The following information is provided by The Dometic Corporation
Three Basic Types of Air Conditioning
The basic principle of an air conditioner is the movement of heat. In a marine direct expansion (DX) seawater-cooled air conditioner, heat is transferred from the cabin air to the refrigerant gas, which then releases the heat into the seawater. In reverse cycle heating (heat pump), the refrigerant flow is reversed and heat is extracted from the seawater and discharged into the cabin.
Part of the cooling process, in addition to lowering the air temperature, is the removal of moisture from the air. This lowers the humidity, makes the area feel more comfortable, and helps to keep the boat dry, reducing mold growth and other moisture-related problems.
There are three basic types of air conditioning systems:
SELF CONTAINED A/C SYSTEMS (For smaller boats up to 12 meters/40 feet) Self-contained units are typically the best choice for smaller boats up to about 12 meters (40 feet) due to the lower cost of the units and installation. A self-contained air conditioner has all of the major components mounted on a single chassis, which is installed in the living area; usually under a bunk or settee, or in a locker. Cooling-only models are available, as well as reverse-cycle, which can cool or heat. Also available are air conditioning kits, which include the self-contained unit, water pump, ducting, and grilles -- all the components needed for a complete system. A single unit can cool each cabin, or can be ducted to two or more cabins to save space and cost. Self-contained units often require less power than other systems due to the highly efficient rotary compressors.
SPLIT A/C SYSTEMS (For boats up to 24 Meters (80 feet) Split air conditioning systems have the condensing unit and air handler installed in different locations. The condensing unit is mounted in the engine room or other mechanical space. The air handler (also called the evaporator) is installed in the living area. Two air handlers can connect to one condensing unit. Split systems are found on boats up to 24 meters (80 feet), limited only by the number of condensing units that will fit and by the 15 meter (50 foot) maximum length of copper tubing between the condensing unit and air handler. The advantages of a split system are; less space needed in the living areas for the air handlers, quieter because the compressor is in the engine room and a wide selection of air handler types are available.
TEMPERED WATER A/C SYSTEMS (For large boats and super yachts) Tempered water air conditioning systems (also called chilled water) consist of a chiller, located in the engine room, that cools (or heats) fresh water, then pumps it through an insulated piping loop to air handlers located in the living spaces, where the air is cooled or heated. Tempered water A/C systems are idea for boats of 24 meters (80 feet). Some advantages of a tempered water A/C system are: No limitation on the number of air handlers in a system, or on the distance from the chiller to the air handlers, flexible load management and often a reduced peak electrical load.
Shiver Me Timbers factory trained technician will go to your boat and discuss with you the options that your boat design and your personal comfort requires. You will be given a written estimate for a complete installation with a guarantee that the total job cost will not exceed 10% of the quote given. Our installations are well thought out and designed to maintain the integrity of the vessel with the understanding that esthetics and quality are just as important as getting cold air in your cabin. We are authorized dealers for the Dometic brands CruisAir and Marine Air and are able to service other brands on the market as well.
To enhance your total boating experience by increasing your comfort and that of your families, call us today for a free estimate.