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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum > Living Aboard
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Old 02-24-2011
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Surviving a Gulf Coast summer without A/C

First question: Is is possible?

Second: What is the best strategy?

I am living aboard on a 25' boat in Kemah, TX, and we are seeing our first 80 degree days around here, so I am starting to think about the summer.

Right now, I am only having humidity problems. In the last few days, I've noticed that my cabin doesn't exactly smell fresh. And my towels have a hard time drying.

I've looked into a few threads on dehumidification and don't quite understand the debate. Some folks say that humidity problems can be solved by improving ventilation. I don't understand how drawing new air into the boat will help my towels dry if the new air is just as humid as the old.

I'm thinking about springing for a little dehumidifier, like one of these:

Amazon.com: Eva Dry EDV-1100 Thermo Electric Peltier Dehumidifier, 16 Oz Removable Water Tank, Effectiveness 1,100 Cubic Feet: Kitchen & Dining

WEST MARINE Air Dryer Dehumidifier at West Marine

The West Marine unit seemed to get a lot of good reviews, but I'm skeptical of it because it uses a heater. It seems like it will be plenty hot...

Anyone have advice for dealing with heat and humidity without a big, heavy, expensive A/C unit that I have to haul off the boat every time I want to sail?
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Old 02-24-2011
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Last summer, I picked up one of these Amazon.com: Haier Portable Air Conditioner, 8000 BTUs, CPRB08XCJ: Kitchen & Dining It doesn't keep our 36' boat cold, but fairly comfortable and less humid.

I picked this up at the Super Target for $299.00. It is only 8000 BTU's, but the wife got up to change the setting during the night because she was too cold. I'm not sure how well it will cool during the daytime, but we spend little time inside the boat then anyway. It stows away easily in the V-Berth when not in use. I did not like the idea of a window unit stuck in the companionway or on top of the boat.

This unit has auto evaporation, so no need to empty water from the unit. You will need to run the hot exhaust to the outside. There is a fairly long expandable hose included. We already had a foamboard piece that fit in the companionway left by the PO. I got out a fillet knife and cut a hole for the hose to exit through so we could use it that night. I am going to buy a piece of wood to replace the bottom board that I can attach the hose to when the unit will be in use. It does draw 15 amps, so be careful what else you plan to use when the a/c is running.

This is a reasonable/affordable way to stay comfortable if you don't have the boat bucks to spend on an actual marine unit. I still feel a bit guilty though. I could have had those new halyards...but when I mentioned the idea about the ac unit to the wife, she said "let's go buy one"! Gotta keep the woman happy, right?
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Old 02-24-2011
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I think at a marina it would be pretty horrid. Not a lot of breeze coming through and so on.

But there are quite a few people that do it in Florida. If I did it, it'd be at an anchorage and I'd have plenty of tarps to keep the sun off the deck and air scoops to keep the breeze coming in. And a few low amp 12v fans to boot.

But at a marina I have my carryon cruise air, which is a complete PITA to lug around and does an "okay" job keeping the boat cool during the day.

But people used to live without AC just fine. As a kid I remember the trick was staying in the shade and sitting next to the fan and on really hot days, you just didn't move around much.
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Old 02-25-2011
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Ac

If we spent more nights at a marina, that would be my choice too. You can find a variety of them in different sizes. I would check reviews however, some can be noisy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RTB View Post
Last summer, I picked up one of these Amazon.com: Haier Portable Air Conditioner, 8000 BTUs, CPRB08XCJ: Kitchen & Dining It doesn't keep our 36' boat cold, but fairly comfortable and less humid.

I picked this up at the Super Target for $299.00. It is only 8000 BTU's, but the wife got up to change the setting during the night because she was too cold. I'm not sure how well it will cool during the daytime, but we spend little time inside the boat then anyway. It stows away easily in the V-Berth when not in use. I did not like the idea of a window unit stuck in the companionway or on top of the boat.

