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Chiltrix Units

Hi,
Anyone care to share there experience with Chiltrix. Its for a home in New England (region 5). Does this have any advantages over conventional heat pumps or mini splits? This house will perform at approx. one (1) ACH or less and is under construction now, so making a decision is necessary shortly. Do we need any special arrangement using this brand of heat pump..? Here is a link http://www.chiltrix.com/documents/price-list.html

Comments

  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 9,444
    I have no experence with them.

    There claim to fame seems to be that you can run longer line lengths because your pumping water instead of refrigerant. I would think they would be more expensive to purchase

    Serviceability could be an issue, there got to be a lot of stuff packed into the condensing unit.
    water pump
    refrigerant to water heat exchanger etc. etc

    I am sure that their are some applications where they could be better than a traditional ductless split
  • alby42
    alby42 Member Posts: 9
    edited October 2017
    Sounds reasonable....thanks very much! That's exactly what we were looking to find out, also should a plumbing contractor be responsible for installing all major components including ERV distribution sys..?
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 9,444
    LOL. I got in trouble a few weeks ago because some on this site thought I was disparaging plumbers.

    All I can say is you need a qualified installer. Maybe the manufacturer can point you in the right direction.

    I'll just say this at the risk of incoming flack.

    A typical plumber that only does sinks, toilets etc. would not be a good choice. You need someone with HVAC experience it may or may not be a plumber, or an HVAC service company etc Qualified and competent is most important regardless of their title or license
  • alby42
    alby42 Member Posts: 9
    I want to compliment you on your exceptional insights and wisdom, as you are spot on with this assessment. We come from 27 years of inspecting homes and can always (w/ lots of class room training) uncover work by those seeking to bend corners and take out extra wood for a pipe, regardless of what it supports. Sorry in advance to offend any plumbers out there.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 16,359
    I am not familiar at all with the Chiltrix system. That said... I have two concerns. One is the same as @EBEBRATT-Ed -- he has a very good point. The other, however, is that it appears to use chilled water as the primary heat transfer cooling medium, and to be using a heat pump for heating. Both of these aspects worry me in New England; unless you have standby electric generation, you stand a very real risk of freezing in the event of a winter power failure. Also, I'd be interested to see just how well it does at design low temperatures. Some heat pumps seem to manage, albeit at somewhat lower efficiencies. Some, however, seem to use electric resistance heating at low temperatures -- with resulting high power costs (and, I might add, demand on that standby electric generator!).
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 9,444
    @Jamie Hall I looked this thing up on line (rather quickly). It looks like a ductless split heat pump. The difference (if I am thinking about this right) is that the indoor unit is basically a fan coil unit and the "line set" carries chilled or hot water instead of refrigerant. So inside the outdoor unit would be a compressor , air cooled condenser, chiller barrel (refrig. to water HX), and a water pump & expansion tank.

    obviously would need to be glycol

    After thinking about I I wouldn't want to open the covers on this one. Could be a little busy inside
  • discdog22
    discdog22 Member Posts: 2
    Did you end up going with Chiltrix? How did the install go? Does it work well and efficiently? Love to hear an update.
  • mikeg2015
    mikeg2015 Member Posts: 1,183
    Me too. One concern I had is that part load efficiencies are very good, but full load is poor. EER was around 10 I think... even lower once you include blower power. The superior humidity control will mitigate some of that and you can keep it warmer in hot weather.
  • HydroNiCK
    HydroNiCK Member Posts: 110
    Join the club...I think once you buy a Chiltrix you are sworn to never speak of it again.
  • Fourthbean
    Fourthbean Member Posts: 1
    I realize this is an old thread but I purchased a Chiltrix CX-34 Spring of 2018. It has been running for about a year now so I've got some experience in both hot and cold weather. I'm in Fort Worth Texas so cold is 20 degrees Fahrenheit during the day ;).

    Caveat, this is a retro-fit not a new home installation. So it is currently trying to condition a leaky home from 1976 with arguably more windows than wall (single pane at that). Still working on sealing and insulating the house better. Our downstairs is 2900sqft but we had the doors closed off to about half of that during the summer. The unit kept up just fine on two indoor FCU's (12kbtu and 8.5kbtu). For the winter we added the master bedroom which is another ~600sqft. There was a day or two when it got down below freezing (teens at night) and couldn't keep the house at 68 where we have the units set. This is with it trying to heat about 2000sqft.

    I have uploaded a couple of videos to youtube and intend to upload more if you want to check them out.

    General explanation of how I installed my system:


    A look at one of the FCU's:


    Playlist where I will add any additional videos I make on the Chiltrix:
  • mikeg2015
    mikeg2015 Member Posts: 1,183
    Good to hear these things work well. Like all heat pumps, below 20F NET capacity falls off fast as defrost consumes a lot of capacity and hurts efficiency. Conventional heat pumps need some sort of AUX around that point to keep up unless oversized substantially.

    I wish I had gone the DIY route at least for my upstairs system in hind sight. Probably could have piped it in all PEX and turned out pretty well. I was looking at doing the whole house, but costs started to pile on and got close to just having a company install 2 conventional systems with ductwork and I’d have this weird system nobody else could work on in town.
  • alby42
    alby42 Member Posts: 9
    HI @discdog22 ; @mikeg2015

    So, as you may have guessed this has been a long, long road for our neighbor. This new home is nearly 2 years old now and here's where it stands.

    Chiltrix units were completed around May of 2018...very humid start to summer. As it turned out, the local plumber installed 13 zones (from two outside units that connect to 13 indoor units).

    Problem that resulted, was that immediately upon started up line sets (everywhere) were condensing (from water droplets off pipes). Then came mold on several ceilings (that when we git a call). It was obviously because line sets were not insulated - as was recommended by Mfg'r. Perhaps if the units were running earlier he may have avoided (wet ceilings) and would not have had to remove 75 feet of plaster from walls and ceilings to insulate line sets - to all 13 indoor heads.

    If that weren't bad enough - It then became obvious why the cost of running the unit(s) was exceeding 11 kw/hr (he inquired with the Mfg. and was told) four or more 90's he had outside was killing his performance. All four 90's joining the outdoor were the equivalent of 10% reduction in performance for each of the 90's.

    On top of that he decided to run his piping in the opposite direction (front - back rather than 1st floor - 2nd floor (ouch).

    His new home had no a/c the entire summer (2018).

    Since then - it took about 4 months of DIY work to change interior and exterior piping in about half the house (double ouch).

    All this energy and time wasted and only 50% is complete to date...

    More drama to follow.
  • mikeg2015
    mikeg2015 Member Posts: 1,183
    The dirty secret of ALL variable speed rotarycompressors, is that hte EER is not good. On the Chiltrix it’s and EER of 10. Yes, 10. And that doesn’t include indoor unit power, so probably 9. SO as bad at full load as a 1985 split system.

    NO insulation of chilled water lines? really? You might get away without it on return lines if you have zone valves.

    With that many zones and length of pipe you need primary/secondary piping. Did he install a single unit? Or two outdoor units? That internal pump is not a high head pump.

    I hope he gets it sorted out. Worst case, there are other chillers out there, or a really good HVAC contractor can build one. Take a 410a condenser and add a plate and frame heat exchanger inside the unit, insulate it and install a pump and zone control board, and a buffer tank if needed.