Article by Chris Clifford
Preventative maintenance and pre-season planning is vital to ensure all air conditioning, refrigeration, water cooling and fresh water systems are in working order
Marine Refrigeration and Air Conditioning are essential services for a working superyacht. To be let down mid-season by unreliable systems is an unnecessary error. The best way to avoid frustration and disappointment during the hot season is to look ahead and ensure your systems are in good working order early, so that issues are identified, funds approved, orders placed and works completed in good time.
Planning winter work
A systems health check completed by a qualified refrigeration engineer at the end of each charter season will inform you of your maintenance needs. It will tell you about immediate problems, help plan for necessary parts replacement and most importantly extend the life of the system.
The assessment will check the system is operating properly, measure the temperatures and refrigerant pressures to ensure the correct charge is present and that there are no leaks in the refrigerant circuit. It would check the sea water cooling circuit, the life blood of the refrigerant system, to ensure patency, proper operation and that glycol protection is within the manufacturer’s recommendations. A sea water cooling circuit that is not providing sufficient cooling would need to be investigated. Low water flow can be caused by filter restrictions, poor pump performance and restricted condensers.Based on ourinspection wemayrecommendfurtherworks.This may involve pump overhaul and service or chemical cleaning of the condensers to remove hazardous biological growth.
If you are planning major works, bear in mind delivery of major items such as chiller systems can take as long as twelve weeks for delivery following confirmation of order.
Winter is also a good time to check what spares you carry and whether additional supplies are needed for different or ageing systems. Critical circuit boards for the air conditioning plant and mechanical seals for the pumps should be a minimum. We can advise and supply parts to carry on board.
Preseason preventative maintenance
Before the new season is another good time for a systems check. Leave time for reparation work should it be needed and bear in mind that some specialist marine parts are generally not in stock so they will have to be ordered from mainland Europe, the UK and occasionally the US.
A yacht that has been sat in the water for the refit season would benefit from a health check even if this was done after the charter season. With crew living on board the refrigeration and air conditioning/ heating systems continue to work as though in normal use, a check now would identify issues such as refrigerant leaks and marine growth in the sea water cooling system which are easy to correct while the yacht is in dock.
Work that is not maintenance
MTSea is often asked to attend a yacht to ‘top up’ the refrigerant, but the circuit is sealed and when functioning properly does not naturally lose refrigerant. A system that has been working fine but isn’t now, due to low refrigerant has a leak somewhere. The leak has to be located and repaired before top up, this is because the use of refrigerants is governed by an international law preventing top up without repair, refrigerants are expensive and harmful to the environment.
Tags: Air Conditioning, Marine Refrigeration, MTSea, Preventative maintenance
MTSea are the Balearic agents for Octo Marine and can support your fresh water needs on board, we carry a large range of fresh-water filters and consumables. We conduct MCA approved water analysis and advise on programmes to rectify and manage issues. Remember, providing safe drinking water on board negates the need for disposable plastic bottles.
For more details Tel: +34 971 230771
or visit www.mtseasl.com