Growing a crop indoors isn’t exactly easy. Outside, plants have the sun providing them light, the soil providing them with food, and insects making sure that their lineage continues. If you are going to have a successful grow inside, you will have to replicate all of that as closely as you can. That is a difficult task, but high pressure sodium grow lights make it simpler and more effective. This kind of year round lighting is vital to having success with your indoor grow.
First, there are two primary types of lighting that indoor growers use to provide their plants with the much needed light they need to grow. Those to categories are HID, or High Intensity Discharge, and fluorescent. High Pressure Sodium lights are inside of the High Intensity Discharge category. In contrast to the lights that we will be covering here, fluorescent lights are cost effective and don’t put out a whole lot of heat. The heat is a benefit, but HPS lights are far superior for anything other than the smallest of grows. Fluorescent lights have to be close to the plants and you always have to be careful to make sure to cover every inch of the plant with light, something that isn’t a concern with HPS systems.
- The spectrum of light that high pressure sodium grow lights provide is ideal for indoor grow operations. High Pressure Sodium bulbs emit light that is in the orange, red, and yellow spectrum, which is perfect for making sure that your plants grow tall, healthy, strong, and flower extremely well. Other bulbs have more blue spectrum light in them, which can be great for vegetative growth, but when it comes to flowering, High Pressure Sodium grow lights are the king and cannot be beat.
- They are also much more efficient than many other options and have far fewer carbon emissions than metal halide grow lights. These are much smaller than many of the other lights that are available and measure about 150 lumens per watt, making them capable of saving you a lot of money in electrical costs.
- They last for a very long time. When you use a grow room high pressure sodium grow lights, you never have to worry about replacing parts unnecessarily. The average lifespan for a high pressure sodium grow light is around 12,000-24,000 hours, depending on the intensity of the light you are using. They also use a technique known as “cycling” to make it easy for them to power on each time and ensures that as little as possible is wasted.
Things To Consider:
- Heat. High Pressure Sodium grow light setups put off a lot of heat. If you live in a cooler environment, you more than likely won’t have to worry about that, but in warm climates your grow room can easily become overheated and become harmful to your plants. If you have heat concerns, you’ll need to make sure to invest in a proper exhaust system that will suck out the hot air and remove it from the room. Windows are great for this, although you might have to also invest in a carbon scrubber if you are worried about your neighbors smelling your vegetables in their flowering process. TO battle this further, make sure to always keep the tops of your plants at least two feet from the lights.
- Reflectors. Reflectors are also a big part of using HPS grow lights in your grow operation. A reflector, along with a horizontally mounted light, will make it easy to direct light to where you need it and make sure that you don’t waste any of your precious power.
- Maintaining Pressure. Over time, usually after about 12-18 months, the efficiency of the bulbs starts to fall. The energy that it takes to maintain gas pressure will increase over time and make it more and more costly to light your room. At a certain point, the ballast will no longer be able to supply the necessary amount of power and it will shut the arc down, allowing the temperature and the gas pressure to decrease. Once it is safe, it will power back up. It can still function at this point, but it will be high time to think about replacing it.
- Size and Wattage. This is where the preferences and special needs of your own grow come into play. The most common grows use between 70 and 1000 watts, with the bulb increasing along with the wattage. You should have the largest and most powerful light that your grow room can accommodate if you want the best results. Keep in mind, however, that you don’t want to overheat your room by pumping it too full of heat.
Are They Right For You?
If you want the best results with the tried and true method of growing indoors, this is it. There are certainly more efficient and more specialized ways of growing crops indoors, but if you want the simplest and best way for the everyday grower, you can’t go wrong.