The main disadvantage of using a water chiller for hydroponic growing is the cost up front. Also, to run efficiently, water chillers require regular maintenance, although it’s minor, compared to all the hassles of constantly monitoring and manually maintaining cool reservoir temperatures. Additionally, this electrical equipment is not safe to use outdoors or in tight spaces with insufficient ventilation.
The best water chillers for hydroponics are engineered using state-of-the-art technology to be small, quiet, efficient, reliable, durable, easy to use, and safe for use with hydroponic nutrient solution, as well as being competitively priced.
But maintaining the right temperatures can be challenging for hydroponic systems that include lights, pumps, and other equipment that may put off heat, raising the ambient heat of a grow room, which will increase the water temperature of the reservoir – especially in deep water culture (DWC) systems. To contend with this problem, a water chiller for hydroponics can be a great solution.
Here are the capacity ratings for the Max-Chill modules:
Here are a few ideas for maintaining those optimal cool temperatures that will help keep your hydroponic plant roots happy, healthy, and growing strong:
In addition, as the temperature of the solution increases, it becomes less able to hold dissolved oxygen, which plant roots need for cell respiration – the means by which they get the energy to draw in water and nutrients for the entire plant – so higher temperatures cause stress in plants.
Note that their refrigeration performance ratings specify that the chillers obtain best efficiency with higher reservoir volumes than what they market their units for. Check the current price and read reviews for the Hydrofarm Active aqua Chiller on Amazon.
Their drawbacks are that they’re only good for small reservoirs; you may need to drill holes in your reservoir to mount them, if you’re unable to suspend them from above; and the temperature controllers for these units are sold separately.
There is a way to precisely determine the BTUs (British thermal units) per hour your system needs according to the three metrics mentioned above; however, manufacturers don’t rate chillers according to BTUs so much anymore. So the owner’s manuals or instructions for unit will give you important information that you can use as a guideline.
In this article, we’ll help you pick the best water chiller for hydroponics. All the info you need about water chillers to keep your nutrient solution cool.
If you don’t want to go for one of the more expensive water chillers you can try to make your own cooling coil. I’m not going to go into the details of how to do that in this post, but there’s a great article here about it: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-a-wort-chiller-for-homebrewing/
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If you’re growing outside, you can dig out the ground and bury your reservoir. The cool, dark environment below the surface of the soil will keep the reservoir exceptionally cool. You’ll almost never go into danger zone temperatures in the root zone if you use this method – but it does require a lot of effort.
Note: If you add cooler nutrient solution quickly, the drastic temperature change could shock your roots.
Recommended Water Chillers
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Darker colors absorb more heat. If your reservoir is made of a dark plastic, consider painting it a lighter color – preferably white – to reflect some heat. Using something as simple as white spraypaint can do the job and knock a couple degrees off of your reservoir temperatures.
For best results, you want your air temperature to be higher than your water temperature. Typical ranges are 75-80F (23.9-26.7C) for air temperature, and 68F (20C) or lower for water temperature.
Even though roots grow better at the slightly higher temperatures of 70-75F (21.1-23.9C), you would be inviting in pathogens and root diseases that thrive at these temperatures as well. Keeping yourself and your roots safe means operating under 68F.
Learning how to keep your hydroponic reservoir cool will save you a lot of trouble, and possibly your entire grow itself. There are a few ways to keep cool…