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Old 06-10-2019, 17:41   #1
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Clogged Air Conditioner

My AC is clogged, as in .............................. PLUGGED! So far I've:

- Tried backflushing with dock water
- Took apart the supply and discharge lines and tried to snake, found the supply plugged
- Connected air and tried back blowing, the line held 150#
- Found that there is a second plug IN the unit it also held 150#
- Connected a hose and filled the supply line with Barnacle Buster. Took overnight but that loosened the plug enough to blow out with dock water
- Figured great let's try that on the heat exchanger. So connected a hose to discharge (upper connection), routed up high and filled with the BB. Got a few bubbles but 6 hours later it was still water/acid tight
- Figured that the clog would be on the inlet so tried the same on that line, nothing.
- Decided that maybe needed stronger acid so got out the murantic acid and tried a 25% solution, nothing. Increased to a 50%, nothing. Went full strength (I'm pass the worry now of dissolving the coils as what's the option) and let that sit an hour before having to drain out as wasn't willing to allow that to stay in the unit all night.

Now the one thing that I'm wondering is; How do I even know the acid is getting to the clog, or getting stopped by an air pocket. I'm using a clear hose and there aren't any bubbles coming up the hose like I would expect? It also doesn't seem I add enough acid to fill the heat exchanger from either end, but have no idea how much volume it has. But then what could I do about it (I tried pouring into the system slow to allow it to vent as it fills)?

So I have time to ask for suggestions/ideas.
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Old 06-10-2019, 18:20   #2
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Re: Clogged Air Conditioner

First, no more acid.
Is it a cruise air/marine air system, Model#?
If so then, close thru hulls.
Disconnect the seawater hoses to/from the condenser.
Verify the condenser is clear/ not obstructed via the method of your choice(did I mention no more acid?)
Replace all hoses and clamps.
Open top of seawater strainer a bit.
Open thru hull.
Verify water past the strainer.
Close top of strainer.
Bleed seawater pump.
Turn unit on.
Check flow overboard.
Enjoy a cold cabin, and a cold drink.
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Old 06-10-2019, 18:27   #3
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Re: Clogged Air Conditioner

Thanks, but did you even read what I've already done?
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Old 06-10-2019, 18:41   #4
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Re: Clogged Air Conditioner

The lines aren’t designed to handle 150 pounds of air. It’s astonishing they are still in tact. Not helpful however if you intend to keep the condenser once cleared, don’t do that!

I’m assuming you have an intake Walter filter - was it clear? If so, it’s likely not a clog at all but rather a stuck regulator valve in the cooling line. There are two which can only be accessed by removing the heat exchanger coil. Having done that on a bench, all I can suggest is you stop fiddling with it and remove the condenser from the boat to allow unrestricted access.
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Old 06-10-2019, 18:44   #5
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Re: Clogged Air Conditioner

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Originally Posted by S/V Illusion View Post
The lines aren’t designed to handle 150 pounds of air. It’s astonishing they are still in tact. Not helpful however if you intend to keep the condenser once cleared, don’t do that!

I’m assuming you have an intake Walter filter - was it clear? If so, it’s likely not a clog at all but rather a stuck regulator valve in the cooling line. There are two which can only be accessed by removing the heat exchanger coil. Having done that on a bench, all I can suggest is you stop fiddling with it and remove the condenser from the boat to allow unrestricted access.
Are you saying there's a regulator valve in the water line? I have 2 AC units and 1 seawater pump. There is water through each unit even if not running when either unit is running. so if there's a regulating valve I don't know what its regulating
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Old 06-10-2019, 19:06   #6
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Re: Clogged Air Conditioner

Thereís no regulator valve in the condenser coil, itís just a straight shot.
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Old 06-10-2019, 19:11   #7
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Re: Clogged Air Conditioner

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Thereís no regulator valve in the condenser coil, itís just a straight shot.
I was 99.99% sure of that. But I looked just in case.

To be clear and simple:

The condenser water circuit is plugged and holds against dock water pressure and air pressure applied in either flow direction - how do I clear the blockage?
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Old 06-10-2019, 19:15   #8
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Re: Clogged Air Conditioner

Have you got a fish tape? Blunt the end so you donít completely bugger up the inside of the coil and get to stabbin!
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Old 06-10-2019, 19:24   #9
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Re: Clogged Air Conditioner

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Have you got a fish tape? Blunt the end so you donít completely bugger up the inside of the coil and get to stabbin!
tried that with a wire

as a FYI I couldn't get the wire to punch through the blockage in the middle of the supply hose
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Old 06-10-2019, 20:00   #10
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Re: Clogged Air Conditioner

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First, no more acid.

Whatever it is, acid is not going to cut it. A small Calcium Shell will devolve in vinegar in about 24 hours. So over night in BB or anything else is not going to help.

Perhaps something plastic has found its way in there somehow.

Taking a step back, how far have you taken the blockage to?
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Old 06-10-2019, 22:04   #11
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Re: Clogged Air Conditioner

Odd idea, but try pushing it from the other side.

You have pushed on it from one side. Maybe it is stuck in a narrowing area or found its way to jam in an odd way and pushing from one side is only making it worse. Push it from the opposite side, putting your snake/fish tape into the other side of the heat exchanger.
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Old 07-10-2019, 05:00   #12
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Re: Clogged Air Conditioner

How difficult is it for you to pull out the hoses and beat them on the dock?
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Old 07-10-2019, 05:22   #13
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Re: Clogged Air Conditioner

It's not in the hose.

I'm fairly sure the blockage is a mixture of dirt/slime/shells. That's what was in the hose and I'm making sure to keep the line wet because I don't want that to dry to cement.

Think I'll just hook up the dock hose to backflush and leave it that way all day and see what happens as I other things to do.
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Old 07-10-2019, 05:55   #14
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Re: Clogged Air Conditioner

Firstly, aren't you the fellow (or one of) who stated in an earlier thread on A/C cleaning that you never flushed your A/C units and they were "fine"? It seems routine flushing does have something to recommend it, No?

Further, I suspect you may have a "cooked" sediment plug--similar to adobe--in the heat exchanger coil. Enough sediment (aka "mud") collected to obstruct the flow of cooling water such that the coil got hotter'n hotter cooking/hardening the sediment which hastened the sedimentation process. Whether you can "drill" through the sediment plug is the question. A plumber's snake with a bit or a flexible drill extension might work, but, the walls of the coil are relatively thin such that a misdirected bit might "drill" through them before it does the plug. The only thing you can do is try it. If it works you're good. If not, you're stuck having to have the coil(s) replaced.

N'either case, good luck!
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Old 07-10-2019, 06:20   #15
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Re: Clogged Air Conditioner

When you say back flush, are you actually pressurizing the line water normally flows out of?
I ask as some call flushing, back flushing.

Worse case, if nothing else works take a cable, thin SS cable about the size of a speedometer or a little larger than a bicycle cable, and chuck it in a drill and use it to push though the clog while spinning the cable with the drill.
I think if you can get just a little flow though the clog, the acid can then do its thing, but with a complete clog the acid isnít getting to where it needs to go.
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