Environment

  • How To Set Up A Grow Tent Ventilation System

    I remember my first time setting up a grow tent and I took one look at a ventilation diagram. My heart sunk, my head hurt, and I felt incapable of setting up a ventilation system.

    Guess what? It’s super easy — it just looks way more complex than it is. Honestly, I felt a bit dumb after it took me less than 5 minutes to set it all up.

    Great ventilation does five vital things that are crucial to growing healthy plants.

     

    1. Lowers temperature — Removes the build up heat from your lights.
    2. Lowers humidity — Removes the moisture your plants and grow media produce.
    3. Provides fresh air (CO2) — Plants use CO2 for energy during photosynthesis.
    4. Creates air circulation — Prevents pests, mold, etc. from resting on the plants.
    5. Moves air through the plants — This creates stronger stems for bearing the weight of heavy fruits and flowers.

     

    Passive or Active Air Flow

    There are two main types of ventilation systems you can set up in your grow tent: Passive Intake vs. Active Intake.

    For the majority of grow tent growers, a passive intake system works perfectly.

    Passive intake works by placing an inline fan at the top of your tent. The inline or exhaust fan will suck the air out of your tent creating a vacuum that pulls in fresh air from the intake ports at the bottom of your tent.

    It’s the same principle as sucking air through a straw. As long as you have negative pressure inside the tent you will have a passive system — negative pressure means your grow tent has less air pressure in it than the environment it’s sitting in. Continue reading


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  • Grow Room Air Conditioning

    Whether or not to install air conditioning in your hydroponic grow room is a decision many new growers struggle with. After all, you’ve got movers, fan ventilation and besides, you’ve invested so much into this endeavor already, so do you really need to fork out even more on this?

    If you’re in the deep south this matter is already settled because without a question you’re going to need air conditioning. When you don’t, both your plants and you will be stifled by excess heat and high humidity.

    Conditions that are also perfect, incidentally, for a fungal pathogen to infect your plants. This is something you need to avoid at all cost or risk losing the entire grow. Continue reading


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  • Using CO2 In Your Grow Room

    Adding CO2 to your grow room is a great way to increase the size and quality of your harvest. Many gardeners believe that sunshine and nutrients are the only factors in photosynthesis but that couldn’t be further from the truth. While the entire subject is a bit too complex to discuss with any length here, there are many elemental players to the process and one of them is CO2.

    CO2 is beneficial to a grower through earlier harvest times and increasing the sugar level in fruit.

    In simple terms, light and CO2 helps a plant convert nutrients into the sugars which a plant uses as food and stores in its seeds or fruit.

    CO2 enrichment doesn’t just make for healthier plants, it speeds up the rate of growth and significantly boosts yields. Because CO2 works with light to produce sugars artificially booting its production is proven to produce more favorable and desirable fruit. Continue reading


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  • Inline Fans & Blowers for Grow Room Ventilation

    Grow room ventilation is important! A grow room with stagnant air is a grow room in disarray. When it comes to indoor gardening, most of the focus gets thrown on the lights, the nutrients, and grow media because these factors are vital to a fantastic and huge harvest, but without proper air circulation, you won’t even make it to harvest in the first place.

    Without air circulation you should expect:

    • Dangerously high temperatures that stunt growth and kills plants
    • High humidity levels which lead to mold that will ruin your plants
    • Weaker stems that are prone to breaking
    • Pests
    • Lack of C02 which will suffocate plants
    • High odor

    It’s recommended that the air in your grow room/tent is exchanged every 1-5 minutes. This will go far in helping keep your CO2, oxygen, temperature, and humidity levels all under control.

    When it comes to proper air circulation you want to look at three factors:

    • Fresh air being introduced into the grow room
    • The amount of air circulation happening in the grow room itself
    • Old air being removed from the grow room

    Let’s look at these factors by working our way backward – you’ll soon see why this works.

    Removing Air From the Grow Space with Inline Fans and Blowers

    By setting up our exhaust fan first we can accomplish not one, but three helpful components to growing, which will eliminate a lot of time, cost, and stress from our lives.

    An exhaust fan will, of course, remove stagnant air from your grow room, but that downplays what it all it really can do. First, it can help with odor control.

    Using an Inline fan to control odor

    Inline fans can be connected to a carbon scrubber. This will pull all the air from the grow space through the carbon scrubber first, eliminating at least 90% of the smell if properly set up – don’t worry we’ll show you how below.

    Passive Intake – How removing air can introduce new air

    Second, when you’re using a small to medium size grow tent, you can create a passive intake system with your inline or exhaust fan. It’s the same principle as sucking air through a straw.

    With passive intake, you create a lower pressure in your grow space as oppose to the space outside the room. This creates a vacuum that pulls in new air, which in fact, cools air more efficiently than an intake fan blowing air in and over your plants.

