Just heard back from the installer, he like the expansion tanks but doesn't like that they don't allow for an easy fill point should a small leak occur, thoughts? How are you handling that?
AC
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Old 02-13-2020, 12:15 PM   #23
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TT,
Just heard back from the installer, he like the expansion tanks but doesn't like that they don't allow for an easy fill point should a small leak occur, thoughts? How are you handling that?
AC

The tank is Amtrol/Extrol. Model EX15. Maintenance is just periodically checking the air pressure and checking for leaks. They do have a finite life, so plumb a shutoff valve. I just changed one on a land system yesterday that was about 12 years old.


I have always done filling and flushing via a pump and service valves at the boiler. The boiler will (or should) have a drain valve with a garden hose fitting. I have also used Webstone's flange/service valves on either side of the circulator pump. You can fill on one side and drain back to a container on the other side. Pump glycol through like that drawing from and returning to a bucket. It will fill and purge the system quite nicely. Use your zone/loop valves to push fluid through one loop at a time to bleed them out. As long as the water is moving fast enough all the air will come along with it. You should check individual air bleeds after, but I think you will find little to no air in the system. I have done this with multiple systems with loops and radiators that run a good 10-12 above the boiler, and it has worked well. Also, install a spirovent and an air separator in conjunction with the expansion tank. That will help get out an residual air.


Interesting idea on the solenoid valves, but it begs the question why heating systems use zone valves, and not the solenoid valves like you describe. I don't know why, but would guess there is a reason. Perhaps temp rating? Perhaps opening and closing more slowly is better? Perhaps the supported flow rate? I think it warrants a close look.
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Old 02-13-2020, 12:27 PM   #24
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Good points on the solenoid, when I looked before they seem to be a good solution, they have a flow rate of about 7gpm, a max temp of over 200 degrees and a max pressure of about 100psi.
I would bet that its the fast acting nature of solenoid valves, its likely to cause a water hammer effect. Im not sure if that's a big issue for me since its all pex and I would never be turning off the flow, just cutting off various zones. The one that goes to the engine exchanger will always be on.
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Old 02-13-2020, 12:29 PM   #25
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Here's the Webstone valve I was talking about. I forgot to include the link.


https://www.supplyhouse.com/sh/contr...oduct_id=40416


Pick the size that best matches.
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Old 02-13-2020, 12:33 PM   #26
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You guys are making my head spin with all this tech talk.

We have a Webasto hydronic system and have it turned on from late Fall to early Spring. I have to move fuel to keep the boat level every now and then but really like the idea of being able to monitor for pressure leaks. At this point I check the bilges for leaks in the system.

If I were ever in the position to order a new boat, the systems you are talking about would be on the hit list.
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Old 02-13-2020, 02:40 PM   #27
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Is it practical to plumb everything off the water heater - assuming a large unit with multiple HEX coils?

- water heater has its internal electric elements
- engine coolant plumbed to WH to heat it through a HEX
- diesel furnace sends its water to the WH (either potable water directly or antifreeze through a HEX)
- a closed loop of antifreeze circulates to all the cabin heaters, fed from the WH

Therefore you now have three different sources of heat.
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Old 02-13-2020, 02:47 PM   #28
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You guys are making my head spin with all this tech talk.

We have a Webasto hydronic system and have it turned on from late Fall to early Spring. I have to move fuel to keep the boat level every now and then but really like the idea of being able to monitor for pressure leaks. At this point I check the bilges for leaks in the system.

If I were ever in the position to order a new boat, the systems you are talking about would be on the hit list.
Everything is relative.
I'm a coastal cruiser with some redundancy and generally avoid freezing temperatures. As you venture into more remote areas and outside air temperature can be life threatening, the need to keep a system functioning at some level becomes more critical. The concept of being able to isolate a failed component or recognize a failing component before it generates a larger problem justifies some added complexity. If all you have to do is make it to the next marina, well maybe not so important.

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Old 02-13-2020, 04:49 PM   #29
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Is it practical to plumb everything off the water heater - assuming a large unit with multiple HEX coils?

- water heater has its internal electric elements
- engine coolant plumbed to WH to heat it through a HEX
- diesel furnace sends its water to the WH (either potable water directly or antifreeze through a HEX)
- a closed loop of antifreeze circulates to all the cabin heaters, fed from the WH

Therefore you now have three different sources of heat.

