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Prepping grow light systems for winter

With Fall underway and Winter right around the corner, commercial and industrial growers that utilize either HPS grow lights, MH grow lights, LED grow lights, or any other type of grow light system for that matter, should know that it is about time to inspect, maintain, replace, and/or repair all grow light systems.

As most growers should already understand, whatever type of grow light used, the intensity and performance of the grow light will eventually degrade over time. Depending on the type of grow light, grow lamp, or grow light bulb, the manufacturer of the grow lights, the materials and technology used to create the grow lights, etc. will all contribute to the performance, efficiency, lifespan, and quality of both the grow light systems and also the plants and crops.

Surprisingly enough, there are plenty of large-scale growers that do not include the inspection of the grow light system, bulbs, or reflectors as part of what should be the complete winterizing maintenance process.

To put some perspective on performance in terms of light intensity, 1 PAR unit increase will directly contribute to a 1% increase in plant growth and yields. As such, by keeping an entire grow light system clean, maintained, and with fresh grow light bulbs will all help to ensure that they are running under the best possible conditions and to peak performance for maximum growth and yields. 

Approximate lifespan for the different types of grow light bulbs

  • HPS Grow Lights- 10,000+ hours of operation
  • MH Grow Lights - 8,000 hours of operation
  • LED Grow Lights- 50,000-100k hours of operation
  • Plasma Grow - 30,000 hours of operation

Grow light bulb lifespan inventory management
Keeping track of grow lights and grow light bulbs in a large grow facility can also be a time consuming hassle. Conducting a semi-annual or annual audit of all of the grow lights along with the winterizing and maintenance process, is a great idea for any grower. Once again, when lights start to get older, they start to lose performance.

Keeping a rolling inventory of when grow lights were installed or replaced is one great idea that can be implemented on a simple or advanced level. This way a grower will always know when it is time to replace or rotate bulbs throughout the different areas of a grow operation. i.e- a grower may choose to update their grow lights frequently in the main grow cycle areas, and rotate out the replaced grow light bulbs to say a seed starting room or area.

For more information:
RF Agriculture

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