DEISEL CABIN HEATERS

hdra

Anarchist
653
145
How big of a boat, what kind of layout?  There are a lot of options - forced air, hydronic, and just radiant.  We have a Refleks 66MK and really love it - simple, low fuel use, and easy.  We have a few electric cabin fans we use to circulate hot air around the boat that do double duty in the tropics for cooling things down as well.  

ALSO, STOP POSTING IN ALL CAPS ITS FUCKING ANNOYING

 

MFH125

Member
164
166
We have a Refleks 66MK
The refleks stoves look great.  Only thing I've heard against them is that they don't like being heeled over more than 15-20 degrees.  Has that been an issue for you?

 
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hdra

Anarchist
653
145
In flat water it's been fine up to about 20 degrees of heel.  We have found it won't stay lit when it's heeled and rough, although we had a non - standard fuel regulator location from the PO that we think exacerbating things.  Have since moved it, but haven't had a chance to sail someplace both rough and cold since, and now covid has gotten our boat stranded in Trini.  The one thing we did find happened was that on starboard tack upwind in over 15 or so the stove would blow out as the wind from the slot between jib and main would cause the flow in the chimney to reverse, blowing out the stove and smoking out the cabin.  That could be fixed by moving the chimney + stove, but don't want to cut any more holes in the boat and on our layout there isn't really anywhere else to put it.

The other issue we've found is that because our boat is relatively watertight, if we have the engine on, the refleks on, and all the hatches closed we get the same issue - the engine sucks intake air down the refleks chimney, causing the stove to go out and the cabin to get smoked out.  We ended up installing a bus heater on the engine hot water so we just use that when motoring, because we kept forgetting to keep adequate ventilation open.  Again, solvable with an outside air supply to either piece of machinery.

We've ended up using it mostly on anchor and inshore sailing.  Really like the hot plate option on the one we have to keep a kettle going, and we bought one of those heat powered wood stove fans that sits on it as well when we're on anchor to circulate air without any power.  Offshore (even in cold weather - crossed the NA from Maine to UK via greenland and iceland in 2017) we tend to just bundle up, since the on-watch person will need to be go on deck occasionally any way, and sitting in the warm cozy cabin in your t-shirt is a serious dis-motivation to go out on deck and reef.  Much easier to stay on top of sail changes and taking care of things outside when you're actually dressed for it.

 

harrygee

Member
386
119
Tasmania
It's hard to go past the cheap Chinese stuff.

Less than $A 200.

Get the 5kw, which is more than you'll need.  I don't know your boat but, in Aus, that's more than you'll need.

Get the digital controller so that, if you have a problem, you'll have a code to point you in the right direction.

They come as a complete kit, some with extra outlets, some with alloy cases.

Don't use the muffler in a boat installation, it will kill you.  The sound is minimal anyway.

Get a CO detector.  Or two.

Since installing my first one, I've installed a dozen or so.  Two had faulty components;

One came with a 24 volt brain and thought 12 volts was too low.  Cost $30 to replace.

One came with a faulty thermostat, about $20.

Otherwise, everyone's happy.

Current on startup and shutdown, about 10 amps but runs on 1 amp or so.

The digital controllers don't show a set temperature, just some meaningless number but they adjust easily enough.

I'm not Chinese and don't sell this stuff.

 

toddster

Super Anarchist
4,265
999
The Gorge
I'm leaning toward a hydronic system such as Webasto DBW 2010, because there isn't a good place for a heater in the salon and because of the arguments outlined in the link. Living aboard full time and Winter Is Coming.

So how do people route the exhaust for these horizontal diesel burners? I think I've seen one installation with the unit mounted in a sail locker and the exhaust going straight out the topsides. But they may have a lot more freeboard than my boat does? Out the transom? That would either mean a long run for a hot dry exhaust, or I'd have to mount the thing all the way in the back - not the most convenient spot, but maybe doable. 90° up and through the deck? No good place for that around the cockpit.

There's a good place for the burner on a shelf in the sail locker, with only reasonably hellish hose runs, but the exhaust is a bit of a quandary.
Screen Shot 2022-09-28 at 18.32.38.png
 

harrygee

Member
386
119
Tasmania
I looked at your link but don't see anything that explains the hydronic system and how it differs from the rest.

I can only comment on what I know.

I've installed a few of the Chinese heaters, some with exhausts through the transom and a couple with the exhaust through a gooseneck on the deck near the mast. On my own boat, I have the heater mounted beneath a sheet winch, about corresponding to the position you show as Location 1.

The exhaust exits through the transom, about 6" lower than the heater, so the exhaust tube runs downhill. It's a stainless 1" tube about 6' long, which attaches to the supplied concertina tube. The outside end of the tube is hot enough to be uncomfortable to hold but not dangerously hot. In places, I've used exhaust fibreglass webbing.

The locker that it runs through benefits from the warmth radiating from the tube to dry out lines etc.

Total cost about $200 aus.

Mine is 5 kw, which is plenty. I see the American manufacturer uses British Thermal Units. Go figure. :)

Your needs may be very different; I live in 43 South.

Cheers
 

toddster

Super Anarchist
4,265
999
The Gorge
The problem with going six feet straight back is that that space is small and full of obstacles: a frame, the propane locker, the autopilot ram. I’m not sure there’s a straight path available.


