Follow by Email

Friday, 26 February 2016

Boat Heating... Part 1

A question often asked of boaters: "Isn't it really cold in winter?" - to which the answer is of course "YES if you don't have effective heating... the same as in a house you muppet!" (I'm never sure whether the ! should go before or after the " " bits... if anyone reading this rubbish knows, I'd really appreciate a lesson in grammer.  Failing that, I'll ask a foreigner - they'll know,

ANYWAY ... the other morning, when I was about to leave for work, I checked the weather thing I have in the lounge to see whether I'd need to de-ice the car.  This is what it showed...

Ignoring both the clutter AND the fat finger obsuring the left hand corner (I couldn't make the crop thingy work for some reason) the bit we're interested in is the bottom left of the screen.  It was Minus 4.2 celious outside and 22.5 in the lounge.

I've never been one to tolerate cold very well - hence we leave the heatig on in the house 24/7.  When we eventually live on the boat this won't really be a viable option without it costing a fortune in fuel - AND don't forget everything on the boat needs fetching/carrying to it.

With that in mind, we're going to have 2 heating sources:  a solid fuel burning stove  AND a diesel powered radiator system.  

There are other ways of heating a boat such as warm air blown systems, gravity fed back boilers or just radiators heated by the engine.  The latter more of an engine cooling function than heating system.   Some folk when connected to shoreline power (think caravans with cables trailing to them) use oil filled radiators or little halogen heaters but as shoreline is not an option on our mooring, they'd be no use.

The primary source of heat though on most boats tends to be the solid/multifuel stove.  

Introducing the Morso Squirrel: 

(I stole the photo so if it's yours and you don't approve, please shout and I'll replace it with one of my own.)

This gives a  heating potential of 5kw... give or take.  The max output depends on certain veriables such as what fuel you are burning, how much ventilation you've got and external wind speeds (linked to air flow) etc.

Many folk have their stoves at the very front of the boat in the saloon - this is generally fine but if it's the only source of heat on the boat, by the time you get to the back end, it's freezing.  To counter this, there is a product called an "Eco fan" - it sits on top of the stove and uses electric generated by the heat of the stove, to power it's fan, thus pushing warm air in which ever direction it's pointing.  The result can be an increase of 4-5 degrees celius at the back,

On our design layout, the stove is slap bang in the middle of the boat, against the bathroom wall bulkhead and facing towards the back.  

My plan is to cut a 4 inch hole through the bulkhead into the bathroom, install a silent 12v computer fan and use ducting to direct hot air around the top of the stove, down the bathroom floor coming out at the base of the shower... with the bedroom door ajar, this should increase the temp in there too but more importantly mean the shower will feel nice and warm.

The Morso IS an expensive stove but it's cast iron as opposed to the steel versions we'd considered before... the cheapest I've found is a little under £900 for the stove and by the time you'd added a twin wall (thanks Europe) flue kit, we're looking at about £1500 before we fit it.

It has to be done...

I have to go to work now,  part 2 will follow shortly.

Until next time...


Sue said...

The ecofan actually does a wonderful job of directing the heat from the cabin roof downward.

If you have the stove in the centre of the boat then you can only use that heat one way. Maybe you need two fans, one facing back, one front... Trouble is you wont have any room to have a kettle on the boil all day!

Quaysider said...

Thanks Sue - that's good to read from a boater's perspective. We'll definitely have one of them pointing towards the back of the boat - hopefully to shift some heat towards the dinette. With luck, the fan through into the bathroom should make the bedroom more comfortable too without having to have the radiators on too much.