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Old 01-25-2019, 01:43 PM   #1
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Most Cost Effective Air Conditioning System?

I will be adding a 16k btu A/C system to our Marine Trader 34 soon. I am trying to settle on the most cost effective system (reliability vs price). I have researched Dometic, Marine Air, MarinAire, Mermaid, Webasto, and a few others. I had a Mermaid 16.5k system on my previous boat and it worked without issue. I would love first hand feedback about any of these systems and why you would choose it again or why you wouldn't. Also if you know where the best costs (including shipping) are I would be most grateful. I will be installing this myself. Thanks!!
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Old 01-25-2019, 02:15 PM   #2
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I installed 3 Webasto units in 2015 and have been mostly happy with them. My one complaint is that the Span (degrees of difference between the AC kicking in and out could be smaller. The best time to buy is the fall (October) boat show when most of the online vendors have to reduce prices to compete with boat show prices and to clear inventory ahead of winter.

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Old 01-25-2019, 02:21 PM   #3
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Sea Breeze,
I have installed two a/c on my 36 from scratch, never had a/c before.
One was a Flagship Marine 18,000 btu and would not recommend.
The 2nd one a 10,000 Btu, Marine Air by Dometic and cannot say enough positive things..
Rotatable discharge, Three different spots to take your condensate line from, the thermostat is a sensor in the return air so no issue with mounting the control panel anywhere you want and the panel to connect your Electric and lines to the water pump are on a cord so you can also mount that in a convenient place.
Only in two years so long term can't say.
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Old 01-25-2019, 02:52 PM   #4
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I have put Mermaid 16K units in 4 boats. Had great success with all of them. Great customer support.
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Old 01-25-2019, 05:49 PM   #5
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I've used Dometic and Webasto, multiple versions of each. I will never buy another Webasto.

I currently have one heating/cooling the master and guest staterooms. If it's powered on, the fan runs constantly by design. There is a workaround for this (remove the low speed fan wire) but to me that should be a selectable option on the thermostat. The thermostat and/or control board is garbage. Often multiple button presses and some cursing to get it to wake up. . Sometimes it will cycle on/off over a two degree swing (like it should), sometimes it'll keep running until it's 6-8 degrees over/under temp. We keep it set on 70, yesterday I went in the master stateroom and it was reading 78 and still blowing heat on high. You have to power it off to get it to reset. Now imagine how happy you'd be when this happens at 2am. I've had 3 different Webasto units, two came with a boat and one I installed new, and they all acted this way.

I used to work in HVAC, webastos performance would have been unacceptable 50 years ago nevermind today.


Dometic has never caused me any problems other than age related issues.

I've not used Flagship, though I have neighbors who love theirs. The lack of a reverse cycle heat option is a deal breaker for me.
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Old 01-25-2019, 10:25 PM   #6
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Most cost effective is small window type AC unit from WalMart. About $120 (or cheaper) and no plumbing, wiring, ducting, anything, etc. required for installation. Just stick it in a window and plug it in. The one in my boat is 120AC and less than 1000 watts. Added bonus is if it is not the season for AC, we can just leave it at home.
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Old 01-25-2019, 10:29 PM   #7
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A window air conditioner may be the cheapest but I donít believe it is the most cost effective since it will end up making your boat worth less in the end, at least any trawler of a size. Marine air conditioners are expected to be installed in them.
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Old 01-26-2019, 07:31 AM   #8
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Depending on how open the boat is below , and weather you have (or will cut in ) a hatch in the ovehead of the PH the RV unit at about 15,000BTU might be fine.

The good news is they are made for vehicles in motion , and usually can be ordered with a start kit to help it start in low voltage marinas.

$500-$700 and with an extra $75 it can have a heating element to extend the season.

