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Old 25-05-2012, 06:38   #1
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Adding a/c?

We are thinking of adding air conditioning to our Irwin 43. Any thoughts/suggestions?


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Old 25-05-2012, 06:48   #2
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Re: Adding a/c?

Hi, we added a window unit to our Irwin 42. It sits under the companionway. We cut out a space for it, then insulated it & added a blower that is routed outside through the binnacle. This runs on shore power or generator. We also have a small (5000 btu) that is in house & is located under the port setee. We have that vented into our aft cabin. We use this when cruising. It is sufficient enough for South Florida & the Bahamas. Good luck & stay cool!!
Fair Winds,
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Old 25-05-2012, 07:01   #3
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Re: Adding a/c?

There is lots of interior volume in an I43 and you will need at least two separate units to adequately cool the boat. The further south you are/go, the more true that will become.
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Old 25-05-2012, 08:02   #4
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Re: Adding a/c?

When we comissioned our boat the Admiral threw a fit at the Air Conditioning option. After 5.5 years of living aboard she has changed her mind.

We have three Marine Air units, one in each cabin. While living aboard in San Francisco the units were mostly used for heating, except when we sailed up to the Sacramento Delta each summer.

Now that we are in Central America we use the units frequently. During the day when we are off the boat, we have to lock it up tight for security. So when we return we usually run the units 1-2 hours to cool the boat down and de-humidify it. While running, the units usually draw about 3-5 gallons of water out of the air during that time frame.

We have also used the Air Conditioners underway several times when the interior of the boat was so hot we couldn't sleep during night crossing along the coast of Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

To give you an idea of power draw:
Forward Unit is 8,000 BTU and draws about 1.0 kw
The Mid Unit is 12,000 BTU and draws about 1.4 kw
The Aft Unit is 6,000 BTU and draws about 0.8 kw

The mid and forward unit share one water pump">raw water pump and the aft unit has its own.

Yes Air Conditioning it is a luxuary, but we are happy with the units and would do it again.

If you are in the tropics and can afford it... I would strongly recommend a built in marine units over window units so you can use them under way and during rainny seasons.
Tom Jeremiason
Punta Gorda, Florida

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Old 25-05-2012, 10:12   #5
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Re: Adding a/c?


In addition to the good advice given above, consider first how you are going to use the A/C. Some options:

1. Only use it at the dock with shorepower. May have to upgrade shorepower supply.
2. Use it to cool your sleeping berth only. A small unit should work for this.
3. Use it at anchor. The generator required to power the A/C is a much bigger issue than the A/C.

Consider the foregoing and post your needs.

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Old 25-05-2012, 19:43   #6
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Re: Adding a/c?

I have taken out our marine units and replaced with a portable unit from the box store. One of the reasons was the water pumps were always a problem. Also I just wasn't happy with a pump running that could sink the boat if a hose broke or ? The portable unit can be moved to any part of the boat with only the exhaust needing to be connected to a deck vent. Also it can be run while underway if needed with no hatch needing to be open. Last unit I bought was new old stock that was sold at half price! $250 USD for 16,000 BTU with remote.
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Old 26-05-2012, 10:32   #7
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Re: Adding a/c?

Last summer we had heat and humidity in the 35-40C range. I am on the hard trying to get a rebuild done and couldn't do anything at that temperature. So I build a frame to fit a window AC unit to one of my deck ports. 5000BTU unit didn't do squat on a hot day and barely worked on a warm day.

I sold it for $50 to my next door neighbour and bought a 11,000BTU stand alone unit a couple of days ago, with an exhaust hose which will be fitted to one of my side ports.

If you want to go with a smaller unit, then I heartily suggest awnings both fore and aft to keep the sun off the deck and coach roof. Even with insulation, the heat of full sun will get into the cabin.
SV Sabre Dance, Roberts Offshore 38
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Old 26-05-2012, 11:23   #8
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Re: Adding a/c?

You will need 2 marine air conditioners. I have been using Mermaid Air Conditioners for over 10 years now and have had very good luck with them. Their technical reps are excellent.
Buy the unit as one piece but dont buy their duct stuff. You can get that much cheaper locally. Very easy to install.
Mainship 36 DC - 1986
Retired and Full Time Cruising the Eastern U.S. inland Waterways
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Old 06-06-2012, 15:00   #9
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Re: Adding a/c?

Thanks to everyone for their help on this!!! We will be living aboard in FL so feel a/c is necessary. At least it is for me as I get cranky when I am overheated and the skipper doesn't like it when I fling his dinner at him when I am having a 'melt down'. LOL!
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