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Old 06-23-2015, 02:35 PM   #1
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New A/C -- Sanity Check please!

Ah, I'm beginning to (re-)realize the joys of cruising boat ownership. The old Marine Air A/C on my new-to-me boat crapped out. The local, highly-recommended, A/C guy recommended that I replace my old system with a brand new, upgraded, top quality, 10,000 btu Marine Air system with 2-year warranty, including service, for somewhat north of $3K. Does that sound reasonable?

He said he could repair the existing system (condenser) for half the cost. But then my evaporator will probably kick the bucket soon, which would require total system replacement anyway since that part couldn't be replaced. The boat and current A/C system is 10 years old.

The A/C guy also offered a few lower-priced systems, but didn't seem to have much faith in them and they weren't much cheaper.

I think I convinced myself, but would appreciate some informed opinions.
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Old 06-23-2015, 02:54 PM   #2
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Several distributors have the up-graded Marine air system going from $1,750 to $2,200. That's not installed. There are cheaper units out there in the 10,000btu range. Labor to install around a $1,000???? Does the AC person need to modify anything on the boat to change it out? Just recently changed out a 16,000btu for under $2,400.
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Old 06-23-2015, 03:03 PM   #3
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I just spent the better part of a month installing 3 new MarinAir units.


6000btu $1200. 9000btu $1400 and 16000btu $1500. All 3 units needed modifying the spaces they were in and/or duct sizing. Some of the mods were improvements over the last install but I would say $1000 labor/parts isn't unreasonable.


If that includes the original meet and estimate, the ordering, travel to and from the site, some modifications and materials for the new install (depending).


Either way it is at least one 8 hr day...so $400 would be the absolute minimum I would guess, a $1000 might be right too....just depends.
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Old 06-23-2015, 04:54 PM   #4
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Owners in our club have several time commented about how pleased they are with Dometic's new Vector Turbo systems (and I think those are sold as both Marine Air and CruiseAir brands). More efficient per BTU, quieter, and the composite drain pan should mean no more rust dripping down the side of the hull.

I didn't pay perfect attention to their costs, and some have done their own installs...


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Old 06-23-2015, 04:56 PM   #5
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We have a vector turbo unit and have been happy so far. The best part was that it worked with our older controls, it's quieter and the plastic drain pan.
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Old 06-23-2015, 05:00 PM   #6
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I looked into replacement recently when the blower on my old Mermaid 12K system went out. Since you should have all the ancillary systems in place, a complete drop in should be simple and doable by a moderately competent owner (this may or may not describe you!). Replacements of new Cruiseair systems were around $1600 as I recall. I eventually pulled the unit, bought a new drop in squirrel cage blower for $130 and fixed my problem...
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Old 06-23-2015, 05:14 PM   #7
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We have a vector turbo unit and have been happy so far..., it's quieter and the plastic drain pan.
We have 2-16K BTU units running since 2009. They have worked flawlessly. Full on they draw less than 10 amps.

FYI: The installation manual is in the library section.
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Old 06-23-2015, 05:40 PM   #8
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Just ordered a 16000BTU unit from Defender. Less than $1500 including shipping. May have to hire some muscle just to get it up on the boat.
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Old 06-23-2015, 08:35 PM   #9
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Better to replace it now,as a part replacement here and down the road will cost you more in time ,comfort and reliablity. If you are handy, have some carpenter skills, and can read directions you should be able to install it yourself. Some electrical and water connection s as it is a drop in unit. I would also go as large as you can fit in the space,12,000 BTU / 120 volt.Living in Florida you can use the extra cooling as well being a dehumidifier when you are off the boat. The newer unit will also be more efficient and run the newer freons.
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Old 06-23-2015, 09:33 PM   #10
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Call Joe at Ocean Breeze. He can build you a complete drop in replacement for your unit. Can even be built to use the old style 3 knob controlls if you want. Super good folks to deal with and excellent service after the sale. They are the ONLY boat AC company I will do business with.
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Old 06-23-2015, 09:40 PM   #11
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Who in the world would want 3 knob controls in this day and age?

Even Fred Flintstone only remembered those when he was a kid and hated them for their lack of precision and flexibility.

