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Propane heater... gas tanks???

 
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bmcminn



Joined: 20 Jul 2019
Posts: 30
City/Region: Bellingham
State or Province: WA
C-Dory Year: 1992
C-Dory Model: 19 Angler
Vessel Name: TBD
Photos: bmcminn
PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 1:41 am    Post subject: Propane heater... gas tanks??? Reply with quote

I'm going to spend a night or two on the boat in the next couple weeks. I have a nice cover that extends the cabin back to the transom, like a lot of the ones I've seen on the site.

I thought about getting a little propane heater, like a Mr Heater Little Buddy. But I'm wondering about gas fumes. My tanks are under the motor well and in great shape, no residue on the outsides or anything. The vents go to outside the tent cover. But the tanks are still inside the area that the tent encloses.

And, that'd be a bad mistake if there was a problem.

I see that lots of folks have heaters on their boats, but maybe all inside of Alaska bulkheads on 22s and bigger?

Thanks!
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ssobol



Joined: 27 Oct 2012
Posts: 1856
City/Region: Leesburg
State or Province: VA
C-Dory Year: 2008
C-Dory Model: 22 Cruiser
Vessel Name: SoBELLE
Photos: SoBelle
PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use a Lil' Buddy heater in my 22. It is inside the cabin though. IMO, if you can't smell gas fumes (provided you can actually smell things at all) when under your cover, then there isn't enough gas vapor to cause a problem.

That said, don't put the heater near the tanks.

Be aware that you have to provide adequate ventilation when using a propane heater. Insufficient ventilation can cause the air to get a bit thick and uncomfortable. You also will need a CO detector.

The Mr. Heater units are IR radiant heaters. They put out IR energy that makes you feel warm, but they do not really heat the air like a convection or ceramic heater does.

The Mr. Heater units have "tip over" sensors that cut the fuel if the unit tips. A rocking boat can cause them to switch off.
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DavidM



Joined: 24 Dec 2017
Posts: 168
City/Region: Punta Gorda
State or Province: FL
C-Dory Year: 2006
C-Dory Model: 22 Cruiser
PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The radiant heaters burn very clean and I doubt if you will smell any exhaust fumes. The propane tank will drain though the scupper if there is a hose or similar failure.

But I wouldn't leave on on all night. Use sleeping bags.

David
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thataway



Joined: 02 Nov 2003
Posts: 17189
City/Region: Pensacola
State or Province: FL
C-Dory Year: 2007
C-Dory Model: 25 Cruiser
Vessel Name: thataway
Photos: Thataway
PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It would be helpful if we knew what model of boat you own. (Put the model in your profile, so it shows up each time you post, as well as the area you boat in.

I am not a big fan of any type of un permanently installed propane heater in a boat like a C Dory. David mention's scuppers--the only C Dory with scuppers is the 25 and Tom Cats. But they may be sealed off by water depending on the location of scuppers and how the boat is on its lines. Do NOT count on any propane tank draining thru scuppers--unless it is in a specific propane locker which is vented overboard to the bottom. (For example there are two of the small propane bottles we keep for the emergency stove on our 25, which are kept in PVC pipe which have a grid in the bottom, and are on the side of the splash well.

YES, do have a CO monitor--I like several--one at the level your head is when sleeping and a second near the helm or dinette.

The problem is oxygen depletion. as well as Carbon monoxide. Yes, I know that the heaters have sensors, and that they can fail. I also worry about seals failing on the canisters when putting the heater on or off the top of the canister of propane. We have never used a propane heater in any of our boats in 70 years of boating. I have a good friend who was badly burned when the seals failed on a propane canister.

As far as fumes from the gas tank--should not be an issue, but one never knows. I read of boats which find leaking fuel tanks or fittings at least once a week on the various boating forums I read.

If you have a 16, there is probably little choice other than having the cockpit cover. As others noted, lots of warm clothes, and a good sleeping bag. That has worked well, even when camping where it snowed or temperatures were freezing at night, is safer.

Enjoy your 'out of season" boating!

