Saturday, February 9, 2013

Heating a Boat

Drift Away has reverse cycle A/C.  It cools in the summer and heats in the winter, and does a respectable job at it.

Last summer here in Georgia, though, the air conditioning could barely keep up.  if it was 95 degrees outside, it would be 85 degrees inside.  It was tolerable because the humidity was reduced, but still hot.  There are no shade trees on marina docks and Drift Away took the full brunt of Georgia's blistering sun.

Today, February 9th, it is 46 degrees outside as I write this at 8 AM.  It is 71 inside the boat, and the heat isn't even turned all the way up.  We didn't put plastic over the saloon windows like we did in Stamford, so we only have a single pane of glass between inside and outside, and like most trawlers, we have big windows so we have good views.  I think the reverse cycle A/C heat would be good to well below freezing.   Much below that, we'd fire up our diesel heater.

Many boats install Espar or similar hot air diesel heaters, the same as you'd find on a bus.  The cost for such a system is lofty.  I got a quote of $20,000 for Drift Away.  Knowing we'd be heading south, I decided not to spend that kind of money and instead installed a diesel space heater.

I plumbed this to draw fuel directly from our main fuel tanks so there would be no worries about running out.  We got through a really tough winter in Stamford, Connecticut with this heater and it could keep up with temperatures well below zero.   Cost was about $2,000 installed, with me helping the  installer.

Living aboard in Georgia, we sometimes even get to use both heat and air conditioning on the same day.

1 comment:

  1. I've always heard that reverse cycle A/C To make heat doesn't work that well as the water gets colder-- I could never understand that and never had the oppertunity to use reverse A/C when the water is cold... All it does is draw the cold out of the system and visia versa making cold air-- Draw the heat out of the system.... I would think if nothing freezes up reverse A/C Should work fine....