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What's The big secret?...reverse cycle chillers

HydroNiCK Member Posts: 160
I'm looking to get a reverse cycle chiller but am having a hard time finding any reviews. I know other people have showed interest as well, some of which have posted in this forum. I see a couple of posts here from people who have bought them but after their initial post have not heard a peep as far as performance and reviews. The Same goes for other posts I have seen on the internet. I know there is not a big market for them here at the moment which leads me to believe that if someone is interested in one and they mentioned it in this forum they must have some technical know how and are exhilarated by the joys and wonders of heating and cooling . I imagine that I as well as others wouldn't be able to contain myself and refrain from posting a review and discussing the chiller hear but so far......not a word. Well maybe a couple of words from John Siegenthaler and people that have installed Spacepak's Solstice. Other than saying they have installed Spacepaks and they are happy with them there is little else. I want the meat and potatoes... It's as if people buy them then sign a non-disclosure agreement once it's installed.
I'm interested in Chiltrix. The unit has published more efficient specs than Spacepak yet it seems the majority at least in this forum only talk about Spacepak Solstice. Why is that? I know Spacepak is readily available from Johnstone Supply. They have different ton models for sale now and they list replacement parts for purchase as well. Whereas Chiltrix currently only has their 2 ton cx34 for sale and lists no replacement parts for purchase. This unit seems less costly to run than a Spacepak. Are these machine's just to new and everyone is just sitting around waiting for another to make a purchase and provide more reviews before deciding to buy themselves. Siegenthaler mentions that a buffer tank needs to be used with the Spacepak, however with the 2 ton Chiltrix sized right combined with the dehumidifier control a buffer tank doesn't need to be purchased. The only thing holding me back from buying the Chiltrix is i'm leary about the availability of parts. What if the computer goes bad? Is it easy to get another one? With the Spacepak I have to get the 4 ton unit which is a little oversized for me and purchase the buffer tank. They both seem to have their pros and cons. Since an argument can be made for each I find it odd and am a little disappointed there isn't more discussion, arguing, disagreements and duels happening in HVAC land ...especially in this forum. It's even odderer (thats a word right?) that other mentions online of these chillers barely provide any review other than things like "I just paid $20k and had new chiltrix installed. It works good. The end" . Also, Chiltrix posted a video to their site of a news station talking about air-to- water chillers. The news story flashed a shot of a unit with the brand Chiltrix on it for a second then panned away. No brand names were mentioned. The reporter just interviewed a hippy for 5 minutes who spoke about how efficient these units are. So, why are these things so cryptic? And if anyone here does have a Chiltrix...give us a review. A subjective comparison would also be greatly appreciated.


    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 13,423
    I have no experience with either unit. I recall working on a Carrier unit years ago but that was about a 15 or 20 ton unit.

    Regardless of make and model water volume with a chiller is on of the most important thing people screw up on. Comfort cooling requires 4 gallons of water in the system/ton of cooling. Process jobs need 6 gallons/ton. That's minimum, more is better prevents short cycling
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 19,260
    I think installers are waiting to see who has the staying power. that Dakin Altherma certainly didn't stick around long :)

    I think the technology is adequate now, manufacturers are probably trying to get a handle around how much of a market there is for this product, and how many sizes are needed.

    Siggy has a 1 ton air coil on his for summer cooling in upstate NY, a very low load on the 4 ton Mestek SpacePak Solstice unit. The 80 gallon buffer does an okay job of handling the cycling, it could use more.

    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Harvey Ramer
    Harvey Ramer Member Posts: 2,225
    The Daikin Altherma was by far the most technologically advanced system to ever be introduced to the US. We didn't see the whole system here, but they are solar compatible, and also have units with an integrated ModCon backup.
    Their control even sanitized the the indirect periodically to prevent leginella.

