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Propane heater installation - fuel system

May 20, 2020
19
Hunter 30 Nelson BC
I’m looking for fuel system advice, re installing a Dickson wall mount heater in my ‘91 Hunter 30T.

The heater is now mounted on the starboard wall/bulkhead between the V berth and the kitchen table, with a 12v wired propane alarm at the floor below it, and chimney ready to fire. The best place I see to build a propane locker is the upper starboard lazerette, just behind the wheel, as it’s the only place high enough to vent a compartment for a 10lb tank. In the locker goes the tank, a regulator, a solenoid switch, and perhaps another alarm, though I’m wary of the added electric draw.

Questions:
1. Should I bother building the locker or just put the regulator et. al. in the lazarette and rail mount the tank outside?
2. If I rail mount the tank, should I choose a different lazarette for the regulator? Note only the adjacent port lazarette has an easy exit for the propane hose, where shore power usually runs. However, this is the lazarette with all the electrical - master switch, shore power charger, etc. Not sure if that’s safest.
3. Design ideas to build and vent the full propane locker, presuming I put it as planned in the upper starboard lazerette.
4. Where best to run the propane line (a heavy duty rubber hose about 3/4”) from heater to tank: centrally through the floors, along the walls through the cabinets, under the fridge?

Thanks, in advance…
 
Feb 21, 2013
3,638
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
1. Good plan to install the tank in the cockpit lazerette assuming it fits, is above the waterline, has a drain and is "dedicated" to the propane tank only AND If not, install a separate propane locker like this one RL93271 REAL 10# 2.5 Gallon Propane Tank Locker Kit by Sure Marine (suremarineservice.com) inside the lazarette or attached to the rail.
2. Mount the presssure gauge, regulator and solenoid valve immediately after the tank.
3. Install the vent at the lowest point on the locker.
4. Run hose where convenient and can be inspected. Run hose continuously from inside the propane locker to the appliance without fittings and use a vapotight straight-thru fitting where the hose exits your propane locker.
5. Consider a fume detector. Hunter did not provide one on my 46 but another boat has a Trident LPG control with 2 fume detectors (one in the bilge and the other under the cooktop) to detect for leaks and acts as a permissive safeguard that will not allow the solenod valve at the tank to turn on unless it detects NO leak.

Suggest reviewing these articles:
Propane Systems On Boats with Mike Bonicker - Bing video
Safe Propane Installations | West Marine
Some Propane Dos and Don'ts | Practical Sailor (practical-sailor.com)
 
Last edited:
Jan 7, 2011
2,839
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
Was the propane heater never hooked up?

The lazzarette can ONLY be used to store the propane tank IF it is designed for that. On my O’Day 322, the lazzarette is not drained and can be accessed from the interior of the boat…so not an acceptable place to use as a propane locker.

Seems surprising that the Hunter 30 does not have a propane locker already….or are you wanting to add a second tank for the propane heater? I keep 2 propane tanks on board (one hooked up and one in a second propane locker as a backup). This also simplifies things as I only have one solenoid to turn on and off. I do not have a heater though, so not sure what the plumbing would be if I had a second appliance… 2 gas lines from the locker (1 to each appliance) to avoid a “T” fitting in the cabin?

PO of my boat ran a propane line from the locker to a quick disconnect fitting in the cockpit to hook up a propane grill on the rail…I never felt too comfortable with that setup (the fitting was in the lazzarette and came out in the cockpit)…

I just recently replumbed the grill to use an external tank and will be removing the rest of the OP’s winter.

You certainly need to be careful when using propane. I saw a pick-up camper explode once when they had a propane leak and someone struck a match…boom! People came out with their hair on fire… certainly leaves an impression.

Be careful….and good luck.

Greg