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Old 07-04-2016, 09:36   #1
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A/C Draining to Bilge?

Good morning, CF. My boat ('80 Catalina 30) has an A/C unit installed in a cockpit locker. I haven't ever really used it because every time I turned it on, I could hear water draining into the bilge. I have always assumed it was a loose hose but never got around to addressing. Yesterday I climbed into the quarter berth to inspect the hoses through the access panel/vent. What I discovered was an open T-valve in the water intake line attached to a hose that drains to the bilge (photo included). Click image for larger version

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The Unit is to the top right of the photo and the clear close on the right is the drain to bilge. The unit has a through hull drain. My question is whether or not this is supposed to stay open or if it's some kind of flush out or bypass? Any feedback is appreciated. Thanks!


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Old 07-04-2016, 09:54   #2
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Re: A/C Draining to Bilge?

OK, you will have three hoses.
1. pressurized water coming from a pump and going into the condensor
2. water from the condensor to a thru hull fitting
3. a condensate drain, connected to the pan and water will drip from this just like the water that drips from underneath your car.

Which one of these lines has the open T? I assume line number 1 and if so then it is indeed apparently there to flush out the condenser line and should be closed.
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Old 07-04-2016, 10:29   #3
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Re: A/C Draining to Bilge?

The valve is in #1 about 4" before hose #1 reaches the unit. The flow into the bilge was significant. My first instinct was it should be closed but then got paranoid that I might be wrong. I'm now realizing the potential siphon risk from that valve staying open.


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Old 07-04-2016, 10:48   #4
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Re: A/C Draining to Bilge?

If it's from the supply hose, then your pumping a lot of water in the bilge and I'd be surprised if the AC ran very long too as they have a high pressure safety switch that cuts the unit off if the condensor loses it's cooling. Maybe it was just open a little? Might not hurt to zip tie it closed?
I think your exactly right, it was put there to make flushing easier is all I can come up with and it should be closed or removed
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Old 07-04-2016, 11:53   #5
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Re: A/C Draining to Bilge?

Thank you. I never ran it for long as I knew it was discharging to the bilge.


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Old 07-04-2016, 12:14   #6
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Re: A/C Draining to Bilge?

Maybe it was installed to drain the AC unit to prevent freeze damage during the winter. The small hose on exit side of valve suggests it as a drain. If it was for flushing only a connection for the flushing hose would be needed.

Probably doesn't have reverse cycle heat as well if this is so.
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Old 07-04-2016, 12:39   #7
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Re: A/C Draining to Bilge?

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Maybe it was installed to drain the AC unit to prevent freeze damage during the winter. The small hose on exit side of valve suggests it as a drain. If it was for flushing only a connection for the flushing hose would be needed.

Probably doesn't have reverse cycle heat as well if this is so.
Interesting, that does make sense. The control panel can switch to heat but I have never checked to see if it indeed is reverse cycle.
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Old 07-04-2016, 12:57   #8
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Re: A/C Draining to Bilge?

I admit, I never thought about freezing, and New Orleans. I'd remove the thing, course I heat my boat in Winter, the dehumidifier keeps it surprisingly warm
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Old 07-04-2016, 12:59   #9
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Re: A/C Draining to Bilge?

Well, it probably is revere cycle, like mine, but still might be drained in the winter if the previous owners were not liveaboards.

Possibly the boat has lived in other places than the Big Easy.
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Old 07-04-2016, 13:37   #10
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Re: A/C Draining to Bilge?

What make is the unit ? Flagship Marine makes units that use reverse cycle for a/c at electric only for heat.
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Old 07-04-2016, 14:40   #11
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Re: A/C Draining to Bilge?

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What make is the unit ? Flagship Marine makes units that use reverse cycle for a/c at electric only for heat.
Not sure the make. Very hard to get a good visual of the unit because of the duct work and bulkhead.
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Old 07-04-2016, 17:49   #12
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Re: A/C Draining to Bilge?

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What make is the unit ? Flagship Marine makes units that use reverse cycle for a/c at electric only for heat.
The Flagship units (I installed one) are straight air conditioners (not reverse cycle) and have an electric resistance coil in the output for heating.

The term "reverse cycle" means that the unit is capable of reversing the transfer of heat. It removes heat from the boat and dumps it into the water in the AC mode and removes heat from the water and dumps it into the boat in heat mode.

Although the Flagship and similar models are not as efficient in the heating mode as reverse cycle units, they are less complicated and there is no wear on the compressor and such in heating mode.
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Old 08-04-2016, 09:01   #13
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Re: A/C Draining to Bilge?

Needed to prime water pump. A lot fresh water pumps do no not prime them selves very easily. I usually have this problem after launch or draining to clear sea weed. A high mounted unite could loose prime after every sail. I suspect you need to open valve before turning unit on and leave open for about thirty seconds before closing. Check to see if you have good discharge out the through hull.



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Old 08-04-2016, 09:03   #14
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Re: A/C Draining to Bilge?

You really should at least map out the condenser line plumbing. Find the pump, trace the suction side to its thruhull (and valve, hopefully), and the discharge side to the condenser.
I've been pondering where to put an A/C unit in my Catalina 30, but it has the water heater in the space where I assume yours is. Port side locker, forward end?
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Old 08-04-2016, 09:20   #15
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Re: A/C Draining to Bilge?

Hi, I have a 1978 Catalina 30. There is no wood whatsoever under the lazarette like yours has. What' it for?
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