SSL674 ~ LG mini-split A/C on a SAILBOAT.. Crazy, or GENIUS?!? (Making BOAT LIFE Better)

SSL674 ~ LG mini-split A/C on a SAILBOAT.. Crazy, or GENIUS?!?  (Making BOAT LIFE Better)

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now for almost a year I've been getting questions from you guys like this one, this one is from Colleen west2000. the boat is looking better and better, thank you, I really like the AC mini split, question how well will your LG mini split compressor and fan unit handle the salt water environment and water splashes, I know they're built with outdoor weather and rain in mind, any idea how long it will last on your floor deck? I think this may be a great alternative to Marine air conditioning units that suck from what I can see, cost more, use more power, provide less Cooling, and are always needing more service well this is a great question because I've had two of these units on board now over the past year and currently testing this one for almost eight months, so today I'm gonna tell you exactly what I think so first I'm going to give you a little bit of a back story on why did we install an LG mini split air conditioning system on a sailboat, well I'll tell you because if you remember back a couple of years ago when I first started testing some house style air conditioning units on the boat, namely the small window style air conditioners that we were putting up here in the hatch, now those units did quite a good job but for a very short amount of time, the first thing I noticed is that their longevity was very very bad I had two different units up there, the second one it made it about six months before it just started to not cool so much anymore and inside was getting much hotter, now I went outside and I had a look and I was trying to figure out where all this dust was coming from out on the deck, it was blowing all over the place and at that time I realized it was the air conditioner it had aluminum fins on the condenser coil and in the Salt Air they just turned to dust they literally vaporized within six months it was dead, they were all over the deck and there was nothing left with it just wasn't cooling efficiently anymore, so of course that meant it was running using more and more power and doing less and less Cooling and we started noticing it in the boat, now unfortunately that happened at a time when we really needed some Cooling in the boat because if you remember that was back at the same time that we put the boat into the harbor to do the engine replacement, now we were going to be at the dock for over a month while we did that upgrade and within a week we were almost dying because of course at the dock the boat was sideways to the wind so we weren't getting any Breeze and without some kind of air conditioning it turned into an oven in here very quickly we had Maddie had just giving birth to Richie so he was only five six months old at the time, and you can imagine the tempers were not good when we had a lot of heat in here and the guys in here ripping that apart all our stairs were out, you know the engine underway it was... it was a mess so we needed a solution and we needed it fast now I tried to find something similar but better than what we had there, they don't sell any kind of window air conditioners on the island, everything is either full-blown installed units or Mini Splits, so I started doing some research because we needed something that we could buy here we didn't have time to wait for it to come in from Miami or anything like that and the research I did showed me that the most efficient units that were available in today's market according to all the popular reviews was the LG, so I started researching who carried LG on the island and found out what they had in stock and that's what we decided to buy and it turned out to be a very good decision, now when it comes to installation you wonder well how do you install something like this on a sailboat, actually it was quite easy the only decision we had to make was where to put the condensing unit outside on the deck and of course I had a spot there was a natural solution right there on Deck beside the Mast right where we used to carry the motorcycle, we don't have the motorcycle anymore and we got the granny bars there as support and everything and you know we don't use that side of the Mast because all of the halyards are on the opposite side of the mass so we decided to put the mini split right there, and that meant just having to drill four small holes into the deck to put the screws in, but that was it so that was a pretty good compromise for what we needed at the time and it solved our problem, now obviously when it comes to putting a mini split in a sailboat there is two components, this is pretty much the brains and the beauty of the system and obviously this is the brawn of the system, this is the power so this is where the cooling is done and the compressing, so the AC compressor is housed in this unit here and the condensing coil that takes the heat out of the compressed gas so that then the cool gas goes downstairs to the evaporator unit where the cold air is produced that cools the boat, and of course this monitors the inside temperature and decides when to turn on or off, or what speed to run at, and how much cooling is necessary, and everything is from right here - now some of you might remember that we had a white one here first, and yes that is true because this is the second one that we've installed because the white one was our first experiment, now the white one was the cheapest base model that we could find on the island that would do the job, so we installed that as an experiment just to see if it would work and of course it did, but of course you know me I'm looking for the most efficient product I can get so after a few months we traded into this one which is a much higher efficiency unit, this is a dual inverter 220 volt system and the compressor in this one's rated at 20 to 30 percent more efficient than the previous version that we had before, now of course 220 volts... we don't have 220 volts on the boat our inverter runs 110 it's a 5000 watt inverter by Victron, so the solution to that with a simple voltage converter I bought a voltage converter that takes 110 AC up to 220 AC, it's a 3000 watt converter and this is rated at maximum 1200 watts, so this device is no problem at all for that converter to run, now of course then you'll say there's going to be losses of efficiency using the converter, well yes there is and