This unit has auto evaporation, so no need to empty water from the unit. You will need to run the hot exhaust to the outside. There is a fairly long expandable hose included. We already had a foamboard piece that fit in the companionway left by the PO. I got out a fillet knife and cut a hole for the hose to exit through so we could use it that night. I am going to buy a piece of wood to replace the bottom board that I can attach the hose to when the unit will be in use. It does draw 15 amps, so be careful what else you plan to use when the a/c is running.

This is a reasonable/affordable way to stay comfortable if you don't have the boat bucks to spend on an actual marine unit. I still feel a bit guilty though. I could have had those new halyards...but when I mentioned the idea about the ac unit to the wife, she said "let's go buy one"! Gotta keep the woman happy, right?
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Old 02-25-2011
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i've spent a few HOT months in the gulf and it can be miserable at times,i'm currently installing a few solar panels but i doubt i will be able to run more than a couple of small 12 volt fans but what i really miss is ice [rum,cold beer etc] but i guess if i want all the comforts i can just stay home[sigh]
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RTB, that is an interesting option. I wasn't aware that they made A/C units with an exhaust duct like that. A small unit that I can keep on board is certainly preferable. 15 amps is quite a lot. I hope my interior wiring can handle that. I don't quite trust my boat's previous owners. If I go that route, I may make my own cable to go straight from the shore power box to the A/C unit. I have two outlets there.

Thanks for all the advice, everyone! The idea about tarps to keep the sun off the deck is interesting, too.

I will be at the marina so I have shore power and could put in a mini-fridge, too. I've been OK without it. Whenever I buy beer, I buy a bag of ice with it.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gasolino View Post
First question: Is is possible?

Second: What is the best strategy?

I am living aboard on a 25' boat in Kemah, TX, and we are seeing our first 80 degree days around here, so I am starting to think about the summer.

Right now, I am only having humidity problems. In the last few days, I've noticed that my cabin doesn't exactly smell fresh. And my towels have a hard time drying.

I've looked into a few threads on dehumidification and don't quite understand the debate. Some folks say that humidity problems can be solved by improving ventilation. I don't understand how drawing new air into the boat will help my towels dry if the new air is just as humid as the old.

I'm thinking about springing for a little dehumidifier, like one of these:

Amazon.com: Eva Dry EDV-1100 Thermo Electric Peltier Dehumidifier, 16 Oz Removable Water Tank, Effectiveness 1,100 Cubic Feet: Kitchen & Dining

WEST MARINE Air Dryer Dehumidifier at West Marine

The West Marine unit seemed to get a lot of good reviews, but I'm skeptical of it because it uses a heater. It seems like it will be plenty hot...

Anyone have advice for dealing with heat and humidity without a big, heavy, expensive A/C unit that I have to haul off the boat every time I want to sail?
Sorry, I guess you wanted to get by with no AC? Good luck sleeping in July/August.

I think the dehumidifier would be of more use in the winter, with the boat closed up and heat going (look out for mold). In the summer, with everything open, I agree with you. How could a dehumidifier help?

You can survive the summer without AC, but you will be miserable, especially at night when the breeze drops off. I have a windscoop, but it does nothing if there is no wind. We do have fans, and they help considerably.

As mentioned above, get some shade on your deck. Even with my ac, you can feel the heat radiating from topside in the cabin.
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One more...

If you plan on keeping the boat open, you need screens for all your ports, hatches, and companionway. Add mosquitos to the heat, and it gets nasty! Good luck!
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Old 02-25-2011
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You'd be emptying that 16oz reservoir hourly. Seriously. If it doesn't have provisions for a drain hose don't waste your money. Once running you'll be astounded by how much water accumulates and how quickly.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seabreeze_97 View Post
You'd be emptying that 16oz reservoir hourly. Seriously. If it doesn't have provisions for a drain hose don't waste your money. Once running you'll be astounded by how much water accumulates and how quickly.
If you read my post, I covered that - This unit has auto evaporation, so no need to empty water from the unit

I have never had to drain the unit except when we put it away for the winter. There is a drain plug, and the instructions say to drain the unit if not being used for an extended time.
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