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Old 09-17-2018, 09:04 PM   #1
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Pros & Cons of A/C Systems

I'll be looking for an A/C system for a 2 stateroom, 2 head 45' pilothouse trawler. I'm needing some help deciding if a split gas system or chilled water system is best. What are the advantages of one over the other?
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Old 09-17-2018, 11:24 PM   #2
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It is my understanding that all in one units are the most energy efficient of the raw water cooled AC/ heat systems. Split units are a close second. Chilled water units are a distant third. This is with regard to watts of power consumed versus BTUs of cooling realized.

If you're installing AC for the first time or replacing a split or all in one system, routing the heavily insulated chill water lines can become space challenging.

When I did my refit on my 45' trawler, I briefly considered chill water units to replace my 3 all in one units. In addition to being more expensive and more difficult with regard to running the chill water lines, there was a significant likelyhood that I would be undersized on the generator as a result of the required increased capacity do to lower efficiency.

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Old 09-17-2018, 11:39 PM   #3
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I have one self-contained unit and one split unit. When the split unit dies I will be replacing it with a self-contained unit to save space.
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Old 09-18-2018, 02:42 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Comodave View Post
I have one self-contained unit and one split unit. When the split unit dies I will be replacing it with a self-contained unit to save space.

The self contained units have gotten better and better and more compact. Much easier to install and deal with than a split unit. If one of my splits fails I will replace with a self contained unit.



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Old 09-18-2018, 05:25 PM   #5
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Just added a self contained unit for the bedroom. Very quiet, uses very little power and easy to install.
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Old 09-18-2018, 06:07 PM   #6
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I will put in a vote for the alternative.

My boat has Marineairr chilled water A/C system (which I think is now a Dometic Group company?).

In Brisbane, Australia, it gets pretty humid and warm at the peak of our summer. Compared with similar GB 46s and GB 42s I have been on that have split gas systems (I believe the brand is called Cruiseair?), my boat is noticeably cooler at any given time of the day and I never have to run my a/c system below 23 degrees celsius (73.4 farenheight) whereas the cruiseair equipped boats are running at 19 degrees and they are still warmer.

Of course there are lots of variable to this and I am not an engineer - maybe my boat just has a bigger system? However my own experience is that chilled water systems perform better in heavy heat/humidity load situations.

I am told that chilled water systems (a) cost more to buy (b) have larger hoses and so forth to install (c) are usually used on larger boats. In marketing material for new boats, installation of chilled water a/c is often highlighted as a 'special extra' or a reason to choose that boat.

Just my experience.

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Old 09-18-2018, 06:39 PM   #7
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If you have hydronic heat, you can use the same plumbing for chilled water AC if the plumbing is insulated. I don't have AC in my current boat, but set up the hydronic with forced air units instead of radiators so it would be ready for AC.
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Old 09-18-2018, 07:56 PM   #8
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Pros & Cons of A/C Systems

Itís tough to justify a chiller system unless you have complete access to the boat during construction. Though you can eliminate several through hulls on a larger system, you do need to add an additional circ pump and a big set of loop lines which will need to be properly insulated( extra difficult to find leaks under the insulation).The new self contained units are almost plug and play and relatively cheap. Our current boat has two 3 ton chillers, but only one is needed to cool the boat. The two circ pumps pull about 2 amps each at max and the compressor pulls 15 at full locked rotor. We can cool or heat the whole boat with our 6 kw genset. We tend to relocate seasonally so that we need neither at anchor, but we do like to run a climate controlled ship when we are underway. If you are going spend most of your time on the yellow cord in a marina Iíd just go with the cheapest solution and oversize your intake through hulls and hoses.
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Old 09-18-2018, 09:09 PM   #9
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More votes for the self contained units than I expected. I wasn't even going to consider them due to the higher noise levels than the other two alternatives. Can anyone confirm or deny the noise level concern?
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Old 09-18-2018, 09:15 PM   #10
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The compressors are so quiet, it's the fans and airflow you hear.

The same from air handlers from splits or chilled water.
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Old 09-18-2018, 09:32 PM   #11
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I have one of each and do not notice any difference in noise.
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Old 09-18-2018, 10:36 PM   #12
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Regarding noise, there is a wear in period on many things with electric motors. Some actually get quieter after a wear in period. The Webasto AC units I have are nice, but I wouldn't call them quiet when I installed them. After a year of modest use, they are significantly quieter. You have to listen carefully to hear the compressor running.

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Old 09-19-2018, 12:36 AM   #13
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My all-in-one in my salon is very loud. I was considering a split system mostly for noise reduction. I am surprised by the answers in this thread too. Seems like moving the compressor from under the settee to the engine room would have to be quieter.

My units are very old marine air units. Are the new unit substantially quieter than the old units?
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Old 09-19-2018, 01:05 AM   #14
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We really donít hear the compressor noise much, mostly is the fan and air noise. Not that my units are really new but the noise isnít objectionable.
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Old 09-19-2018, 02:38 AM   #15
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What is meant by an "all in one" a/c? A window rattler, a rooftop RV unit,maybe even a portable one which pumps air out a tube via a window. I`m guessing it`s more sophisticated, but what is it?
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Old 09-19-2018, 06:24 AM   #16
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IF an excellent modern RV rooftop unit were too small, I would look at a mini split style unit.

These have none of the losses of the old split units that require large duct work for feed and return .And no water lines and pumps to operate.

The slow down of the compressor cuts electric consumption , useful at a pay for juice power pole , or in keeping noisemaker loads reduced
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Old 09-19-2018, 06:39 AM   #17
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What is meant by an "all in one" a/c?
Also commonly called "self contained," the units have all of the air conditioning components in one package, including an air handler/cooler/blower. The split systems cool the coolant medium at one location (the engine room?) and then pipe it to an air handler that uses the cooled medium to cool air that it collects, blows through a transfer device, and then returns it to the area to be cooled. I assume they have their own water pumps for cooling (not sure), and they'll still exhaust condensate that you'll have to get rid of. (The description based on my rudimentary understanding of how these things work.)

But if you google "marine air self contained" you'll get many examples.
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Old 09-19-2018, 06:49 AM   #18
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Another benefit of all in one units.......

You might be able to pull them out with minimal effort and take them to a local AC shop for repair. Rather than waiting for someone to schedule, charge you for driving to the boat, do a crappy troubleshoot, lousy repair, and send you a bill for more than a whole new unit..

You might get a great, inexpensive repair...... but most AC stories I have heard are from less than happy boaters.
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Old 09-19-2018, 08:04 AM   #19
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Rain Dog, the newer units are surprisingly quiet compared to the old ones. They are, however, more expensive.
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Old 09-19-2018, 09:16 AM   #20
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I replace the 20 year old CruiseAiiiir unit in the forward cabin on my boat when it burned up last year with a new Webasto self contained unit. Out of the box it was noticeably quieter than the old unit and after a year of running it, it's so quiet you really only hear the noise of the air out of the vents. You have to really pay attention to hear the compressor kick on and off. Very nice, worth every penny
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