If anyone needs a set...there's a set floating around in the back of my pickup as the junkyard laughed at it and made it feel bad.
I would sell my firstborn to get away from those controls...
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Old 06-23-2015, 10:06 PM   #12
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Well now, reading this thread I have a question. All three of my AC units on my Californian have the 3 knob controls.

I agree that they are not accurate.

Can these be retrofitted with newer digital panels?
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Old 06-24-2015, 12:12 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by kulas44 View Post
Call Joe at Ocean Breeze. He can build you a complete drop in replacement for your unit. Can even be built to use the old style 3 knob controlls if you want. Super good folks to deal with and excellent service after the sale. They are the ONLY boat AC company I will do business with.

Agree, I have two of their 16k btu units and I will not use another brand. Built to mil-spect quality and no PC boards or chips in the thing just home unit relays . All stainless and copper and less cost then the fancy computerized units. I use thermostats from Home Depot.



6,500 - 18,000 BTU Self-contained Marine AC Units - Ocean Breeze Mfd. by Quorum Marine & Electronics, Inc.
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Old 06-24-2015, 07:35 AM   #14
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Well now, reading this thread I have a question. All three of my AC units on my Californian have the 3 knob controls.

I agree that they are not accurate.

Can these be retrofitted with newer digital panels?
My guess is yes....

Universal Retrofit Control Kits

depending on how handy you are...but certainly an AC&R type could.
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Old 06-24-2015, 08:00 AM   #15
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I agree about the 3 knob controls, but, when given the choose of using the original controls or the new electronic controls, at the same $$$, I chose to go with the original in the guest rooms, mostly because I didnt want to pull wires and remove the old controls and fill the hole, etc. I do have electronic controls in the master All 4 of my ACs were built by OceanBreeze, did I mention that I like them ?
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Old 06-24-2015, 08:12 AM   #16
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My home unit, a 6 ton with 2 air handlers was built by Joe at OceanBreeze. I told him what I had and wanted (heat the indoor pool/cool the house) . No problem, he built a 6 ton compressor unit that uses my pool water for cooling. Basically just a big marine unit. Cost was $2500, 5 years ago. Was quoted $5500 to replace the originall outside unit. The new unit is MUCH smaller and is in the utility room close to the 4 ton air handler. Only problem is if I ever need anyone local to work on it (if I'm not here) they just look at it, shake there head and say "that wont work". It really is hard to find competent professionalls today.
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Old 06-24-2015, 08:15 AM   #17
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New A/C -- Sanity Check please!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kulas44 View Post
My home unit, a 6 ton with 2 air handlers was built by Joe at OceanBreeze. I told him what I had and wanted (heat the indoor pool/cool the house) . No problem, he built a 6 ton compressor unit that uses my pool water for cooling. Basically just a big marine unit. Cost was $2500, 5 years ago. Was quoted $5500 to replace the originall outside unit. The new unit is MUCH smaller and is in the utility room close to the 4 ton air handler. Only problem is if I ever need anyone local to work on it (if I'm not here) they just look at it, shake there head and say "that wont work". It really is hard to find competent professionalls today.

Now that's thinking outside the box! Also like having a small free pool heater.
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Old 06-24-2015, 08:20 PM   #18
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I have a 25 year old Cruiseair 16k split system that I keep waiting for it to die. When I got the boat 4 years ago it did not work. I replaced the thermostat in control unit and my buddy put some R22 in it and it has not failed since. The other unit is only a few years newer MarineAir self contained 10k.
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Old 06-28-2015, 07:36 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kulas44 View Post
My home unit, a 6 ton with 2 air handlers was built by Joe at OceanBreeze. I told him what I had and wanted (heat the indoor pool/cool the house) . No problem, he built a 6 ton compressor unit that uses my pool water for cooling. Basically just a big marine unit. Cost was $2500, 5 years ago. Was quoted $5500 to replace the originall outside unit. The new unit is MUCH smaller and is in the utility room close to the 4 ton air handler. Only problem is if I ever need anyone local to work on it (if I'm not here) they just look at it, shake there head and say "that wont work". It really is hard to find competent professionalls today.
I think I need to call Joe this week!!!!
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