Hydronic system circulates hot water to distributed heat exchangers instead of blowing air through a duct. Something like 4000 times as much heat capacity. Easier to route pressurized hoses than ducts. Burner doesn’t have to run as much. Heat is distributed evenly through the boat. Quiet, Efficient. The system can also run off waste heat from the motor, when it’s in use.
 

sculpin

Super Anarchist
I installed a hydronic system in the C&C 35 we owned a while back, and loved it. More expensive than a hot air system, but way easier and less obtrusive than running big air hose through the boat, and the bonus was that I plumbed it to the hot water tank to heat that up, so at anchor I could run the system 20 minutes and then have hot water. Documented the install in "Good Old Boat" magazine.

New to us boat has hot air, it's OK - better than nothing.
 

steele

Super Anarchist
1,731
229
Land of the locks
I looked at both forced air and hydronic for my boat. The advantage of hot water and ease of routing a hydronic system is clear. The downside is you need to install mutliple radiators and blowers which take more power and space compared to the forced air units with just a single blower packaged with the burner itself. Atlhough routing the ducts with a forced air unit is harder, the system is simpler and less expensive. Both are quiet and use very little fuel. For my smallish boat I went with a forced air Webasto system and have been very happy with the result. If I had a larger boat I would lean towards a hydronic set up.
The loudest component of these systems is the fuel pump for the burner. The camper-van crowd has lots of videos and write ups for how to isolate them, and newer generation pumps are now available that are reported to be much less annoying.
Toddster, in your plan it looks like the midship blower is near the fridge and may be close to the compressor, it might be best to move it further forward so you are not heating the refrigeration system too much.
 

DDW

Super Anarchist
6,561
1,124
The exhaust exiting a hydronic boiler is quite hot - maybe 700 degrees. Going up through the deck seems to me to be a serious problem, perhaps why I've never seen that done. You also cannot take the chance of it being submerged. A long exhaust run is also a problem, it really must be insulated. On the sailboat, mine is about 7 feet, but planned for in the boat's design and build. It is an ITR boiler, exhaust is much cooler than a Webasto, only 550 deg according to their literature.

You might look at the Wallas hot air heaters. You might need two for that size boat, but that allows for simplification of the duct runs. Those can be vented through the deck, they are quiet, and use less power than a hydronic system. They have one system with water heating coils, but I think its output is modest.
 
I'm leaning toward a hydronic system such as Webasto DBW 2010, because there isn't a good place for a heater in the salon and because of the arguments outlined in the link. Living aboard full time and Winter Is Coming.

So how do people route the exhaust for these horizontal diesel burners? I think I've seen one installation with the unit mounted in a sail locker and the exhaust going straight out the topsides. But they may have a lot more freeboard than my boat does? Out the transom? That would either mean a long run for a hot dry exhaust, or I'd have to mount the thing all the way in the back - not the most convenient spot, but maybe doable. 90° up and through the deck? No good place for that around the cockpit.

There's a good place for the burner on a shelf in the sail locker, with only reasonably hellish hose runs, but the exhaust is a bit of a quandary.
View attachment 543628
This is essentially the setup we have on our Hinckley, and it's great. Run the exhaust out the back of the boat, it's the only option that doesn't muck up the deck.

I'm relocating my exhaust to the transom this winter.
 

longy

Overlord of Anarchy
6,793
1,138
San Diego
The Swan 65 I ran for a bit had the Webasto exhaust venting thru a screw in charlie noble on the aft deck. Great for warming your hands on a cold night at the helm. But also great at melting the flag to a ravaged mess. The outside air, heated, was awesome at drying out the interior, which is closed up in cold weather
 

toddster

Super Anarchist
4,265
999
The Gorge
Toddster, in your plan it looks like the midship blower is near the fridge and may be close to the compressor, it might be best to move it further forward so you are not heating the refrigeration system too much.
That's a good point but this installation is very space-constrained. Almost all the space under the settees is taken up by the water tanks. The fridge is an engine-driven holding plate. There is an old noisy 110VAC auxiliary compressor under the sink that actually heats up the cabin quite a lot - not a critical issue but I will likely want to replace that with a 12VDC unit at some point. (Now that I'm all solared-up.) Well, in fact I could just rip it out now and put the heater blower right in there. The lower cabinet between the fridge and the sink is filled by the water heater, so quite a lot of heating going on in that corner already
 

harrygee

Member
386
119
Tasmania
That sounds like a good system if you can live with the complexity.

It would be overkill here, especially on my 28 footer, though I'd love hot water.

Might be just the thing where you are.

I should add that the systems we exhausted through the deck have condensation issues which, in one case where the heater was used for short periods, the accumulated condensation became a pool at the bottom of the exhaust so the heater wouldn't run.

So if anyone is thinking of installing it that way, be sure to run it for a while.
 

slug zitski

Super Anarchist
6,247
1,232
worldwide
The Swan 65 I ran for a bit had the Webasto exhaust venting thru a screw in charlie noble on the aft deck. Great for warming your hands on a cold night at the helm. But also great at melting the flag to a ravaged mess. The outside air, heated, was awesome at drying out the interior, which is closed up in cold weather
yah i sailed a swan 65 with a Webasto …good stuff, very reliable , , stern chimney

one vent leg fed the foul weather gear handing locker …excellent drier
 




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