What's the difference between a split system and "through the wall" or "self-contained" systems?
A: Split systems are "split" into two parts: the cold side (evaporator) which usually is installed inside the cellar, and the hot side (condensing unit) which is installed away from the cellar. The benefit of having this split is that the heat and noise from the condensing unit can be located far away from living spaces where it won't interfere with day-to-day life.
Are split systems more difficult to install than self-contained systems?
A: Yes. Split systems require installation by a licensed HVAC technician, whereas a self-contained unit can be mounted through-the-wall and is shipped fully charged and operational out of the box.
What's the difference between valve control and electronic control? Which is better?
A: The biggest difference between valve and electronic control is that, with electronic control, the condensing unit receives power directly from the evaporator, whereas with vavle control, the condensing unit is independently powered, and turns on/off based on the solenoid valve. Valve control is more common in the industry, and benefits from not having to run a power line from the evaporator to the condensing unit, but cannot operate in temperatures below 0°F. Electronic control offers more precision, and allows the condensing unit to be placed in temperatures down to -20°F (with the addition of a compressor heater and fan cycling switch.)
Can the evaporator be located in a remote location and ducted to/from the wine cellar?
A: These evaporators can be ducted up to 50 equivalent feet away from the wine cellar when used with our cold-side (front) duct hoods and kits. Remember that cold-side ducting must be insulated and additional load should be added to properly size the required cooling unit.
Can I use the low fan speed setting on the cooling unit when the unit is ducted?
A: Duct hoods and kits create additional static pressure and therefore require the use of the high fan speed to overcome the additional static pressure.
Can I install the entire unit inside the cellar?
A: No, the condensing unit must be located outside the cellar.
If I don't have sufficient space around the condensing unit, is that Ok?
A: The condensing unit generates hot air that must have sufficient space to dissipate, otherwise the unit will recycle its own hot air. The condensing unit cannot be ducted; it requires 12 inches of unobstructed space in front of the coils, and requires approx. 600-700 CFM of ventilation when installed in a confined space.
Does the evaporator include flare connections, or will I need to braze the connections to the line-set?
A: Flare connections are much more prone to leaks, and have been phased out over the years, replaced by fully-brazed connections. This is driven by the EPA and the focus on minimizing refrigerant leaks into the atmosphere.
We want to put a wood grill in front of the evaporator, what is the percentage of air flow that grill will need to have?
A: Our units require 1/2" minimum spacing, as well as a baffle behind the grill to separated the cold air discharge from the coil intake. We have seen problems with custom grills where there is a gap between the unit and the grill and it causes air circulation behind the grill resulting in coil icing. It is also important to note that the evaporator must be mounted to the interior cellar wall, not buried inside the wall. If it is buried inside the wall, the housing will require insulation, otherwise condensation and heat loss issues will occur.
Does the unit really need a dedicated circuit?
A: First, the background. Unlike our competitors, we build our cooling units with precision expansion valves, not cap tubes, which means that our cooling units aren't limited to a 30°F differential between the desired cellar temperature and the ambient temperature. Cooling systems with expansion valves are much more precise than cap tubes, and much more sensitive to low voltage conditions, which is why our units require dedicated circuits. When we say "dedicated circuit", we mean that the circuit shouldn't have any items that require heavy draws of electricity - eg other appliances, vacuum cleaners, big-screen TVs, blow-dryers - on the same circuit as the cooling unit. Lighting, computers or other low-draw items shouldn't be a problem on the same circuit.