Air Conditioner Installation

When we reached El Salvador, it was really apparent that we needed to install an air conditioner to at least cool down Jenny's master cabin.  So, I ordered a 16K BTU water cooled unit (Marine Air) from West Marine and brought it back on the plane after our visit home.  My biggest challenge was where to place it.  I really did not want to give up any storage space, and I did not want to run ducting through the boat.  And, you are instructed no to install it in the engine room so that there is no possibility that fumes or CO will be pumped into the boat.  It wasn't until the unit was onboard before I actually figured out the best place.  Jenny had a 120 Volt AC icemaker in the galley.  We never used it because of the enormous energy it consumed.  We found out that it was far cheaper to buy ice and keep it in the freezer.

The back wall of the icemaker cabinet was the aft wall of the master cabin.  So, I took the icemaker out and looked at the cabinet it was in.  It turned out to be sealed on all sides except the front and just about the perfect size for the AC unit.  So, the icemaker ended up on the dock and quickly disappeared.  Below are photos of the placement.  In Florida I found out that if I left the unit running 24 hours, it would keep the whole boat cool in 95 degree weather with the pilot house being the warmest room.  So, this is sufficient for me to be the only AC unit I need.


As you can see from the above photo, I originally had the cold air return go through a grill right into the box.  This was great for efficiency and circulation, but let too much noise come into the galley and salon.  Once I started using the A/C full time, the noise drove me crazy.  So, I replaced the grill with a wood panel as seen below.  It is a press fit and this sealed the box so very little noise comes through.  But it also kept the cold air from getting back to the air conditioner.  To keep the circulation going, I cut a hole (about 6x6 inches square) through the wall between the A/C unit and the area under the sink.  The cold air return now goes through the louvers on the sink doors and returns to the air conditioner through that hole.  Very little noise comes through.  In fact it is about as quiet as the refrigerator now!  I will have a wood worker put a teak veneer on the panel when I get back to the states. 

BTW, with the help of a floor fan at the base of the forward cabin stairs blowing cold air up to the pilot house, this one A/C unit effectively cools the whole boat in 90 degree weather.  YES!