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Home » Product & Planning Guide » Heating » Forced Air Combustion


Thank you for visiting our Forced Air Combustion page. Our aim is to supply you with relevant, comprehensive and impartial information relating to Forced Air Combustion.

Features: Considerations:
Low maintenance Can be noisy
Can be installed in the engine bay Require good quality fuel
Compact dimensions Maybe considered expensive if used all the time
Room or radiator thermostats  
Can heat domestic hot water  
Optional water heating with many models  
Modern & Sophisticated...
Originally developed for cab or engine pre-heating in the automotive industry, this category of heating is probably now the commonest form of modern canal boat heating. With the growth of the marine leisure market these heating systems have become highly sophisticated in functionality whilst being compact and simple to operate.
Air and Water...
Specialist marine configured systems are available for both wet (hydronic) and dry (blown air) installations and come in a range of outputs to suit craft from small cabin cruisers to the largest wide beam boats. Both types of system can be fuelled by either LPG or fuel oil. The majority of installations found on craft on the inland waterways will be fuelled by diesel, but more on that later...

For example, a basic installation could be a warm air blower servicing a single duct for keeping a cabin warm. At the opposite end of the scale, a sophisticated install could include heating water for domestic use through a calorifier, supplying a number of radiators and fan assisted heat exchangers controlled via a multi event timer and even integrating with a marine air conditioning system.
Electronic Control...
The use of electronic control units not only allows for simple diagnostics in the event of a fault but also enables remote heating control via smartphone applications for top of the range models.

For many owners these systems provide the closest marine alternative, in terms of ease of use, to a familiar domestic heating system.
Whether the burner is diesel or gas fired the basic operating principle is the same.

Pressure, Combustion, Heat Exchange, Circulation, Exhaust...
For hydronic or wet systems, a signal from the control unit warms up a glow plug whilst simultaneously activating a fuel pump. The motor starts up which drives an impeller. This impeller draws air in through a dedicated intake, fuel is added and the resultant mixture is pressurised and forced into the combustion chamber. The glow plug ignites the mixture which combusts. The resulting hot air combustion gases are driven through a heat exchanger which transfers the heat into the systems circulatory liquid. This liquid is pumped through the calorifier, pipe work and radiators and the expended gases are expelled through an exhaust which vents externally.

In the case of warm air blowers the principle difference is that air is usually drawn in from the cabin, passed through the heat exchanger and then pumped back into the cabin, creating a circulatory system.
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