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Chiller recommendations

Discussion in 'Technical Discussion' started by Danvilletim, May 11, 2019.

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  1. Danvilletim

    Danvilletim Senior Member

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    it appears that both 5 ton chillers have decided to crap out at the same time. Neither were holding Freon which weird because they both seemed to working earlier that day. Can’t figure out how they both crapped out. The frequency drives were getting a signal to STOP. Which did stop the compressor. Not sure what caused that.

    Anyway what’s est install cost of 2x 5 ton

    Any recommendations of what to ask for?
  2. captholli

    captholli Senior Member

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    Very odd that you would lose both at the same time. You've had a few maintenance and equipment age blips in the past with steering, Gen. alternators not holding load , controls and water pumps but certainly nothing as financially painful as this will be IF you indeed need to replace both chillers.
    Depending on the manufacturer you can expect to spend 25,000 to 35,000 + per unit and the un-install / new install will be a crap shoot numbers wise for labor with the foot print size and plumbing connection matchups , fabrication of any needed brackets etc. so I would estimate 2 techs @ 4-5 days labor at an absolute minimum of $95 per hour so figure $6 to $8,000 for installation minimum. This is going to painful $$$ and seeing that the vessel is for sale I would do everything in my power to save what you have if at all possible.
  3. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    Weird that both failed at the same time. What brand are they? You said neither are holding Freon, has your AC tech used a sniffer to see if the leaks are external?

    One of our Cruisair chillers failed on the Lazzara a few months ago, 60 or 72k BTUs, not sure. It was an internal failure likely in the heat exchanger. A new one was about $16 or $17k and cruisair needed 4 weeks to build one I ended up having my AC guy rebuild it for $12k installed. Took a few days, new compressor, new coils, new heat exchanger

    I considered replacing with a Flagship chiller which was about the same price as the rebuild. I have two flagship chiller on my Hatteras and like them. Solid construction, made in USA (Stuart FL). It would have taken a month to get it and would have required some plumbing and control modifications so I had the Cruisair rebuilt

    But before assuming both need replacement I would have a good specialist figure out what a wrong.
  4. captholli

    captholli Senior Member

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    If the chillers have to be taken out and replaced than you could certainly save some money by going with a custom boutique manufacturer such as Flagship or Ocean Breeze (both located in Stuart, FL. or go with a well known manufacturer like JD Nall Dometic etc. but you'll not get a 5 ton or 65,000 BTU unit for $ 15,000 from either . I purchased twin 80,000 BTU chillers in a vertical stack frame from Ocean Breeze last yr for $28,000 and the unit has performed well so far. Of course that $$ was for the units and control box only, Pumps VFD's and plumbing were extra.



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  5. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    I double checked and Our system is 2x60k which is about 5 Ton each. I don’t have the quotes handy but the new Cruisair chiller (without controls or freq drive) was around $17k and about $12k for flagship

    In our case removal and installation was fairly easy as everything is accessible so If swapping for the same model you save on adjusting the plumbing and wiring. I figured by the time we adapt everything the cost of the Flagship would have ended up being
    Close to a new Cruisair.

    I wouldn’t have anyone rebuild them but I trust the guy I use and have used him for over 10 years so the saving was worth it
  6. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I would put new Dometic's in. I don't mess around with any off brand units. That being said your failure is extremely strange. But, I've seen many people over the years go the cheap route and bandaid and bandaid and spend good money after bad, constantly repairing units that should've been replaced 2-5 years earlier. Installation cost is just going to depend on what exactly needs to be done in order to install them.
  7. Danvilletim

    Danvilletim Senior Member

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    Good info. The level of cooling was marginal so perhaps that will help. I’m trying to figure if the coils on one and compressor on the other can be fixed.

    Why they both went out.? I can’t figure that out. The cruiser control head had a. Loan fuse and keeps blowing them. I was able to manually start the freq drive to see that they aren’t working. Maybe some short in that cruise air control?

    I did get a spot cooler. Huge dockside thing that cooled the heck out of the bottom of the boat.
  8. bayoubud

    bayoubud Senior Member

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    If your inner tubing that holds the Freon perforated like ours did it is not repairable, dumps the Freon out with the raw water. If the tubing coils are good you could get them repaired for a lot less than new, worth checking out. If perforated the likely cause is too corrosive solution used to clean the raw water side. If your system is still supported by the mfg and makes good equipment it will probably cost less to just replace or repair the chiller units rather than a different mfg, all new controls, and replumbing etc. Not sure I would do major repair on an old chiller unit. Our Aqua-Air system is still being mfg'd after 20 years, so not a problem with replacement and repair.
  9. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    If you fix junk, you will still have junk. If they're 10 years or older, replace, because you will spend 50% of the cost of a new one and it will fail again.
  10. captholli

