What is a CO@ generator? CO2 generators are simply specialized burners that burn either propane or natural gas to produce CO2. CO2 generators are optimized to produce as little heat as possible, while producing as much CO2 as possible.
How will CO2 help my garden grow? Plants “breathe in” CO2 and “breathe out” oxygen (O). This is why plant life is an essential part of the worlds’ ecosystem. Without plants, CO2 levels would rise to intolerable levels. Plants use CO2 for growth. It is the essential building block for photosynthesis (along with light and water).
What benefit will I get from water-cooling?
Water-cooling your garden will give you many benefits, most importantly removing the heat that is generated from the high- intensity grow lights in your garden! By utilizing water-cooling, the bulb heat generated can be completely removed from the environmental equation – thus allowing for cooler gardens, happier plants, and less stress on both you and your plants.
Cooling via water allows you to place the lights lower down on your plant canopy – offering better light penetration, increased lumens, and more vigorous growth – without hurting the plants from excessive heat this would cause using uncooled or in some cases, poorly air-cooled systems.
Efficiency! Water is scientifically proven as a better heat absorbent than heat. Water has a thermal conductivity of 0.6W (m*K) which is much higher than the thermal conductivity of air which is only 0.03W/(m*K) – and a much higher specific heat capacity than air. What this means is that water can absorb and remove from your garden 4 times the heat nearly 20 times faster than air! Thus the energy that is produced by the chiller used to chill the water is not wasted ! Studies have shown that around 70% of the power consumed by an AC system goes to POWERING THE SYSTEM – not cooling the air. So you are only getting 30% cooling capacity for the same amount of electricity used. Talk about saving power!
Isn’t water cooling complicated? Water cooling is no more complicated than any of the other systems or things required to garden indoors. If you grow hydroponi- cally, you already use pumps, water, reservoirs, etc.. which you also do setting up a water-cooled system. If you’ve set up a garden and have wired electricity, then you have already done more complicated work than setting up a water-cooled garden! Simply put – a water-cooled system is nothing more than a reservoir holding water, a pump that recirculates that water through a chiller (which of course is what is making that water cold), then the transport system that carries that cold water through your water-cooled devices and the hot water back to the reservoir. Simple systems can be setup in minutes, more complicated ones in hours.
HydroGEN What pump size is needed for operating the HydroGEN? If using a HydroGEN by itself we recommend a pump with at least 15' of lift with roughly 500 GPH, if using the HydroGEN with a small complete WCS that is using a submersible pump the HydroGEN will require its own submersible pump but can use the same reservoir as the rest of your cooling equipment. If using the original HydroGEN with a larger WCS that uses a powerful inline centrifugal pump it can be part of the system but since the unit is activated by water you will need a HydroGEN valve that is controlled by your CO2 monitor. If using a a HydroGEN PRO the system can be setup for constant water flow and would not require a HydroGEN valve. If using a MiniGEN no valve would be necessary, the co2 generator is already setup for constant water flow.
How do I calculate how much heat the HydroGEN outputs into my room, and thus how much chiller power I need? If you are using a CO2 generator and you are venting your room you will add much more heat than if it were sealed and must be calculated differently. This is because the unit will have to power off and on to make up for the CO2 lost during the vent cycle, which causes heat each time. To calculate the chiller required for the HydroGEN or MiniGEN go www.hydroinnovations.com /products.htm and use the CO2 calculator to determine how much CO2 your room requires. This total will give you what it takes to bring the room from 500 to 1500. We can't calculate for you how much CO2 you will need an hour to maintain that. It depends on how sealed your room is and if you are doing any venting. Go to the charts there on the website to determine what size chiller you need keeping in mind that you may need less or more chiller than recommended based on your own particular situation.
What other ways can the heat output (in the form of the heated water) from the HydroGEN be cooled? You can use an Ice Box to cool the water from the HydroGEN. If the hot water exit line is run through an ice box with fan attached it can greatly reduce the water temperature before returning to the res. This is an alternative to using a chiller, for extra efficiency the fan can be turned on and off with the hydrogen by connecting it to the CO2 controller. This icebox should be placed outside the grow room, however, so that the hot air byproduct of the cooled water is not re-introduced into your room, which defeats the purpose of using it.
I noticed that there used to be a natural gas HydroGEN, is it still available, or what happened to it? The natural gas HydroGEN was discontinued because on the west coast the gas pressure is lower than the national standard in most cases. Even though other appliances work fine the HydroGEN will not function properly. It isn't dangerous, but in fact it will not stay lit. The reason is that there are several sensors inside that measure temperature to make sure that the flame is lit and that it is burning efficiently, the problem is that with lower gas pressure the flame doesn't burn hot enough to satisfy all of the sensors. Due to this and complaints from customers on non-performance, the model was discontinued.
Can I convert the unit from propane to natural gas? Yes, propane to natural gas conversion kits are available. We recommend that you use the unit with propane for at least 4 weeks before making the conversion. If the unit doesn't run properly after the conversion you will know what the problem is and can switch it back. However, converting a HydroGEN voids the warranty of the unit.
Can I use the HydroGEN with a timer instead of a CO2 computer? No, do not use the hydrogen with a timer, because of the high CO2 output, if the unit runs for 15 minutes in most gardens this would make the ppm's much too high and which could burn your plants. The unit must be controlled by a CO2 monitor / controller.
Humidity and Condensation
Why do I have condensation on my manifolds and cold water lines? Condensation is the result of the cold water in the manifolds and lines reaching the dew point in the room, which causes them to “sweat”. This does NOT add additional moisture to the room, rather it is turning the water vapor in the air back into water due to the cold water inside the lines meeting the humid air. The rule of thumb is to keep your room below 50% humidity in order to avoid condensation.
What can I do if I can’t cool with a higher water temperature to avoid condensation? If you can't sufficiently cool with a higher water temperature you may need to add heat exchanger or flow more air across the heat exchangers you have which will make them more efficient.
One example is that you can daisy chain 3 reflectors together and put on one ice box – which will cool it just as well as three ice boxes but the water has to be much colder than if using 3. Your room is the same way. If you don't have enough heat exchange in your room your water will need to be colder than it has to be. Alternatively, increasing the air flow will do the same thing. So there is an inverse relationship between airflow and water temperature – bringing the two together (raising or lowering water temperature, adding or subtracting air flow) will help you to dial in the desired room environment conditions.
What can I do to eliminate or reduce condensation? As mentioned, to reduce condensation you must either raise the water temperature, or reduce the humidity. Reducing humidity can be done by using external dehumidifiers, and there are water-cooled dehumidifiers available to reduce humidity and avoid introduc- ing more heat into your room. If condensation is a huge problem, you may want to use wall mount brackets and ducting to keep Ice Boxes away from reflectors and bulbs.
All this water-cooling equipment seems much more expensive than normal indoor gardening, is it worth it? Yes, water-cooled gardening equipment is more expensive and takes more time to setup but in the long run that expense and extra work are WELL worth it, especially if you can grow year round and are able to control your environment using more efficient water instead of AC. Once a WCS is dialed in it is very dependable and requires little maintenance.