    With an inline fan is placed at the top of your grow tent and the passive intake hole at the bottom, we can actually create an all-in-one air circulation system that moves air efficiently throughout your grow tent. This might mean your job is already done, just by purchasing an intake fan.

    Air Circulation Inside The Grow Space

    While a passive intake system can be enough to adequately introduce and remove air, it might not be enough to actually get your plants moving.

    We want our plants to dance

    Clip-on fans, wall mount fans, etc. are great because they can be set up to directly move air over and through the plants creating a breeze that will strengthen the stems and keep insects off. Strengthening the stem is important, because us gardeners are constantly trying to find a way to grow bigger fruits, veggies, and flowers – which we are very good at, but you must grow a hardier stem if you don’t want these bigger results breaking the them too soon.

    Grow Room Hot Spots

    HIDs and LEDs are two of the most popular grow lights, and while they are brilliant for growing some of the best plants around, they are notorious for creating hot spots. A light mover is fantastic for expanding your lighting footprint and removing hot spots, but they might not be in your budget. A small fan blowing air over the plants will go far in removing built-up hot spots.

    Not All Fans Are Created Equal

    If you look at an inline fan, you’ll come across the term “CFM”. This stands for cubic feet per minute, and this rating tells you how much air a fan can move in one minute.

    When purchasing an inline fan, you want the fan’s CFM to closely match your carbon scrubber, as this will create the proper rate of push and pull between the units. Your grow space will determine how powerful that fan needs to be, however.

    Remember, we want to remove air every 1-5 minutes. To figure out your air exchange rate, you will first calculate your grow tent’s size by multiplying the tent’s length, width, and height. Let’s say you’re using a 4 x 4 x 8 foot tent, which will give you 128 cubic feet of volume. If you choose a fan with a CFM rating of 128, you should expect air to be completely exchanged in about a minute. The amount of ducting and your carbon scrubber will determine if your fan is actually pulling air at its maximum rate.

    Your fan will most likely have something that’s reducing its pull – the carbon scrubber and length and twisting of ducting factor heavily – so it’s recommended to pick a strong enough fan that will remove air in about only a minute or two unaffected. This will give you a nice amount of wiggle room just in case.


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  • Ventilation & Odor Control Kits

    There is nothing quite like the smell of a rich and pungent garden. It’s an aspect of growing plants that many gardeners love and look forward to.That is until the odor has engulfed your house and is sneaking its way over to your neighbors. Controlling odor often requires setting up a system dedicated solely to tackling it. Certain plants can be so pungently overwhelming that one plant alone can consume a multi-level house in its entirety with its odor.

    Controlling odor is a necessity for both cleanliness and privacy, and failure to control it can spell disaster. But that’s not the only reason you want to set up a ventilation and odor control system.

    Why Ventilation And Air Circulation Is Important in the Grow Room

    A poor ventilation system will lead to:

    • Depleted CO2
    • Dangerous temperatures and humidity levels
    • Pets and infestations
    • Dust buildup

    Dust building up is something a lot of new growers don’t think about, but if you allow it to build up onto your lighting system, you will affect your light’s intensity costing you yield and money.

    Make It Easy And Go With An All-In-One Odor Control & Ventilation Kit

    Setting up a proper ventilation and odor control system can seem daunting at first, so many skip setting up one. More likely though, they put together a shotty system with fans placed in counterintuitive locations and attempt to mask the smell with sprays and pluggable scented oils. Plants will absorb particles in the air and this includes sprays you use for masking. This means you can jeopardize and alter the way your plants smell and taste, plus they don’t even cover the smell that well.

    That’s why we put together easy to install complete ventilation and odor control kits, so you can rest assured that you have a great system in place without having to do really any homework first.

    The Right Fit for your Grow Room

    Our kits come with fans and speed controller, ducting for ventilation, and a carbon filter for odor control. They are easily installed into the grow tent of your choice, you’ll want to match ducting size, which won’t be a problem since we offer the following ducting sizes: 4”, 6”, 8”, 10” 12”.

    It’s recommended to exchange all the air in a grow room every 1-5 minutes, so you need to find out two numbers to ensure that your fan is powerful enough for the size of your grow room. First, you will want to calculate the volume (cubic feet) of your grow area / grow tent, which can easily be done by multiplying Length x Width x Height.

    As a rule of thumb, when using a carbon filter - which our kits provide - you want a fan that has a CFM rating twice as large as your tent’s volume. So if your tent is 40 cubic feet, we recommend a fan that has a rating of at least 80 CFM. CFM stands for cubic feet per minute, and essentially tells you how much air the fan can move per minute.

