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Old 18-04-2013, 08:54   #1
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How much does it cost to install air conditioning?

For a break during the day I often check Yachtworld. The thing is, it's very hard to search for boats with air conditioning. You have to use the keyword search and that all depends on what the other broker typed in (eg., some put in air con, others air conditioning, air conditioned, etc...). So it makes it a real pain in the neck.

Generally speaking, how much does it cost to put AC in a 44 foot boat? Are there ways to minimize that cost. IE., I'd be willing to install it myself.

Thanks.
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Old 18-04-2013, 09:03   #2
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Re: How much does it cost to install air conditioning?

I, with the help of two friends, installed 2 Marinaire 16 btu units for less than $4,000 total.

I chose Marinaire because they were based in Miami where the boat was at the time and their components are top quality.

They are self obtained units and were plug and play providing you have the seacocks and A/C already in place
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Old 18-04-2013, 09:06   #3
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Re: How much does it cost to install air conditioning?

rodlmao...a/c in boats usually doesnt work long.i bought a window unit for mine for when i sit in a marina in 110+ degree heat with humidity, as happens here in tropics. until i got to mazatlan, i didnt need a/c--nor did my gato... with advent of 110 degrees sans breeze in hot sun, i chose to pop out a window so we didnt melt in sun. have a window unit that works just fine..the alleged cruisers i have met with air conditioning only cruise marinas. if that is your choice, awesome--there are boats for that....look for the gulfstars and larger ct and formosa and force, and kelly peterson, and some morgans, esp the kelly peterson designed ones, and other high dig marques.. anything that originally sold in the 70s and 80s at pricing over 120k usd.
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Old 18-04-2013, 09:29   #4
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Re: How much does it cost to install air conditioning?

Air conditioning works fine in larger recreational power and sail boats, if you do it right. A 44 foot powerboat certainly qualifies. You need to make sure your generator has adequate power and voltage. You also want to install an air conditioner that was specifically designed for boats, otherwise you will end up with a failed blob of rust sitting on your cabin top.

If you spend time onboard at the dock then you are going to want 50 amp/220 volt shore power. 30 amp/120 volt shore power will not be enough power to run an air conditioner that is large enough to adequately cool a 44 foot powerboat and still have enough power to cover your shipboard loads. There are no 120 volt air conditioners large enough to adequately cool your boat.
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Old 18-04-2013, 09:41   #5
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Re: How much does it cost to install air conditioning?

my failed blob of rust is going to be 2 yrs old in june---still bright white and functioning perfectly well...was 140 usd for 5000 btu, which is perfect for my formosa 41...
when i sail i keep the unit under my berth, and life is good...no rust , no muss...
i install it easily every hot summer--this 3rd one will be for heat not humidity, for a change.

as with all equipment, including the boat, what is is what you care for and make good. if you ignore it , it will become a ball of useless rust.
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Old 18-04-2013, 09:59   #6
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Re: How much does it cost to install air conditioning?

Sorry, I respectfully disagree with purchasing a home air conditioner and sticking it through the window of a boat for a number of reasons.


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Old 18-04-2013, 10:24   #7
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Re: How much does it cost to install air conditioning?

Quote:
Originally Posted by zeehag View Post
my failed blob of rust is going to be 2 yrs old in june---still bright white and functioning perfectly well...was 140 usd for 5000 btu, which is perfect for my formosa 41...
when i sail i keep the unit under my berth, and life is good...no rust , no muss...
i install it easily every hot summer--this 3rd one will be for heat not humidity, for a change.

as with all equipment, including the boat, what is is what you care for and make good. if you ignore it , it will become a ball of useless rust.
My Marine Air gave up the ghost a few months ago, after running perfectly for two years. I just haven't had time to trouble shoot it and figure out the problem so I grabbed an old 110v window unit I had in a closet and made a hood for it to fit over a hatch.

It seems to keep my 42 foot boat cool as long as you don't cut it on at 1:00 pm when it is already 90 degrees and expect it to deal with that. Sooner or later, I'll have to fix the main a/c but I'm not in a hurry since I'm not cruising and only taking day and weekend trips right now.

But, I had done the same thing before on my 32 foot sailobat with a cheapo 110v unit for quite a while and last time I checked, the guys I sold it to are still using it whenever they feel like cooling off.

Sometimes, things just work better in real life than they look on paper.
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Old 18-04-2013, 10:35   #8
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Re: How much does it cost to install air conditioning?

Our thre Marine Air units have worked well for the last 6.5 years as both heaters in San Francisco and for AC in the tropics.

In the high humidity areas they suck out about 5 to 7 gallons of water from the cabins per hour, which drains to the bidlge. Ours were factory installed, which charges much more than if you installed them yourself.

