FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Does the chiller consume water?
The Chiltrix air to water heat pump (reverse cycle chiller) does not consume any water and works in all humidity conditions. It uses a ultra-high efficiency DC-Inverter variable speed compressor with a small amount of R410a refrigerant self-contained in the outdoor unit. The water or water/glycol fluid is only used in a sealed loop, to transfer heating or cooling between the outdoor unit and the indoor units. Actually, a chiller is defined as a split system where water or water/glycol lines connect the indoor equipment to the outdoor equipment.
How many indoor units will the chiller support?
In general, the Chiltrix air to water heat pump chiller can support any number of indoor units, that together, do not exceed the BTU capacity of the chiller(s). It is also possible to use more indoor units than the math supports, as long as you realize that they cannot all run at full speed at the same time and still deliver the expected cooling or heating. For a list of all available indoor units and their BTU ratings please see chiller indoor units. You can select HW (standard efficiency 220v) or CXI (ultra-high efficiency 120v) indoor fan coil units from Chiltrix, or use any standard chiller fan coils. Note, the HW units are mainly for export, for USA please use the CXI units.
What different size systems are available?
The Chiltrix is a modular chiller consisting of one or more outdoor units under common control and operation. It is possible to combine up to 10 chillers although it generally makes more sense to distribute the outdoor units in groups of 1, 2, or 3 and then locate the groups closer to the load. Server room versions are available in N+1 redundancy configurations. If using the Psychrologix DHC controller, note that it supports up to 3 chillers per controller.
Can I use it with a ducted or central system?
We also offer ducted AHU (hydronic air handler units) for ducted systems made by FirstCo. These connect into a ducted system in the same manner as a regular AHU. You can see more information here. In addition, you can use any standard fan coil ducted unit/hydronic air handler of the correct capacity that you may purchase on the open market, they are available through most HVAC supply houses. Please contact us to help sizing this type of unit as the sizing will be non-standard.
What about floor heating (Radiant Heating)?
Once you have experienced the comfort and efficiency of in-floor heating, you may never again be satisfied with any other type of heating. Chiltrix is highly compatible with hydronic floor heating and is designed to deliver an optimum floor heating experience. Chiltrix can work with in-floor radiant or radiant in walls or ceiling, or with radiant panels. And radiant can be used in combination with other means such as fan coils, air handlers, etc.
We also have customers using the Chiltrix system for "radiant cooling" which works well when used with a dew point controller.
What is the SEER rating?
There is no US DOE, EnergyStar, or other SEER test or rating for chillers. Chillers are rated with IPLV. IPLV is to chillers what SEER is to standard air conditioners. It's the official AHRI efficiency rating and it's the only rating that matters for chillers. IPLV is the industry-standard way of measuring the overall efficiency of a hydronic (chiller) cooling system. IPLV stands for Integrated Part Load Value, it's a similar concept to SEER, where part-load performance is measured and rated so that customers can have a way to do an apples-to-apples comparison of real-world operating efficiency between various brands and models. IPLV and NPLV are specified in AHRI 550/590. See the product page or spec sheet for the IPLV / NPLV of the specific chiller. See a more complete explanation of IPLV See a chiller IPLV comparison chart that shows how we stack up against the competition.
How about Dehumidification?
Like all air conditioning systems, when the cooling coils are below the dew point, dehumidification is performed. The Chiltrix system performs strong dehumidification comparable to a standard air conditioning system. And when used with DHC (Dynamic Humidity Control) the Chiltrix system can lower the coil temperature well below the standard condition to perform hyper-dehumidification and can also turn off dehumidification when not needed, to save energy..
What is the Psychrologix™ Controller?
The Psychrologix™ is a very unique and special controller. It is a programmable indoor controller that automates many features such as chiller reset, auto-changeover from cooling to heating, alarms, vacation mode, and many other features and includes the DHC (Dynamic Humidity Control) function. Note, this controller is not a thermostat, all thermostat functions are handled by the individual fan coil unit thermostats or in the case of ducted systems, by a standard thermostat.
What is DHC/Dynamic Humidity Control?
DHC control can automatically manage the chiller cooling parameters to increase or decrease, or stop, dehumidification. If indoor humidity rises, the system can automatically decrease the coil temperature to a lower temperature so as to perform accelerated dehumidification. During times when humidity is within the ASHRAE recommended range, the DHC will "turn off" dehumidification, allowing the system to continue to manage sensible (regular thermometer) temperature at a greatly reduced power consumption level. Indoor humidity occurs after an event such as a exterior door opening on a humid day, or taking a hot shower. Once removed, humidity will not increase again on its own, until the next humidity event occurs. Chiltrix's efficiency can increase up to 50% above it's exceptionally high official EER ratings during periods when dehumidification is not needed.
