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Old 06-11-2011
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Bright Yellow Oily discharge from Mermaid Marine Air Conditioner

Hi all,
I have a small (5200 btu??) Mermaid Reverse Cycle air conditioner/ heater in my small sailboat. I believe it was installed new in 2001.
It has worked flawlessly for me the past 5 years that I have owned the boat...until now.
During my spring recommisioning I noticed a bright yellow (almost neon) oily discharge that had appeared to leak from somewhere in the unit/pump. When I use the quarter turn valve (it is inline between the seawater pump and the ac unit) to help prime the pump I get the same discharge from it (along with the seawater).
I used the AC the other night and it seemed to work fine for at least 8 hours but when I woke up in the morning only the fan was running with no cooling. There was a minimal amount of the bright yellow/neon oily discharge below the unit.

Is this a refrigerant leak (form the ac unit) or a lubricating oil leak (from the water pump)????? Could something have frozen and cracked during the winter that caused this?

thank you for your thoughts and help with this,

Jon
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Old 06-11-2011
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Sounds like you may have a leak in the condenser since its showing up in the cooling water. Pretty sure the yellow stuff is oil, and the leak has also allowed the refrigerant to escape. Contact the manufacturer. My guess is you need a new condenser.
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Old 06-11-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jobrantley View Post
Hi all,

Is this a refrigerant leak (form the ac unit)

Jon
Yup. The refrigerant lube is dyed neon to make finding leaks simple. It's really bright under UV.

Sorry.
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Old 06-12-2011
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thank you guys for the info........gotta get to work on this before the next heat wave

Jon
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Old 06-13-2011
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Jon, FWIW if you are seeing oil (yes, the bright yellow is leak detection dye) now, you are also losing refrigerant and if you can actually SEE it, there's a major leak. The good news is that a $50 UV light kit will tell you where that dye is coming from and where the leak is.

the bad news is that every time you use the system, the gas expands out, and when you shut down the system sucks in air and moisture--which will form acid and damage the system from the inside. So the system really should not be used in this condition at all, until it can be purged and refilled.
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Old 06-13-2011
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Do check the name plate information. I'ts most likely 134 refrigerant which is yellow. On such a newish unit I'd think and wonder about electrolysis in the heat exchanger coil. It's unlikely the mfg put dye in a new machine although 134 does look neonish. caution, it's somewhat caustic to plastic and rubber. and DON'T get any in your eyes. If the leak is indeed in the HX it's most likely easier to replace the HX then try to fix it. ANY hvac tech should be able to handle it.
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Old 06-13-2011
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thank you for the additional info. I am going to contact and HVAC tech when I get back in town on Monday. Anybody have any good recommendations in the Annapolis/Deale area????

thanks again!
Jon
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