_________________
Bob Austin
Thataway
Thataway (Ex Seaweed) 2007 25 C Dory May 2018
Thisaway 2006 22' CDory November 2011 to May 2018
Caracal 18 140 Suzuki 2007 to present
Thataway TomCat 255 150 Suzukis June 2006 thru August 2011
C Pelican; 1992, 22 Cruiser, 2002 thru 2006
Frequent Sea; 2003 C D 25, 2007 thru 2009
KA6PKB
Home port: Pensacola FL
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bmcminn



Joined: 20 Jul 2019
Posts: 30
City/Region: Bellingham
State or Province: WA
C-Dory Year: 1992
C-Dory Model: 19 Angler
Vessel Name: TBD
Photos: bmcminn
PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks everyone. I updated that profile in between the 2 year old disassembling the cupboard and the five year old getting ready for school, haha. I'm still working on a vessel name but that's a different topic.

I've had all those cold mornings in tents and am kinda over it. We used a Coleman little heater in our VW vanagon and never thought about gas fumes, which is interesting because those vehicles tend to have leaky gas hoses. Though our motor was really clean.

Wouldn't use a heater while sleeping though. Just bundling in a bag and some fleece works great. It's more for sitting up and reading through old forum posts on the laptop or motivating into the morning routine.

I had the same thoughts about using a stove to make coffee.

All of this to be figured out while docked the first few times. I'll post again once I've tried things out.
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thataway



Joined: 02 Nov 2003
Posts: 17189
City/Region: Pensacola
State or Province: FL
C-Dory Year: 2007
C-Dory Model: 25 Cruiser
Vessel Name: thataway
Photos: Thataway
PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 11:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The vans and RVs are vented to atmosphere--not that makes gas leaks any less likely, but it is less likely to have explosive fumes in the bilge.

Thanks for clarifying what boat you had.
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kaelc



Joined: 19 Jul 2017
Posts: 170
City/Region: Saanich
State or Province: BC
C-Dory Year: 2007
C-Dory Model: 25 Cruiser
Vessel Name: Island Magic
Photos: Stil-Afloat
PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have my Mr. Buddy still hanging around but even with its safety features, I'm hesitant to use it and have it taking up space in the boat. It does kick out a ton of heat. With young kids like you and I have it could also result in burns Sad

The Wallas does not kick out enough heat in the dead of winter. A friend installs and can't say enough good things about: https://planarheaters.com/dealers/
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ssobol



Joined: 27 Oct 2012
Posts: 1856
City/Region: Leesburg
State or Province: VA
C-Dory Year: 2008
C-Dory Model: 22 Cruiser
Vessel Name: SoBELLE
Photos: SoBelle
PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We use a Little Buddy heater on our 22. It is sufficient for our needs. The 1# canisters last quite awhile.

https://www.amazon.com/Mr-Heater-F215100-3800-BTU-Propane/dp/B001CFRF7I/ref=sr_1_2?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5smE8NOD5QIVSr7ACh1Apgq-EAAYASAAEgLsUfD_BwE&hvadid=174244856812&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9030753&hvnetw=g&hvpos=1t1&hvqmt=e&hvrand=342598414172952830&hvtargid=kwd-2084373222&hydadcr=24656_9648981&keywords=little+buddy+heater&qid=1570228204&sr=8-2
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SEA3PO



Joined: 02 Nov 2003
Posts: 1823
City/Region: Chester
State or Province: CA
C-Dory Year: 2003
C-Dory Model: 22 Cruiser
Vessel Name: SEA3PO
Photos: SEA3PO
PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2019 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We tried a Mr. Buddy heater but the low oxygen sensor kept shutting it off...so I would never use it in the cabin...

Installed a propane boat heater in the cabin...it is sealed and vented outside the boat....the tank is in the lazaret (sealed) and that is vented to the outside..(Coast Guard approved) .works fine and we love looking at the fire.

Joel
SEA3PO
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ssobol



Joined: 27 Oct 2012
Posts: 1856
City/Region: Leesburg
State or Province: VA
C-Dory Year: 2008
C-Dory Model: 22 Cruiser
Vessel Name: SoBELLE
Photos: SoBelle
PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2019 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SEA3PO wrote:
We tried a Mr. Buddy heater but the low oxygen sensor kept shutting it off...so I would never use it in the cabin...

Installed a propane boat heater in the cabin...it is sealed and vented outside the boat....the tank is in the lazaret (sealed) and that is vented to the outside..(Coast Guard approved) .works fine and we love looking at the fire.

