When it comes to on-board heating solutions you have a choice. Technicold – producers of the state of the art in marine climate control systems – recommends a safe, reliable electric heat solution. See below to learn more about the advantages electric heat enjoys over reverse cycle.
CONSIDER THE ENVIRONMENT
With a chilled water cooling system, both electric and reverse cycle systems are available to provide heat to your boat. However, there are many factors that go into choosing the right solution, including one that may not be obvious when considering the comfort of your interior – your exterior.
Electric heat is produced through your boat’s internal power source. Reverse cycle, however, is powered by a heat pump which transfers heat from one source to another. In the case of at an-sea environment, that external source is the ambient water.
Reverse heat has a limited range of operating conditions. Its ideal condition is in water that is 60o Fahrenheit. You may never encounter a problem with reverse heat if you can guarantee a water temperature of 60o – say, in the world’s largest bath tub!
Real world conditions, of course, are not that accommodating. Problems can manifest with reverse heat systems that are exposed to temperatures above 60o, or below 40o. Because there is not enough heat available in water temperatures below 40o, the reverse cycle system can short cycle on the low pressure switch. This leads to coil freezing and liquid slugging in the compressor. In extreme cold, the raw water condenser coil can even freeze and rupture. In other words, during the times when you need interior heating the most, reverse cycle heating is most vulnerable to failure.
Electric heat, on the other hand, is powered by the boat’s main AC source, and is therefore not subject to the variances of external temperature. The electric system design prevents the wear and tear on the compressors and raw water pump associated with the on and off cycling of a reverse heat system. Electric heat is also a much quieter option – there is no compressor or reversing valve noise as is present in a reverse heat system.
Electric heat on chilled water systems is available through two different conveyances: immersion heat or heat strips. For immersion heat, a heat core is added to the condenser, which heats the entire loop. This is a good option for smaller boats, or scenarios where the entire boat must be kept at a consistent temperature. Heat and cooling is controlled through a single central control panel.
Heat strips provide another heating option. Each air handler on a chilled water system can be equipped with its own heat strip, which can then be individually controlled by separate control panels. Each space on a boat can be temperature controlled as required. Heat strips are a good option for larger yachts and charter vessels. Grandma can turn up the heat in her berth, while the kids bouncing on the beds in their cabins remain cool.
DON’T BE LEFT HIGH AND DRY
Another scenario where electric heat is preferable is when the boat is out of the water. During refit or repair work – or even in winter storage – it is not possible to heat a dry boat with reverse heat. There is no seawater for the pumps to draw from. Because electric heat is provided by the boat’s AC power, it can be turned on at any time the generators are operating. Since most repair work is done in off-peak (winter) months, the work crew, engineers and anyone else on board will appreciate a heating option.
Your choice of climate control is important. Selecting a heating solution that is independent, versatile and efficient will provide long-term value and enhance your boating experience. Contact your nearest Technicold representative or visit our web site to learn more about the state of the art in marine heat, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration.