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Air Conditioning Insider: Aura Systems on their Mini-Split Units Featured

Aura Systems offers a uniquely efficient cooling solution for your grow room. Aura Systems offers a uniquely efficient cooling solution for your grow room.


Air conditioning is one of the most complex and costly parts of an indoor growing operation. Knowing the facts can mean the difference between a profitable operation and a very expensive error. That’s why Rosebud got the straight scoop from Brandon Burkhart, the owner of Hydroponics Inc., the makers of the Aura Systems line of split A/C units designed specifically for grow rooms.

Rosebud: This is an incredible unit. Tell me a little bit about it.

Brandon Burkhart: We’ve got four basic models: 12,000 BTU; 18,000 BTU; 24,000 BTU and 36,000 BTU.

The question most growers ask is which unit they need for their particular setup.

Each model cools up to a different wattage [of lights in your grow room]. We recommend 3.6 BTUs per watt for growers using a vented hood on their lights and 5.5 BTUs per watt without a hood.

We have a pre-charged condenser, so you don’t have to bring it out there and charge it; it’s all ready to go for life.

So when you’re doing the calculation, here’s the breakdown: On a 12,000-BTU unit, you’ve got 3.6 BTUs per watt, so it’ll cool 3,000 watts, vented. It doesn’t matter if you’re using 600- or 1,000-watt lights. You just want to make sure you’re using 3,000 watts total.

Our 18,000-BTU unit will cool 4,000 watts of lights. Our 24,000-BTU unit will cool 6,000 watts. And our 36,000-BTU unit can cool 10,000 watts of vented lights.

Wow, so you could cool up to 10,000 watts of lights. What really intrigued me is that you guys are the only ones making an air conditioner that stands up to the 24-hour pounding of heat that we all produce with our grow lights. What did you do differently to make this thing so good at standing up to all that energy?

Mainly what we did was make sure we have high-quality internals. We use Japanese internals, pure copper line sets and Toshiba compressors. We offered some units with different functions specifically for your grow room, like our shut-off LCD display screen on your indoor unit, or our new quick-connect units that just came out, which are killer, especially for guys on the East Coast or Midwest who want to install their A/C by themselves, without having an HVAC guy come to their house or anything like that. It makes it real simple; it’s just plug-and-play. Your line sets are already vacuumed down so you don’t have to do any of that. It’s ready to go.

And for the guys out there who just want to hire an A/C guy to handle it, we offer non-quick-connect. In the grow industry, we’re the first mini-split company to offer that.

A lot of growers I know like to do everything on their own. So providing the option for a guy to install his own air conditioner, by himself, no HVAC guy needed, is a no-brainer to me. Can you guys tell us a little bit more about some of the other features?

We have a pre-charged condenser, so you don’t have to bring it out there and charge it; it’s all ready to go for life. We offer 25-foot line sets for installation, one-year warranty on parts, five-year on the compressor. Can’t go wrong. All Japanese, all ready to go.

Another huge thing is the auto-restart. You’re able to plug it into a controller and it auto-restarts. So as soon as the power comes back on, or the unit gets power, it’ll automatically restart.

I don’t know if a lot of people know the difference between your conventional, regular portable unit and the benefits of going with a ductless mini-split. It’s a massive difference because, on a portable unit, it sits in your room, so it’s taking up ground space. That’s area you could use for growing. You can be making money right there.

Not only that, but regular A/Cs have your duct in and duct out. So you’ve got hot air coming through your tubes and going out into the attic. It’s heating up your attic, you’re heating up your duct tubes, and in turn heating up your room. The A/C is actually working against itself.

You turn this thing on right now and we could have a full conversation. You wouldn’t even know it’s on.

With the ductless mini-split, it’s completely sealed. Air comes in from the top of the unit and goes out from the bottom, with a 25-degree temperature drop. In turn, you’re not having CO2 leaving your room. Unwanted smells stay inside the room. You’re not blowing air out of your room. It’s definitely the way to go when you’re trying to cool off some lights.

A lot of people don’t realize how efficient they are. Some of our units are rated at 13 SEER; others are even 15 SEER rated.

[For example], I can go buy a window unit, 24,000 BTU for 700 bucks. It’s going to cost me 1,500-1,600 bucks to buy the 24,000-BTU Aura, or any other mini-split. But, that first six months to a year of you running it non-stop, all the time, you’re going to save so much money on your energy bill that it’s going to make up for it tenfold by the time you’re done using the unit.

It’s the only way to go when you’re trying to cool your grow room, hands down.

Window shakers, like the ones that mount inside of the windows or walls, use up to 20% of their own cooling power just cooling themselves, which is pretty inefficient. As far as the portable units, those tubes coming out the back are so hot that you can feel the heat radiating around them. I’ve heard that they can take up to 30% of their own energy just cooling themselves. So a 12,000-BTU air conditioner is effectively like 9,000. That’s not doing a lot of cooling.

Also, for growers who live in cold states, we offer a heat pump in our system. So if you need heat in your room during the wintertime, we offer that as well.

If I’m understanding correctly, this thing will serve as a dehumidifier to some degree, with its own radiator.

Yeah, it’s got a dehumidifying function. It’s got a dry function already built into the remote, so you can put it on dry mode. You have your condensation line built in. You can let the water go into a bucket, a trashcan or whatever, or a condensate pump, and just pump that water wherever you’d like.

Some guys use the water because you’ve got like 13 to 15 PPM on the water coming out of the unit. We don’t recommend it. There are other things in there that you probably don’t want to feed your plants, so we recommend just throwing that water away.

Lastly, they’re very quiet units.

Extremely quiet. You turn this thing on right now and we could have a full conversation. You wouldn’t even know it’s on. Both our inside and our outside units are quiet. It’s made for growing. Period.

That is so rad, and needed in this industry. Where do I go to buy one?

You can get one at pretty much any local hydro shop. If you’re a hydro shop owner, you can get them through Aura, Hydrofarm, Great Lakes Garden Wholesale and Rambridge is going to be carrying them. With more to come.

And you guys own the store Hydroponics Inc. in Corona, California, so growers can get stuff from you guys directly, right?

Yeah, they’re always welcome to come here, shop here and check out the units. We have tons of displays here, functioning units, so you can get an idea of how loud it is and what it’s going to cost.

We have functioning units at a lot of other hydro shops, too. Grass Roots Hydroponics in Lake Elsinore, Grass Roots Temecula, Dutch Garden Supply, The Hydro Source… just on and on. We have East Coast displays too.

Right on. Thanks for having us down to talk about all this. This is awesome. As far as I’m concerned, everyone needs one in their garden.

BTU Calculation:

12,000 BTU cools 3,000 watts

18,000 BTU cools 4,000 watts

24,000 BTU cools 6,000 watts

36,000 BTU cools 10,000 watts

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Last modified on Thursday, 18 July 2013 20:36

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