Frequently Asked Questions


Q: How do I properly maintain my Torrid Marine Water Heater?


A: Proper maintenance of a Torrid Marine Water Heater starts at the point of installation. Specifically, adding three-way drain valve during installation allows the water level to be lowered or emptied without discharge into the bilge. This enables an annual anode inspection and at the same time, a reverse flush from the outlet back to the inlet to remove sediment that may build up at the bottom of the tank. It also allows one to change the anode and heating element, if needed. Additionally, if reverse osmosis is the source of water that is heated in the Torrid Marine Water Heater, consideration should be given during installation for how to properly buffer the water (see below).  

*In the photo to the left, 100% depletion of anode is shown on the right, next to its replacement.  Anodes should be replaced at 50%.  Photo credit goes to Garrett @ Finish Line Kustoms - Mobile Marine Services of Bradenton, Florida.

Q: How does Reverse Osmosis (RO) water affect the use of my Torrid Marine Water Heater?


A: Reverse osmosis removes approximately 98% of the particulate normally found in either tap water or sea water. This causes the resulting water to be “unstable” and slightly acidic which is harsh on the system for a couple of reasons. First, acidic water is more prone to corrode metal than PH neutral water. Second, slightly acidic water balances itself by “seeking minerals” and thus depleting the anode and reducing its ability to act as a sacrificial metal inside the tank. For these reasons, we recommend that during installation of a water heater that will be filled with RO water, install a PH buffer on the inlet side of the water heater. We recommend also installing an in-line “Big Blue” Calcite neutralization buffer that provides just enough calcium carbonate to neutralize the PH before it get to the water heater. It is extremely important that the anode be inspected annually with RO water and to replace it when it approaches 50% depletion.

Q: Is it OK to use water tank cleaner found in most home improvement stores?


A: Yes, it is. All Torrid Marine Water Heaters have an inert porcelain lining that not only protects the inner vessel from corrosion, it also helps prevent bacterial growth. Given that we recommend a reverse flushing of the tank once a year, that is a good time to use the store purchased water tank cleaner. Simply follow the instruction on the Water Heater Cleaner.

Q: I’ve noticed some discoloration in the water when I initially run the water. What is that?


A: Any discoloration is a cause of concern. We have heard that it occurs most often on boats that use reverse osmosis (RO) sourced cold water. Because RO water is slightly acidic, it may be the result of depleted anodes or something else reacting in the lines between the water heater and the faucet. If the discoloration continues while the water is running, it is coming from the water heater. If it stops and runs clear while the water runs, it is more likely something going on in the water lines than the Hot Water Heater. Both should be investigated. 

Q: What is the benefit of purchasing a Torrid Marine Water Heater with two heat exchanger coils?


A: Two heat exchanger coils allows for independently sourced, and isolated coolant loops to heat the domestic hot water without mixing coolants. For example, a boat may have two engines that otherwise do not share coolant; two heat exchanger coils in Torrid Marine Water Heaters preserves the isolation of the coolant so a potential problem with one engine’s coolant doesn’t adversely affect the other engine or generator. Also, with the increased popularity of hydronic cabin comfort heaters, one heat exchanger coil can be dedicated to the engine and the other to a hydronic heater that doesn’t require electricity or engine running to heat the water. The same is true for boats fitted with liquid cooled electrical generators (gensets). 

Q: Does it matter which loop is connected to the engine and which is connected to my hydronic heat?


A: As a rule, the most powerful/capable heating source is placed lowest in the hot water heater. The radiant heating capabilities of an electrical element is greater than a heat exchanger loop and given this capacity, the primary electrical element is placed at the bottom of the water heater and is able to heat the entire tank of water. Also, we have learned from nearly 40 years of customer feedback that as a general rule, engine coolant is able to heat a greater volume of domestic water in a tank than a hydronic heater or a genset. Therefore, we recommend that the engine’s coolant loop be matched to the lower heat exchanger coils and the hydronic be the highest loop. This means that the water above the coil will heat properly but not everyone will get a hot shower when just the upper heat exchanger loop is used. We therefore recommend that if possible, each boat owner test their water heater’s capabilities to understand which configuration works for their specific needs.

More Frequently Asked Questions


Q: What is the point of having two independent electrical heating elements?


A: Many of the boat manufacturers that purchase from Torrid Marine purchase our Marine Water Heaters to allow the future owners of their boats to have maximum flexibility how they provide creature comforts such as hot showers. This flexibility includes anticipating heating the hot water with nearly unlimited 50-amp, 240 volt shore power or more limited genset or power inversion from the house battery banks when the boat is in use. By providing multiple power configurations in the same Marine Water Heater, they can be hard-wired to more than one respective distribution panel which enables simple and safe power switching.

Q: Your installation instructions indicate to use care with check valves and accumulator tanks. Why?

 A: It seems that every boat has a unique domestic water system that may or may not share most characteristics with home water systems. The process of converting cold water to hot creates some pressure within the hot water heater. This internal pressure may try to equalize within the closed domestic, on-board water system and depending on the specific configuration, check valves may be in place to reduce the back flow of hot water into the cold water side of things. In fact, some pressure in the system is a good thing (enhanced by accumulator tanks and smart fresh water pressure pumps) as it reduces cycling on the pressure pump. Too much pressure with nowhere to go can cause a T&P safety valve to momentarily release pressure. The key takeaway is that .

Q: When I turn on my cold-water faucet it sometimes runs hot before it gets cold. Why is that?


A: Your boat may not have an in-line check valve at the inlet side of the hot water heater and when the hot water heater is energized, it may “push” some hot water backwards into the cold water system. This is not unusual.

Q: How do I balance the hot temperature created by the engine to the temp. created electrically.


A: Depending on a number of variables, but primarily because engine coolant can run upwards of 190 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas our thermostats are set to heat water to approximately 125 degrees, these differences may occur. We recommend balancing the hot water outlet temperature, regardless of source, to a desired temperature closer to 125 degrees. This can be done by adding our Heatguard Tank Booster Pro Mixing Valve (or similar) and adjusting the electrical thermostat upward a comfortable and safe output temperature. Doing so has the added benefit of extending the usable capacity of the hot water in the Torrid Marine Water Heater.

Q: Do you make your high quality Marine Water Heaters for other purposes other than just boats?


A: Yes, due to the legendary durability of Torrid Marine Water Heaters, our water heaters are installed as OEM equipment not only in some of the world’s finest yachts but also in high-end RVs and Motor Coaches, off-grid and Tiny Houses and in safe rooms and bunkers configurations.