Thursday, August 17, 2006

Heating systems

What with the insulation going in and all, my thoughts are now quite naturally turning to heating systems on Lady Jane.

It won't be long and it's going to be winter here again.

ColdI'm currently thinking along the lines of underfloor heating in the aft accommodation space with radiators elsewhere, until I get around to sorting those spaces out properly. I've spoken to an enthusiastic technical manager who cane to visit Lady Jane, so we'll see what transpires.

On the actual heating front itself, I'm planning on getting myself a diesel fired boiler, working on 230 volts through my inverter. I'm favouring Harworth Heating at the moment, as they seem to have plenty of boating knowledge and experience.

The heater will also provide the boat's hot water via a storage tank. This is something I'll be grateful for come winter, as the current water heater is gas fired, on demand, and while it heats the water more than enough in summer it is just not man enough for the job in winter, producing lukewarm showers at best.

The storage tank will also have a 1KW immersion heater, to use as a backup. Just in case.

It had occurred to me that as I'm not short of space, and energy is always a concern, I might try installing two storage tanks - one small one for when there are only one or two of us on the boat, and a bigger one for when I have guests staying over.

Maybe I'll just start small to begin with....

I'm quite looking forward to the challenges of this particular project, as I've no experience with anything like this.


  1. Anonymous5:57 PM

    Wait, aren't you already making power via the diesel "mule"? Are you already using the waste heat from that ("co-generation"), or does that heat get pumped overboard?

  2. Hi M

    A good point, but I hate the donkey.

    If at all possible, I'll avoid running it as it's so noisy - it only gets used when I need 'big' power.

    Also the 'mule' is air cooled, so I think it's not so easy to harness the heat.

    Most of my domestic power comes from the battery bank, which is usually kept topped up by the wind generator.


  3. Anonymous5:38 AM

    Ah, I had no idea. I was thinking that you said you were short on power and heat and had plenty of space. I had no idea that your small diesel was air cooled. I guess that means you can still run it with the tide out.

    I know nothing about living on a large boat or your fuel expenses but it would seem to me that you have an ideal setup for co-generation. You would need a small water cooled diesel running at 1800 rpm or so to prolong it's life. The engine charges the inverter batteries and you use the waste heat to warm the place and heat water. There's a few gotchas like for one, you don't want the very poisonous ethylene glycol coolant snaking through the potable water heaters, but big industry does the co-generation thing all the time.

    Of course over here in the USA we have the wide open spaces and don't have crushing taxes on our motor fuels (people complain about the price anyway). Depending on where you live, the off-road diesel (dyed red) can be even cheaper.

    I think a diesel engine converts #2 fuel oil into about 30% useful work and the remainder gets used as waste heat. Of course, depending on the taxes, it might be cheaper to just buy shore power if it's available.

    Anyway the blog's real interesting, and I enjoy reading your feed. I'm a few miles myself from the Chesapeake bay, where we only mess around with small boats and the tide isn't ever over a half a meter.

    best wishes!


  4. Hi M

    Shore power is not really an option for me.

    The wind turbine does a great job, so thankfully, for my wallet at least, it's only the heating system I've got to worry about.


  5. Thanks for the comments by the way, much appreciated.