    Carbon Filter vs. Odor Neutralizers

    You might wonder why we only offer carbon filters in our kits, the answer is simple really. Carbon filters effectively eliminate odor, they do not alter or harm your plants in any way, they have a long lifespan, and they work perfect with ventilation systems.

    Their one real negative is they do have a higher initial cost than other viable odor control methods, like ONA products for example.

    ONA is a company that creates a range of popular odor neutralizers that are commonly used in sewage plants, so they work well to eliminate odor, and they are fairly affordable as well. Unfortunately, they will need to be replaced often, and they must be placed outside of the grow room as they will alter the plant’s aroma. Since they can alter the smell of your plants, ONA odor neutralizers will produce a smell of their own.

    Now, it is true that a carbon filter will need to eventually be replaced every 12-18 months, but ONA products may only last a couple months. That might not even get a grower through one growing cycle.

    In our professional opinion, and many other professionals will back this up, a carbon filter is without a doubt the much better option as they eliminate smell to a greater degree and run no risk of alternating your plants.

    Assembly and Installation

    There are two main ways you can set up our ventilation & odor control kits: the fan can be directly mounted onto the flange or the ducting can be placed between the flange and inline exhaust fan connecting them. The flange will always directly attach to the carbon filter.

    What method of installation will come down to the grow room size, what your ceiling looks like for hanging, etc.

    Let’s take a quick look at what a popular ventilation and odor setup looks like when using HID grow lights as it’s a very common configuration. Carbon filter / flange -> ducting -> HID reflector hood -> ducting -> fan. As you can see, you can have a lighting system in between the two units.

    This is a great setup, and the only thing you need to be aware of is how you stretch the ducting as it can’t hinder airflow. It should be as short and straight as possible for efficient air circulation. Slight twisting is ok, but avoid 90 degree angles at all cost. As well, the more ducting you use the harder you extraction fan will have to work, so make sure to keep ducting to a minimum.


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  • Grow Room Environment Controllers

    Set your grow room on autopilot by taking advantage of the ease of growing outside while keeping all the great benefits of indoor gardening. Environmental controllers are a great way to both monitor and control your grow room. It’s easy to feel tied to your indoor garden and makes scheduling more than a couple days away a nightmare. Controllers break that chain giving you a life outside your garden.

    At Hydrobuilder, we offer a wide range of controllers, from simple and affordable controllers that will monitor and control one factor to multi-functional controllers that can control lights, CO2, temperatures, and humidity.

    When choosing an environmental controller you’ll need to consider your budget, the degree of control, and how your grow room is set up. For example, a basic cycle timer with two outlets can act as a light controller and simple temperature controller, as it will turn your fan(s) off when your lights go off.

    Take some time and look over our various top of the line controllers and see how they vary on the factors they control and to what degree. Many of our most popular controllers will have a diagram that shows you how different devices/setups plug in and work with the controller.

    Speaking of plugging in, the heavy majority of our controllers easily plug right into a standard 120V house outlet.

    Let’s looks at each way controlling these factors will score you brilliant high-quality yields at harvest:

    Grow Room Light Schedules

    If there is one environmental controller you purchase it should be a light timer, and most gardeners from small home grower to those running commercial operations will agree. The light schedule will determine what stage of life your plant will be in. Photoperiod plants in the flowering stage must have a 12/12 schedule - 12 hours lights on, 12 hours lights off - and if their dark period is interrupted or moved around it can spell disastrous results.

    Light/cycle timers allow growers to easily set and customize their preferred light schedules. More advanced versions will even let you set your light schedule ahead of time making the switch from veg to bloom for you.

    Grow Room Temperature & Temperature Controllers

    If you don’t keep your temperatures within a comfortable range for your plants, you’ll put both yield and its quality in jeopardy. Grow lights create a lot of heat and a ventilation system is always advised. Ventilation systems have to be fairly powerful to remove all the built-up heat, but if left on when the lights are off you may drop your grow room to frigid temps.

    Temperature controllers will turn your ventilation system on and off based on your temperature settings. More advanced units will let you set separate day and night temperatures which will replicate outdoor temperature fluctuations. A lower night time temperature creates a natural environment which plants respond well to leading to a better harvest.

    Grow Room Humidity & Humidity Controllers

    Humidity plays a big role in multiple factors for your plants from how fast they drink from their media to keeping mold off them when they are in flowering, and this just scratches the surface.

    Humidity controllers work similar to temperature controllers but monitor the percentage of humidity in the grow room instead. Some allow you to connect multiple units such as humidifiers, dehumidifiers and exhaust fans. Smaller versions will only let you plug in one, but they are more affordable.

    Grow Room CO2 & CO2 Controllers

    Supplementing extra CO2 into your grow room/tent is a great way to boost plant growth and development. You can boost yields by 20-40%, so if you’re someone that wants the biggest and best plants, you’ll have to give your plants extra CO2.