    Daikin is the world's largest HVAC manufacturer and builds quality products. They invented vrv/vrf technology.
    Problem is, us Americans couldn't stomach the Altherma's hefty price tag.
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,595
    True @Harvey Ramer I tried to sell an Altherma, and was quite excited to play around with it. But the numbers were simply too high.
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • HydroNiCK
    HydroNiCK Member Posts: 160
    ..Anyone recently install a Spacepak Solstice or have any experience with these Arctic chillers https://www.arcticheatpumps.com/cold-climate-heat-pump-overview.html?
  • HVACguyinME
    HVACguyinME Member Posts: 25
    I have not directly installed one. However, of all the ones I’ve sold, homeowners and contractors have been super happy with SpacePak. Granted most of the ones that I have my hands in, are the LAHP. Here in Maine the ability to produce 125 degree water at zero outside temp was a key selling point.
  • dousterhout
    dousterhout Member Posts: 16
    What is LAHP please?
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,196
    heat pump from los angelis,
    or louisiana
    known to beat dead horses
  • mikeg2015
    mikeg2015 Member Posts: 1,187

    I have not directly installed one. However, of all the ones I’ve sold, homeowners and contractors have been super happy with SpacePak. Granted most of the ones that I have my hands in, are the LAHP. Here in Maine the ability to produce 125 degree water at zero outside temp was a key selling point.

    Keep in mind that once you factor in defrost power use net COP is probably barely 1 with water that warm with compressor near full load. I never saw much value unless paired with radiant floor heat sized for 110-115f water.

  • mikeg2015
    mikeg2015 Member Posts: 1,187
    Keep in mind that 125f water is around 140f of “lift”. Probably over 300psi depending on the refrigerant used. Inverters sort of over speed the compressor in those conditions to get that lift. Others use supplemental electric heaters.
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,595
    The real savings is the ECM compressor, or marketed as "inverter". Its a 3 pole perminant magnet motor controlled by pulsing DC to 3 poles in sequential order.
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 2,910
    How about ammonia absorbition robur still producers them minimum electrical draw gas fired n will produce both heat n ac Also has the second highest refregerant latent heat absorption next to aqua plus minimum ozone depletion compared to any manufactured refrigerant Also per lb the cheapest Something to think about sealed can be zoned w use of buffer Just wondering why they are not coupled w vacuumed seal hydronic solar as a fuel offset to heat nh3 another new one is they use a modulating burner aka giaconni style heat exchanger. But being there’s no government sponsored rebate it’s never in the print. I personally feel that this will one day make a come back when all manufactured refregerant n blends finally become to much for the industry to deal w reclaim n recycle bs. I have never got a single penny for reclaimed refregerant that was returned only a bill when it came back not 99 % clean NH 3 one day shall be a ruler when the refregerant and equipment manufactures can t think of anything else to generate cash flow aside from make new refregerant n oils that are not comparable to the last generation of products totally brillant. Can’t wait till a new square tire for newer cars come out I know that these unit are quite expensive to purchase and cost more then a 2 stage condensing unit in comparison but personally if I could afford I would have one a my home As for life span I have seen them still working in the homes in the late 80 and they had been installed in the early 60 n still functioned just needed a air handler replacement after 40 some on years Sorry for the rant peace n good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • Jim_161
    Jim_161 Member Posts: 8
    I would like to comment as we have installed 1000,s of air to water heat pumps in North America and have units from 2 1/2 tons to 260 tons. Altherma actually failed the CEC test and that is why it disappeared as California was the largest market at the time. I have heat pumps still operating in Newfoundland after 12 years, heat pumps in Alaska, Northern Quebec, Illinois, Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and many more northern states and provinces. A Dc inverter compressor allows for a smaller buffer tank but a high efficiency scroll with a proper sized buffer tank provides the same efficiency as the compressor operates at its most efficient all the time (long run times) Vapour injection does allow lower ambient operating temperatures. We have units providing 140F water residential and 169F commercially. Most of the new "less expensive" units on the market are from China and do not seem to last, but are a good price. Just my thoughts, Jim
  • tim smith
    tim smith Member Posts: 2,544
    Jim, which make of units have you been installing? I have been after a good air to water hp for a long time but just have not seen one that impressive.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 19,260
    edited November 2019
    The Canadians have been testing and documenting Low Ambient A2WHP

    They list them as ccA2WHP cold climate air to water heat pumps

    Great Gird Cooke article in the current issue of Mechanical Business mag regarding the Canadian agencies that are testing and logging. They claim 4500 brands and models of heat pumps in the data base

    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • HydroNiCK
    HydroNiCK Member Posts: 160

    2019-2020 Air-to-Water Heat Pumps
    The ENERGY STAR® Emerging Technology Award (ETA) is given to innovative technologies that meet rigorous performance criteria to reduce energy use and lower greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is pleased to recognize Air-to-Water Heat Pumps for the ENERGY STAR Emerging Technology Award for 2019.

