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Old 28-02-2014, 14:33   #31
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Re: Do I need AC?

Has anyone checked to see if that Mitsubishi "ventless" air conditioner works?

Yes, if you are using the AC during the day it will be in the way in the companionway. The little ones can be picked up easily and put on a spongy pad on the quarterberth during the day. A 31 foot boat usually only has a hatch right over the V berth, when I put the AC there it was too noisy and cold even on the lowest fan setting.

The most important use of AC is for cooling off the cabin right before you try to go to sleep. That pool of sweat thing prior described is bad. A remote control for the unit is nice, as is a thermostat.

My breaker box does look as robust as my home breaker box. Just more professionally wired. And a 4000 BTU ac unit doesn't draw very much power except at start up, and has never flipped the breaker. But if I use the toaster, cell phone charger and electric range at the same time that will usually flip it ha.

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Old 28-02-2014, 15:46   #32
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Re: Do I need AC?

I spent many years cruising the bay. At anchor, you might survive the summer heat and humidity. In a marina, it will likely be miserable.

We purchased a hatch mounted air-cooled AC unit that has served us well over the course of several boats. With proper planning you can operate the unit in the rain, or easily remove to batten down the hatches in severe weather. Even if you can't draw the boat down to 68 or 70 degrees, the reduction in humidity is remarkable.

Amp draw of these units is minimal. If I recall, 5-6 amps, 120V.

And by the way (shameless plug), I have a used, excellent condition model Cruiseaire Carry On unit that I would accept $400 for.

Regardless, as seconded just now by my wife, get some kind of AC.

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Old 28-02-2014, 16:03   #33
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Re: Do I need AC?

Originally Posted by watermusic 1 View Post
Buy a cheap wall mounted ac unit the square box type, usually about 500w, place it over a hatch and make triangle sides, it doesn't take any space down below and drains onto the deck. We use this daily in marina and on anchor if it's really hot (were in cairns in the tropics), other yachts leave them on the wharf when they sail. It's a bit ugly but is coat effective and works really well.
+1 for this idea - we have been doing it for 20 years. We buy the window AC units from discount houses like Home Depot, Lowes, etc. and then get a sheet of "R-Max" foam board - the stuff with aluminum foil on the sides. The costs are minimal and the best part is the window units are extremely miserly on electricity compared to all the pumps and whatever that installed marine units use.

Then position the unit over the ceiling hatch and use wood blocks to make it level so that the condensate water drains outside. Cut the triangles from the "R-Max" foam boards along with 2 rectangles to fill the gaps on either side of the AC unit to the edge of the hatch frame.
Then we use aluminum duct tape to seal the foam boards and AC unit to the hatch frame.

When getting underway, we use a razor knife to slit the aluminum tape and remove the triangle & rectangle boards. We put the AC in the engine room or some other cabin where ever it will fit.
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Old 28-02-2014, 16:05   #34
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Re: Do I need AC?

Originally Posted by gonesail View Post
marine AC take up a lot of space (which you will not have much on a 31) make a lot of noise and require more thru hulls. our raw water intake sucked up various forms of sea life and assorted sea weeds .. not good. i would try to live without one. a better option might be refrigeration. you will have to decide. good luck.
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Old 28-02-2014, 16:32   #35
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Re: Do I need AC?

We tried the standup units with the hose to take out the warm air. We were not impressed with it's ability to cool the boat. It was better then nothing but the same BTU window unit with a hood with divider for the two air flows worked a lot better and was cheaper.
Be careful about thinking you can just use AC at night. If the boat is hot it takes a long time to cool down with the small units you probably want to lug around on deck. We find we need to leave it on during the day even if we really only need it at night unless it is overcast and windy and we can keep the boat at a moderate temp during the day.

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Old 01-03-2014, 10:59   #36
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Re: Do I need AC?

Appreciate all the responses.

My 31 actually has two hatches (one over v-berth and one over salon). Someone had mentioned this as a good sunshade, so really thinking about going this route. Also if anyone liveaboard on the chesapeke chime in. My boat is currently in Hampton, but plan on living aboard on the York River at York River Yacht Haven.

Here is the tarp I'm looking at for a sunshade, just plan on bungee/tying down suspended over the boom when not sailing.

