Propane System and Excel H2O Heater

Post here if you want to discuss a topic specific to the PDQ Capella.
NautiBits
admiral
admiral
Posts: 184
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:37 pm
Location: Niceville, FL (36086)

Propane System and Excel H2O Heater

by NautiBits » Sun Oct 20, 2013 3:01 pm

The propane system on this boat was moved out of the port rudder compartment and into a dock box mounted on the rear cockpit seat. Although I'd like to recover that luxurious real estate, that is not necessary at the moment. So, the propane tank, regulator, solenoid, and gauge live in the dock box on the seat. The propane line and wiring snake down the center of the davit cage, enter the transom and are neatly tucked up into the top aft corner of the lazerette on the way to the port rudder compartment. From there, it is the original path to the galley. It is all new wire and propane line to the galley.

This setup does not have the integrated bilge sniffer.

So, the original water heater was long gone when I bought this boat. Even the glassed in shelf in the holding tank compartment in the starboard hull was hacked out. I guess the previous owner didn't like it. My other post regarding the holding tank may explain why. The plumbing and wiring is still in the holding tank compartment though. The Excel unit does not need the wiring, I don't think.

Trying to keep things simple, I intend to install the heater in that compartment. I may rebuild a shelf stub such that I'll have support for an aluminum or ss mounting bracket for the heater.

Initially I thought I'd just T off the existing propane system which I guess is how the original setup might have been. There is no existing T or manifold of any kind. However, I'm also thinking of keeping the two systems separate. This avoids having to enable the propane system every time someone wants 'on-demand' hot water. I could store the tank in the port rudder compartment, as it was initially designed(and the whole system may return to). I could store the tank in the starboard compartment with the holding tank and heater. That would make for a nice short propane line. I'm a tad wary of storing the igniter and the bomb together though :mrgreen:

Your thoughts?
Joe & Deb
s/v Cat's Meow
2000 Classic 36086

NautiBits
admiral
admiral
Posts: 184
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:37 pm
Location: Niceville, FL (36086)

Re: Propane System and Excel H2O Heater

by NautiBits » Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:54 am

I think I got some feedback for this in one of my other threads.

I believe some of you have(had) the Excel water heater in the holding tank compartment. Are there any issues regarding getting the heater exhaust/heat out of the compartment. I think I'm being warned to avoid modifications to the boat that may turn the transom into a 'Salvador Dali clock". Although that look might be perfect in a Greenwich Village walk-up, I'd not like the look on my boat.

I know the Excel heater is 'ventless', but it does throw off some heat I believe. There is a blower hose from that compartment to a vent on the starboard top step. There is currently no fan in that vent line. I suppose cool air would enter the compartment from the drain hole and exit as it is heated through the vent hose. Normal convection? Note to self: weekly(daily) removal of Labrador fur from all drain holes is prudent!

Thoughts?
Joe & Deb

s/v Cat's Meow

2000 Classic 36086

NautiBits
admiral
admiral
Posts: 184
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:37 pm
Location: Niceville, FL (36086)

Re: Propane System and Excel H2O Heater

by NautiBits » Sat Oct 26, 2013 2:22 pm

Images of 'Salvador Dali Clocks' have put the water heater project back on the drawing board. That's like someone warning you to not install an un-firewalled wifi music system lest some evil-doer infiltrates your collection of classic rock with Terry Jacks' 'Seasons in the Sun'.

I've now read the installation instructions for the water heater. Who knew that 600mm would translate to 24 inches of clearance above the heater? That would be difficult (read impossible) in the holding tank compartment.

I guess I could put a vent over the vent-less water heater?

Or buy a different heater :evil:
Joe & Deb

s/v Cat's Meow

2000 Classic 36086

User avatar
chicagocat
admiral
admiral
Posts: 181
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2004 2:39 pm
Location: Chicago (36052)

Re: Propane System and Excel H2O Heater

by chicagocat » Tue Oct 29, 2013 11:14 am

Joe,
You can definitely mount the Excel in the holding tank compartment. Mine is in there on Cat Tales. But a couple caveats. First, it will throw off some heat. When it does, the heater has an automatic shut off that will trigger. Mine has a 4" vent hose (like a dryer vent hose) with an internal fan pulling air toward the stern, through a hole in the back wall of the compartment. That was installed by the previous owner. But I wouldn't bother with that, as it's loud as hell and doesn't work that well.

Here's my advice: Just open the compartment hatch when taking a shower. That's what I do and I never have a problem with it overheating and shutting off any more.
If you're just running hot water for a short time (shaving, etc), you won't need to open the hatch.

