Monday, June 15, 2009

Air Conditioning

Cartegena Colombia - 10 24.5N 075 32.6W

Well, Chuck wins the bet....and it took less than two weeks. After two sleepless nights due to extreme heat and no wind and stories of the San Blas being even hoter at times I managed to procure a used Air Conditioning unit from our friend David on Brudair. I had originally wanted to bring down a dehumidifier, becoming a believer in their cooling and comfort factor in Hawaii, but we weren't sure if it would fit, so it didn't make the list. I tried to find one here, but no-one even knew what they were and the only units I found were very small "mini" units. It appears they either have Fans or A/C here in Colombia. I then looked everywhere for a portable air conditioning unit. They are like window units, but the whole unit sits in the room (on wheels...hence the portable part) and they use a duct (or preferably two) to pump the hot air out a window. This would be a much easier install than trying to fit a window unit to a flat hatch. I did finally find a place that has some on order, but he didn't know when they would get there and the price was rather steep at over $600 for a 9,000 btu unit (this would be about $300 in the US).

I knew David had a 16,000 Btu unit for sale, trying to make space as they are now using a window unit into their butterfly hatch, so I went about determining if it would fit. After many careful measurements I determined that it would fit under the sink in the galley and we could use the SW intake for the sink spigot as the supply and drain out the deck drain using a left over SS "Y" fitting we had in our spares box. Wiring would be easy as the AC panel is right there. Short term we would just run the duct-work out the cabinet which would probably need to be open for proper air supply and long term, we could put a louvered vent out the inboard face below the AC panel and put louvers in the door or kickstop for return air.

It took about 2 1/2 hours on Saturday to take the AC unit out of Brudair, complicated as the foam pad had bonded to the wood platform pretty well over the 5 years it had been installed. I then spent about an hour cleaning the unit and strainer on the dock. Here I made a minor mistake that would come back later.

Sunday morning I got started at 7:00 installing the system. The strainer ended up fitting in the back of the cabinet mounted to the plexiglass separator, with the pump just forward of that and the main unit outboard. I had to relocate the fire extinguisher within the cabinet and relieved the water filter bracket with my dremel to make the fit easier. By 2:00, just 5 hours later, the unit was up and running, producing cold air. I had the crew of Silandra V over for drinks to celebrate the accomplishment and then sat down for a movie. About halfway through, at 8:30 or so the unit shut off with a high pressure alarm, which is usually caused by insufficient cooling. I tried a few things, checking the strainer and things, but couldn't figure it out and was getting tired and gave up at about 9:45. The next morning I tried a few things, eventually finding two small muscle shells in the pump that must have gotten past the strainer when I was cleaning it. I figure they took a while to work their way into the pump, explaining why it ran fine for over 6 hours. It worked the ramainder of monday evening and overnight, allowing me to sleep in comfort, even requiring a sheet over me for the first time in weeks.

I went about trying to figure out the power consumption today, but it appears our electric meter (on the dock) isn't operational. I know it uses about 3 kW when running, but don't have a great idea of what that means over 24 hours or so. The bad news is I don't know how much power it uses over time, but the good news is I guess we aren't paying $.25 US per kW since the meter doesn't work. It will be interesting to see what the marina does when we go to check out, but I think we are fairly safe.

The rents show up Wednesday afternoon, so I will finally have some company. Today is a holiday here (no-one knows what the holiday is, but much is closed and noone is working). Hopefully the Stainless polishers will finish tomorrow so I can wash the deck Wednesday morning (it will be covered in dust from the polishing and being in this city) before Bill and Mom get here.


The Other Jo said...

Hope you arrived safely. Rain, and more rain in maine!
The Other Jo

Air Conditioning Installer said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
AC Repair Services said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cool Your Air said...

Excellent and informative blog. Thanks for posting this. It’s informative and enlightening. Keep up the good work.

palm beach air conditioning repair