I've calculated all of those and at the end of the day I still am claiming 15 to 20 percent Energy savings with this unit, even using the converter over and above what we were using with the other system, but even that when we consider how much efficiency we gained over the window style air conditioners this one was using nine to ten kilowatt hours per day on average daily conditions where we are all the time this one does the exact same job on some days four kilowatt hours, some days five but the maximum has been six that's a substantial Improvement, and I'm talking substantial, because all that power has to come from somewhere and our solar cells out back we can produce a maximum of about 11 to 12 kilowatt hours per day so of course we're never going to run this just purely off solar power along with everything else because we consume an average of about eight to nine kilowatt hours per day without air conditioning, but that's because you know we've got 5 kilowatt home style freezer in here, we got three kilowatt upright refrigerator right here we've got a home style washing machine dryer right here that we use on a regular basis, I've got 24-hour security systems running with eight 4K cameras, all my laptops the refrigeration systems we've got fridge under the counter I mean we've got energy we're using everywhere, but that's been our experiment overall as well you know I'm trying to figure out ways to run this sailboat just like you would a house, because I lived in this sailboat for a lot of years, roughing it like we were camping and I remember trying to conserve every single ounce of power, of water, everything, and after so many years it's just nice to be able to find all this new technology that's available that I can Implement into our lifestyle that makes it so much more comfortable just like being at home, you're you're at your home in a house, okay this is our house but it is now almost as comfortable as being in your house, we have all the amenities of home just in a smaller refined enclosure that we can take anywhere, and this is what my goal has been I am trying to build the ultimate, ultimate tiny house that's completely self-sufficient, capable of living off-grid anywhere and we can just pull up our anchor and move it anytime we want, if we don't like our neighbors or our neighborhood or where we're at or anything like that or we just get bored and want to go somewhere else, we pull it all up and move, but we take all of our conveniences with us, that is a nice touch now as for the inside installation, it really was quite simple I just fabricated a bracket that I could put on the back of the unit and screw directly to the the wall at the back on this side of the boat and you can see right here that's where the bracket attaches, there's just a screw on this side, and a screw on the other side that matches, and this allows it to Pivot it's on a hinge so they can still pivot so I can still let it move if I want to when the boat is sailing, or keep it in a fixed position now from there there's just the two tubes and they're held here as you can see in the insulation and they just come out the side of the unit and go up here and around to the ceiling, and up in the ceiling you remember I used to have a fireplace right here and the fireplace has been gone for a long time, but it left a hole where the chimney was, so I used that hole right there and we'll go up on deck and I'll show you where the lines come through for the outside installation you can see where the coils just come out of the unit they're all insulated I've got an extra Loop of them here, goes around the Mast, comes around here and goes down through this plate and this is where the chimney is to be for the inside furnace so we just ran all the tubing through the old plate, put some silicone around it to seal it up and so far working perfect, now the other thing is the drip tube now I have the drip tube just coming down here in behind where the water maker is and it runs down down down all the way into the bilge and then the bilge pumps it out, now of course this isn't the best solution but it's an experiment so what can I say, this tube I already have a better tube that's going to run along with this and then drop down the support for the rigging on the Mast and go straight into the floor and it's a much smaller clear tube so it won't be nearly as noticeable as this one is of course just hanging there right now, in one of our bathrooms in the back we've got an automatic Sump System for the shower, so when people shower we used to just have to pull a switch and it would pump out the water from the bottom of the floor, now I have an automatic sump installed on that shower that we've been testing for a couple of years, works great, so we bought another one that we're going to install under the floor underneath eat the washing machine and it will collect water from that shower and this shower so both port and starboard showers from both bathrooms will come down into this sump and then it will automatically pump the water overboard so we don't have to, at the same time it has extra inlets on the sump so we're just going to run the drip tube from the air conditioning straight down into there and that will keep it out of the bilge of the boat and just into the shower sump instead, and then the shower sump will take care of it, so that will be a much better solution, it's on the project list, and yes not only is this where the brunt of the work is done but it's also where the brunt of the punishment is taken, because don't forget this is a sailboat and we go sailing, and I have seen this bow literally go through big waves where we've had a foot of blue water come over and wash down the deck and go straight through the condenser and I'm serious I'm talking like big thick water, and I saw that several times when we were at Sea and I thought there's no way it could survive that, there's no way, experiments finished, but I kid you not when we got back to shore all we did was throw a bucket of fresh water through it to get rid of any salt turned it on and it was working like nothing happened, I couldn't believe it, I mean since yes we do have a cover for it so if we're going to sea and we're not planning to use it when we just put the cover over it and tie it over so that we can preserve it a little bit longer but I have to say I'm quite impressed at how resilient it's been so far, because we have really torture tested this condenser, now as you can see it has held up very well, I mean the