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Infrared heating

Has anyone experience of infrared heating for their boat?

Asked by: C Baldwin  | 5.46pm, Wednesday 13 July


WW says:

Infrared heaters have been used externally on boats (as an equivalent of a patio heater) but this is obviously not that good for the environment, given how much energy they take.
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The vast majority of infrared heaters are electric units- so would require a good power supply. Also, they only heat surfaces by absorption of IR radiation, so don't heat the air effectively. Also, in the confines of a narrowboats, there is a hightened risk that they could heat local surfaces to high, with the risk of fire.
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Ducted warm air heating (such as gas and diesel fired system)can be very effective, and many of these units (such as the Propex gas range) can also have electric elements, with variable output (such as 500, 1000 and 2000W).
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Freestanding electric heaters, such as IR units, are probably not the best for boats- many I have seen, as used by some caravanners in their awnings, are quite unstable.

Mark Langley  | 9.22AM, Thursday 14 July

What size boat are you looking for? Then might be able to give you some more specific recommendations.

Mark Langley  | 10.46AM, Thursday 14 July

For a boat that size, electric heating is generally impractical as the primary heat source. If you have a standard shoreline input of 16 amperes, then you are limited to just about 3kW of heating- and this would not be sufficient in winter. Blow air systems would work, but probably too large a space for the combined gas/electric units- diesel fired would be better.
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Underfloor heating does work surprisingly well, and, given good installation, losses through the ballast/baseplate is minimal. However, electric powered underfloor heating would be impractical over a large area, due to the current input required- unless you went to a 32A or greater input- or even a three-phase supply- which most moorings are not set up to do. More conventional heating systems may be cheaper in both the short and long term- also pure electric heating may not be very attractive to a future buyer.

Mark Langley  | 8.54PM, Friday 15 July

I agree with Mark, electric heating for such a large boat is impractical. although the shore connection is nominally 16A, many marina hook-ups cannot supply that much, it often depends on who else is using power!

Rupert Smedley  | 9.19PM, Friday 15 July


Readers say:

Thanks very much, Mark. It has to be electric, and I'll have a shore hook-up for my liveaboard. I'll have a look at ducted warm air.

C Baldwin  | 9.40AM, Thursday 14 July

The boat will be 14ft x 60ft. Recommendations most welcome, thank you! I had wondered about underfloor heating but am thinking I will lose too much heat through the floor, however well insulated.

C Baldwin  | 2.50PM, Friday 15 July

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