I was very disappointed about the new/old Arctica Chiller not working, although ebay is fantastic in providing free return shipping. I let it drain for a day and packed it up in the original box and plastic bag making sure that the styrofoam pieces protected it all around. Then I carried it out to the car and hurt my back twisting it into the back seat. I should have put it in the trunk. The store owner was apologetic and of course was also disappointed that now they have a returned chiller that does not work. She thought perhaps it was the shipping that did something to it, but I suspect it was repaired at some point and the new seal in the copper may have leaked. It is hard to say–the fins were clean and the water in the pipes seemed to be flowing just fine.
I also packed up the controller in its original box and followed the return instructions so I hope to get refunds for both of these items in a few days.
I ALMOST bought a 1/4 HP Ecoplus chiller because there was a 15% off coupon on Amazon. I was not sure that chiller would be large enough and I wanted to see if I could find one with the more efficient R410A refrigerant. After MUCH more searching on the internet I came across Penguin Chillers.
I am so impressed with the specifications and the list price that I ordered one immediately, even though there is little other information on aquarium forums etc. Not only are these made in the USA (Arctica are made in Korea) but they have R410a which is even better than R134A because it is a more efficient refrigerant that must work at higher pressures that means the design is better than most chillers. The commercial Arctica used R-22 which is being phased out as an HCFC refrigerant so R410A is better for LEED compliance too. This chiller has less than 1/2 pound of refrigerant and is sealed so it is also exempt from LEED required refrigerant pressure testing. It operates at a lower gph, the flow must be at least 300 gph, while the Arctica required 480gph. That translates into a 5 gpm capable pump for my system which will use less electricity than the higher speed.
It is rated at 4.5 amps instead of 5 like the Arctica and at 5000 btu’s instead of 6000. But it should operate more efficiently and the noise level is published–most don’t publish the level and you have to rely on anecdotes to determine noise levels. The noise level is rated at 56 decibels which is about twice as loud as the humming of a refrigerator or the quietest dishwashers, but about a third less than normal conversation, rated at 60. Like the Richter scale for earthquakes, Decibel ratings are on a logarithmic scale so 60 is twice as loud as 50.
Currently these chillers are so popular that there is a 5-7 day shipping wait time. So even though I have not found many comments other than Penguin Chiller reviews on Amazon, they are selling quickly. Amazon has a seller listed and they are available on ebay but the best price was on the website. Don’t forget to add the controller–they should offer the controller as standard and a discount if it is taken off, but their web software may not work that way.
Eric at Penguin Chillers was kind enough to send me the user manuals as pdf’s so that I can post them here. I also copied the specifications from the website as another pdf.
I’m looking forward to installing the new chiller, although the summer temperatures here have remained lower than average with more rain than average. Which is delaying our concrete slab work for the spa. Rats!