Whether you run a crew boat, drill rig, or enjoy a personal boat or yacht, it’s essential for your marine refrigeration and HVAC systems to operate properly. They make your work or play time comfortable and keep your groceries fresh. It’s helpful to understand how these systems work for your Semmes, AL vessel, and what your options are if you need a replacement.

The Importance of Marine Refrigeration and How It Works

No matter the type of vessel that you have, the refrigeration system is a key element. You need to keep cargo, food and drinks at optimal temperatures all the time to ensure their safety and quality. For instance, your crew, family or friends could get sick if they eat poorly maintained fare. Even keeping the garbage at an optimal temperature is important to prevent the growth and spread of bacteria.

Marine refrigeration systems generally consist of five parts: refrigerant, compressor, condenser, evaporator and expansion device. While it’s a gas, the refrigerant is compressed as it passes through the compressor. This process significantly increases the temperature, which is cooled in the condenser. The cooling process turns the compressed gas into a liquid.

Then, the evaporator uses a very low temperature to boil the liquid back into a gas. When the heat from the evaporator is absorbed through this step, it removes the heat from the refrigeration box. Because of that, the temperature in the box falls. Finally, the gas refrigerant returns to the compressor for the cycle to repeat.

Why Ventilation Is Important and When to Replace Your HVAC System

Along with having a heating and cooling unit, ventilation is essential for maintaining a comfortable climate throughout your boat or ship. It also reduces humidity and moisture below deck which prevents a musty smell from developing. With the drier climate, your fabrics and electronics will last longer before they need repair or replacement. In addition, proper ventilation prevents osmotic blisters from moist air saturation in the hull.

It’s essential that you check these elements when you use your vessel after a dormant period. During this check, remember to look at the rest of your HVAC system. You might need to perform some simple maintenance, but there are times when you need professional marine HVAC services before you disembark.

For example, you could need repairs or a replacement if the compressor in your system struggles to start or trips the breaker. This early warning sign occurs after extended use. You should also call for repairs if the HVAC system doesn’t cool your vessel well. There could be a blockage in the coil that needs to be removed.

When the system draws too much power, it could die at any moment. If the condenser coil has pitting, oxidation or flakes when you touch it, the refrigerant line could rupture soon. In these cases, you need to replace the system as soon as possible. A replacement might also be warranted if your HVAC unit is 15 to 20 years old.

Choosing the Right HVAC and Refrigeration Systems to Meet Your Needs

There are many types of refrigeration and HVAC products available. For instance, the three main types of refrigeration systems are drop-in units, cold plates and holding-plate systems. Marine HVAC systems also come in many types, including hatch-mounted, self-contained, split, chilled water and reverse-cycle systems.

Each refrigeration and HVAC product has advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to research them before you choose one for your ship or boat. Talking to a marine HVAC and refrigeration expert can help you make an informed decision. If you don’t find a standard system that works for you, it’s possible to customize fabricated and portable units to handle your cooling and heating needs.

Do you need to repair or replace part of your marine HVAC or refrigeration system? You can find the help that you’re looking for on Air Specialty’s marine HVAC services page, or call us at (251) 415-4559.

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