case is in amazing shape and this is over six months worth of constant daily subject to Salt Air, Salt Water, the screws they got a little bit of corrosion nothing too bad, the housing is perfect, but the biggest thing is the condensing coil itself but that was one of the things that I found when I did my research on this model the condenser cooling fins are actually they have some kind of a gold anodizing on them that protects them against corrosion, and I didn't think it would protect them against direct salt water intrusion but it has, these coils the fins are in perfect condition and I'm very impressed I gotta say, now the only place I've seen any corrosion on this thing at all is in the base pan and I'll show you here now, see if you go right down to the bottom of the unit, you can see right there there's just a bit of corrosion in the bottom and that's where the salt water sometimes accumulates so of course if we don't get it out of there it will cause corrosion, now obviously that hasn't hindered operation yet but eventually it will lead to deterioration of the mounts so to correct that I'm just going to put something in there to get rid of the rust and then we'll probably spray in some oil just to cover the surface to protect them and make it last as long as possible, now I'm sure some of you are asking "well what are you going to do when this thing fails?" well I thought of that also because ultimately at some point it's got to fail right? I mean it can't last forever sitting out here, that's for sure, but I thought about that even before I did my research on the unit and what was I going to do if the air condenser failed? well I'll tell you - that is where this guy comes into play and what this is is a water cooled heat exchanger for a refrigeration unit okay? now this will handle up to a five ton unit and what we have up there is a one ton unit so this is more than adequate for the amount of cooling that we need for that compressor, if you've never heard of or seen anything like this all it is basically is a tube or a coil within a tube so we have an inside tube and an outside tube and what happens is these two small nibs on top, this is for the high pressure lines that come off the compressor, these are for water lines so you've got a water in and a water out, high pressure in, high pressure out, but of course this is going to be hot going in and cool coming out, because what's going to happen is these small tubes are wrapped around the inside tube all the way across and encapsulated in Copper and copper of course is a very very good conductor, thermal conductor to dissipate heat very very quickly, so as we pass cold water through the inside of this tube it literally literally takes all the heat out of the coil on the inside of the tube and then all the heat comes out with the water on the other side and just goes straight back out to the ocean, so this will effectively water cool the entire system and replace that great big air cooled condenser up on Deck, so if the condenser gives up the ghost that doesn't mean the compressor is dead, the compressor is still going to be good we're just going to remove the compressor, and bring it inside I'll probably put it in the water Locker along with the reverse osmosis or the desalination system or something like that, I'll Plumb the lines from the AC unit down to the compressor through this... I'll run the cold water through this using a pump similar to what we use with the RO system or anything like that, and I have found you can get good water pumps for refrigeration systems on Amazon for about 150-200$ you can get some that are 12 volt DC or some that are 110 volt AC, so if the air conditioning is running that means that we're using the inverter anyway so it doesn't matter to use the extra water pump, and the 110 volt pumps are usually more efficient than the 12 volt counterparts and less expensive but that is the plan so if the system upstairs breaks, this is what I'm going to implement in its place to start another test and see what happens, now maybe it will break maybe it won't, I don't know only time is going to tell us that, but until then we continue to use it as it is, of course next question is how well does it work? well I can tell you it works very well this is a 12'000 BTU unit and we're on a 50-foot boat, that probably has less than 400 square feet of space inside and of course we're not eight foot ceilings like you'd have in a house, we are seven foot ceilings through most of the boat, so the cubic area that has to cool is a very reasonable size for this size of unit, now we only have one unit and we use it to cool the entire boat, all the cabins just with fans, now if we're not using a cabin just like this one we leave the door closed because nobody's in there so there's no point in air conditioning it, our cabin same thing we leave the door open we have a fan on in there and it just keeps circulating or sucking air from the cabin from the Salon into our cabin and just keeps it cool, not freezing cold or anything but we don't need freezing cold we just need not hot, now you'll see I've got the unit set at 27 degrees so to give you an idea if we look over here I've got all my temperature gauges right here, and this is the outside temperature right now in the cockpit 30.6 degrees, this is our inside cabin temperature 26.1 degrees 66 humidity, 80 humidity outside

now that is more than enough to make a considerable difference in Comfort inside the boat because we've dropped the humidity down to a very very reasonable level and the temperature differential, I usually try to chase three to four degrees from outside temperature that's all we need, like I said we don't need to be freezing cold, we just want to keep it more comfortable than outside and that's how we keep our power consumption under control also I've kept all the backup information on this unit because that was one of the advantages of getting this one is it has a full app control as well and the app stores all of the data from all the usage from the day that we installed it, that's awesome, so not only does our Victron system store all the information about the energy that we use and gather on a daily basis this stores all of its own information on how much it uses on a daily basis at the same time, now as far as power consumption we could never just keep this unit running 24 hours a day running on our solar panels alone, obviously we don't generate that much, but we can replenish the power as needed with our engine