Chiller putting out lots of heat

Discussion in 'General Reef Topics' started by johnssm, Mar 21, 2011.

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  1. johnssm

    johnssm Plankton

    Jan 12, 2011
    I have a 215 Oceanic aquarium with metal halides (750 watts) and power compacts (300 watts).

    I also have 3 pumps in the 60 gallon sump, plus one closed loop circulation pump outside the sump. Obviously, this setup is making the water temp go up (90 F midday). I also live in Texas, and it ain't even got hot yet!

    So, I got a 1/3 HP Prime chiller (no controller) and then purchased a ReefKeeper Lite as well. I set the Reefkeeper to keep the temp at 78F (.4 hysteresis). This setup works well at keeping the temp at 78F. Problem is the room is hot. This room is suffering from the heat coming off of the chiller now. My wife says this is unacceptable, so I have to solve this heat issue. All I have accomplished so far is to transfer the heat from the water in the DT to the air in the room!

    My thoughts about what to do are below:

    1) Keep working on the chiller and Reefkeeper settings to get the external temp probe not to work the chiller so much. I have the temp probe directly in front of the return pipe from the chiller. Should I move the temp probe away from the return, to get a more accurate measurement of the temp of the aquarium and not the chiller output? If so, where should it be located?

    2) I personally believe, that in the Texas heat this summer, I'll have to figure another way to get rid of the heat. And the only way I can think to remove the heat is to install an exhaust fan around the chiller and remove the heated air out of the room (through the wall/attic).
    Or, install a central vac that will pull the air out of the room.
    What if I plumbed the hot air into the central air return line?

    3) Go buy a bigger chiller, that won't have to huff and puff so hard?

    Other comments:

    The chiller pump can handle up to 1200 GPH, but I have it slowed to about 700 GPH, I believe, if my calculations are right. i haven't played to much around with adjusting the flow up or down. The chiller is the Prime Modular 1/3hp (used).

    The room has central air and heat, but doesn't get good air flow due to other factors (farthest from the plenum).

    Room is facing due west, with other electronics in the room as well.

    If I sit the chiller out in the middle of the room, it doesn't seems to work as hard, or take so long to finish a cycle. It normally sits in a corner of the room. I assume that air flow around the chiller is a big concern.

    I don't have another room adjacent to the DT to relocate the chiller, so the heat problem has to be solved where it is.

    I don't have alot of fish or coral load right now. This tank is 3 months old. All residents are ok now, since the temp is staying consistant.

    Ok, please help me with your suggestions and wisdom. Before we melt here.
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  3. Pickupman66

    Pickupman66 Tassled File Fish

    Jun 29, 2010
    Winchester, TN
    a chiller is basically an Air conditioning unit for the water. it uses a compressed refrigerant to strip the heat from the tank. it then uses a fan blown across the coil to remove this heat thus heating the air in the room. if you dont provide it enough air flow or water flow, it will not function at its maximum efficiency. the only way to solve the issue you have is to either relocate the chiller to another room (garage or outside) or tell the wife to deal with it.

    I ahve a 180 with a 150 sump. the sump and all equip is outside in the garage. I also have 750 wt halides and 200+ watts of PC's. I use a 1/4 chiller because the 1.3 I had blew up (bad motor). the 1/4 works ok, but i the heat of the summer, it works quite hard because it is in the garage where it gets quite warm.

    getting a larger chiller wont help you. it will add in about the same ammt of heat or maybe more and be louder.

    you can cut the lights, or use fans to move air across the lights and water surface to generate a cooling effect from evap, but you will still have a warmer room.
  4. Powerman

    Powerman Giant Squid

    Oct 3, 2008
    It's just a heat pump. It's job is to take heat from one place and put it in another.

    If the chiller does not have proper cooling around it it will not work as efficiently, but it will not work harder. It will just not move as much heat.

    If the temp probe is by the outlet of the chiller, it will turn on and off more often... but total BTUs it moves will stay the same. Meaning it will still add as much heat to the room as if it stayed on longer and ran fewer times.

    A bigger chiller will still move the same BTUs out of the tank, it will just do it faster. It will still put out the same BTUs to the room.