    Products that meet the performance criteria (PDF, 63 KB) will be listed on the Qualifed Product List once it is determined that all Award criteria have been satisfied. Manufacturers can submit documentation for eligible air-to-water heat pumps products to [email protected]

    Benefits of ENERGY STAR Emerging Technology Award-Winning Systems:

    Typical air source heat pumps take heat from outside air using a refrigerant. ATW heat pumps transfer this heat to a fluid outdoors – typically water or a mix of water and glycol – and transport this fluid into a home to provide space heating through hydronic distribution (e.g., radiant floor, radiator, or baseboard water circulation systems). These systems can also be used in a cooling mode creating chilled fluid and running it through an air coil to distribute air conditioning to a home or business. While the ATW heat pump market is small in the U.S., it is well established in Europe and China, with a global market of about 1.7M units/year1.

    ATW heat pumps have numerous applications with advantages over traditional hydronic systems in new and existing homes, and advantages over forced air systems in new construction. Compared to a typical gas condensing boiler system, ATW heat pumps can offer energy savings up to 47%2 with a seasonal Coefficient of Performance (COP) of 1.7 - 3.0. ATW systems also demonstrate superior performance at low outdoor temperatures when compared with traditional air source heat pumps, making them appropriate for use throughout the United States, including cold regions. In addition to energy savings, ATW heat pump systems can provide the following benefits:

    Since the system heats water, adding a storage tank to the system will provide homeowners with efficient domestic water heating. This eliminates the need for a separate water heater and can save thousands of dollars for a homeowner.3
    All fans are located outside the home, providing quiet operation.
    Allows a retrofit to provide cooling in hydronically-heated homes, without running extensive ducts through the home.
    In new construction, ATW heat pumps provide all the advantages of a hydronic system while also providing efficient electric heat, using up to 70% less electricity than electric baseboard heat. These advantages include:

    Easy zoning configurations: providing desired temperature in each room, or zone, of the home separately (e.g., the kitchen may not need to be heated as much as a bedroom)
    No space needed for large air ducts in the house design.
    As a result, ATW heat pumps can save energy, even in cold climates where many air-to-air heat pumps perform poorly, provide space conditioning and hot water heating, as well as several other benefits for the consumer.

    Winning Products Must Demonstrate That They Are:

    An air source heat pump that has a refrigerant to water, or water/glycol, heat exchange
    Able to provide space heating (and potentially also space cooling and domestic hot water)
    Capable of achieving a heating coefficient of performance of 1.7 or greater at full load capacity at a dry bulb outdoor temperature of 5°F and a leaving water temperature of 110°F
    Are approved for use and available for sale in the U.S. market

    EPA presents the ENERGY STAR Emerging Technology Award for
    Air-to-Water Heat Pumps to Chiltrix, Inc. at the 2020 AHR Expo.
    1 Siegenthaler, John. “Air-to-Water Heat Pumps for Low Energy & Net Zero Houses”, 2018 New York Regional Home Performance Conference & Trade Show, 2/14/2018.

    2 Typical condensing boilers are approximately 90-98.5% efficient (measured using AFUE), while ATW heat pumps are at least 170% efficient at 5 degrees F, (measured using COP).

    3 Comparable ENERGY STAR heat pump water heaters cost between $1200 and $2000 at retail, not including installationhttps://www.energystar.gov/about/awards/2019_Air-to-Water_Heat_Pumpshttps://www.energystar.gov/about/awards/2019_Air-to-Water_Heat_Pumps
    ETA.jpg 32.4K