because now that's why we have these dual alternators here and that is a backup power system in case we're not getting enough sun or if it's too hot and we want to run the air conditioning just so we can function and still work down here, we can just run the engine for maximum one hour a day of engine time we'll run this 24 hours a day in addition to everything else we do on the boat, so that is a big significant improvement from what I am accustomed to with boats that I've seen previously with air conditioning where they have to run a generator 24 hours a day, and yes 24 hours a day because these things suck a lot of power, but the new generation of these systems are far more efficient especially considering anything that's available on the Marine market right now, I studied all the Marine air conditioning units and I could not find anything that touched the statistics or are the specifications of this unit and that's why I wanted to test it see if it actually measured up to what they promised, and it does, but the Marine units are far more expensive than something like this, I mean this model this is the LG dual inverter art cool okay that's why it's got the fancy glass plate on the front and everything we really like that because it kind of Blends in more and gives a reflection or an open area of expanding the salon, but the biggest difference is for me was the improved efficiency and the app control with the data logging, those were my main reasons for upgrading to this one this one was about eight hundred dollars or about two hundred dollars more than the base model but that 200$ will pay for itself probably within one to one and a half years just with the difference in efficiency because this one doesn't use nearly as much power as the last one which translates to less engine hours at the end of the day if we have to replenish the power from the engine, so I've done all those calculations and so far it's fitting the bill perfectly but of course if there's one person whose opinion you want about the air conditioning in the house, that would be the lady of the house (I switch on now) yeah so what do you think of having this device in the house? what kind of differences it made in your opinion so far? (oh less stress, less richie nervous for the hot, especially because they stay is little, he stay in the boat on the floor, is the humidity that make the difference in so and the air conditioner help a lot to feel nice) all right because we have run it 24 hours a day, and sometimes we do but not often because actually at night we prefer the breeze through the boats (oh yeah sure) usually just when it's hot during the days when we turn it on (no I like the air, the the normal air from the window, and help a lot the air condition I have a lot of the same inside the boat for dress, for clothes, for fruits and veggie everything because this is the deteriorated stuff and make a more and all the boat, because really is a long time now that we don't have a lot of mold) when you decrease the humidity you decrease the amount of mold that grows inside the boat, is what she's saying (and inside your closet) because yeah usually we have to clean the headliner a lot just from mold, mold that grows on the roof on the ceiling the wood everywhere, but we haven't had to do that in quite a while since we've been running air conditioning, mostly during the daytime (the fruits the food I'm doing all the time, is outside now I don't have a fruit so far I need to go to buy a new one) yeah it's a little empty right now (during a week without any issue almost) okay but what's your thought about this air conditioner? as far as intrusive in the boat you find it loud? quiet? (this is very quiet is uh it's very strange inside the boat to see inside the boat because it's an outside air condition and we never thinking before that it's possible have one of these here, but it silence refresh they boat very very very fast and really we don't have an issue when we sailing because this is very tight and outside we just tested for a season in Panama, some months when we sailing, the splash of the water really after that you refresh with us with water don't have any damage, you don't have any rust for the moment, now we have these from the six months now?) yeah this model about at least six months (yeah in six months we don't have any rusting and working perfectly every day) right right now the only thing you can hear running right now is that fan (then is silence also, is a very good brand this) one of the things I like about this particular model, why we upgraded from the previous one is this one has the built-in air deflectors, not just up and down on the vertical axis but also on the horizontal axis, so it circulates air through the entire room all on its own (if you have electronic some board, is amazing I have a little bit of air condition because the same the electronic when the boat is very hot, stop to working and they deteriorate so fast) this has always been my issue because I work over here and of course over here is where the refrigeration systems are, the computers are, all of the heat in the boat is generated right from right underneath my station, and it gets smoking hot, so some days I can't even edit I have to shut everything off and just go outside because there's just too much heat and I can't deal with it, the computers even start to complain and they'll just start to stop working so I have to turn on fans and let it cool down but now as soon as it starts to happen we turn on the air conditioning and I can actually keep working no problem at all, so it does make a big difference in our environment for sure, but I know you have to go... where'd Richie go? he's too quiet that's a problem, that's a problem where is Richard? oh there he is oh good boy you're behaving, Richie ready to go swimming? (we need to go then swimming lesson) yeah time for Richie's swimming lesson (almost guys, almost swimming alone) have a good session okay so there you have the opinion of the lady of the house, and I'm not suggesting that this is going to work for everybody, but in fact it does work for us, at the moment, I'm not also saying that it's going to last forever or for much longer that I don't know, so absolutely I'd be interested to know what you guys think so for sure leave your thoughts in the comments below, as always thanks for watching have a great day out there and I'll see you in the next episode, ciao guys

2023-05-16 19:34

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