Stateroom Heater Installation

0 Comments 05 January 2010

When it’s cold and damp outside, which might touch on about a third of the year in the Pacific Northwest, the boat feels alot more inviting with a little heat in the cabin.  Usually we just run a small West Marine heater on a medium setting in the salon and a couple of ‘flying saucers’, one in the head and one in the stateroom, just for some air movement.  When the temps dropped well below freezing late this Fall, the salon was comfortable but the stateroom felt cold, damp and uninviting……tough to get enthusiastic about spending the night aboard.  I could turn on the diesel heat and move a little portable electric heater into the stateroom, but it seemed like it would take some time to get rid of the chill and dampness.  A permanently mounted electric heater that could be left on a low setting would be superior to the ‘flying saucer’ and probably keep the small area nice and cozy.  Maybe enough heat would transfer up the companionway that the West Marine heater would not be needed.  There is some unused and awkward storage space under the hanging locker, so the question of where to install the heater is settled.  King Electric makes a nice stainless steel marine unit (DAW1215-SS) right here in Seattle; combine that with a 2-pole stainess thermostat (PT-2-SS) and I should be set. 

The heater is designed so the grill mounts on the bulkhead;  the face of the grill sticks out maybe 1/2″, then the heater control knobs stick out another 1/2″.  That makes the knobs too easy to get bumped and broken, so I set about recessing the heater about 1-1/2″ and I thought a little LED courtesy light would be a nice touch.  Here are three thumbnails of what I have so far….
(Click on the thumbnails to seee more detail.)

001-Teak_Frame-tn The rectangle in the background is 1″ x 2″ teak, glued and screwed together. It will allow the heater to be inset on the plywood bulkhead beneath the hanging locker. An opening at the upper left allows for an LED courtesy light. The teak rectangle in the foreground functions as a trim ring, covering the raw edge of the plywood and roughtly matching the dimensions of other teak trim in the stateroom.
005-Innards-tn The King heater is nicely made from 304 stainless steel. With a cast iron motor and squirrel cage fan, I expect years of quiet trouble-free operation. The heating element is a non-glowing design and the wall can is allowed to have zero clearance to combustibles. Excellent points for marine usage. The thermostat mounts on the lower left bracket.
010-Grill_LED-tn Here is what the finished assembly looks like. Much of the nice teak is hidden except for the trim molding; the stainless steel grill gives a further nautical touch. The two-pole thermostat controls the on/off function and the heat settings (between 45° and 80°). The Dial-A-Watt selector switch is at the upper left. There are 6 different wattage levels available 250, 500, 750, 1000, 1200 and 1500.

When ‘Velkommen’ is using shore power, only 30 amps are available, and there are a number of smaller marinas with only a 15 amp hookup.  It’s nice to be able to manage the power so all the various electrical “essentials” can be used.

Heater-cutout_tn Trim-installed_tn Time to cut another hole in the boat. Measure twice, cut once. The trim rectangle fits tightly and can be glued in since the opening is large enough to allow the heater grill to pass through.


The end result.

The end result.

It’s always nice to have a project come to a close.  Especially when you are happy with the results.  I still have a nice bit of storage room under the hanging locker floor.  This heater is only 4 inches deep so it does not take up much room, even when recesssed to protect the knobs.  The courtesy light is perfect, just enought light to illuminate the controls and the stateroom floor.  It’s not easy to get good pictures in a very confined space but I think you can get the general idea.  With a toasty warm stateroom, I should probably take a nap.



Gerry - who has written 111 posts on MVVELKOMMEN.

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