    CO2 controllers will monitor the CO2 levels in the grow room and turn CO2 generators on and off based the ppm (parts per million) settings of your choice.

    Grow Room Ventilation & Ventilation Controllers

    If you read about the importance of temperature and humidity controllers, you know ventilation is key so let’s jump straight to what these controllers can do for you.

    Ventilation controllers can be simple like a fan speed controller that allows you to set your fan’s motor speed - while a simple mechanism it’s a big help when a new season and different outside temperatures roll around. They can also be more complex and monitor temperatures as you see above with the temperature controllers.

    Monitoring Your Grow Rooms Environment

    Most environmental controllers monitor your environmental factors for you, but unless you go with an all-in-one multi-functional controller, you’ll probably want a separate device that tells you tells you the temperature and humidity in the room.

    Like a light timer, a device that tells you the temperature and humidity is essentially a requirement. It’s entirely possible to get lucky and grow without one, but having will make you a better grower and grow you better healthier plants.


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  • Grow Room Odor Control

    When we start getting into the areas of grow room odor causes and control there are a lot of factors that enter this. What you’re using in the nutrient solution, grow room maintenance and disinfection and even what type of grow you have.

    This all plays a role in what is producing odors.

    For the most part, grow room odors are more of an inconvenience and annoyance than anything, but if you’re pesticide intensive or using certain disinfectants than these odors are a warning sign of a toxic fume.

    We all know of the potential dangers of pesticides, but you also must remember that bleach and ammonia cleaners produce toxic fumes, as well. Keeping this in mind, you don’t want to solely rely on air deodorizer as a means of odor control. These do nothing to reduce toxic fumes and merely cover up foul odors with a pleasant smell.

    What you really want is odor control that filters and removes fumes and odors from the grow room.

    All odor control should really work with an excellent ventilation system with preferably an inline fan and exhaust ductwork to the outside. This plays a vital role in not just eliminating odors but also creating a much healthier work environment by providing adequate fresh air.

    Your best bet is an odor filtration system that works in harmony with a ventilation fan. There are three basic types of effective filtration.

    • Carbon exhaust filter
    • Intake filter
    • Ozone generators

    Most people are somewhat familiar with the carbon exhaust filter which draws air through activated carbon as a means of filtration. This is a proven method of filtration that is time-honored and reliable.

    The carbon exhaust filters are no exception.

    There are several types of carbon filters that can all be counted on to do a reliable job.

    • Standard carbon filter
    • Reversed carbon filter
    • Charcoal based carbon filter

    Intake filters use a mechanical filter to remove odors that also work quite well and have a removable, replaceable filter.

    When bugs or dust are also a concern there is a washable bug shield that works great in conjunction with a filter which catches insects, mildew or mold. There is also the option of a reusable foam filter designed to filter out bugs, dust and even bacteria out of indoor grow rooms.

    These are a great aid in helping prevent costly outbreaks of pathogen borne infections.

    Ozone generators are great for eliminating odors and mold where permissible.

    The commercial grade ozone generators are excellent for the large-scale operation with large areas to treat. These machines generate ozone as an effective means of odor and complete environmental control.

    There is a drawback to ozone generators as some states do have restrictions in place so always check with your specific state regarding any applicable laws.

    The main takeaway with using odor control filter is that it is the most effective with a grow room ventilation system. You’re better served by planning a complete system from the beginning where all the components work in conjunction with each other.


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  • Beginner's Guide to Grow Room CO2

    Carbon dioxide is a beneficial gas that plants use in the process of photosynthesis.

    By introducing extra CO2 to your indoor garden, you can help your plants in a number of ways. Many experienced growers are well aware of this and utilize it to their advantage. However, this may be your first time hearing of a relationship between CO2 and plants.

    Luckily, introducing additional CO2 into your garden is simple, and can have a number of benefits.

    Read on to learn why you should be using CO2 producers, how to use them, and things to watch out for. Continue reading


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  • Beginner's Guide to Choosing and Sizing Grow Room Air Conditioners

    Using multiple pieces of equipment, especially high powered grow light systems, is guaranteed to generate heat. In a grow room, this heat can have a negative impact on plants. Excess heat may even be intense enough to kill them completely.

    A reliable, correctly sized A/C for the grow space can be the saving grace for plants that would have otherwise wilted in the heat. Continue reading


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  • Guide to Environment Controllers

    Temperature, humidity, and ventilation all play a part in creating the best environment for your plants. Environmental conditions can change quickly based on several different contributing factors, and it is impossible for most growers to be around their garden 24/7 to maintain an ideal environment. Controllers offer the option of automating aspects of the garden’s environmental settings so that ideal conditions are maintained without requiring the gardener to be present. Continue reading


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