Frequently Asked Questions – Page Three

Frequently Asked Questions – Page Three

Frequently Asked Questions Cont..

How long should I run my lights?

As a general rule, when you are in a vegetative stage of plant growth, run your lights 18-24 hours a day. If you have natural sunlight, it will vary because the sunlight may or may not be direct. It will take a little experimenting to find the best length of time to run your lights. If you are actively fruiting and flowering, the rule is to run your lights 12 hours a day.

How high do I need to hang my lights above my plants?

The higher the wattage the further away you want the light to be from your plants due to the amount of heat and the intensity of the light. HID lighting will be further away than a fluorescent fixture because of this. You want to keep the light as close as you can, but not so close to burn the plant. 1000w lights should be at least 18” from plant tops, while lower wattage HID lights can be slightly closer. T5 fluorescent lamps can be place mere inches away from plants.

How big of an area will my light cover?

The size of the garden area will determine the wattage you need. The following sizes are for flowering plants. A 1000 watt light will cover about 4 x 4 feet of growing area, a 600 watt will cover 3 x 3 feet, and a 400 watt will cover 2 x 2 feet.

Regardless of old, outdated information, the above figures are very accurate. Growers used to attempt much larger areas with these lights, and the large garden would yield a very small harvest per plant. Modern growers use tighter garden spacing and yield very large amounts per plant. The result is higher quality with fewer plants, and no decrease in yield.

Why do I need glass to get the UL listing on a Metal Halide light?

The inner arc tube of a Metal Halide lamp contains mercury. Underwriters Laboratory has stated that for a Metal Halide fixture to maintain its UL Listing, that an additional tempered safety lens is required in the event that the arc-tube and outer glass fail. This will prevent the spread of Mercury.

Can I run a 1000 watt bulb in my 400 watt lighting system?

No! The internal components of the ballast are designed to send the correct voltage and current for the rated lamp. Mixing lamps and ballasts will result in premature failure and will void the manufacturers’ warranty. Consider the size area you want your garden to be prior to making a lighting purchase. It is better to grow into a fixture than out of one.

Can I run a 430 watt bulb in a 400 watt lighting system?

Yes, the internal components of 400 watt and 430 watt ballasts are almost identical. You will only get 400 watts of light out of the 430 watt lamp, however.

Do I need to wear gloves when handling an HID light bulb?

Manufacturers do not state that gloves are required when handling their lamps. It is recommended that your hands be thoroughly washed prior to handling HID lamps though. Wipe down bulbs with a dry, clean cloth after installation.

What is a conversion bulb?

A lamp that operates on the opposite ballast it was originally designed for. For example, a 940 watt conversion lamp is an HPS lamp that runs on a 1000 watt Metal Halide Ballast. There are also MH lamps that are designed to operate on HPS ballasts. These bulbs allow the grower to purchase the ballast of their choice and offer the flexibility of growing a variety of plant types by simply changing the lamp they need.

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