Originally Posted by CaptDaveB
Mermaid Marine air is the only manufacturer to offer a 5 year warranty and prettty decent prices. The pumps they offer are pretty slack, but otherwise they have good units. Their 16.500 with a proper installation would be more than enough for you 34.
We have a Mermaid Marine Air heat pump-style AC/forced air unit in our steel 41 footer. It came with the boat. I suspect it is the 16.5 model, but the instruction manual is aboard the hauled boat some miles from here.
What can I tell you? First off, if it hadn't come with the boat, I wouldn't have bought one...but that's just me. It seems strictly for dockside use, although I just acquired a Xantrex RS 2000 inverter that could probably handle it offshore at the cost of beating up even an expanded battery bank. It eats up a good portion of the starboard pilothouse locker, and while I would have preferred the stowage, I suspect I will just leave it in there for the odd tropical dock we choose to pay for. I don't have A/C at home (very old hot-water heated rad system) and I don't work in an office, so heat doesn't bother me as much as some.
Our layout is as follows: we have an aft cabin, a forward saloon and a pilothouse. There are proper vents and returns in all three. With the boat's stern facing south in a Toronto summer (32 C or 90 F) and with all hatches closed, I got the saloon and the aft cabin to about 23 C/76 F in about an hour. The pilothouse (aka "the greenhouse") was a broiling 37 C/99 F. No dice there. I ended up cracking the pilothouse hatches just to let the hot air rise.
The water filter/strainer is accessible and I can winterize from a central standpipe. I only used the heat option once because the boat is usually warm enough due to insulation to the water line and candles/lamps/body heat. I have also heard of the 40 F water limitation, along the previous owner (who lived aboard in a Toronto winter...a real one, not this tropical '06-'07..with bubblers) made provision for a second 30 amp shore power line (total: 60 amps). While I got the impression that he needed this extra to run the Marine Air unit in times of cold, maybe he just needed to run three ceramic heater cubes or a heat fan...I'll have to check.
A friend put a small Mermaid A/C in the wet locker of a Viking 33, which is a smaller boat than yours, I believe, and he loves it.
Or rather, he could care less, but his wife and daughters demanded it.