What's involved in installation?
The chiller outdoor unit needs a stable mounting position like a concrete pad, a power connection, and insulated water lines connected to the indoor unit(s). Usually 1" PEX flexible water lines are used for this. No refrigeration technician, gauges, extra refrigerant, or special tools are needed. Mainly, you need an electrician to provide a 208-240 50/60Hz power connection of >/= 15a (per ODU) and then make your water line connections. Each indoor unit is powered separately using standard household power (available as 120v or 208-240v, please review the specs of the selected indoor units). Other than that, you will install the water lines and may add a small expansion tank, some fittings, etc. depending on the design. Longer water line runs or complex routing may require a small booster pump which we can provide, contact us with your design to confirm. Recommended for water lines is oxygen-free PEX which is available from Home Depot or Lowes, etc. Standard loop design using accurate measurements can naturally achieve a system pressure balance. See chiller installation manual.
How does the chiller heat pump work with solar?
There are two ways that the Chiltrix chiller can work with solar, you can use either or both of these methods. The chiller can be integrated into a solar thermal/hydronic heating or solar water heating system and provide low cost heat at times when the sun is not available or when the load exceeds what the solar system can provide. Secondly, the Chiltrix chillers are ideal for powering with off-grid or grid tied PV solar panels. It's ideal because it uses much less power to operate than other similar sized air conditioners or heat pumps, and it has a "slow start" function that eliminates the initial in-rush surge of current. The unit starts at only <2 amps and slowly builds up, protecting batteries and inverters from sudden high amp surge loads. The unit requires AC power which can be supplied by an inverter. See example solar chiller designs.
What about backup heat for extra-cold days?
Some locations may need backup heat, this will be known form the Manual J report. Integrated backup heat is another thing that makes Chiltrix unique among mini-split systems since the backup heat can be seamlessly incorporated into the system, avoiding, for example, the need for portable heaters. Like all heat pumps, heating capacity is reduced as outdoor weather gets colder. If you live in a very cold climate you may need backup heat occasionally. The globally-accepted way to add backup heat to a hydronic heat pump system is to use a normal water heater (like from Lowes or Home Depot) installed on the supply line. When backup heat is needed, the chiller can enable the tank heater that runs based on its own thermostat.
Chiltrix also offers an advanced, highly-efficient fully integrated backup heater, the V18. The V18 provides dynamically variable backup heat that precisely adds just the right amount of backup heat into the system based on the actual, real time capacity and load differential. Rather than chasing and overshooting a thermostat, the v18 receives communications from the Chiltrix heat pump to adjust power and exactly match any BTU shortfall in real time. The V18 installs in-line as a precisely modulating tankless heater with almost zero pressure drop. See more info...
Why is capacity lower when outdoor temperatures are lower?
ALL heat pumps, including Chiltrix, have reduced capacity at lower ambient temperatures. The factor that has the largest effect on efficiency,is the amount of "lift", i.e., the delta T between the ambient and the heat pump operating outlet temperature. As ambient drops lower, the lift becomes higher. This is why Chiltrix helps design systems that can work properly with the lowest amount of lift. The advantages of lower lift is explained by the following Carnot calculation where (T¹- T²) is the amount of lift..
How does it work with water heating?
We don't specifically offer our chillers as water heaters however they can do a great job of heating water. In this case, the chiller connects to a "heat exchanger tank" - this is also called a "solar" or "indirect" tank. It is a hot water tank with a heat exchanger coil inside. You will also use an electronic valve ordered from Chiltrix called a DN25-DHW valve. The chiller monitors the tank temperature using an included sensor. The chiller can temporarily switch from its normal cooling or heating function for a brief interval, to quickly heat the water tank whenever the tank needs heat. This is very advantageous, as water heated by the chiller can use up to 70% less energy than a standard electric water heater would use for the same amount of water heating.
Can I use it to unload or replace an existing boiler?
Yes, the Chiltrix air to water heat pump chillers can provide very low cost heating when compared to an electric, propane, or oil fired boiler. You can configure the chiller as primary and only run the boiler if needed.
What about using it for a server room or computer room?
It's perfect, actually the Chiltrix air to water chiller development started out as an effort to design the worlds most efficient air conditioner for small computer rooms/server rooms, and it succeeded beyond our expectations. The server room version also has an available "free cooling" option that in cold weather, can allow the system to run at its full rated capacity with the compressor off, running only fans and water pump saving a large amount of energy cost without bringing in any outside air. Free cooling COP can be as high as 41 (EER 140) during cold weather periods. See more info on free cooling. In addition, the stackable design of the Chiltrix chiller system allows for a highly redundant N+N configuration.
