Look at the BTU's and the amp draw. The Tradewinds BTU is rated at 90 degree ambient. As an example of some of what that means, the Current USA prime 1/3 hp has a BTU rating that is listed at 700 BTU/hr higher than the Tradewinds 1/3 HP. The tradewinds pulls my tank down 2 degrees in less time than the Current USA pulls it down 1 degree. The Current chillers BTU is likely rated at 80 degrees or 70 degrees ambient. Big difference.
Look at the big name chillers like Tradewinds, Aqualogic, Universal Marine, even Current USA ... check the amp draw per HP rating. You will see they are all similiar. The TECO has a much lower amp draw rating for the same hp as those listed above and a much lower BTU/hr rating for the same HP. I am not saying these are bad chillers. I have no use time with the TECO units. Just that I personally believe that they are overstating their HP rating. You are paying for it as well. So far I havent been able to find any holes in my theory about these which is based on simple common sense and a little bit of understanding about chillers and their ratings.
I can tell you though that the Tradewinds is a great chiller. Top notch parts, design, service and performance. Contact them and talk to Hal Collier, the designer/owner. Only thing I can say that is negative is that the abs covers have glued on end pieces instead of molded. Mine had a tendency to come apart at the glued seam. A little super glue takes care of it. Not a big deal. The build, parts and performance of these chillers make criticizing the abs cover nit picking.
Tradewinds, Aqualogic I have the Aqualogic inline I have had 3 other chillers a inline current jbl had nothing but problems spend the extra cash and get a Tradewinds or a Aqualogic and save in the long run. Note my Aqualogic runs about 15 min compared to hours current and the jbl ran.
Thanks, My gut feeling was tradewinds so tradewinds it will be. Any experience with leaving them outside. In the summer the temp could reach 92 with humidty 70 percent. I do not want to keep the chiller inside unless it is absolutely necessary..
If you put it outside make sure it is protected I wold ask the manufacture for how you would go about this. Note I wold get the stainless condenser and the humidity is a plus do to evaporation will help cool.
Call Hal at Tradewinds. The man was a refrigeration engineer designing systems for commercial companies. His chillers can be used outside but there may be some precautions so talk to him. He's a good guy.
I have the teco 1/8. I don't know about ratings or efficiency. I got it because space is at a premium, and the opportunity to have two stage temp control with an integrated heater, and also to have my UV in the chiller, was why I got it.
Can't compare it to anything else, but so far so good. Hook up was simple. The tolerated flow is very wide so I have it on my return pump for now but later can change to a loop within my sump off a powerhead.
Seems pretty efficient. I'm in a hot climate and in a hot room. On initial set up, it took about an hour to drop my tank 3 degrees, but maintaining that temp seems pretty effortless. 90 gallons.
Lark ... Doesnt sound like you have a very high heat load on the tank judging from your only needing a 3 degree pull down in the first place. Thats a nice situation to be. Better to not need a chiller at all if you do need one, not having to buy a large unit and having it not need to work too hard is a good thing. I couldnt use a 1/8 on my 90, of any brand, it would run forever. I have a much higher heat load.
I wasnt knocking the quality or performance of the TECO chillers in any way. Just questioning the ratings which is a legitimate point based on BTU, amp draw and HP ratings. Doesnt mean that the chillers arent capable units or that there is anything wrong with them quality wise. I wasnt implying that. Your chiller seems to be working fine for your tank so I wouldnt worry about it, regardless of it's actual specs.
I was running two 4" canopy fans pretty much nonstop, which is why I only needed a 3 degree pulldown. Evaporation was driving me crazy, though, which is why I went to the chiller. I've turned off the fans, and the teco seems to be doing just fine -- it's probably more of a 5 to 6 degree pulldown without the fans. I'd say it turns on for about a couple of minutes every couple of hours. Of course, it's not summer yet. Hopefully it will be enough when the weather gets warmer. The teco calculator said that 1/8 would be enough for my set up. We'll see.