I retired in 2018. I been growing, again since then. My first set up was a 2.5 x 2.5 x5 tent. DWC bubblers, 3 5gal buckets, blurple leds, 4" exhaust, intake fans filters. My son got me into bubblers after going to Amsterdam in 2009. The first problem spotted in my environment, basement, was nutes getting too hot. Bubblers pumping ambient heat. So a chiller was necessary, but…
Having three separate buckets, I wanted a system that was clean, easy to manage, and cooling without a reservoir and circulating pumps to deal with. I experimented with the chiller itself, failed and ending up using the simplest method. A water bath(coolant) chilled to ### temp; pump feeds coolant to bucket radiators and back to bath.
Borrowing from brew geniuses, the system uses a stainless steel wort chiller per bucket.
I got a 3.5 cu ft chest freezer at my local appliance store for $140. I found a (16 gal) tank to fit for ~$50.
The tank was cut to fit and holds 12 gallons.
1/2" tubing, a small 12v pump for circulation. A voltage speed controller is recommended. Star distribution to the buckets. I have shut a off valve to one bucket. A temperature controller with probe controls the temp. Pump is on when the high temp threshold is met. Off when low is met.
I have been using this since I fist saw the temps go up and it’s been the best time saver for me.
I now have a 4x4 with the same set-up going. Still use 3 individual nute buckets. Brighter lights, co2, humidity control, have never saved me as much time as keeping the food nice. It gets a little taxed in summer with sweating and cycling. The speed controller allows the coolant flow to be adjusted.
I know this is not feasible for everyone. The freezer cost about .5Kw per day. I think the bubblers cost that. Happy growing. Peace