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Best diesel central heating

We are having our own boat built next year and the builder will fit an Eberspacher hydronic heating system with fin rads and towel rail as standard. We will be liveaboards and I was wondering if this is the best system to have. I want to have diesel fired heating so I can legitimately buy fuel at a rebated price. I think the basic question is should I have a forced combustion type like the Eberspacher, or a pressure jet boiler like a Hurricane or Kubola? What are the known reliability problems with either?
Hoping you can help with my decision
Ray

Asked by: Raymond Fowler  | 1.06pm, Wednesday 14 December


WW says:

The answer mainly comes down to your expectations of the system, how they are installed and how they are run... you can download an article called "the burning question" which answers a lot of the problems that have occurred with diesel heating systems. The main points are correct installation- sufficient convectors/matrix blowers, proper sized plumbing (22mm), twin-pipe header tanks (to remove air locks), decent fuel with correctly sized draw off (not tapped into the engine fuel pipe work) and DC power supply wires directly to the battery master switch via a fuse, with large cross-section cable and decent fresh air for combustion/cooling of the heater (not drawing air directly from an engine room but from outside).
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Forced-air combustion units like the Eberspacher can be very reliable, compact and efficient- but they really shouldnt be used just to hear a calorifier as they will cycle too often. Pressure Jet boilers are potentially more suitable to residential use, as they can be more tolerant to wide running, but are more expensive. Pressure Jet boilers can be quieter to run, though some may need external circulation pumps depending on how they are fitted. Forced air combustion wet heating boilers are less flexible, though with newer multi-heat output, they cycle less. They can be more susceptible to poor quality fuel though (older red diesel, rather than the DERV now generally supplied dyed had bad effects on many heaters- especially if drawn from engine tanks where the fuel had degraded over time by passing through the injector bypass on the engine, heating the fuel).
All systems, if installed well, will work. Many residential owners prefer pressure jet systems- especially if they are going to be living in a marina or around other boats- from an external noise point of view. However, some pressure Jet systems are possibly better for larger widebeams than Narrowboats.
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Often it comes down to cost. The forced combustion heating systems are designed as secondary heating sources for land vehicles aroginally, whereas the pressure Jet systems are designed from the start for heating boats/houses/static accommodation. Pressure Jet may be a more economical choice in the longer term, but the much higher initial purchase price may be a disincentive. I have seen both systems working well and and also performing poorly- again, it goes back to how they are installed and used. Pressure Jet boilers are more tolerant of user error in the long term, but can still have issues.
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Hope that helps somewhat...!

Mark Langley  | 7.55PM, Wednesday 14 December

I always suggest that liveaboards have two forms of heating; IE an Eberspacher or similar CH system AND a solid fuel stove. Then they are not without a source of heat when the CH boiler needs servicing which is usually in the middle of winter.

Rupert Smedley  | 11.36AM, Thursday 15 December

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