Depending on the size of the unit, you should be able to install two units on your boat for less than $4k, if you do it yourself...

You can normally run two AC units on one water pump">raw water pump, but remember you need an in and out thru hull. So you might have to do a qiuck haul out to install the intake, unless you have a unused thru hull already. The raw water outlet would be above the water line and normally does not have a valve.

As far as window unit... Several of my buddy boats, in an attempt to save money use window air conditioners on their fore hatches or companion way. These work ok, but you have to store them underway and get them out when stopped. Then you have to work around them when they are in place... They also rust pretty fast. For me that sound like too much work.
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Old 18-04-2013, 10:36   #9
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Re: How much does it cost to install air conditioning?

I can imagine it being quite difficult to cool off what is basically a floating condominium with little or no shade in warm climates. The sun is indifferent to what it's heating up and it has a LOT of power.

I've wondered why there aren't any systems that use the water itself to help the process. I mean, water will generally be less than 80 degrees. In theory that should help you cool 100 degree air at least a little bit. It's the same idea as geothermal heating/cooling systems for houses.

Anyone want to try? I'm happy to lend ideas and elbow grease. ;-)
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Old 18-04-2013, 10:38   #10
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Re: How much does it cost to install air conditioning?

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Originally Posted by djtopper View Post
I can imagine it being quite difficult to cool off what is basically a floating condominium with little or no shade in warm climates.

I've wondered why there any systems that use the water itself to help the process. I mean, water will generally be less than 80 degrees, so that should give you at least help you cool ambient 100 degree air a little.

Anyone want to try? ;-)
Are you talking about SWAMP COOLERS?
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Old 18-04-2013, 10:46   #11
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Re: How much does it cost to install air conditioning?

Air conditioners? Not a real high priority up in the PNW. Heaters and furnaces on the other hand..... While living near the ocean in the Phillipines ( high heat, high humidity) I had several different types of air cons. The basic idea was to expect two years out of them and then toss and replace. They were all however, energy hogs. If you are on metered power it will be a substantial expence.
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Old 18-04-2013, 11:05   #12
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Re: How much does it cost to install air conditioning?

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Are you talking about SWAMP COOLERS?
No I wasn't thinking of evaporative cooling. But if there were a way to do that without adding humidity, that would be fine I suppose.

I'm thinking more of a system that runs air through a network of water cooled fins or coils, keeping the air the same humidity it was to begin with, then passing that along to a conventional unit so it doesn't have to work as hard to cool the air to the desired temperature.

The trick is to make it efficient enough so that the process of pumping the water and air above doesn't take more energy than just having a conventional unit do it. I don't think that should be too hard.

It's more the same principle a turbo charged engine's intercooler implements. In fact, I contend that if you pull air through a decent sized intercooler (fed by sea water) located before your AC's air intake, it would drop the temp a few degrees saving you some BTUs when cooling the air with the main unit.

But clearly an intercooler is designed for a different task and much higher pressure loads / temps. So I'm thinking this kind of setup could be optimized for a boat. EG., you could easily employ a series of 5 or 10 "intercoolers" in your airway.

EDIT: Thinking more on it, I also wonder if you could use evaporative cooling to cool the media inside the intercooler fins instead of water itself. EG., water vapor might cool the fins internally better than liquid water.
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Old 18-04-2013, 11:12   #13
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Re: How much does it cost to install air conditioning?

rodl..my window unit is in a formosa window only in hotville in marinas for summer only use and does not hang out in my window during adventuring or ailing, and is more efficient than most of the 5000btu marine units. cheaper to run and faster to cool and dehumidify the boat. and it keeps away pests....the 2 legged kind....an di keep the ambient temp inside boat down by using lots of plastic tarps.....
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Old 18-04-2013, 11:13   #14
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Re: How much does it cost to install air conditioning?

A lot will have to do with the type of boat... Is she a monohull or cat? Is she a production boat that already has runs in it? Can your 110 system handle the load?

You will definitely need either 50 amp shore power or 2 30 amp cables if you plan on running more than one unit...
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Old 18-04-2013, 11:20   #15
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Re: How much does it cost to install air conditioning?

We have two units on our 40 ft. sailboat. One a 12k btu and the other an 8k btu. Both run off a separate 30a 120v line. The 8k unit is in a separate cabin. the 12k unit cools the salon, galley and forward cabin quite well. It has been running nearly flawlessly for 6 years. The only problems have been a bad relay in the control box that I replaced myself and some crappy thermostats that I also replaced.

Our installation is a little tricky in that there is one raw water pump for both units which involves a separate pump control box. Installation is not difficult. I did not install mine(previous owner did) but could very easily. Can not give you any cost info.

I would not use this as a factor in purchasing a boat. So many other things that are more important that cannot be easily added or repaired.
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