First and foremost SIZE YOUR CHILLER PROPERLY! Consult with us before ordering to make sure you get the right size chiller for your setup. Every room varies, so the rules of thumb do not always apply on larger, hotter, more humid rooms - or rooms where you are running heat-producing equipment in addition to your lights. When in doubt, oversize. This way not only are you cooling more efficiently (chiller is not running all the time), but you also have flexibility to add future water-cooled products later on that same chiller (more lights, water-cooled dehumidifier, water-cooled CO2 generator, drop-in reservoir coils, etc ) If you have questions about this, CALL US! Were here to help!
To better keep your water cool and prevent your chiller from working overtime INSULATE! Wrap your reservoir with insulating material, use pipe wrap on manifolds and lines if necessary, whatever it takes. The more you contain the cold water inside its environment, the less the chiller has to work!
To prevent condensation (which will occur if you are running cold water in a warm room with humidity) - use dehumidifiers to keep humidity below 55% for best results. Water-cooled dehumidifiers will help control humidity and also eliminate the hot exhaust from the dehumidification process.
ALWAYS UNPLUG CHILLER BEFORE UNPLUGGING PUMP!!!!!!! This is a big deal, as if you remove the pump first- and the chiller is still plugged in, it is SO efficient it will actually freeze the coils inside and prevent water from passing through. It can even potentially over-freeze and crack the coils ruining the chiller (weve seen it done and personally done it already by mistake!) Let our mistakes be your gain unplug it FIRST
If you are using the Flotec cast iron pumps there are plugs on the front of the pump face that can be removed (Screws) and fittings for external hoses to be inserted. This will allow you to directly pump cold water from your reservoir to your chiller directly and then back to your reservoir if using a manifold, or to a HydroGEN directly so it gets the required water pressure it needs. (Sometimes, when using complex manifolds, the water distribution may not be enough to give sufficient water pressure to both chiller and hydrogen in chillers case, not enough water flow can cause it to partially (or totally) freeze the coils as discussed above) See the Flotec Pump Operations Manual on the Support page for more information
One way to avoid the water pressure / chiller issue is to pump directly into the chiller, and out from your chiller into your water lines going to your ice boxes or other water-cooling devices. This not only provides the needed water pressure to chiller, but also outputs the coldest water to your water-cooled devices, maximizing heat removal. This is best used for smaller setups that do not need water manifold for complex water distribution
Always remember it is NOT JUST THE LIGHTS that cause heat! If you are calculating chiller size based on a room and number of lights keep in mind that ballasts in the room put off a significant amount of heat also, dehumidifiers, propane CO2 burners (consult the HydroGEN charts here http://www.hydroinnovations.com/product2.htm for required chiller size for your room based on output of CO2 needed and burn time of how many cubic feet per hour you will need)
Make sure to mount Ice Boxes on the outgoing side of the airflow. In other words, if you have a fan on one side of your reflector PUSH the hot air from the bulb into the icebox. IF you are pulling air from one end, make sure you pull THROUGH the icebox, NOT the bulb! Otherwise, you are trying to pull cold air across a hot bulb and condensation will splatter water across your bulbs and into your reflector, causing it to fill with water! Weve seen it!
For smaller setups, you may not need a manifold (1 or 2 icebox systems) just run off a pump straight from your reservoir or chiller into flexible ½ lines into your water cooled products, then put the return (hot water) lines back into the reservoir. Dont make it more complicated than you need to!
It's all about TRIAL AND ERROR when initially setting up your water-cooled garden. Experiment with water temperature (up/down), airflow (more fans= increased cooling), more heat exchange (adding IceBoxes, either on your lights or wall-mounted with a fan attached), or a combination of all of the above. Every room is different, so there are not specific settings or rules. You have to experiment until you get it right - then you don't have to touch it! The initial setup may take some time, but once you get it worked out, you will reap the rewards of water-cooling.