Heating a W32

  • January 31, 2018 10:00 PM
    Message # 5712217

    So I am officially on information overload.  Have been looking at heating options for my westsail and frankly I am just going in circles.  I am in the PNW so it gets cold through a good chunk of the year. My thoughts.....

    Bulkhead mounted solid fuel.  One of the cubic heaters or something similar (actually the cast iron sardines look amazing but they are pricey) I do a bit of woodworking sobfuel is available.  I love the idea of a wood fire smell.  But messy and you apparently need to tend the fire every few hours.

    Bulkhead mounted diesel. I got tons of that stuff on board already. It seems reliable but and something that needs less care than a solid fuel option. I am afraid of back draft and needing to take up more space with a day tank.

    Diesel cook stove. In theory I love this option because it is the most space efficient. Plus it gets rid of propane on the boat (except for the disposable tanks for the bbq and jet Oil). But I feel that it might take a while to get to cooking temp and the vent pipe would get in the way in the galley.

    Forced air diesel heaters. Those sound great but create a constant draw of electrical power. I am afraid that they would be noisy in such a small boat, especially when I’m trying to wind down at night.  Also there are many options to choose from and I’m having a tough time decifering which is the most reliable for the best price.

    Anyhow, these are my thoughts on it. I would appreciate some experienced feedback and opinions on this subject.



    S/V Apollonia

  • February 01, 2018 3:55 PM
    Reply # 5713583 on 5712217

    Hello Bryon,    Over the Years I have owned, and used, as a live-aboard in the PNW, nearly every type of Heater,  including a fireplace and a diesel burner, modified fireplace.  All had their good and bad points.  All failed in one regard.  They could not function well when sailing in a good breeze.   I now have a good heater that can do it all.  A Wallas 30 DT.  It is the Wallas mid size heater.  It is a forced air diesel, blue flame heater.  On average it uses 1.0 amps.  My boat can easily handle this.  As a live-aboard,  I used approximately 5 gallons a month.  The heat output on high (seldom used) is nearly equal to 2, 1500 watt heaters.    On my boat it is located in the main cabin against the main bulkhead.  Just above the sole.  It could be installed in a number of different locations.  I have, in fact, installed this heater on a number of boats In different locations.  On my boat a 5 gallon tank is located directly under the heater, in the bilge, forward of the water tank.  The exhaust goes straight up along the bulkhead and out the ceiling.  The Charley noble is very low profile and can easily be locked tight.  The heater is wind proof.  I'm quite happy with it.    Good luck,    Dave

  • February 01, 2018 10:05 PM
    Reply # 5714014 on 5712217


    Thanks for the reply. I have looked at the Wallas. How is the reliability? And noise?  You have it mounted in the main cabin, does that mean you are just letting the unit blow directly out without venting through air ducts?



  • February 02, 2018 8:26 AM
    Reply # 5714573 on 5712217

    Bryon,   My heater has sailed round trip to New Zealand plus 2 additional round trips to Hawaii plus about 6 round trips between Portland and the San Juan islands.  It is quite reliable, however, I do, in fact, remove it and ship it up to Seattle for maintenance every 2 to 4 years.  That costs about $250.    The noise level is about the same as a regular 1500 watt electric heater.  That's not much.   With the heater mounted about 2 inches above the sole,  the air intake faces the center line.  The hot air exits into a cutout in the Port settee below the bunk level.  It is ducted aft only about 4 feet and then vented into the main cabin.  Also a duct is run from that same cutout and turned forward through the bulkhead into the head area and vented back into the cabin directly under the head sink, at sole level.   Very simple, short runs that are more than adequate.    And just to be clear,  the heated air system is 100% separate from the combustion air system.  The two are not inter-mingled.      Dave

  • February 02, 2018 2:23 PM
    Reply # 5715188 on 5712217

    Thanks for the reply Dave.

  • February 02, 2018 4:45 PM
    Reply # 5715418 on 5712217
    Deleted user


    I also have the Wallas DT 30. It came with my boat which I've owned for just short of a couple years now. It is mounted in the engine room on bulkhead. Works very well and no issues so far. Only thing that needs to be thought out is how and where to run the ducts to. I have one outlet in head and another below the table. Ducts take up a little storage room in cabinets but it is hidden and quiet. You can't even tell there is a heater other than it's warm. Might hear a little ting once in a while. Over all very happy with performance as well as installation. Used it last night.

    Also up in PNW


  • February 03, 2018 6:29 PM
    Reply # 5716688 on 5712217


    From my experience with the diesel cookstove, it is usually on 24/7 while you're on the boat in the PNW with the exception of spring and summer during the daytime. The diesel stove will never be quick at boiling water, but can simmer or fry very well. You just bring the temperature all the way up for cooking and within about five minutes the hot plate will be ready to cook, because the stove is already running. I'd guess it takes a liter of water to boil about eight minutes when the stove is on high. I keep a separate stove (Snowpeak Baja Burner) for the rare times when I want a rolling boil in just a few minutes. The second stove is on the navigation table and is stowed when not in use. The stove pipe is actually never in the way. The locker behind the pipe can be off limits at times when the stove is on max and the pipe is hot, but when you're just heating (not cooking on high) it's not hot enough to scorch. I think it does the best job by far at heating the cabin compared to other heating systems, including portable electric heaters. I've been in boats with forced air diesel and bulkhead heaters, but the only comparison would be a larger wood stove. The shipmate types are cool but not nearly as warm and clean burning. To get heat into the forward berth and head I installed pex pipe and a circulation pump to move hot water from the water heater forward into the berth and head, which warms the flooring and provides instant hot water in the head and galley (as opposed to waiting for the water to heat up). I also installed a forced air heater in the forward berth to heat up that space, and to also dump heat from the water heater if the temperature gets too hot. The water heater is heated from the stove through a coil that circulates glycol between the water heater heat exchanger and the water coil in the firepot of the stove. The glycol coil also has a circulation pump to keep the temperature even throughout the line and and expansion tank is in the lazerette, which sits just above the hot water heater. Both circulation pumps have a rheostat control to regulate the flow and reduce energy consumption. Also the stove is gravity fed from the saddle tanks for the engine. The stove works on all points of heel, and has been tested offshore in gale conditions with big seas in the low 50's and kept us warm. The stove requires a pretty rigid technique to light and extinguish it without every smelling diesel. Just use alcohol to light, and turn the fan on for lighting and extinguishing so the diesel smoke will exhaust. While the stove is running it burns very clean. You can put your nose over the stack and not smell diesel if you have the correct mix of air and fuel. It's just takes some experience to balance it, but not very difficult to master.

    I'm considering swapping out the diesel stove for a propane stove when I'm in low enough latitudes. The smoke stack could be removed and a vent hood installed with a fan to help reduce heat, smoke and steam when cooking in warm climates. The stove can be swapped with the Dickinson Mediterranean or Caribbean when you would rather heat with propane, which I think would be better south of Baja. If I were to stay in the PNW I would not change the current setup as it did very well while living on the hook in the San Juan Islands year round. It was very nice to have hot water as a byproduct of using the diesel stove. It was common for the hot water to maintain a temperature of 140 - 160 degrees.

    I hope my input helps with your decision. Good luck.

  • February 09, 2018 7:55 PM
    Reply # 5730332 on 5712217
    Deleted user

    We have a dickenson Newport diesel, floor mount, love it !  Right now it's -2 outside and 26c inside. We do have a day tank but have seen them with a small pulse pump and no day tank.

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