    A lot of the heat in the room is also from the MH lights.... heats the room as well as the water.

    The problem with moving air from the chiller is not causing any flow problems. The fan for the chiller coil is only designed to move air across it, not move air some place else. So say if you directed it to the return for the central air (good idea) then when the AC was running it would suck air in... but when it was off it would not. The ducting would certainly cause loss of air movement.

    So what are the 3 pumps for and what pump do you have for the closed loop?

    What other measures have you done to lower heat input to the tank?

    You also have to increase cooling to the room by closing off air flow to other parts of the house. You are in a tough jam with so many heat sources in one room.
  5. Leonard

    Leonard 3reef Sponsor

    Mar 13, 2011
    Chillers do this. To remove heat, that energy needs to go somewhere. I gave up on having my chiller indoors and plumbed it outdoors.
  6. rocketmandb

    rocketmandb Ocellaris Clown

    Apr 19, 2005
    Berkeley, CA
    I agree with everything said so far. For the chiller placement, don't put it near a wall where flow around it is restricted. It will end up working harder because the air around it stays hotter.

    I'll also echo the sentiment that you need to move the thing either outside or to another room that has better airflow. If the room it's in already is hot, I can't imagine what it will be like in the heat of summer.

    I had a similar scenario when I lived in Cocoa Beach, FL. My tank was in the living room which was south facing and it too had poor A/C venting so got very hot. During the summer the room temp got up to 84! I ended up putting the chiller into a back room with better circulation and it worked much better. Didn't help my power bill, though :)
  7. AZDesertRat

    AZDesertRat Giant Squid

    Jul 30, 2009
    Phoenix AZ
    Chillers are heat exchangers and it is doing its job correctly, taking it from the water and putting it in the air.
    I struggled with my 1/4HP chiller for 5 years before finally selling it and using fans and evaporation for cooling. Thats on a 100G in Phoenix, 2x250w MH and 2x140w VHO in a fully enclosed canopy. The chiller heated the room so much it really didn't help much and ran for hours in the summer months.
    Today with the same lights, same schedule and same home AC settings the tank temp is the same 79-81 with only three fans. There are two 4" Vantec stealths in the canopy both blowing in from each side so they blow across the length of the water surface and with equal size exit holes in the canopy roof for venting. Having the holes on top also takes advantage of convection and I feel air movement even when the fans are off. The other fan is a 7" WalMart clip on over the sump blowing across the length of the sump.

    They are controlled by a timer on the lights and what used to be a Ranco controller is now a Reefkeeper Lite.

    My next step is LED to cut down on the , power consumption, heat and the associated amount of evaporation. I am not sure I am ready yet but have a few extra $$ and am considering the AI Sol super blues and controller.
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  9. stepho

    stepho Panda Puffer

    Dec 2, 2008
    Orlando FL
    I have seen people put the chilled outside in a protected box thing and just run pipes through the wall. The chilled won't be as effective outside during summer, but won't raise temp of room.

    posted with tapatalk please ignore bad spelling and grammar
  10. m2434

    m2434 Giant Squid

    Jan 11, 2011
    +1 on evaporative cooling, all I've ever needed, with or without AC in the house.
  11. M-Ocean Man

    M-Ocean Man Flame Angel

    May 4, 2010
    Dirty Jerz
    AZ/Powerman/PUMan -
    Silly question: Does the output air coming out of the chiller have any appreciably higher humidity than the incoming air? In other words, if the ambient humidity in the room is low enough, can you not use like a swamp cooler in the ceiling to help cool the room down? Not sure with your climate down there but I know out here on the east coast a swamp cooler would never work - but might be an option for you down there if the tank does not bring the humidity too high . . . .
  12. johnssm

    johnssm Plankton

    Jan 12, 2011
    Hi I appreciate all the comments and suggestions. I have decided to move the chiller outside and run insulated pipes through the wall. I'll locate it on a carport that gets alot of shade and airflow. I'll start on the project, this weekend, in the meantime, if you have any other thoughts, please leave them here, I'll be checking back in. Thanks to all!