Living in Galveston, Texas places you right at the edge of the Gulf of Mexico. As such, in addition to maintaining your residential HVAC system, you may have heating and cooling needs for your boat. Marine HVAC systems provide reliable and efficient climate control for marine vessels. Read on to learn all about what marine HVAC systems are and how they work.

What Is a Marine HVAC System?

Boats have limited space, limited electrical power while away from shore, and access to ample water. Marine HVAC systems are designed to accommodate the shortcomings of marine vessels and capitalize on their strengths. Many options are either compact or unobtrusive when installed. They also use water for cooling rather than air. As a result, less energy is needed for their ongoing operations.

These systems have fans that draw warm air from cabins, circulate it over their evaporator coils, and then distribute it once it’s been cooled. Cold water from outside of boats is then brought in to cool their refrigerant back down before being returned to the surrounding body of water.

Marine HVAC systems are how cruise lines keep their passengers comfortable and safe. These systems are also found on yachts, super-yachts, and other large, seaworthy vessels. There are several different kinds of marine HVAC systems. Some options only provide cooling. Others are capable of working in reverse to provide heating as well. All marine HVAC systems offer both dehumidification and limited indoor air filtration, and most are capable of working with both freshwater and saltwater.

What Are the Benefits of Having Marine HVAC Systems Installed?

Aside from regulating the temperature in your boat cabin, a marine air conditioner will also extract excess humidity. When you’re out on the water or when your boat is docked and waiting for your next trip, excess moisture can cause a host of problems. In addition to setting the stage for mold and mildew development, excess moisture can also create progressive corrosion issues. Running a marine HVAC system while actively using your boat helps keep mold and corrosion at bay. It also makes it easier to store your boat with a cabin that’s both clean and dry.

Chilled Water Air Conditioners

Often found on yachts and super-yachts, chilled water air conditioners cool water and circulate it to each of their air handlers. Larger boats can have an air handle in every cabin if needed. These systems are ideal for cooling off multiple living spaces with minimal energy.

Split-System Marine HVACs

Split-system marine air conditioners have two units. Their simple setup and smaller sizes make them best-suited to small or medium-sized boats with just one large cabin to cool. Set up much like residential cooling systems, they have an indoor evaporator unit and an outside condenser and compressor. These two units are connected by copper refrigerant tubing. The evaporator unit is installed in the cabin, and the condenser is mounted in or just near the engine room.

Self-Contained Marine ACs

Self-contained marine air conditioners have all of their components in a single unit. These are usually installed on boats measuring just 40 feet in length or less. They’re compact, capable of servicing a modest amount of cabin space, and yet still capable of providing adequate temperature control, humidity regulation, and airflow. However, self-contained units do require through-hull connections. These connections make it possible for self-contained air conditioners to draw cool seawater or freshwater in for cooling as needed.

Reverse-Cycle Systems

Reverse-cycle marine HVACs work similarly to heat pumps in that they’re capable of reversing the flow of their refrigerant. If you take your boat out on a day that’s especially chilly, this type of marine HVAC system can pump warm air into your cabin and release cool air outside. Reverse cycle marine HVAC systems are best-suited to boaters who use their vessels year-round.

Choosing a Marine HVAC System

Correct sizing is just as important for marine HVAC systems as it is for residential cooling equipment. When choosing an option for your boat, many of the same factors must be considered. These include the amount of livable area you want your HVAC system to service, your cabin’s ceiling height, and your cabin’s envelope. You must also decide whether or not you want heat. Much like residential AC systems, the air filtration and dehumidification capabilities of marine ACs can be enhanced with upgraded filters and connected or integrated accessories.

We proudly serve residents of Galveston, Texas and the surrounding area. We offer air conditioner and heater installation, maintenance, and repair services. We also provide advanced indoor air quality solutions, ductless mini-splits, and marine HVACs. If you’re ready to add a marine HVAC system to your boat, yacht, or super-yacht, contact George’s Air Conditioning today.

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