“Mini” A/C Condensate Bilge

Published date: March 4, 2023
Modified date: March 4, 2023
  • Boat Type: MacGregor 26X, Boat Type

It’s March 4th, Saturday night, and I’m deep into the bilges of Over Easy having just completed a new Mini Air Conditioner Condensate Darwin Bilge! Ta Da!!!

We had wanted to get this accomplished ever since we installed the A/C in Over Easy! It sorta evolved… We had initially just had the condensate collect in a pan that we periodically emptied (Gawd forbid if the humidity was high or if we plumb forgot about it!).

So next, given we had installed three automatic bilge pumps ( Port/Starboard/Center) we let it drain directly into the Port Bilge. Problem was that the “Automatic” bilge pumps don’t trigger unless the water there is sufficiently deep and then when it does finish pumping it leaves about 1/2 inch (or so) which given the shallow nature of the Mac26X bilges is still nearly a gallon (or so) of water remaining. Who wants a gallon of water sloshing about? Eh? (Yes, we do have wet vacuum lines routed to each of the bilges but it’s still a chore that needs to be done.

So this season we created a “mini” bilge just for the A/C unit. (That way the Port Bilge can remain dry and only the much smaller 1 Quart “mini” bilge gets wet.)

The bilge tub is a trimmed down plastic pneumatic nail container that easily fits in the aft berth Port side access. The pump is the shortest automatic bilge pump I could find locally (a Rule 500 series). To maximize pump out and minimize drain back I placed a check valve inline adjacent to the pump duscharge. I chose to reduce the discharge line down from the typical 3/4 inch tube to 1/4 inch to minimize retained water. For a discharge Port I decided to re-access the original Mac26X sink drain through hull which I had capped off when we did our galley mod back in 2020. Glad I chose to use a threaded cap! While the check valve will preclude any siphoning issues I also added a high loop in the discharge line up to where the old sink rim would have been just for good measure.

The Rule pump automatic feature doesn’t use a float but rather a 2-1/2 minute timer. It then uses a current sensor to keep the pump on until it runs out of water to pump. While it eliminates a float switch one does need to get used to to periodic “whoosh” sound which is reasonably minimal and really can’t be heard when the A/C is running.


Useful information

  • This site is not responsible for damage done to your boat.
  • When in doubt, consult a professional. Always comply with local and marine codes.
  • Dont drill holes in the bottom of your boat.
  • Happy sailing

Related listings

  • Bilge pump
    Bilge pump
    Water Systems - - December 1, 2019

    I installed a West Marine 2000 GPH bilge pump with 1-1/4" hose and a float switch under the cooler. I routed the hose to the transom thru-hull. It took about fourteen feet of hose. In the right of the large picture you can see the transom thru-hull j...

  • Faucet
    Water Systems - - December 1, 2019

    I highly suggest this relatively cheap modification! We added an electric faucet (small pump in-line) controlled at the faucet by a turn knob, not by a button. The button ones mean you have to hold the button down, where the knob one works just like ...

  • Water tank and deck fitting
    Water tank and deck fitting
    Water Systems - - December 1, 2019

    I replaced the starboard water tank with a better one (flexible type) which is now located below the cooler chest. The filling pipe goes below the headroom through the closet in the headroom and up on deck. You see the filling fitting on the picture....