Testing the IcyBreeze® Air Conditioner and Cooler

The IcyBreeze® is a portable air conditioner and cooler.  We tested the IcyBreeze® at Moab and Reno as spring temperatures reached as high as 90 degrees F.  Rusty, our Border Collie, helped test* the IcyBreeze®’s cooling effectiveness!

Note:  The Rusty cooling tests were under constant supervision.  Rusty’s health is always foremost.  He likes his travel crate for naps (more like a brief energy renewal!) and limited downtime.  The IcyBreeze® enhanced Rusty’s well-being under well supervised conditions.  At the end of this article, see some of our conclusions and cautions…

 

The magazine’s Ram 3500 truck has an A.R.E. cap on the pickup bed.  Modestly insulated, the cap has tinted windows, neither enough to keep the cap/bed area cool during summertime at the high desert.  We searched for a bed area air conditioner with a lower amperage draw and discovered the IcyBreeze® portable air conditioner and cooler.  By design, the IcyBreeze® is not a “swamp” or evaporative cooler.  It functions like a bona fide air conditioner.  The IcyBreeze® pumps icy water through a cooling radiator;  a 3-speed fan system blows across the radiator core and discharges cold air through the ducting.

 

The IcyBreeze® 12V/110V converter power supply (left) enables plugging the unit into a 110V AC power source.  At right is the 110V AC charger for the on board (built-in) Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery pack.  Each component in the IcyBreeze® is well built.  This is a high quality package, clearly engineered for years of service.

Like most folks, we stop for brief periods to enjoy a restaurant meal or grocery shop.   Leaving Rusty in the cab with the engine and air conditioner running is simply not practical.  Some do this, and for a few minutes that might be fine.  Idling for a half-hour or more, however, can be detrimental to a diesel engine.  Depending upon the venue, a vehicle break-in with the engine running would also be a concern.  We needed an alternative place for Rusty to be comfortable for a reasonable period.

In our tests, the actual temperature drop for Rusty’s crate area ranged from 15-27 degrees F below the ambient temperature in the cap/bed area.  (The fan ran in the lowest speed setting for these tests.)  At our high desert climate, the IcyBreeze® air flow is both cooling and steady, without a noticeable increase in humidity.  The on board battery pack is efficient and predictable if correctly charged—especially at the lowest, still effective fan setting.

 

One of our primary concerns is Rusty.  We rescued this energetic fellow five months ago and immediately gained a valued family member.  A great traveler, Rusty rides comfortably with us in the Quad Cab.  He enjoys a broad bed at the rear seat and deck area where he can benefit from the vehicle’s heater and air conditioning.  Often, Rusty’s nose is propped on the console between the two front seats as we move along!…The Ram 3500 4×4/Cummins and our 2000 Holiday Rambler Alumascape travel trailer each have excellent air conditioning.

Like all of our dogs, Rusty is precious.  We monitor the IcyBreeze® cooling when in use.  Block ice and the frozen jug work best and last the longest, with a much slower melting rate than party ice.  We can easily get through an entire hot day with the frozen jug and either party ice (20 pounds at least) or a block of ice.  We used a combination of the jug, an ice block and party ice at Moab.  The job of the ice is simply to chill down the water that circulates through the pump and cooling radiator.  For a confined space like Rusty’s crate, this provides a constant and sufficient volume of cooling air.

 

The Owner’s Manual and online website (click here for access to the official IcyBreeze® website) provide details on the function and performance you can expect from the IcyBreeze®.  The unit runs on 12VDC and can be plugged into a 12V D.C. automotive power source.  There is an on board, rechargeable Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery pack that can operate the IcyBreeze® independent of any outside power source.  We have the option of hard wiring a 12VDC socket to the pickup’s rear bed sill as an optional power source for the IcyBreeze®.

Without the heavy power and amperage draw of an R134A or similar refrigeration type A/C unit, without the high cost of 18-wheeler type refer equipment, we find that the portable IcyBreeze® works well for our finite space cooling needs.  IcyBreeze® would be useful for a picnic table area, for relaxing under a travel trailer awning, within a smaller dome or pup tent, or beneath a beach umbrella or canopy.  This air conditioner can double as a beverage cooler…The IcyBreeze® works for us!

Based upon our experience, we established these “rules” for our use of the IcyBreeze®.  Pets deserve the best care and protection.*  Consider these concerns: 

  1. We use a surface temperature infrared tester each time Rusty is in his crate with the IcyBreeze® operating.  We continually probe the temperature in and around Rusty.  In our experience, the IcyBreeze® is strictly for a small, adequately ventilated area.

  2. The temperature drop and effectiveness are dependent upon variables like the ambient temperature, the immediate environment around the cooler or a portable crate, the insulation factor of the pickup bed and its cap, the time of day, anticipated heat build-up as the day evolves, plus overall air flow and ventilation.  The inside of any vehicle or enclosure can become extremely hot from steady sun exposure, way beyond the ambient outside temperature! 

  3. If you elect to use an IcyBreeze® for cooling a pet, make sure that the unit works properly before relying upon the unit to protect your pet!  We monitor the on-board battery’s state-of-charge with a voltmeter before and even during each use, always creating ample time margins for the battery’s rate of discharge.  Do not leave the pet unattended for lengthy periods of time.*

  4. If you hard wire an IcyBreeze® to the vehicle’s 12V system, know the exact rate of battery discharge and speed of ice melting before running the IcyBreeze®—don’t run your vehicle’s battery(s) down only to find you’re unable to restart the vehicle!

  5. Like any device, the IcyBreeze® should always be used as designed and intended; despite the lightest airflow, the low fan position provides the longest safety margin for battery life.  Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations at all times.  Be responsible and have a backup plan if the day is too warm or if your pet’s protection is not assured.

*In many locales, it is illegal to leave a pet unattended in a vehicle that is not running and cooled.  Be aware of local laws and regulations that are intended to protect your pet!

Here are the manufacturer’s specifications and operating details for the IcyBreeze®:  http://www.icybreeze.com/how-it-works

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