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Houseboat generator exhaust thoughts

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Old 09-23-2003, 01:02 PM
  #11
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Most of the Houseboat manufacturers have a retrofit for this problem. When I was with Sumerset Hosueboats we were the fist company to come out with the dry-stack system, we also refit most of the boats at cost. (no labor charge) Contact the houseboat company and see if they have a kit and will do it for him. This is something a professional should do!!! Do not mess with CO and generators. Most of the CO poisoning cases were from when the exhaust exits under the rear swim deck and people would swim either under or close to it for extended periods of time. Do not run the geneerator if people are back there or at night. Our last house boat had the dry-stack system and we ran the generator all day and night with no problems.
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Old 09-24-2003, 09:41 AM
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Gasoline motors generate high levels of CO.

Against common perception, propane motors generate similar, if not higher, levels of CO than a gas motor. (theoretically, a properly tuned propane motor will produce 40% less CO than a gas motor, but I have rarely seen one stay in tune very long). The motors develop leaks in their flow diaphragms and start running a little rich, pouring out massive amounts of CO. We battle this constantly in our shop with forklifts and regularly hear the CO detectors screaming. LPG (Propane) is used in industrial applications primarily because 1) it doesn't produce many oxides of nitrogen when burned 2) it is not a fuel that must be "handled" like liquid diesel and liquid gasoline, which OSHA virtually forbids the handling of liquid flammables in all but an approved fueling area which most small mfrs do not have.

Diesel put out 15% of the CO as a gas motor. In addition, diesel also puts out some stuff in the exhaust that will make you vomit if exposed to high levels of it. A person will wake up puking if a diesel genset cracks a manifold and fills the boat up with exhaust. This is far better than never waking up. (plus you get DOUBLE the runtime on a given fuel tank over a gas genset).

I've hung my CO detector 12" to one side of my diesel genset exhaust, and 2" above water level. Boat was docked in its slip, no wind. Ran for 30 minutes. Detector showed a 6. OSHA will let you sniff a 6 for eight hours.

My Nissan propane towmotor will fill my entire loading area to a 40 in ten minutes. My Caterpillar towmotor will show a 130 in ten minutes. Any reading over 80 results in an instant alarm, while lower readings are time-weighted. The 40 reading will alarm in about twenty minutes.

My Ford 1/2 ton can run for 30 minutes and get an 8, but that is fuel injection and catalytic converters and no-load idling. My SL500 Mercedes can run for 30 minutes and I still read a 0. My Cat powered topkick will show a 4 after 30 minutes.

Just food for thought.
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Old 09-24-2003, 09:58 AM
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Thanks for the info guys. Interesting...
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Old 09-24-2003, 12:56 PM
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Damn it!!! I was convinced that I was going to buy a Generator of my 38 Special!!! But, Now what??

I've had a bad feeling about runn the generator while we were swimming off the back of the boat while the little one slept in the cabin. Heck I've had nightmare's about these things!!!

Now I don't know what to do!!! Maybe I'll go back to my "bunch of batteries" idea!!
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Old 09-24-2003, 10:44 PM
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Fun,

I still think a portable Honda is a good idea. Set it on a mat on the bow when you have swimmers, and anchor from the rear. Wind will keep your bow and genset downwind of your swimmers.

If you got a lot of wind, it will disperse the fumes anyhow, so you can anchor any way you wish then.

CO detectors a must.
Be aware that household CO detectors are designed to be turned ON and left ON. If they are unplugged for any length of time, it affects the internals and they can start working weird or not at all. That is why all of the household ones come with internal batteries to keep the guts from shutting down (they don't work as an alarm when the juice is off, but the internal batt keeps the "element" heated up or whatever till the juice comes back on).

Marine CO detectors are designed to be turned off and on.

Honestly, I use Nighthawk household style with internal batteries that I have fitted with a "silent" switch. I silence the unit when I unplug it cause otherwise it starts chirping to alert you that it is on the battery and it wants to make sure you get the juice back to it. I use the silent mode whenever I have them unplugged. I like them cause they use time-weighting and have a digital readout in ppm.

I also have 12volt marine CO detectors on all my boats.

That crap will kill you if you're not respectful of it.
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