Joel
SEA3PO


The instructions say that you have to have a source of fresh air when using the Mr. Heater units. I keep one of the side windows open about an inch when the heater is on. Never had it shut off due to low O2, but the tilt sensor is kind of sensitive. If the boat gets waked it can turn off. You have to be careful if you pick it up and move while it is operating or the tilt sensor will switch it off.

The heater is unlikely to deplete the O2 enough to be hazardous before it shuts off.
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hardee



Joined: 30 Oct 2006
Posts: 10131
City/Region: Sequim
State or Province: WA
C-Dory Year: 2005
C-Dory Model: 22 Cruiser
Vessel Name: Sleepy-C
Photos: SleepyC
PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are planning on doing much off season boating it would be worth it to look into one of the diesel heaters available (Wallas 1300 or higher, Wabasto or other) and not have to deal with the propane hazards and H20 formation. Propane is responsible for more boat explosions than any other single fuel source. (And when it happens,it is serious.)

Harvey
SleepyC Moon


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bmcminn



Joined: 20 Jul 2019
Posts: 30
City/Region: Bellingham
State or Province: WA
C-Dory Year: 1992
C-Dory Model: 19 Angler
Vessel Name: TBD
Photos: bmcminn
PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will definitely look into getting one of the more permanent heating solutions. Eventually I think our family will move into a 22 but that is 7-10 years away. I remembered that I had another canvas wall for separating the cabin from the cockpit and put that up. That way when I ran the heater for the small amount of time that I did, the area with the gas tanks is vented. Just in case there is a leak but I was poking around in there today looking at the bilge pump and it looks very clean and neat. But diesel would make me feel safer.

The photo is during the day so the back is zipped up.

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SEA3PO



Joined: 02 Nov 2003
Posts: 1823
City/Region: Chester
State or Province: CA
C-Dory Year: 2003
C-Dory Model: 22 Cruiser
Vessel Name: SEA3PO
Photos: SEA3PO
PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In looking at your picture I did not realize your boat is open to the rear....I can't imagine why a Mr. Buddy heater would not work fine for you...mine has an oxygen sensor built in and that would tell you if it was not safe...it just shuts the unit down if the level gets high...

My boat is a cruiser and was sealed too tight so it shut itself down...and I quit using it...worth a test when you are not in the boat...might even get an oxygen meter just to test....it would be tons cheaper than an installed heater...I think I have about $1k invested in my marine propane heater... Also my heater eats propane....only gets about 6 hrs of burn time to the gallon.

Joel
SEA3PO
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South of Heaven



Joined: 15 Aug 2015
Posts: 1343
City/Region: Sharon
State or Province: MA
Photos: Blue Water
PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bmc, that's a cool enclosure on the 19! Looks spacious!

I wouldn't worry about using the Lil Buddy. Ive used one on all of my boats over the years and never worried about it. My new boat has 280 gallons of gas onboard.....

_________________
<><><> Jason <><><>

2005 Silverton 35 Motoryacht (Twin 385 Crusaders)

2000 Camano 31 Troll (Volvo TAMD41p) (SOLD 2/19)

2007 C Dory 25' Cruiser (200 hp Suzuki, sold 7/17)

2003 C Dory 19' Angler (80 hp Yamaha, sold 7/16)

1995 C Dory 16' Angler (40 hp Yamaha, sold 2/16)
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Hunkydory



Joined: 28 Mar 2005
Posts: 2186
City/Region: Cokeville, Wyoming
State or Province: WY
C-Dory Year: 2000
C-Dory Model: 22 Cruiser
Vessel Name: Hunkydory
Photos: Hunkydory-Jay-and-Jolee
PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I too have used the Buddy heaters a lot. In SE Alaska it was for back up, but we had to use it as the main heater for longer & more times then desired due to Wallas failure. The big problem with the Buddy Heater there was the excessive condensation. My first Buddy Heater went to many extended cruises on salt water & got pretty rusty, so purchased a new one. The new one works fine at lower altitude, but at near 8000 feet Yellowstone is very difficult to light & if lit wouldn’t stay on, due to its very sensitive oxygen sensor. Now on Yellowstone trips we still use the old one. Even when the Wallas works, on a very cold morning it takes awhile to build the heat up & the Buddy does a good job of quick heating the cabin, while the Wallas is warming up.

Jay

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I will not waste my days in trying to prolong them------Jack London
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