One time I forgot to open the hatch while showering and the expanded hot air literally blew the hatch open. No damage, it was unlocked and just popped open, but it scared me.
PDQ 36052 - 1996 LRC - "Anne Z" - Chicago
and 2001 PDQ 36 Classic (Tall Rig)- "Cat Tales" - Punta Gorda, FL

NautiBits
admiral
admiral
Posts: 184
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:37 pm
Location: Niceville, FL (36086)

Re: Propane System and Excel H2O Heater

by NautiBits » Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:09 pm

Okay.

I've got the vent without the fan. But it would only be sucking air in through the compartment drain hole.

Opening the hatch seems simple enough. I'm thinking a switch of some kind in the holding tank compartment (maybe a water shutoff valve) to ensure compliance with the 'open hatch while using' precaution.

That would eliminate the relocation to the head problem.
Joe & Deb

s/v Cat's Meow

2000 Classic 36086

User avatar
Root
skipper
skipper
Posts: 71
Joined: Thu Mar 30, 2006 8:33 am
Location: Smith Point Chesapeake Bay

Re: Propane System and Excel H2O Heater

by Root » Sat Nov 02, 2013 6:28 am

Hello Joe and Deb, We updated our hot water system on Wind Seeker a few years back using an Excel propane heater. I think the old discussion thread on this topic would be beneficial to you. Here is a link to that installation and discussion within this forum. Regards, Ray

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=1739&p=5466&hilit= ... ters#p5466

User avatar
jimlong
admiral
admiral
Posts: 128
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2008 8:29 pm
Location: Albuquerque, Nm. (Ocean Dreamer 36071)
Contact:

Re: Propane System and Excel H2O Heater

by jimlong » Sat Nov 02, 2013 10:53 am

IMG_1849.JPG
Bob Johnson (s/v Peace) gave me the idea of installing it in the head and while not an easy installation have been happy with it.

NautiBits
admiral
admiral
Posts: 184
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:37 pm
Location: Niceville, FL (36086)

Re: Propane System and Excel H2O Heater

by NautiBits » Sat Nov 02, 2013 12:29 pm

Thanks Gents!

Great brain candy!

Jim's pic came in clear. The one's attached to Root's thread didn't display. That could be my worthless 'free' internet connection, or my tired old (7) laptop, or a user malfunction.

I haven't checked/memorized every thread yet. The Admiral is particularly sensitive to heat these days. Humidity runs a close second on her -hit list. How is that managed in the head installations? Will I need a 'monsoon' powered vent installed too? There is mention of a stainless heat deflector for some installs. I haven't seen a pic yet though.

There are pros and cons to all. How do we address the 24" overhead clearance? Does a heat deflector and vent take care of this? There is no reasonable way to get that dimension correct in these boats. I am all eyes and ears. On the one extreme there is the Salvador Dali clocks. On the other hand, the appliance has been in place for half a dozen years, or more.

As yet, there is no propane sniffer on board. I planned to lay one below the oven in the galley. I suppose it would be prudent to put one wherever the heater ends up.

Thanks for the feedback.

Joe Mc
Joe & Deb

s/v Cat's Meow

2000 Classic 36086

NautiBits
admiral
admiral
Posts: 184
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:37 pm
Location: Niceville, FL (36086)

Re: Propane System and Excel H2O Heater

by NautiBits » Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:02 pm

Checked dimensions again (measure 3 hundred times, cut fewer holes in perfectly good boat). For the install on the wall right of the head sink, the manufacturer's dimensions could work. The exhaust would be good for warming up one's face, perhaps. There would be a few inches above the sink, room for the toothbrush holder, and still be able to get in and out of the head without bumping into the heater. Only the towel holder would have to be moved.

Thoughts?
Joe & Deb

s/v Cat's Meow

2000 Classic 36086

User avatar
thinwater
admiral
admiral
Posts: 1091
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2008 8:08 am
Contact:

Re: Propane System and Excel H2O Heater

by thinwater » Sat Nov 02, 2013 10:44 pm

Sail with a cardboard mock-up a few times. I did so for 6 months with my heater.

Has anyone had a survey with a no-vent heater? No propane leak detector? CO monitor?

I would be very carefull. Make certain the locker has NO ignition sources, has a drain, and has NO conection to the cabin or other compartments. Both safety and re-sale matter. Regulators commonly leak, hoses chafe, and threads loosen.

