Diesel Boat Heaters

Discussion in 'Powerboats' started by Boston, Apr 19, 2010.

  1. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    so Im looking at these Newport diesel heaters with water coils and wondering if any of you folks have them and if your happy with it

  2. WestVanHan
    Joined: Aug 2009
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    WestVanHan Not a Senior Member

    That'd be a Dickenson...friend of mine has one,loves it.

    I think on low setting it's a bit over a gallon/24 hours.
    Cranked wot its about 3.5 gal/24 hours.
    US gal,of course

    Anytime you can store heat to keep you in warmth, without it on, is a great idea.

    Water can store a lot of heat,air-almost nil.
  3. Easy Rider
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    Location: NW Washington State USA

    Easy Rider Senior Member

    I have a Sigmar that's practically the same. Haven't installed mine yet but have some comments for you. Here in Alaska there'e extremely popular. Almost every fish boat in the state has a Dickenson type stove .. usually the larger cooking range. They can get blown out in windy conditions and don't like going weightless tween head seas. Sigmar offers a kit to double pipe or flue the stove. In addition to the straight up and through the cabin roof flue one installs a 2nd flue (an air intake) plumbed from the bottom of the stove, around two 90s and up through the roof parallel to the regular flue and terminated very near the end of the regular flue. The theory is that each pipe end is basically in the same air so the pressure is always the same. I hear it works well and I intend to add the 2nd pipe. They are very dependable and many fishermen leave them on all winter. The boat is always toasty (frequently too toasty .. just open windows and doors) but I would not leave them on for more than an hour or two. The Newport stove is quite small so you may want to consider one of the larger cooking ranges if you have space aboard.
    Easy Rider
  4. TollyWally
    Joined: Mar 2005
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    TollyWally Senior Member

    The Sigmar guys were a break away group from Dickensen. First rate stuff with a few twists like EZ mentioned, They successfully established themselves and Dickensen bought them out and the 2 lines were consolidated, as I heard the story. I was bidding on a oddball bit of Sigmar stock that Dickensen had laying around after the merger but I was a day late so to speak.

    I installed an old Dickinsen when I ripped out my magnificently overpriced and unreliable Espar furnace. Superb when it worked, which was seldom. There is a true art to both designing an installation and operating an old time fish boat stove. Easy access to intake air is half the equation and the other half is imagining the high pressure low pressure areas as the wind swirls around the house and deck etc. with the boat both running and stationary, high wind and low. Soot is the price you pay for mistakes in installation and operation.

    In my mind a fishboat system should bleed heat out the open door as opposed to not keeping the house toasty. The older I get the bigger sissy I am. My current system in my boat doesn't meet those standards but everyone else likes it and I shut the wheel house door if some unthinking guest fails to do so. I never mention it, just slide the door closed.

    I ripped out the headliners and insulated the fiberglass with foam panels. I replaced the headliners with hard panels. The panels are trimmed such that with minimal fuss every cleat, rail, hard point etc. is easy access for what ever reason down the road. The insulation makes a big difference. I insulated above the stove with rockwool designed for pottery kilns. A doubled stainless heat shield seperated by stand offs keeps it all quite cool. I track and chase heat all over my boat with a infrared lazer gun. Very useful tool once you get used to using it.

    A 50' boat with a big house like Boston proposes will take a pretty substantial unit. The changes in elevation on either side of the engine room will play hell with evening temperature out. He's talked of wood. I wouldn't have it but to each his own.
  5. mark775

    mark775 Guest

    "magnificently overpriced and unreliable Espar furnace" - I have tried. I have honestly tried. Tollywally, I think our problem is that we subconsiously compare these things to reliable ol' Dickensons, puking out heat like a Saturn V Rocket. I even make the Espar rep come on my boat every year and still get about half a season or half the heat at its discretion. The thing likes to have a conniption in the middle of a fifty day stretch of tours/fishing in the nastiest, rainiest weather of the summer. Once in awhile, to make things interesting, it will smoke enough to make my clients think the boat is afire, then stink like diesel and give an indecipherable fault code. The damned thing causes more grief in my engine room than all other systems combined!
    I am considering a Whispergen but these pricy jewels may be a little too sophisticated, as well. Time will tell.
    For the time being, I am installing one of these;