A Mitsubishi mini split would be first choice if you are paying for or creating the electric to operate.
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Old 01-26-2019, 08:05 AM   #9
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We have 3 units from Ocean Breeze. Have been very satisfied. They are located in Stuart FL.
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Old 01-26-2019, 10:12 AM   #10
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Flagship Marine, made in Florida, no proprietery parts(circuit boards etc.), nothing on it that will corrode like the usual suspects, much higher quality materials and tube wall thickness Very competitively priced.

Been using Flagship as a full time liveablard since 1998 and have replaced two $20 relays in that time.
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Old 01-26-2019, 12:12 PM   #11
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I had 6 Marinaire units that I installed on my previuos Cheoy Lee, no problems for the 5 years I used them. And they got plenty of use every night in the Caribbean. I've just ripped out thecentral chilled awater system in my present Cheoy Lee and am in the throes of installing 5 Mainaire units in that boat. Always found Marinaire pleasant and helpful.
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Old 01-26-2019, 01:39 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeaBreeze View Post
I will be adding a 16k btu A/C system to our Marine Trader 34 soon. I am trying to settle on the most cost effective system (reliability vs price). I have researched Dometic, Marine Air, MarinAire, Mermaid, Webasto, and a few others. I had a Mermaid 16.5k system on my previous boat and it worked without issue. I would love first hand feedback about any of these systems and why you would choose it again or why you wouldn't. Also if you know where the best costs (including shipping) are I would be most grateful. I will be installing this myself. Thanks!!
I may have a Dometic Turbo 16k btu unit new in box for sale, if interested PM me. I currently have four Dometic Turbos on my boat and they work well.
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Old 01-28-2019, 10:24 AM   #13
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Most cost effective non window unit? Mini-Split or rooftop RV.

They come with huge disadvantages though(mostly in the aesthetics dept) but a couple of advantages as well(cost and no pump/thru hull needed). IMO on a old trawler they are worth looking into(my rooftop 16k has been going for 10 years).

Based on my research almost all the traditional A/C companies perform similar across the board(EDIT Likely to be wrong on that). I think defender was running a clearance on Webasto 16000 for around $800 recently. Even so I can think of other ways id rather spend $2,000 on my boat first(even in FL heat).
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Old 01-28-2019, 12:07 PM   #14
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I also like Flagship marine for a couple of reasons. I have two of them. They use a household thermostat, controls are standard parts no expensive circuit boards, Heat is add on resistance heat and does not require the compressor to run. Only weak spot is the control relays. Have replaced 2 in ten years.
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Old 01-30-2019, 04:23 PM   #15
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Sea Breeze,

Let me know what you decide. I have a Marine trader 34 as well and starting my research for the summer. My boat was used as a summer cottage by previous owner and has a 12,000 btu residential split unit. It is quiet and efficient but it is not enough cooling power for the Chesapeake bay.
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Old 01-31-2019, 06:14 AM   #16
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"It is quiet and efficient but it is not enough cooling power for the Chesapeake bay."


As you will usually be limited to 120V , simply purchase a second unit for the scorchers.


There getting cheaper by the week!
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Old 02-01-2019, 11:47 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Martin J View Post
I've just ripped out thecentral chilled awater system in my present Cheoy Lee and am in the throes of installing 5 Mainaire units in that boat.
Martin that's really interesting. A really big move. So what lead to that decision?
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Old 02-04-2019, 02:09 PM   #18
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I'm a rooftop or window unit guy...
https://72land-n-sea.blogspot.com/20...aboard_21.html
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Old 02-04-2019, 03:11 PM   #19
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Seabreeze,
I replaced two 16k btu units last fall with Dometic Turbos -. very quiet and not power hogs, as recommended by Larry M.
Contact me offline for pricing info.
Regards,
Steve
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Old 02-04-2019, 03:12 PM   #20
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Seabreeze,
I replaced two 16k btu units last fall with Dometic Turbos -. very quiet and not power hogs, as recommended by Larry M.
Contact me offline for pricing info.
Regards,
Steve
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