    captholli Senior Member

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    Aqua Air has been around for 50 yrs plus as this company was one of the pioneers for marine A/C started by James D Nall in the late 60's early 70's and was standard equipment on most new builds around the world including Feadship builds of the '70, '80, and very early 90s. JD NAll was taken over by James son Dwayne Nall and morphed into Aqua air . Decent equipment but has been surpassed by the big players such as Dometic and H&H etc. Aqua Air still takes to many shortcuts like using Capillary tubes instead of expansion valves. Rudimentary control systems with inexpensive sensors that are prone to fail. There is value to be had by a small custom builder such as Flagship and Ocean Breeze as they're local and have excellent tech support and parts off of the shelf for same day shipping if needed.
  11. Seasmaster

    Seasmaster Senior Member

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    I feel for you bro!! If you're replacing the chiller, also check the sub-systems; AHU's, chill water pump, salt water pump, and the plumbing for the chill water. With my recent education, I discovered that my 7-8 year old system was improperly installed: The chill-water lines are too narrow, almost 50% of the T-connections were leaking, and there were leaks at the AHU's. The CW pump was trashed/leaking, and the SW pump had too large of an impeller.

    I went with Dometic, but there is still a delay in one component.
  12. bayoubud

    bayoubud Senior Member

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    Aqua-Air gave us prompt technical service which help us thru several different problems we encountered. They also had equipment in stock with fast shipment. Their equipment is good quality. All of the various problems we encountered were not their fault, it was from improper/lack of maintenance and I had never seen a chiller system. Because of the way our problems played out we stayed with Aqua-Air, one thing led to another and we will have almost all new equipment except the loop and thermostat controls. Also had a rupture expansion tank, which was full of crud and some nasty looking water, this was feeding into the loop and causing some of the discoloration, plus not maintaining pressure properly. After your post I looked at Flagship chillers, mainly because Pascal installed their system in his boat and has high regard for their chiller system. Their system looks to be high quality and simple which is what I prefer. A lot of this stuff has gone too high tech, narrows the field of qualified techs.
    Of course we hear a lot about Dometic, might have used a nearby dealer but he does not give estimates, but would start a work order to determine parts and equipment needed plus labor per hour, "carte blanche".
  13. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    One thing I like about Flagship is that most components are off the shelf. Basic industrial relays, sensors, switches, thermostat, etc. on the other hand the Dometic Cruisair chillers on thr Lazzara i run are controlled by a few proprietary electronic boards...

    The frequency drives I can understand as they ramp up the compressor gradually. That said, we lost a drive last year and it took a month to get one from Cruisair because while it is a standard unit they have to program it... a month. If that’s not lousy service I don’t know what is
  14. bayoubud

    bayoubud Senior Member

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    That 's it, standard off the shelf components. When you hear proprietary, get ready!
  15. Danvilletim

    Danvilletim Senior Member

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    Thanks for all the recommendations. My favorite quote from one of the techs was congratulations your chillers laster 18 years. LOL. The good news is that the chiller price from Ocean Breeze and Flagship are reasonable and less than expected.. Both are a little less than $7k per 5-tom.. All my Freq drives and pumps are working well so that saves a bunch. I do very much like how simple these units are that they don't rely on proprietary circuit boards. Almost all spares can be bought via Grainger. Ocean Breeze will also custom configure intake and output locations so that they match the existing. Lead times aren't as great with 2-6 weeks.

    There is some temptation to upgrade to 6 ton as its only $750 per unit, but there's a fear that the plumbing might not be sized, etc.

    I'm still reviewing options so I'll add more info as I get it.

    As for the the failure.... the old cruiseair brain looks to be the culprit. We lost water flow to the units which should have caused the low or high pressure switch to shut them off. However the brain didn't and blew a couple fuses. That's the best guess why both would let go at the same time.
  16. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    Ouch. So much for fancy circuit boards :(

    If the chilled loop size is compatible with the larger unit, I would go for it. Measure the piping size and run it by the manufacturer. Upgrading the raw water plumbing and even pump is no big deal.
  17. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    This. Check your piping size, but on the size of your yacht 5 tons a chiller sounds pretty light.
  18. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    How about Technicold? Hadn’t realize till now it was NOrthern Lights... there gennies are excellent, how about their chillers and air handlers ?
  19. wdrzal

    wdrzal Senior Member

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    Adding a ton (12,000 btu) you do have to consider refrigerant line size, electrical wire size (1 ton is ~1HP) plus that ton needs 400 cfm of additional air flow.
  20. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    We re talking chillers. Refrigerant lines are built in the chillers ... I doubt the wiring won’t take it, maybe the breakers but that’s easy.

    Air flow? Again, chillers. Air flow is irrelevant and the chiller controls the loop temp based on demand

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