Saturday, June 8, 2013

Air Conditioner Condensation problem

Today I hope I have solved the problem with condensation in the forward air conditioner condensate tray.  Typically these are supposed to gravity drain and people either put them into a sump or into the bilge.  I have an issue with this on our boat.  When we bought the boat, it you can tell there was an air conditioner in this spot but it was not there.  It had all the hoses going to that location including a drain hose to the bilge.  The problem was that the drain hose ran parallel about 4 feet before it went downhill toward the bilge.  The problem is that it would not gravity drain out.
There were NO other routes to a lower space without drilling holes through a stringer and I feared doing that not knowing exactly where the 115 gallons of water tanks are and how far they extend.
I have spent countless hours trying to come up with a solution that did not involve taking up the flooring.  I looked into the Mermaid Condensator, but it doesn't appear that Mermaid sells them any more even though I found a ton of references to them on the web. I thought about making my own, but would have a similar issue with routing the suction tube to the through hull location on the discharge side of the water circulation.

In the end, I went old school low budget and I sure hope it works for me.  Basically I put an automatic bilge pump in the condensation tray, I ran a 3/4" tube from that pump to a vented loop above the water line and then tee'ed it into the galley sink drain above the water line.  The vented loop will prevent sink water from ever running or siphoning back to the condensate tray.

So now in the Galley I will have a modified bilge pump switch that will be labeled as Air Conditioner Condensation Pump

As a side note I tested this out by pumping the condensation into a bucket before I plumbed everything in.  In South Texas where it is between 85-92 this time of year.  The 16,000 BTU air conditioner for the forward salon extracts about 3/4 to 1 gallon of water an hour.  That actually shocked me, I didn't expect there to be that much.  It just goes to show I want to do something with the rear air conditioner now too in order to avoid all of that water going into the bilge.

In the event anyone is interested in the parts I used for this solution, I have put links below.