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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 02-01-2011
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Air, Water or Air / Water Cooled Refer Condensor

I would like to get the forum’s thoughts on refrigerator compressors. Mine is a Water / Air cooled condenser and was wondering if I should replace it with another Water / Air or just Water only condenser. So far I have not found any information touting the benefits of one or the other.

We do plan on starting our world cruise in 5 years, spending most of our time in equatorial waters.

Any thoughts?
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Old 02-01-2011
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Water cooling is more efficient than air cooling. The warmer the climate the more important that it is water cooled.
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Last edited by mitiempo; 02-01-2011 at 07:07 PM. Reason: add
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Old 02-01-2011
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The Frigoboat "keel cooler" heat transfer thru-hull is very efficient, especially in warmer climates where an air transfer system is weakest.

I installed one in our boat to keep the AH draw to a minimum. We like it a lot.
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Old 02-01-2011
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Depends on where you sail.
In the tropics, the ambient water is usually too warm (over 85 deg.) & water cooled is quite ineffective, energy wise. So, in the tropics you really more depend on air cooled then water-cooled adjunct.

To me, the best of all worlds is an air/water cooled, as when the water is too hot you simply turn off the pump and allow all the heat transfer by air cooling. Plus, when youre on the hard, turn off the pump and still have refrigeration.

All that stated, the 'best' is attained by 'monster' or Ultra-efficient insulation of the 'box', then your heat transfer and energy demand will be much much lower.
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Old 02-01-2011
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If the water is 85 degrees wouldn't the air be a bit warmer, or at least as warm as that?
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Old 02-01-2011
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Plus water can carry more energy than air. To back that up the manual on my AB cold plate suggests water cooling for warmer climates. Also, in the winter you will notice that if you run a humidifier, either whole house or in the room with the thermostat, the furnace will have longer off times.

I run mine on air cooling in cooler weather then turn on the water cooling in addition to the air when it gets warm.
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Old 02-02-2011
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Another factor to consider is the energy usage of that water pump not to mention the upkeep. Tarps over the boat should help keep the cabin to tolerable temperatures for the crew and that should provide a half way decent heat sink for the air cooled unit.
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Frigoboat's water cooled system has no pump or moving parts. It is highly rated.

Frigoboat Home Page
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Last edited by mitiempo; 02-02-2011 at 08:15 PM. Reason: add
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When the temps rise and I turn on the water pump in addition to the air cooling my amp hours go down for the day vs using just air cooling.
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The heat transfer based on most refrig. Hx. is designed for a 15 F. degree 'approach' and are based on a maximum water inlet temp of 85 F. deg. (outlet @ 100 deg. F). Once you go beyond the 85°F inlet and exceed the 15° 'approach' the thermal transfer becomes VERY inefficient. ... and you need a Much larger than normal Hx and a Much higher flow of 'cooling' water to do the transfer. Simple heat transfer calculations and normal practices.
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