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Be Careful with your Diesel Heaters


Anderzander

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The 2nd link is a download to phone or PC, it can be stored in the download folder & accessed from there. It won't open in a new window from here. 

Exhaust on cab heaters is or usually on the bottom so it is outside the vehicle & piped away from the body,  & the fresh air intake should be piped to the opposite side so it cannot recirculate the exhaust gases again into the burner & the fuel in, air in, exhaust out connections should be sealed from the cab area by a gasket. 

Sounds like the marine safety check needs to be revised to allow a more detailed inspection of any cabin heaters connections, a unfortunate incident for the 2 families concerned. 

 

Edited by western
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I wonder if it’s harder to keep combustion gases and breathing air spaces separate on a boat?

The diesel powered air heater we use is a D2, mounted in the cab but sealed from the underside where the combustion air intake and exhaust pipes connect.

The heated (breathing) air is drawn in at the end of the heater, so it’s cabin air that is recirculated, not from the inlet pipe that is connected next to the exhaust.

We have a CO monitor and of course rely on the integrity of the actual burner case to maintain it gas-tight. 

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Wonder if it was the warm air type, or hot water and radiator type ?

I have Webastos fitted to all my vehicles that pre heat the water system, but I have always been a bit bothered about the safety of warm air types for this very reason, especially if one is going to sleep with the thing running. It would have to be installed and maintained properly. The hot water type will generally be installed outside of the living/passenger space, so will be safer from this aspect

I have also seen a couple of installs in boats, and the exhausts always seem to be bodged.

As for the other victims in the article, running a cooker in an enclosed space ............ Dont people have any brains at all ?

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1 hour ago, Peaklander said:

 

I wonder if it’s harder to keep combustion gases and breathing air spaces separate on a boat?

 

I think it must be - as they can’t mount the heater to an external bulkhead, without having the fuel line and combustion intake outside the boat too.

1 hour ago, smallfry said:

Wonder if it was the warm air type, or hot water and radiator type ?

Sorry - the 2nd link works for me, but the report shows pictures of the heater and it’s location - it’s an air type.

 

I guess the lessons are - fit it to an external bulkhead* to separate the exhaust from the inlet - and regardless, makes sure you’ve spent the few pounds it takes to have a working Carbon Monoxide detector.

 

*even then I wonder if you were parked up could you get a scenario where a prevailing breeze might bring exhaust into the interior or to the air inlet. There is always the possibility of a leak internal to the heater itself too - which would be inside anyway.
 

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Now I have clicked twice on the link I can read the detail and the main points are that

The cabin heater ... had been installed in a cabinet ... circulating air was drawn from inside the cabinet ... connection to the exhaust pipework was loose. Consequently, a small but steady flow of carbon monoxide was leaking into the cabinet, which was then drawn into the heater’s air inlet

So the installation is similar to mine but one key difference is that the exhaust silencer was mounted inside and that appears to have been the cause of the leaks. My heater sits on a gasket and this should seal the interior from the exhaust side of the circuit.

It make you think though and maintenance is of course key.

 

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Reading the report it pin points the exhaust silencer & connections as a non Marine recommended type silencer & loose connections, so allowing some exhaust gases to be recirculated within the cabinet & boats cabin. looks to be the same silencer as I have on my D2 heater.

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Sadly there is no safety check for diesel heaters on boats, hell there's only a safety check for gas if commercial or at installation. They are all mounted inside or in an engine room, its not viable to mount them on an external bulkhead. Over the years I've seen so many things on boats that are downright dangerous but the owners will not sort it or pay someone to.....

Mike

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The vehicle application exhaust silencers have a condensate hole in the bottom which was probably a large contributor, the marine application exhausts are usually a one piece affair with no drains and you’re meant to use exhaust paste at any joints.

Speaking as a Webasto and Eberspacher dealer, please please please always use a good working carbon monoxide alarm if you’re going to sleep with the things. 

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6 hours ago, FridgeFreezer said:

Very sad.

Makes me nervous all the folks fitting the cheap knock-off heaters to campers - I don't think I'd trust my life with one for the sake of a few quid.

TBH I dont actually think I would want even an expensive warm air one running while we are sleeping. No problem while awake though, would always be aware that CO will make you drowsy.

Probably better to invest in some woolly Jim Jams and thicker socks !

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My Webasto air heater has both intake and exhaust from outside of the truck ( rear wheel arch ) with the exhaust coming out by the vehicle exhaust and the intake underneath the middle tub.

 

When fitting, i didn't actually give it any thought with regards to mixing up the exhaust with the input ( not that it will ), however after knowing that certain parts were faulty in this case and caused a problem, i'll keep an eye on fittings as i've used mine extensively 

 

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33 minutes ago, Badger110 said:

 

My Webasto air heater has both intake and exhaust from outside of the truck ( rear wheel arch ) with the exhaust coming out by the vehicle exhaust and the intake underneath the middle tub.

Are you referring to the combustion air inlet?

I would have thought that most installations recirculate the heated air don’t they?

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I’ve seen it done both ways - with the rationale being that recirculating the air is easier to increase its temperature… but is more prone to increased humidity. 
 

On my 80 the inlet is on the end of the seatbox - which means with S1 panels gaps and lack of seals I’m getting a mix of fresh and recirculated air 😂

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10 minutes ago, Peaklander said:

Are you referring to the combustion air inlet?

I would have thought that most installations recirculate the heated air don’t they?

I am, and it's why i never gave it much thought as mixing the exhaust with the combustion inlet won't affect the interior air, but the thread has given me prod to check everything regardless :D

 

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4 hours ago, FridgeFreezer said:

The factory fitted setup on our ambulance draws fresh air from outside and blows it into the interior, and the combustion inlet & exhaust are piped out to opposite sides of the vehicle - the exhaust comes out on the side with no window.

This essential to avoid not only humidity and CO2 build up, but also to ensure that if there is a leak from the combustion side to the cabin side of the unit, making sure that sufficient fresh air is drawn in to prevent lethal levels of CO build up from recirculating the same air and continually adding more CO.

I share your views on buying the cheap Chinese knock offs, John - I’m continually surprised and disappointed by those who think they have shown remarkable intelligence in finding the cheapest unit.  QC in China is reprehensible, where it exists, and they have no compunction in churning out lethally faulty goods - they even exported toxic fake rice to Africa for human consumption.  Buying Chinese goods on the internet is risky, and this is like Russian roulette.

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