Biting the bullet - A/C installation

  • July 17, 2012 7:34 PM
    Message # 1012684
    I hope to move onboard later this year (assuming the 100 degree days end and my tablesaw'd finger heals so I can get back to work on Shabby) and have been contemplating installing a combo A/C-Heater, most likely a Dometic. Problem is I'm not sure what size. Dealer suggested the 11000btu version, but before I plunk down my money I thought I'd ask if anyone else has experience.

    Shaboom (W32 #427)
  • July 18, 2012 5:23 AM
    Reply # 1013177 on 1012684
    Deleted user


    If you have the hanging locker opposite the head, I have a $ 125.00 solution for air conditioning which works great at least for sleeping aboard in the V-Berth. It also runs from a Honda EU2000 all night on about 1/2 to 3/4 gallon of gasoline.

    AC on the hook!

    Let me know and I'll post details and pics.


  • July 18, 2012 7:12 AM
    Reply # 1013254 on 1012684
    I have a 16K BTU King-Air (with optional programmable digital control).  In addition to being an A/C +  heater combo It also acts as a dehumidifier ('away mode').

     It too is installed on the shelf opposite the head with ducts/vents to the v-berth & main saloon. See pic above but my shelf is now enclosed to hide the unit.  I'd post pics but I have no idea how to get them to work.

    I recommend this unit highly.  I've pretty much used mine 7X24 for over 6 years now and its proven itself to be bulletproof.  Because power in Central America is not that stable I've watched others having to repair their A/C's (or pumps) while mine just keeps on ticking.  I attribute it to the 'smart' digital controls that will shut it down if anything (low voltage, low freon, low water pressure) gets outside recommended operating parameters.

    I also like how the fan speed adjusts automatically to the temp. Not only does that save money but it's much quieter once you reach the programmed temp.  Finally, the water pump only operates when the compressor is running also saving $$$.  As obvious as that seems apparently not all A/C's operate that way.  An added benefit is the look on someones face when they occasionally point out that my bulge pump sure seems to run a lot and I reply 'Yea, I really need to fix that hole one day...'

    A marine A/C tech recently arrived here.  In the whole time I've had it I've never had anyone look it over/check it out.  He came by with all his gadgets & tools and and reported everything was perfect. 

    King-Air is a small company in business since 1947.  I've heard the Presidential Yacht has King-Air A/C's on board. I have no affiliation with the company but If I ever have to install another A/C it will absolutely be another King-Air, no question.

    p.s. 11K BTU seems a bit low to me (I think my 16K BTU is perfect).  Remember if it's underestimated the A/C will just have to work harder/longer to get to/maintain temp which will end up costing you more in electric bills.

    For size estimate King-Air offers the following formula:

    For below deck areas:
    Multiply Length x Width x Average Height x 14 BTU's

    Use average dimensions of the space(s) to be cooled, not just overall 32 X 11 X 6 of boat itself.

    s/v Haliai
    WS32 #775

    Last modified: July 18, 2012 8:00 AM | Anonymous member
  • July 18, 2012 8:16 AM
    Reply # 1013331 on 1012684
    Deleted user


    I installed a Ocean Breeze 16,500btu unit on Tamzin about 4 years ago and have been pleased with it.  I put it under the V berth which from an aesthetic standpoint works fine but sleeping over it takes a little getting use to. Tamzin stays down in Rockport Texas so 95+ days are nothing unusual.  The unit seems to have no problem droping the temperature in the evenings but as it  approachs 90deg during the day it struggles.  Part of that is the water temperature which pretty much stays at ambient this time of year and also Tamzin has no insullation.  Regardless of what unit you select think about putting in some insullation both under the deck and on the sides.  Also the ducting that came with my unit was a 4inch dia plastic, I replace it with a 4inch plastic that was pre-wrapped with insullation.  Good luck.

    Larry Smith


  • July 18, 2012 6:01 PM
    Reply # 1013756 on 1012684


    Contact Butch Rasmussen, W32 #364 Legend in Deale, MD.  301-520-7581.  He is in the buisness, Shiver Me Timbers Refrigeration.  He will give you some good advice on the size of a unit, and which ones you can depend upon.  His wife, Vicky, may answer the phone though.

  • July 25, 2012 3:52 PM
    Reply # 1019624 on 1012684
    Thanks for the input, everyone. Truly appreciate it!