Friday, March 18, 2011

The Heating Dilemma

 We're in the midst of trying to figure out how to stay warm aboard the boat while we're not plugged into shore power. This isn't as easy as it sounds. The interior of the Gemini 105Mc is very efficient. This is a nice way of saying there isn't a spare inch of space that isn't used for something, somehow, someway. Lovely, if you aren't trying to be - er - frugal about your heating solution. Our first choice, based on price point, availability, and ease of installation was a propane fireplace like the one left - the Dickinson Marine Newport Propane Heater. Nice unit with good heat output. Sealed burn chamber so that moisture is vented. (Propane produces water as a burn by-product and moisture inside a boat equals mold and mildew.) Biggest challenge: Where to mount the unit. We thought we'd solved that problem and went cheerfully into a store to order a heater. "You do have twenty inches of clearance above the heater, right?" the sales clerk said. We groaned. We'd be lucky to get eight inches of clearance. We left without ordering anything and trudged down to the boat where we stood staring around the interior. Harsh words were said. I don't think either of us has sworn as much as we have since buying a boat...but that's another story. We finally agreed we could make it work. It meant redesigning the settee a bit, and it might not be pretty, but we could make it work.

My father had another suggestion. He sent us to look at the Scan Marine website. Apparently, Wallas diesel-fired heaters can be mounted in tiny spaces with very little clearance. The price tag is higher than the propane heater. By three or four times. It's a forced air heater - a little like the furnace on your house. Forced air in a boat is good, it helps dry up the moisture that accummulates aboard and helps suppress mold and mildew. All good things. The complicated part is running air ducts. The Gemini is made in layers - an outer hull and an inner living space that gets set down inside the hull layer. Access between those layers is challenging at best. So while we have a perfect location (we think) for the Wallas furnace, we're still working out the duct logistics.

All this to say we still have no clue how or if we'll manage to stay warm aboard the boat as we head north. The tempation to skip heat altogether and just walk around wearing down sleeping bags has also been running high.

1 comment:

  1. But that's when you put your Princess Foot down and say "I am NOT living in a sleeping bag!"

    Or, at least, that's what I would do.