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Old 25-06-2010, 07:58   #1
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Carry-on Air Conditioner for 31' Boat ?

I've been considering gift ideas and I'm thinking about going with an A/C unit at the moment. This will be going in a 31' boat (Beneteau...if the hatch dimensions would make a difference). I've been looking online all morning (including running a search here), but I haven't found much.

The only one that I've found (listed below) is good for 6,720 btu/hr. Would that be good enough for a 31' boat? The only sailboat that I've slept in with an A/C unit (hatch mounted) was 34'. That unit seemed to not have a problem keeping the interior cool.

I've got a call in to the Dometic dealer, but I'm holding my breath on how much this is going to cost ($200, $500, or more)? I appreciate any input you might have (i.e. other companies/units to look at).

products - Dometic
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Old 25-06-2010, 08:05   #2
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They work great and will easily cool your boat. The downside is they are not cheap ~$800.
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Old 25-06-2010, 08:08   #3
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Ah. ~$800 for a ~$100-200 A/C unit in a pretty package. That is steep. Thanks for the info.
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Old 25-06-2010, 08:14   #4
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Ummm...If you can't take the heat simply sail to a cooler climate ????
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Old 25-06-2010, 08:18   #5
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Ummm...If you can't take the heat simply sail to a cooler climate ????
The boat is located in New England. However, even up there...there's a couple months that are uncomfortably warm.

Edit: Are there any cheaper options out there that are still aesthetically pleasing (i.e. not a home window box fan with a tarp duct taped to it to direct the air).
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Old 25-06-2010, 08:33   #6
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They are about a kilo-buck at West Marine, might find them cheaper from another vendor, but not much cheaper. I have a 40' sailboat in Mexico, and when I know I will be in a marina during the hot and humid months of August or September (heat index over 115) I pull out the Sears 6000 Btu window-mounted unit and install it on the butterfly hatch with a cardboard and duct tape plenum. It takes a day or so to completely cool the boat off but just sitting in the cool air stream at the start is immediate relief. The cardboard is remarkably durable (lasts thru thunderstorms) and free from local depositos. The unit is pretty small, but lives onshore when not in use. Not that hard to move around and doesn't weigh that much - maybe 25 pounds?
The unit cost $80 at the time - maybe up to $160 now. With remote control...

Michael
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Old 25-06-2010, 08:41   #7
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They are about a kilo-buck at West Marine, might find them cheaper from another vendor, but not much cheaper. I have a 40' sailboat in Mexico, and when I know I will be in a marina during the hot and humid months of August or September (heat index over 115) I pull out the Sears 6000 Btu window-mounted unit and install it on the butterfly hatch with a cardboard and duct tape plenum. It takes a day or so to completely cool the boat off but just sitting in the cool air stream at the start is immediate relief. The cardboard is remarkably durable (lasts thru thunderstorms) and free from local depositos. The unit is pretty small, but lives onshore when not in use. Not that hard to move around and doesn't weigh that much - maybe 25 pounds?
The unit cost $80 at the time - maybe up to $160 now. With remote control...

Michael
Michael,

I just called around to a hand-full of Cruiseair vendors. This unit is no longer produced. It's strange that Dometic would still list it on their website and carry an active dealer listing. The place I just called in MD suggested calling West Marine, however, they don't even show a listing for this product.

I'll look into that option. I was hoping to find a marine specific unit that doesn't cost an arm and a leg though. The saying "you've gotta pay to play" comes to mind here though. lol.

John
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Old 25-06-2010, 08:52   #8
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check craigslist .. somebody is always selling a cruiseair. they sure look better than some window unit in your companionway.
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Old 25-06-2010, 09:03   #9
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John,
To my knowledge there is no marine specific unit (beefed up against corrosion), only units adopted to be easier to use on boats (usually the cloth plenum and a built-in handle). The small window mounted units are universally used in Mexico, partly because of the cost/benefit ratio, partly because of availability. Mine has been in (part-time) use for about six years; if it ever does fail, it will be tossed and replaced with a new Energy Saver unit.
Some of my neighbors have made plenums from thin plywood covered with thin reflective insulation - like the covers used for car windshield reflectors - which look more "polished" and probably work better. Either way, the plenums are temporary and can be removed in a couple of minutes; takes perhaps twenty minutes to reinstall.
The price I saw was from a Google search for WM, but when I clicked on it I got an error. My guess is there wasn't enough demand.

Michael
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Old 25-06-2010, 09:58   #10
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West Marine had those CruiseAir units on sale a number of months back, they were probably clearing out their stock.
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Old 25-06-2010, 11:52   #11
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One fine day I will post a picture of it, but I built a frame that sits on the forward hatch out of light plywood and SS screws, epoxy, and marine enamel. I bought a GE 5000 BTU AC unit for $89 at Wal Mart. I bought a large outboard motor cover for $22, split the seam halfway and attached it to the unit with SS finishing washers. Total cost: probably $160 and 8 hours labor. This cloth hood goes over the back of the opened hatch and keeps the rain out. Set the frame on the hatch, cinch down the cover, then slide the AC in. It will cool off my little Hunter 19 in 10 minutes on a hot day. Our 33 Hunter has central AC so no need for another unit. The AC makes the cabin comfortable on a 100 degree day and is the difference between go/no go when there is some work to be done in the cabin on a hot day.

One advantage to this approach is that the maximum repair bill would be $89 for a new AC unit and if it bites the dust on a holiday weekend, go to Wally World and you are back in business.
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Old 25-06-2010, 15:19   #12
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What about one of these portable units? Does not mount in a hatch just would sit in the cabin someplace?

Walmart.com: 9,000 BTU Sunpentown Portable Air Conditioner: Home Improvement


Im thinking about one for my own boat as as temporary solution until we install a system.
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Old 25-06-2010, 15:28   #13
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What about one of these portable units? Does not mount in a hatch just would sit in the cabin someplace?

Walmart.com: 9,000 BTU Sunpentown Portable Air Conditioner: Home Improvement


Im thinking about one for my own boat as as temporary solution until we install a system.

The biggest drawback to those is the hot air that is discharged out the duct. It needs to be replaced in the cabin somehow..........solution......draw in hot air from every little vent point on the boat. So in essence what you have with this little devil is a cool breeze while being surrounded by hot air coming in like a cold draft in winter
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Old 25-06-2010, 15:35   #14
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Makes sense to me. Probably will focus on finding a cruise air on e-bay or craigslist. Thanks I knew it would be too good to be true.
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Old 25-06-2010, 19:57   #15
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The cost/price differential between window A/C's from Walmarts/Home Depot versus those units sold at boat stores is dramatic. It makes it very cost effective to put the window air conditioner in a deck hatch and use home depot insulation foam board to make wedges and baffles using the "aluminum foil tape" to seal everything. You save hundreds of dollars going with the window units.
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