    but will not be happy when I shut down (I have a near worthless two-fan Red Dot school bus heater which will get the cabin bearable about the time we arrive at our destination. Also, I made the mistake of installing it under a step because it fit and everyfoot likes to kick it. The bigger radiator will go under my daughters' bunk forward and be protected by teak louvers)
    Some guys up here using home type oil furnaces with good success.
    Years ago, I was on a 50' Delta called the Alaskan and it had a diesel furnace made for a boat - like a Dickenson but with no cooktop and made for installation below. I have never been able to find one but sure liked it.
  6. TollyWally
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    TollyWally Senior Member

    A buddy of mine was sent by one of the Seattle outfits, maybe Harris Electric, to get factory certification as a tech. The Seattle boys didn't want him to work for them or a piece of the action. They just didn't want to hassle with the South Sound. They wanted a reliable man to hand off the calls below Redondo or so to that wouldn't make them look bad.

    So I'm ecstatic. I have my very own tame pet german trained ubertech. We took the entire thing out, furnace to tank. Cleaned and shined. Remade every connection etc. While we were doing that he explained all the relays and timers and what each part cost. Made my Volvo factory parts look like chinese fanbelts from Walmart. I got 8 hours of glorious service. Doh! I took all the electrical quick connects apart and hard soldered the connections.

    I got 30 plus hours of service. I was so smug, so full of myself. When it crapped out again I yanked everything and gave it away. If someone else got good life out of it, good on them. He's a better man than me and deserves it. Another friend of mine ended up with it. It'll never leak another btu into the environment.

    I was so pissed I swore I'd have no mechanical parts to fail. No lift pumps or anything electrical. Remounted the tank on a salon bulkhead disguised with cabinetry. External fill, no fuel ever spills anywhere within the boat. No fuss no muss. The only clue is a cool sight glass I fabbed up. Gallonage is marked with subtly placed beauty rings and two turksheads slide up and down the guard bars around the pyrex tube to mark before and after on a day's consumption. Redundant filters and shut off valves I can pull anything in the system for service, no mess, no hassles. I still giggle everytime I use it and have never had a lick of trouble with it.

    Was your Delta mystery stove a Round floor standing model? That's what I have.
    I had bought a nice fishboat cookstove but it was an inch too wide. I was going to shoe horn it in but it was major surgery, moving sinks, doors etc. An aquaintence had this floor standing model and after sizing everything up I went with it. I lost a real cook top although there is a rudimentry setup that could be used. I also lost a measurable amount of maximum heat. I can't use my favored door bleed method on cold winter days. But the install is super clean. The other would have been an immense amount of work and in the end it would have still been lipstick on a pig no matter how much trickery I threw at it.

    I have a red dot similar in every respect to what you describe. I don't call it a heater I call it Luke Warmer. That aluminum one might be impressive. I hope so.

    I'm telling you Mark, the day you yank that Espar out by the roots will be the most glorious day in your boat's life. Maybe some day I'll tell what I really think about Espars! :)
  7. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    well at least I know which one to stay away from
    yes I,m including a wood stove but I also want a diesel heater
    I found a whole page of models and sizes for different applications at


    and ended up thinking of this one at


    its a tad small but its was the largest one I saw
    although I have not gone through them all yet
    I kinda liked it cause after looking at the specs and schematics it seems pathetically simple and primitive
    something I could fix on my own if I had to

    I was thinking I would run a little duct work and be able to control where the heat goes
    that and a old time quilted hanging in the stair hole should keep me warm enough although The engine room is so large that it would be easy to install two smaller units and pipe the heat around if I just cant get enough heat out of this one. Who knows, its why I asked.
  8. mark775

    mark775 Guest

    Bos, As Tollywally said, The Luke Warmers aren't worth much. Remember when you were a kid and the school bus was colder than outside? That's what a Red Dot will do for you - get warm in time for the bus driver to have a pleasant ride to the barn.
    All I can add is that lots of dry heat will be the single nicest thing you can do for Southeast cruising. Oh, one other thing. Do build some type of foyer or a hanging locker to keep wet people in (and rain gear).
    "keep me warm enough" - Alaskan native girls are made for keeping you warm, BTW - but beware! Many Southeast klans put out warriors!
  9. rasorinc
    Joined: Nov 2007
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    rasorinc Senior Member

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    FAST FRED Senior Member

    I have heated (and was Dickinson importer) for almost 20 years with the Antartic style unit.

