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Old 06-03-2008, 06:28   #1
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Considering A/C retrofit

Anybody with experiece with Cruisair Zephyr marine A/C units? I'm considering one for our existing 25' express cruiser. Retailer has one in his 29'er and says it's adequate to the job. I'm more interested in hearing about reliability etc. of the Cruisair brand.

The unit we're considering is listed on e-Bay #300183885542 and from my research it's a great deal ($1099) on this size unit. Most others in this range are a few hundred more and you have to buy an additional installation kit at $300 more.
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Old 06-03-2008, 06:55   #2
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I've found the Dometic / Cruisair a/C units to be fairly good value.
Make certain you plan your installation to get a good (direct) condensate drain.
5,000 BTU/H may be even larger than you require (figure 60 - to 90 max. BTU/H per square foot of cabin).
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Old 06-03-2008, 07:24   #3
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This is the second unit we have had in two boats. They last a long time. The new owner of out last boat just had to service the coolant so it lasted for 19 years. He replaced the scheader valve and recharged and it's fine again. Reverse cycle is worth it too as I think the heater when the raw water is above 45 degrees F works better than the A/C. It's nice to just set thermostat and make it automatic too.

The one item about it that you do need to be more selective about is the circulating pump. I don't think they come with one and it could be easy to wimp out on buying one. I like the March pump as the pump head is a different part and you can replace just the pump head. They cost a bit more though it's the one thing you have trouble with if you get a cheap one. Cal pumps are terrible and unserviceable.

Of course you need a through hull and strainer as well as a plan for draining the condensate that developers in the pan under the cooling coils. Air locks in the raw water cooling lines can easily form so make sure the line is easy to get at and make it as short as possible. Our current boat has a bad habit where an air bubble always is formed at the top of the sea strainer after prolonged non use. It forces me to open the top and close it again before I start the pump. Not bad as it also forces me to check the strainer too. The Cruisair does have an over temp cut off if you lose cooling water so it can't burn itself out.
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Old 06-03-2008, 07:47   #4
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mermaid had a miami boat show sale with free shipping from defender. the smallest unit M5 is 5200 btu.
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Old 06-03-2008, 07:48   #5
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Thnx Paul & Gord

The Zephyr units are cooling only which is a bit of a drawback. Other than that the unit is complete with everything needed to hook it up, thru-hulls, pump, hose, duct work etc.

Space is going to be a problem on a 25' boat. W/O measuring I'm guessing we'll have to sacrafice some cupboard space below the stove. I don't think it'll fit in the space below the v-berth.

Still ponderin' this one.

Thnx.
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Old 06-03-2008, 08:01   #6
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Take a look at Cruisair's smaller "Cuddy" models.
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Old 06-03-2008, 08:22   #7
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Condensate control

If you choose to add the A/C unit you might wnat to add one of these Mermaid Condensator / Accessories / Marine Division / Home - Mermaid Manufacturing - Home of Mermaid Marine Air Conditioning to your system. We did and it has been very effective at discharging condensate and avoiding having a wet bilge. The condensate pan drain is run to a small Tupperware box with a removable lid in the bilge and the Condensator pick-up line collects the drainage from the bottom of that. Since the Condensator only works while the water pump is running, but condensate continues to collect for a while even after the A/C unit is shut off, the Tupperware contains that unit the next time the unit is activated keeping the bilge dry.

The key to these units is keeping the little filter screens clean and ensuring that the little back-flow preventer does not become blocked. (I keep a couple of spare back flow preventer's just in case--they're available from US Plastics for $2.00 USD each).

Cheers,

s/v HyLyte
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Old 06-03-2008, 08:33   #8
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The Stowaway looks like a nice choice at 6,000 BTU's I'm not sure if the 3500 BTU Cuddy is enough but it is a tad smaller. Both units probably fit your space requirements though. The 6000 BTU Stowaway is only 12.2 in. high, 10.7 in. deep and 17.6 in wide and I think that would do well even down here in August for your boat design. If there is even a chance you might head south it would be worth it.
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