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How to Knock-Off our Chiller

The Aqua Production Systems chiller has the following features:


1. 40 to 60% lower power bill than conventional chillers

2. CRN pressure vessel certification

3. Ratings at your operating temperature

4. Lifetime warranty on chiller barrel (evaporator)

5. Free money (incentives from Efficiency NS)

6. Made in Canada


However, the initial cost for such quality tends to be too much for some people to swallow. So, to help those folks out, here is how you can knock-off our chillers.

Let’s start with the condensing unit.


APS carefully selects each compressor to achieve best efficiency at your operating temperatures. To eliminate this cost, look for something mass produced like an air conditioner or a swimming pool cooler. It will be operating out of range and use 2x the power, but it will cool water… some. It might even last 3 to 5 years before you have to shell out another $5,000 to replace it. The refrigerant is contaminated by running so hot and also needs replacement.


The condensing unit of a mass-produced air conditioner can be cheaper up front. No receiver means less cost. It won’t feed a properly sized evaporator without the receiver. But that’s ok, because you can save money up front by putting in a cheap, under-sized evaporator too!


The APS shell-and- tube chiller barrels are rated as Tons at your operating temperature. To save money up front, buy a shell-and- coil chiller barrel. The rating is done with warm water so that the number is not completely false. Just meaningless if you want to use it with cold water. A cheap 10-ton chiller at 70F will provide about 5-6 tons at 35F, all the while using 10hp of energy to do so.


Another cost associated with the APS evaporator is the CRN pressure vessel certification. To satisfy the Boiler and Pressure Vessel regulations, a CRN certification is required by law. You can avoid this cost and buy a cheap shell-and- coil chiller without CRN. Grandfather yourself in…. for now. As long as the insurance company doesn’t dig too deep when the coil chafes a hole and leaks refrigerant into your tank (killing lobster) you may still get the claim approved. But at least you can save money up front.


In summary, to save money up front buy mass-produced air conditioners and conventional chiller barrels. You will be operating just inside the law (in most provinces) and operating just on the edge of the units’ operating range. This will save you about 30% up front on a 10hp unit! That is about $5000 saved right there!

Of course, there is a trade-off or two.


Your energy bill will be 40-60% higher, but at least that cost is spread out into a monthly payment.


The capacity of a cheap 10hp unit will actually be 6 or maybe 7 tons at your operating temperature. But that’s okay, because if the 6 or 7 tons is not enough, you know how to buy a cheap knock-off… again.


Doubling the monthly payments to the power company. No energy efficiency incentives are available for these inefficient units. But it costs money and takes a

bit of work to get those anyway. You have to get an engineer to write up the paperwork. You have to sign two papers and answer a couple of questions. Who wants to do that for free money and a lower energy bill forever?


There is a 1 year warranty on the cheap evaporators vs a lifetime warranty on APS chiller barrels. Just keep your fingers crossed and don’t pump too much water through the cheap ones. They will last longer (although this limits their capacity a bit more… so you will need more of them and a higher power bill luckily spread out in monthly payments).

If you need more detailed help creating a knock-off, please contact us!


PS The lower cost is actually a mirage. The ‘cheap’ units cost more per ton of cooling capacity than the APS high efficiency, high quality, certified gear! Consider a “10hp” cheap unit that makes 7 tons of cooling for about $20k. That is $2850 per ton. An APS “10hp” unit makes 10 tons of cooling for about $27k. That is $2700 per ton! Both draw the same power. The price difference is even more dramatic for bigger units.


- Philip Nickerson, B.Eng