Installing planar 2KW in our 1981 E30+

Kamell

Junior Member
In a few weeks I will be installing a small diesel furnace in the aft end of our Leela. I see a decent space for it on the back side of the port lazarette (plywood bulkhead) right next to the rudder stock. From there the heated air will vent straight into the quarter berth through a single 18 inch long duct. The exhaust run from the heater unit to the transom, where the thru-hull will exit, is an easy 24 inches.
We have sourced a 5 litre day tank that will be mounted inside the lazarette, so we won’t have to patch into the main fuel supply.
The power and control leads will be (hopefully) passed under the quarter berth to the battery compartment and DC panel.
I know units like these make a bit of noise; our hope is that the aft positioning will help.
I am keen to hear of similar installations and I will post the results of our effort in a month or so!
Here in BC we want to enjoy our Leela all year round, to make the most of the surprise weather windows that can occur literally any time of year, and reliable heating even at anchor is essential.
 

Saullincer

Junior Member
I am interested too. I’ve been considering this idea. Is this one of the Chinese brands. They seem more affordable, but from what I’ve seen and heard not always most reliable.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
We had a new Espar furnace installed during our recent re-fit. Quite a process. One thing that the full color ads do not mention is the requirement for an external fresh air intake, and any survey will require this. This also needs to filter out rain and spray. Ours ended up being a fabricated "box" behind one side of the combing with a built in water drain. Sort of a "Dorade" box concept.
We also, after much discussion, opted for a separate tank. There were two reasons: 1) This allows us to burn kerosine which is cleaner / better for the burner, and 2) avoided a major plumbing journey of a long and small tubing run to our main fuel tank, plus a new separate tap into the tank.

I looked into the nock-off furnaces, but after talking to our installer went with the proven name brand. He does not sell these; only installs them. I could see that the installation was a larger part of the result than just the cost of a box of parts. Also, I wanted a local source for any possible warranty issues in the future.

One other (and separate) issue with all the axial flow furnace models regardless of brand is that they can be noisy. A common addition to the parts kit is a small SS tubular muffler. We do not mind the noise because it quiets down a lot after the boat is initially warmed up. The little pulse pump clicks kind of noticeably, and may want some sound insulation wrapped around it.

You may find that running the duct work is tricky. While it's tempting to imagine duct runs to every part of the interior, there are real world practical limits... the further you push the air the more heat loss and more frictional 'flow' loss you encounter. I have a number of friends that advised me to keep the duct runs super short. Short, like get the larger duct to blow into the main cabin area only, and it will circulate adequately enough to keep even the forepeak comfortable. They were correct - that is a good idea.

In our Olson, we could route the duct thru the aft head, with a smaller vent just for the head compartment. With some inventive routing, we led the main duct to the lower part of the frp molding for the chart table base and it blows forward from the front of that molding.
Of course, every boat model will be different. So if you can, look over other peoples' solutions.

When our boats were designed, the only heat sources were bulkhead heaters like the solid fuel ones, or the well-thought-of kerosine or LPG "Cozy Cabin Heater".
FWIW, a friend of mine installed a Dickinson LPG bulkhead heater with the built-in circulation fan. This is in a E-32-3, and I can vouch for the warmth during an overnight offshore trip.

Regards,
Loren
 
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TrueBlue

Member I
Check out Sam Holmes on youtube. He did an installation and seems to be very happy with it.
Yes but I believe in his recent videos that diesel heater is no longer working. I know his installations can be a little rough though :(. So not sure if its his install on the heater itself.
 

David Grimm

E38-200
Yes but I believe in his recent videos that diesel heater is no longer working. I know his installations can be a little rough though :(. So not sure if its his install on the heater itself.
True. We'll have to wait and see what he comes up with as to why it stopped working. I believe he only paid a little over 100 bucks for it.
 

TrueBlue

Member I
True. We'll have to wait and see what he comes up with as to why it stopped working. I believe he only paid a little over 100 bucks for it.
Yeah the price was really good. But he sometimes cuts corners on his installs. I feel Bad for him that its not working considering how it would greatly improve is QOL in those colder regions.
 

Kamell

Junior Member
We had a new Espar furnace installed during our recent re-fit. Quite a process. One thing that the full color ads do not mention is the requirement for an external fresh air intake, and any survey will require this. This also needs to filter out rain and spray. Ours ended up being a fabricated "box" behind one side of the combing with a built in water drain. Sort of a "Dorade" box concept.
We also, after much discussion, opted for a separate tank. There were two reasons: 1) This allows us to burn kerosine which is cleaner / better for the burner, and 2) avoided a major plumbing journey of a long and small tubing run to our main fuel tank, plus a new separate tap into the tank.

I looked into the nock-off furnaces, but after talking to our installer went with the proven name brand. He does not sell these; only installs them. I could see that the installation was a larger part of the result than just the cost of a box of parts. Also, I wanted a local source for any possible warranty issues in the future.