I think you could, but it may not perform as hoped.


With heat for the living space drawn off the HW tank, you would be compromising the amount and temp of your HW supply.


And with a typical HW electric heating element of 1 to maybe 3kw, that would be the limit of the heat available to worm the living space. In contrast, a boiler is anywhere from maybe 8kw for a small one, to 30kw for the one Arthur is using.
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Old 02-13-2020, 07:56 PM   #30
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Agreed, you might be able to get a bit of hot air out of a salon fan unit but certainly not the whole boat. Im going oversized for mine, the Oly 60 could work and its about 18kw I think, so 1-3kw is barely going to cut it for localized heat and likely not worth the install pain and the strain it puts on the water heater. As much as possible we are designing to prevent the system from sucking heat from the water heater.
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Old 02-17-2020, 10:54 PM   #31
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We had a very simple system on a Cal 46: 45,000 BTU, A header/expansion tank, and a single continuous loop, with air handlers in each of the 2 staterooms and in the main salon. Used simple thermostats to control the fans on the air handlers. No selenoids.

We did run several loops of copper tubing in the hanging locker where wet foul weather gear was stowed. We also put a couple of loops of copper tubing in each head to place towels over--warm and dry, as well as bare copper tubes around the baseboards of the heads. The rest of the tubing was insulated. This worked well in AK.

What I would want to monitor: temp at return to boiler, fluid level in expansion tank, and amps drawn by the pumps, fans, and boiler (fuel pump, ignitor and air compressor).
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Old 02-18-2020, 06:32 AM   #32
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We had a very simple system on a Cal 46: 45,000 BTU, A header/expansion tank, and a single continuous loop, with air handlers in each of the 2 staterooms and in the main salon. Used simple thermostats to control the fans on the air handlers. No selenoids.

We did run several loops of copper tubing in the hanging locker where wet foul weather gear was stowed. We also put a couple of loops of copper tubing in each head to place towels over--warm and dry, as well as bare copper tubes around the baseboards of the heads. The rest of the tubing was insulated. This worked well in AK.

What I would want to monitor: temp at return to boiler, fluid level in expansion tank, and amps drawn by the pumps, fans, and boiler (fuel pump, ignitor and air compressor).
You've pretty well described our system. Trouble shooting is dead simple as is reliability. TT's very big boat benefits from a hydronic system similar to a dirt home. Kevin's boat in AK resides in freezing weather thus his monitoring systems are necessary especially given his interests and capability in electronics.

Seattle, Vancouver and Victoria marina areas are pretty benign during the winters but arriving to a warm boat as the very bright electronics oriented OP desires is a nicety. i have a safety concern though. With so many diesel fired boat boiler systems owner or lesser mechanic ( as compared to dirt setups) installations, fire and CO issues should be uppermost in our thinking.

After market boiler specific electronics could well circumvent boiler manufacturer safety systems. System monitoring is one thing and understandably a real plus. System controls another, so as the OP is doing with a professional installer, I encourage readers of this great thread - be careful.
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Old 02-18-2020, 08:40 AM   #33
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We also put a couple of loops of copper tubing in each head to place towels over--warm and dry, as well as bare copper tubes around the baseboards of the heads.
That's a very nice system. Our little cabin on the South Island New Zealand and our condo also, both had the bathrooms heated via just the towel warmer bar, and both worked great in the very cold weather (with un-insulated walls).
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Old 02-18-2020, 08:45 AM   #34
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Agreed, you might be able to get a bit of hot air out of a salon fan unit but certainly not the whole boat... As much as possible we are designing to prevent the system from sucking heat from the water heater.
Twisted and Arthur,

I think you misunderstood me. I'm thinking for simplicity that we use a large domestic water heater basically as a header tank. Example, a 50 gallon tank, which is typically equipped with dual 4500 watt elements.

So when heating the boat from the diesel furnace, the water is still being circulated through the 50 gallon tank. When run off the main engine, same thing. And if run off a genset, then the 9kW elements can supply a certain amount of heat.

If you don't have this common "header tank" then how do you plumb a hydronic system from both the furnace and the main engine?
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Old 02-18-2020, 12:52 PM   #35
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I see, so the HW tank would only be used for the heating system and not for domestic HW.

With 9kw of electric heat you could probably heat a smallish boat just fine.

The other way engine heat is transferred to the heating system is via a heat exchanger, either a plate or tube type.
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