Specifiying Marine Airconditioning for your boat

Two Golden Rules when Specifying Marine Airconditioning

During the recent London Boat Show the Penguin team spent a lot of time discussing best practice when specifying marine airconditioning – below are the two key points to get right.

1. Correct air flow

Retrofitting marine airconditioning inevitably means you will end up sacrificing some of your existing storage and locker space to run the ducting and grill back boxes.  If you want your finished system to work effectively don’t cut corners on this.  The aim is to project the cold, dense air from the airconditioner’s blower up and across the ceiling of the cabin.  So, air distribution grills should be as high up as practically possible, for example positioned at the top of a wardrobe.

Marine Airconditioning air distributionNever try and share your marine airconditioning outlet with an existing heater outlet as these are generally positioned way too low and you will just end up freezing the floor of the cabin and little else.

Given the restrictions in space and the ability to run ducting, especially on smaller yachts, delivery grills are often positioned in the back of saloon seating.  If this is the only available position ensure that the grill is positioned so it does not simply freeze the back of the neck of the person sitting in front of it.  This can often be done by mounting it on an angled plinth to help projct the air up.

Equally important to good air delivery is getting the return air back to the marine airconditioner effectively.  All airconditioning works by dehumidifying the air as well as cooling it.  To do this you must ensure that the air in the cabin is recycled via a clear unobstructed route back to the marine airconditioner.  If a return air grill is fitted it must be large enough to provide sufficient area for efficient operation.  See our guide chart for further details.

2. Ensure Sufficient Cooling Water Flow and that the Pump will Prime Properly

Make sure the flow rate of the pump matches the required water flow of the marine airconditioning unit.  Fit a fine gauze strainer and make sure that this is cleaned as part of your regular maintenace on board.  See the product technical specification on our website or email us for confirmation of sizing and flow rates.

On sailboats particularly, a badly installed pump will cause major problems with your marine airconditioning.  The pumps are not self-priming so must be sited well below the water line and we further recommend that they are fitted as close to the sea water intake and strainer as possible.  Pumps will push the water far easier than they can suck air so the closer you locate the pump to the sea water intake the better.

Again for best practice and to further improve the performance of marine airconditioning we also recommend that you fit a forward facing scoop on the intake.

To summarise, get the basics right, good air flow and a well positioned sea water pump and your marine airconditioning will work efficiently and effectively from day one!

If you would like Penguin to assist you further with any marine airconditioning related questions or provide advice or a quote to supply for your boat please let us know.