Marine Air Conditioners offer the comfort of heating and/or cooling for your boat. In this article, we will discuss the types of marine air conditioners available and a brief description on how they work. Most marine air systems will draw power for the boat’s generator. However, there are systems that draw power from a battery. These systems can also be permanent or portable. You can click on the photos to be taken to the websites where you can find out more information or purchase these air conditioners.
Types of Marine Air Conditioners
Self-contained Units: Depending on the size of the boat, there are different types of units. For boats up to 12 meters (40 ft), self-contained marine air conditioners are a great option. These systems house all the parts necessary to cool or heat in a single unit. Below we show two examples. A reverse-cycle self-contained unit provides both cooling and heat. They include a seawater kit that requires you to install a through-hull, 115 volt raw water pump and needed plumbing. You also install ducts, supply and return grilles, and other ventilation hardware. These self-contained units use refrigerant to cool.
Split-Gas Air Conditioner: For vessels up to 24 meters (80 ft), split-gas air conditioners are a great option. These units are called split-gas (or remote) because the condensing and evaporating unit are housed on separate chassis installed in different locations on the boat. They require installation of a pump and tubing.
Chilled Water Air Conditioner: For boats larger than 24 meters (80 ft.) chilled water air conditioners use multiple air handlers for the different areas of the vessel that need it. They use a closed fresh water loop between the condenser unit and the air handlers.
Chilled Water Systems: Another type of system are air cooled marine air conditioners that require no pumps, plumbing or water to function. These systems are cooled by a fan, as opposed to seawater, and are either self-contained or condensing units. Because they are installed in external locations, they can withstand harsh marine conditions.
12 Volt Marine Air Conditioner: In recent years, the 12 volt marine air conditioner has become very popular. These units use battery power and don’t need a generator. This unit shown below is made by Cruise N Comfort USA and is unique in that it has multiple compressors that allow the unit to use less power than other 12 volt systems that only use one compressor.
Portable Marine Air Conditioner: If you are not looking for a permanent solution, a portable marine air conditioner is a great choice. These air conditioners typically fit on deck hatches and come in various sizes. They are self-contained and can easily be installed or removed.
Vent Fans: An alternative to traditional marine air conditioners are vent fans that help circulate air in your boat by using the existing vents. They operate by either battery or solar power.
There are many options available for marine air conditioners. The best option for you will be based on your desires, size of vessel and purpose for the unit. Also, it’s important to know how accessible it is to buy marine air conditioner parts. Sites such as Amazon offer certain types of replacement parts, while many of the original manufacturers will also have them as well.