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Old 01-03-2014, 14:18   #37
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Re: Do I need AC?

York River Yacht Haven is a nice spot. Great restaurant there. We used to drive and hour to eat there when we lived up near White Stone.
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Old 01-03-2014, 14:50   #38
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Re: Do I need AC?

I agree, its a personal decision, a personal choice, not necessarily expensive (especially if only used while on shore power), and can make a huge difference in lots of situations.

That said, I have almost never used one on a boat. In my car, all the time. On a boat, very close to never.

The reason is that when I am cruising around, I am not living aboard in a marina. If I was, I bet I would have used AC for thousands of nights. But I don't.

Sure, its hot when in some places. Its hot when you go outside. Its hot when you go sailing. Its hot when beachcombing. Its hot when snorkeling. Its hot when riding a bicycle or exploring on foot. So what if its also hot down below. And I find I spend a LOT more time doing all the other things, than I do just sitting below. For example, I never watch TV. In over a half century of cruising I have watched exactly one thing on a TV on a boat -- Capt Ron. Exactly once.

But that is just me. Lots of ways to enjoy life, enjoy the world, enjoy being aboard.

I just go for lots of ventilation, lots of shade, and anchorages with a breeze.
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Old 01-03-2014, 15:07   #39
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Re: Do I need AC?

A boom tent is better than an awning. You want the sun to be off as much of the deck as you can manage. Make up one for the foredeck too. An added bonus is that one made of canvas will keep rain out of the hatches. Mine makes the salon 4 degrees cooler and allows me to open the hatches during rain. I keep the air moving below with a regular house fan which only draws 40 watts. These are mostly plastic and so are ideal for boat use. - Honeywell TurboForce Fan, HT-900 - Electric Household Fans
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Old 01-03-2014, 19:12   #40
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Re: Do I need AC?

I also use my whisker pole to rig a tarp before the mast.

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Old 01-03-2014, 19:52   #41
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Re: Do I need AC?

Well folks, Yall have not convinced us yet !! We will stick to haveing our AC, marine bilt in type stuff!! With the every room settings!! With my gen set, that I have to go below to see if it's working!! But yall know I just can't seem to figure why all our vistors stay so late when we are at ancorages!! LOL But yall know us OLD folks need our wam-wams and Zoom-Zooms just keep cruiseing !! My days of sleepin in a puddle of sweat are long gone !!!
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Old 01-03-2014, 21:17   #42
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Re: Do I need AC?

I once bought a Dometic air conditioner costing $750 for an RV. It was 13,500 BTU running on a 15 amp 115 volt circuit breaker. It also had electric heat. Some RV units also work as a heat pump. The Dometic fit over the standard 14" square hole on top of an RV.
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Old 02-03-2014, 04:39   #43
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Westwinds, that is a great idea. I've seen a bunch of 18 wheelers do exactly that. A stand alone generator for a big truck starts at around $12,000. I know a guy that did exactly what you did, but mounted a regular gas generator on the frame rails for less than $2,000. Heat, and "My goodness it's cold in here" A/C and saved $10,000!!
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Old 03-03-2014, 12:49   #44
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Re: Do I need AC?

I agree with Westwinds. I'm a big fan of the you can remove it and throw it in the trash at the end of it's life options. I'd grab an inverter generator and run that while you're out and about. It's also nice to keep expensive things out of the salty bilge.
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Old 03-03-2014, 15:05   #45
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Re: Do I need AC?

My boat has a factory fitted unit under the bunk in the V-berth. It's about 7 years old now and coming to the end of its useful life. It really only cools the cabin and saloon, there is no ducting to the aft cabins. The condenser cooling water intake is constantly sucking in debris and air bubbles and needs bleeding every couple of days. Although I have that routine down to a 5 minute job.
The compressor mounting sits in the drip tray and is so badly rusted now that it will need replacing soon. The drip tray drain gets clogged and overflows into the bilge. The controller is in a stupid and awkward location. It has to be powered on its own circuit.
Hopefully I can get another season or two out of it and I will replace it with a hatch mounted unit.
Here in the tropics I would die without it when in the marina but I have found if I have good air flow through the boat then it is not so essential.
Now all that is needed is some bright entrepreneur too figure out how to build a dock mounted unit with flexible ducting that will fit to a side hatch.

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