December 2, 2019
LED Care, Maintenance and Best Practices for Indoor Grow Facilities
LEDs are an incredible tool for the modern grower – but they truly reach their full potential through proper usage. Too many times, LED lights do not perform at their optimal ability, simply because employees aren’t aware of their capabilities. Working with your team to ensure appropriate care and operation doesn’t only extend the life of your LED grow lights, but also keeps your crops healthy and productive.
Check out these LED best practices.
Protect the Diode
LED actually stands for “light-emitting diode.” A diode is a miniscule semi-conductor found on the LED chip. No diode equals no light, so you’ll want to make sure these tiny components are protected. To keep diodes functioning long-term, look for lighting fixtures with industrially designed infrastructure and a tempered glass covering. Additionally, do not use corrosive chemicals to clean your light – this may result in irreversible damage. A soft microfiber cloth with 99% iso-alcohol spray is recommended.
If your facility has recently made the switch from other lighting technologies to LEDs, check to ensure your team isn’t overwatering. LEDs run at a cooler operating temperature – resulting in less evaporation – which can lead to overly wet conditions. Plant pathogens, such as mold, enjoy a damp environment. Creating appropriate air circulation is key, especially with LEDs.
Find the Proper Hanging Height
While LEDs run cool, they can still cause light stress in plants. On the other hand, growers will want to make sure they’re close enough to the canopy to provide adequate light intensity. It’s about finding a happy medium to provide uniformity across your crop. Most often, this hanging height is between 12” and 18” depending on the individual grower preference and the crop’s stage of growth. You may want to adjust the hanging height, so make sure your team has an easy way to do so.
Give Your Lights a Break
Running your lights excessively isn’t good for the plant canopy, or the diode itself. Blasting them at full intensity longer than you need to can result in serious wear and tear and may reduce your fixtures’ life spans. A better approach is finding a balance of light and dark, warm and cool spectrums and varying intensities.
Determine the Right Lighting Schedule
Following up on the last point, you’ll want to find a proper schedule that supports cannabis’ need for high daily light integral (DLI), which measures the amount of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) delivered to a single square meter over the course of a day. Concurrently, cannabis is a short-day flower crop – the species needs a shorter day to trigger flowering. LEDs can provide both the intensity and the scheduling capabilities to support a healthy bloom phase in cannabis.
Working with your facility team to implement efficient and proper light maintenance protocols can lead to more productivity, better results and savings. If you have questions regarding the maintenance and operation of your ProGrowTech lights, feel free to reach out to our team.