Just be careful. Check the code.
Writing full time since 2014.
"Rigging Modern Anchors,"Seaworthy Press, https://www.amazon.com/Rigging-Modern-A ... 1948494078
Book Store. http://sail-delmarva.blogspot.com/2017/ ... store.html

NautiBits
admiral
admiral
Posts: 184
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:37 pm
Location: Niceville, FL (36086)

Re: Propane System and Excel H2O Heater

by NautiBits » Sun Nov 03, 2013 7:04 am

I wish I'd done the mock-up thing before getting the dog. It would have had to have been a very hairy box, that drools, though :shock:

Good counsel TW! I hope that I'm well into the due diligence aspect (except that I've already purchased the heater - part of the sale :cry: ).

Regarding the heater in the head install: Some pros: easier to adjust, monitor, keep clean(?); Cons: holes in the vanity surface(gas and water coming through near the wall), or holes in the wall where it snakes in from the electrical cabinet(looks like what Jim has), need propane detector under head sink and or in electrical cabinet, shower sump pump or everything in the electrical cabinet provide heat and spark for stray propane ignition, no drain to the outside(like the galley stove) for the stray propane.

The current propane locker is a dockbox on the cockpit transom-wide seat. It sits beside a twin dockbox that houses the watermaker. It is ignition free and drains well. One of the long-term projects is to relocate the propane locker to the port rudder compartment, where it was designed to be, the water-maker would also move to less sunny climes(Under the settee near the fridge compressor?). The Admiral has expressed a desire to reclaim that seat for her guests.
Joe & Deb

s/v Cat's Meow

2000 Classic 36086

User avatar
jimlong
admiral
admiral
Posts: 128
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2008 8:29 pm
Location: Albuquerque, Nm. (Ocean Dreamer 36071)
Contact:

Re: Propane System and Excel H2O Heater

by jimlong » Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:10 am

Our propane cylinders are stored in the aft port locker and supply the Excel through a flexible high pressure hose. When we use the heater it is only for for short Navy showers in the separate shower area and always have the hatch open, don't really use the heater in the sink area. Xintex propane monitors keep us abreast of any potential leaks.

NautiBits
admiral
admiral
Posts: 184
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:37 pm
Location: Niceville, FL (36086)

Re: Propane System and Excel H2O Heater

by NautiBits » Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:40 am

My Dad acquainted me with Navy showers. These days, that would be child abuse :mrgreen: Of course, he grew up with seven sisters and three brothers in a two bedroom house with one bathroom. Those Navy showers were a luxury for him.

Still works for me though.

Jim, thanks for setting the context. I'll get back with more particulars later.

Burning daylight....window to remove and reseal...rain coming...
Joe & Deb

s/v Cat's Meow

2000 Classic 36086

User avatar
chicagocat
admiral
admiral
Posts: 181
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2004 2:39 pm
Location: Chicago (36052)

Re: Propane System and Excel H2O Heater

by chicagocat » Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:49 am

The "short navy showers" Jim mentioned remind me of when I first installed got Cat Tales and was super excited about the Excel.

My 16 year old niece came to visit me and stayed on the boat. I told her not to worry, this isn't like other boats, it has as much hot water as you like. Well, she took a typical teenage girl shower and I had to refill the water tank, since she showered for 45 minutes and emptied the entire tank. She was like "you said I could use as much water as I wanted". Never tell a teenage girl that you have infinite hot water...
PDQ 36052 - 1996 LRC - "Anne Z" - Chicago

and 2001 PDQ 36 Classic (Tall Rig)- "Cat Tales" - Punta Gorda, FL

User avatar
thinwater
admiral
admiral
Posts: 1091
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2008 8:08 am
Contact:

Re: Propane System and Excel H2O Heater

by thinwater » Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:47 pm

Re. Chicogo Cat :lol: :lol: :lol:

Aint' that the truth!

On the other hand, I've cruised a good bit with my daughter she has learned. Sometimes I cruise with as many as 3 teenage girls an she has some how trained them so that they can all take showers on half a tank combined. With long hair, that's all I could do.

It is the simple explanation that we have X water and when it is gone, it's gone and the marina is 2 days away that works. I found plain facts work better than lectures.

----

I have a vented instant propane water heater and it's been good. Honestly, we don't use it much. In the summer we take cold showers and in the winter sink baths are often better some days. Only the shoulder seasons and a few in the summer.
Writing full time since 2014.

"Rigging Modern Anchors,"Seaworthy Press, https://www.amazon.com/Rigging-Modern-A ... 1948494078

Book Store. http://sail-delmarva.blogspot.com/2017/ ... store.html

Post Reply