One other (and separate) issue with all the axial flow furnace models regardless of brand is that they can be noisy. A common addition to the parts kit is a small SS tubular muffler. We do not mind the noise because it quiets down a lot after the boat is initially warmed up. The little pulse pump clicks kind of noticeably, and may want some sound insulation wrapped around it.

You may find that running the duct work is tricky. While it's tempting to imagine duct runs to every part of the interior, there are real world practical limits... the further you push the air the more heat loss and more frictional 'flow' loss you encounter. I have a number of friends that advised me to keep the duct runs super short. Short, like get the larger duct to blow into the main cabin area only, and it will circulate adequately enough to keep even the forepeak comfortable. They were correct - that is a good idea.

In our Olson, we could route the duct thru the aft head, with a smaller vent just for the head compartment. With some inventive routing, we led the main duct to the lower part of the frp molding for the chart table base and it blows forward from the front of that molding.
Of course, every boat model will be different. So if you can, look over other peoples' solutions.

When our boats were designed, the only heat sources were bulkhead heaters like the solid fuel ones, or the well-thought-of kerosine or LPG "Cozy Cabin Heater".
FWIW, a friend of mine installed a Dickinson LPG bulkhead heater with the built-in circulation fan. This is in a E-32-3, and I can vouch for the warmth during and overnight offshore trip.

Regards,
Loren
While I agree with you that a bulkhead mounted stove type heater is sufficient for heat, I have always struggled with the chimney pipe. The requirements make it just too bulky on the cabin top.
I have bought a name brand Planar unit, and a muffler as well, and I will be arranging my ducting to maximize the efficiency of the system.
Since this will primarily be used at anchor, and the boat will typically be oriented into the wind, the transom seemed the only sensible place to mount the exhaust to both prevent backpressure and to carry the exhaust away from our lungs and gelcoat.
These little jobs are always fun, and the toasty reward is with a bit of fussin
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Just do not 'fast forward' thru the installation requirements, per ABYC. Even the more complete kits from the real name brands will always have some parts of the installation that will be unique to each boat and require extra $$ parts and time.

Something like the install of the double-wall exhaust pipe and the proper location on the boat will take some thorough planning.

Worth remembering -- that when a foreign company makes an illegal copy of any device, they are not governed by or bound to the same material and engineering standards as the company they stole it from. While it's comforting to think that buying it at 25 cents on the dollar will not matter because you can just throw it away later, a full reinstall will cost either a lot of your time or your money. And if/when you start over with the better quality product, you will have thrown away a lot of time and cash on the knock-off.
And finally, since you are dealing with a flame driven heating device, you want to be really sure that a poorly designed heat exchanger will not transfer exhaust gases into the hot air side, and sicken or kill you.

Edit: https://planarheaters.com/diesel-air-heaters/
These are no way as low priced as the guy claims in the video. Not $150. anyhow.
 
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Kamell

Junior Member
Just do not 'fast forward' thru the installation requirements, per ABYC. Even the more complete kits from the real name brands will always have some parts of the installation that will be unique to each boat and require extra $$ parts and time.

Something like the install of the double-wall exhaust pipe and the proper location on the boat will take some thorough planning.

Worth remembering -- that when a foreign company makes an illegal copy of any device, they are not governed by or bound to the same material and engineering standards as the company they stole it from. While it's comforting to think that buying it at 25 cents on the dollar will not matter because you can just throw it away later, a full reinstall will cost either a lot of your time or your money. And if/when you start over with the better quality product, you will have thrown away a lot of time and cash on the knock-off.
And finally, since you are dealing with a flame driven heating device, you want to be really sure that a poorly designed heat exchanger will not transfer exhaust gases into the hot air side, and sicken or kill you.

Edit: https://planarheaters.com/diesel-air-heaters/
These are no way as low priced as the guy claims in the video.
Thank you for your concern. I do not wish to die on Leela, unless it is in an epic white-knuckled fight for survival on the mountainous swells of some distant sea. At that time I will have a very large beard as well, with arms that look like two sinewy sharks fighting over their prey.
The heater is not a cheap knock-off. It is the proper marine grade unit. I know this because I ordered it through the boatyard I work at, and even at cost i am into it for nearly a grand.
Also, the escape of noxious gases and poorly combusted fuel, moisture ingress, failed seals, punctured fuel lines, poor electrical connections, corrosion, failed welds, hangnails and any other number of issues can and do occur. I share your general ethic about not trying to save money buying cheap products, and carefully following the best practices for installation and maintenance. And I also am very pleased to receive helpful pointers now rather than when I am standing at the dock staring at a greasy patch of ash on the only water where my beloved boat used to be.
P.S. I opted for this little blow box primarily because I found out a stone hearth and chimney made her list a bit to port.. and the woodshed took up almost the whole damn cockpit
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
No problem. Any ship named after the very capable Captain Turanga Leela should be determined enough to face mere sharks...
:)
 
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