    As my job took me out of town for days reliability was key. It was great , after I installed an H style smoke head.

    The small 1 oe 2 turn coil will keep make just fine.

    I chose the 7 turn coil and engineered a thermosyphon system to heat the forward cabin , which was past water tigt doors.

    Standard 3/4 baseboard radiator was used with refrigeration "Slow ells" , a 4 inch radius at ant corner.

    The header tank is directly above the unit , and every pipe slopes to the lowest point , the bottom water inlet.

    There is little flow , so no UP is allowed , just a gentle slope.

    Easiest to hook it up with car heater hose (on a board to keep it from sagging) and imortalize ir in copper tubing after you see it work.

    'A 33loa 28lwl sailboat in 3/4 Airex , she was fine in the worst weather I saw in 20+ yraes in the NY area.-17F for a week , although usually NYC winter is 20-25 at night and 35 daytime .

    The H smoke head is highly recomended.

  11. capt littlelegs
    Joined: Apr 2010
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    capt littlelegs New Member

    A large part of my work is heating and hot water both domestic and marine. For a good reliable, economical and controllable system you can't beat a domestic type boiler/furnace or range cooker/furnace on board if you've got the room with a sealed system, pumped radiators and unvented hot water tank or instant water heaters, all thermostaticly and time controlled.

    A lot of boat owners in the UK especially larger barges etc. are going over to these following the fuel price hike and ditching the constant burning heaters that cost twice the price to run. You can also hook up the engine using it's waste heat for heating and hot water and pre-warming it for cold starts.
  12. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    I thought of just using the engine but that seemed like it would take forever to heat up and its bound to eat a ton of fuel

    I like the idea of the home heating system but they tend to burn natural gas and given the issues with natural gas on board a marine system I nixed that plan as well

    rumor has it that these Dickson fish boat diesel heaters are sorta standard in the area Im thinking of

    also I was planing on using a few layers of reflectex insulation throughout ~R-8 pr layer so three layers in the walls and 4 in the ceiling should make a huge difference

    its sorta a whole other issue but insulation does make a big difference to how much heat you need, typically I dont remember folks insulating there boats very well due to the condensation issues however
    I have a plan (evil laugh)
  13. capt littlelegs
    Joined: Apr 2010
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    capt littlelegs New Member

    The engine would need to get up to operating temperature first and it's output is variable but good for assisting the furnace output and reducing running costs.

    I should have said the domestic heating system is pressure jet oil, diesel or kerosene so no gas safety issues!

    Nothing is standard on a boat but insulation is good!
  14. rasorinc
    Joined: Nov 2007
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    rasorinc Senior Member

    I also plan on insulating with solid stryofoam which has a floatation factor of 55 pouunds per CF. It has a decent R. factor but I cannot lay my hands on it now. Absorbs zero moisture as it is closed cell.

  15. mark775

    mark775 Guest

    rasor, I have never owned a Webasto. I do know that about every fifteen years a distributer of Webasto will convince the school bus provider or postal service in Fairbanks (sees minus 80° in winter) to switch then, after new people (who didn't know Espar) get pissed enuf at Webasto, another company will convince them to switch back to Espar. Add Toyo to the fracus and easy $2,000 installed cost per unit, and you have plenty of marketing tools for getting slope trucks and fishermen statewide to buy a new heater. My point is like Tollywally said; " When they work..." I guess in a truck, there isn't really an option but we , in boats, have a little more room and flexibility.
    Bos, I don't see a reason why a small home unit wouldn't be ideal in a boat. If you know a reliable model...you WILL appreciate the extra heat. You'll know there is enuf when boats park next to you to keep warm - seriously, it will extend your cruising season to include the quietest, most beautiful months. Fred gave you a well-done other option which is more reliable yet - just not as efficient. In fact, a Dickenson is the only thing I would trust to not have back-up. There is after-market fuel metering device which may burn cleaner, tho. I'll ask somebody...
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