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Boat air conditioning : everything you need to know

Boat air conditioning

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During the summer season, especially in regions such as the Alpes-Maritimes, it is often very hot. To maximize comfort on board, it is essential to have good air conditioning: ventilating often proves insufficient, especially at anchor. The need for air conditioning depends on the type of boater, the model of boat and the use made of it.

An air conditioning system for a boater living in his or her boat seems conceivable knowing that there are reversible air conditioners: they blow cold air when it's hot and warm air when it's cold.

The air conditioner is one of the fundamental elements contributing to the comfort on board your boat. Of course, there is more to a boat than just comfort, its general maintenance is just as important. For example, it is CAPITAL to properly winterize your boat...
In this article, we will first see how to choose your air conditioner, then how to maintain it. We will then see what are the best practices, to finally address the most common breakdowns.
Table of contents

How to choose it ?

Now you know that having an air conditioner on board your ship is a big advantage for comfort. But how do you choose one? It's essential to choose an air conditioner that goes with your boat, meaning it's energy efficient and lasts over time.

The main criteria to consider are : 

  • Required space for installation;
  • Good power;
  • A Reduced sound;
  • The availability on the market, especially for parts;
  • The type of power supply required;

How to maintain it ?

This section is mainly for boat owners who already have an air conditioning system on board. An air conditioner requires regular maintenance so that it can function properly, while lasting over time !

Here is a list of steps to take regularly to ensure proper maintenance of your air conditioner :

  • When you leave your boat to return during the day or the next day, activate the "dehumidification" function : the ventilation slows down to intensify the condensation and let the air passing through the indoor unit get rid of its humidity. The water in the form of vapor becomes liquid and is discharged through the pipe. The air in the room dries out and the humidity is reduced. This allows a small cleaning of the pipes. This way, you are safe from mold, mites, fungi, etc.
  • Clean air conditioner filters regularly : First, remove any debris from saltwater filters in the plumbing. Then move on to cleaning the cabin air filters.
  • Check the condition and proper operation of plumbing and pumps regularly : It's regularly poor saltwater flow that causes many air conditioning system problems.

What are the good practices ?

To prepare yourself for the idea of having an air conditioning system on board your ship, it is important to consider several pieces of information beforehand. Indeed, there are a set of best practices to adopt to get the most out of your air conditioner.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of tips :

  • Be careful with the size of your boat : basically, the air conditioner in the boating world is intended for yachts with the presence of a powerful generator on board. Today there are more and more equipment capable of adapting to pleasure boats. It is nevertheless recommended to have a boat of at least 10 meters.
  • For people who have a boat in the construction phase, anticipate the installation of air conditioning at the time of boat construction : installing an air conditioning system at the time of construction is easier, and less expensive.
  • Prefer quality materials : often, boaters tend to want to save money on materials. Yet, when quality materials are chosen, they generally preserve better in the marine environment and are therefore more economical in the long run.
  • Be careful with power : certainly, in port this is not really a problem : there is always the possibility of connecting to the electrical terminals on the docks and pontoons. But it will be necessary to be vigilant for sea trips and equip yourself with a sufficiently powerful generator on board to allow a good supply.

What are the most common breakdowns ?

It is obvious that the causes of air conditioning failure can be multiple and diverse.

However, there are several easily spotted signs that reveal a problem with your air conditioner.

Here is a non-exhaustive list :

  • The air blown by the air conditioner is neither hot nor cold;
  • There is a leak of small drops of water;
  • The air conditioner makes noise;
  • There is smoke or the smell of smoke;
  • There is an unpleasant smell;
  • The air conditioner suddenly turns off;
  • Filters are dirty;
  • The seawater cooling circuit is clogged;

What you need to remember ?

Resorting to air conditioning on board your boat is a very good advantage for comfort on board, whether on the harbor or while out at sea. However, before you check out, you need to know some information. Determine beforehand if your boat really needs an air conditioning system on board and if so, use our tips to choose the most suitable air conditioner, at the best value.

Air conditioning on board a boat is not only reserved for yachts or large boats with a powerful generator.

Certainly, it is recommended to have a boat of at least 10 meters for the place, also with sufficient power supply. However, the market for boat air conditioners is very innovative and it is possible to find a solution for smaller boats. An interesting alternative may be, for example, to acquire a low-voltage air conditioner, with reduced power in return.

Did you know ? Boatngo also offers a boat air conditioning service at the right price !

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