What are the power requirements?
The system is designed for global use and is therefore very flexible. It can use voltage between 208v to 240v, and can use either 50Hz or 60Hz power. Indoor units (IDUs) are a little different - we offer 60Hz IDUs for 110v to130v. We also offer a 208-240v unit that can run on 50Hz or 60Hz. So wherever you are and whatever kind of power you have, we have a solution. A 20a circuit is needed.
What kind of refrigerant is used?
The CX34 uses R410a in the outdoor unit (ODU).
What external controls can be used?
The CX34 standard included controller is all that most people would ever need. In addition, we offer the Psychrologix controller option for dynamic humidity control. Further, customers have the ability to control the CX34 by relays (such as from a standard single-stage heat pump thermostat). And for advanced users, we offer the (free) ability to control the CX34 via Modbus RTU.
In addition, for professional HVAC use we can offer a Wifi/Cloud gateway option which can be used for connection to BACnet MS/TP, BACnet/IP, Modbus TCP, Metasys N2, and LonWorks. Further, Chiltrix can also support SNMP (for data centers) or DNP3 (for power utility). The WiFi/Cloud gateway can also control the CXI-series fan coil units. Call us for details on the WiFi/Cloud gateway.
What kind of maintenance is needed?
Unlike chillers that have a cooling tower, the Chiltrix air to water heat pumps are air cooled like a regular air conditioner and such, only require the same periodic coil cleaning as would a standard AC/heat pump. It is a sealed outdoor appliance, there are no user-servicable parts inside, and no need for servicing. Any indoor fan/coil units need to have their filters removed, cleaned, and re-inserted on a regular basis. You can determine the frequency of this requirement based on the filters appearance (and your air quality).
What is the expected life span of the system?
The system is engineered using best-of-breed components sourced from top providers around the world. German brand Wilo VSD water pumps, USA valves, heat exchangers from (SWEP) Sweden and (Multi-Stack) Australia, electronics from Japan, Mitsubushi compressor (Japan) and Panasonic variable speed fan (Japan), and the list goes on. All components are selected based on reliability and performance. The system is easily serviceable and is designed for a 20 year lifetime.
What minimum and maximum range of ambient temperatures are supported?
The standard system is designed for low ambient heating and cooling, and supports standard high ambient cooling conditions. Heating is available from as low as -4F (-20C) or below. we only have test data to -4F however under certain conditions the unit can operate as low as -17. Cooling range is rated up to 122F (50C). The unit can provide cooling at a reduced capacity up to 138F (59C).
How long can the lineset be?
There is no refrigerant lineset needed or used with the Chiltrix self-contained chiller. All of the indoor units are connected to the chiller using standard insulated CPVC or PEX (or similar) water line. The water line can be any length up to hundreds of feet. To calculate the actual distance we need to know the plumbing design and which indoor units are being used (so we can know the pressure drop spec). But regardless, an inexpensive Chiltrix-provided variable speed booster pump controlled by the chiller can provide a virtually unlimited allowable line distance.
What is the warranty?
The Chiltrix Limited Warranty is 5 years on the compressor and 2 years on other components. See warranty.
Is the unit certified?
The unit is fully certified for USA and Canada and has obtained approval under UL 60335-2-40 and CSA 22.2. These certifications are recognized in over 90 countries worldwide. If you need other international certifications such as SAA, CB, CE, SONCAP, etc. we can provide any of these on quantity orders.
Further, the CX34 is AHRI-certified. AHRI is the official, independent 3rd party testing & certification organization used by the global HVAC industry and by government regulators worldwide. When AHRI certifies that a unit has a particular capacity or efficiency level, this certification is indisputable evidence that the performance stated by the manufacturer is accurate.
The CX34 is also certified by the US Department of Energy and the California Energy Commission (Titles 21, 24).
How much do they cost?
Please see the chiller air conditioner price list.
What is a DC-Inverter drive?
Whether it is used for a compressor, a pump, or a fan motor, DC Inverter motors are recognized as being more efficient, mainly because they use less power and can infinitely adjust their speed in real time to match the current demand. They also run cooler, last longer, and make far less noise.
DC Inverter motors actually have no inverter in them, this is a poor name that was applied years ago and has remained in use. Actually, AC power runs through a rectifier circuit converting it to DC power.
DC inverters are not only more efficient at a given speed, but having the ability to match the speed to the current application saves even more power.