5 Options to Cool Your Hydroponic Nutrient Solution
For your hydroponic garden to thrive, you need light, which will come from the sun or a bank of grow lights. With that light comes heat, and too much heat can be a problem for your plants, especially if the hydroponic nutrient solution gets too warm.
The ideal temperature for your nutrient solution is between 65 degrees F and 80 degrees F. If it gets too hot, it loses oxygen and chokes your plants. With that in mind, monitor the temperature of your nutrient solution throughout the year to get a baseline of the solution’s normal temperature level. From there, be sensitive to times when the temperature approaches stress levels. If you see the temperature spiking, try one of these fixes to bring it under control.
Ice Packs: Put the Chill on Your Nutrient Solution
Keep about a dozen ice packs in a freezer, and add them to the reservoir every 15 minutes until the temperature drops to acceptable levels. Remove thawed packs as needed.
Before freezing, carefully test the packs for any leaks.
In a pinch, you can also use frozen water bottles.
Cool Water: What’s on Tap?
Whether you have a self-filling reservoir or you add water yourself, you can cool your nutrient solution by adding cold water to it.
When you see your reservoir temperature rising, disconnect your direct hose, run your tap on cold until it delivers chilly water and then reconnect it to the reservoir. You can also prop up your float valve, let it drain for a while and then replace the solution with cool water.
For manual systems, partially (or fully) drain the system and replace with the cool water and fresh nutrients.
Naturally, any time you add water, you’ll dilute your nutrients, so check or refresh your nutrients and make adjustments as needed.
Sheet Metal: Create a Reflective Reservoir Cover
Shape a piece of sheet metal so that it covers the top and exposed sides of your reservoir. Then add wood blocks to work as spacers. The blocks will hold the cover in place and allow air to flow between the reservoir and its new cover.
Most importantly, the sheet metal will reflect sunlight away from the tank – and possibly provide a little more light for your garden.
Chillers: An Investment in Your Hydroponic Garden
If you’re not into a DIY solution to cooling a reservoir, you can purchase a cooling machine that operates a coil placed inside your reservoir. When the temperature hits a certain level, the machine kicks on and chills the coil, which then cools your solution. These chillers are expensive, but certainly worth it for large-scale hydroponic operations.
Paint Job: The Simplest Solution of them All
If you’re short on time or cash, a simple solution is to paint your reservoir. White or another light color is best, so sunlight (and heat) reflects off the tank rather than absorbing it. Be aware that latex wall paint, without properly preparing the reservoir surface, will begin to peel and flake off in a short time since it’s not really meant to adhere to plastic. Spray paint would probably work best, but it may add unhealthy chemicals to the air.
Help for Hydroponics
Are you looking for more help with your hydroponic garden system? Check out the line of hydroponic nutrients from Safer® Brand, which includes OMRI Listed® formulations for every growth stage. You can also get more links to articles like this by subscribing to the Safer® Brand E-Newsletter. For even more ideas on organic gardening, join Safer® Brand on Facebook to become part of a community dedicated to growing green.