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Basic Grow room planning and design.

By

toddy

Any questions or how to improve.


Forward

So you have decided that you want an indoor grow room. Not sure about how to
go about it? Well.
This is a guide to designing and fitting out an indoor grow room. I have looked all
over the internet for literature on indoor growing and all articles are either
vague, about something else that didn’t help my efforts towards setting one up.
This is some what of a step by step guide of how to go about it, and hopefully will
help you in some way towards setting up a kick ass grow setup or improve your
current setup.

I have tried to set up this book in a clear and concise format, in the steps. It
takes a small amount of thought and planning. Planning it out to begin with will
save lot of time, and a lot of money. I have set up half arsed grows in the past,
and it’s bitten me in it.

Firstly

There are a number of things to take into consideration when first designing a
room, they are; what do you want to grow? How much do you want to grow? How
much space can you dedicated to the grow area? And the most crucial, how
much money you want or have to spend? I will try my best to get rid of the
question marks you have on these if you read on.

As I said above it takes a little bit of planning and designing. First, most of us are
limited by space. Where do we put our grow room? Well, only you can answer
that and you probably already have an idea where you are putting yours.
Whether you are fitting out a large closet or an entire room, every grow room is
different. You need to keep a few things in mind, security, intake and extraction
points for ventilation, ease of access to water, access to electricity and most of
all security. Because it only takes one slip up.

Space

First if you are limited by space, this is one thing that we cannot change. In your
room you should always make considerations for you to be able to move around
inside your room. Its all well and good filling your room up with plants, but how
do we check our plants; for pest or disease, how are we going to water them,
remove dead leaves, where are we going to put all our nutrients, equipment etc.
Ideally you don’t want your grow equipment floating around outside your room,
because someone you don’t want to ask the question, will ask the question and
will eventually connect the dots. “Budzilla”, what do you use that for?...he
doesn’t garden…hang on a sec… You get the idea.
So as a general rule in your space you should
dedicate roughly half the space to your plants
and half the space to a working environment. So
for example, say you have a space 4m2, well;
2m2 should be dedicated to plants and the other
to work space. If I have a space 2m2 then 1m2
would be plant and half working, 8m2, 4m2 for
plant and the rest, well you get the idea. When I
say roughly that’s what I mean, it’s not an exact
science, but always keep lots of space to move.
This rule stops you from filling up the room with
plants, and saves a lot of cursing, head banging
Fig 1: Example of what you can do. and broken stems. This rule doesn’t apply to
closet grows, very small areas within a bedroom etc.

Lamps

When I say lamp, I mean “light kitset” which if


you know nothing about lights I usually mean,
lamp, lamp holder, shade and
ballast/luminare/control gear as one unit.

So we have our space and we know how big it


is in m2. Ok, good. Now you need to decide how
many lamps you are going to fit in your room.
You need to decide what type of lamp(s) you
want to use (Metal Halide, High pressure
sodium), how powerful you want them (lumens,
light intensity) and how much power you want, or don’t want to use (250W,
400W, 600W 1000W).

Here is a rough guide on how to decide, ok so you have a room 4m2 in total, ok
so I know that half of that room is going to be dedicated to plants. I need to
illuminate 2m2. Metal halide (MH) or high pressure sodium (HPS)?Some people
will say to you that you should use MH for growth and HPS for bloom because MH
emit more blue spectrum and HPS more red spectrum, or you should both to get
a mixed spectrum, but with today’s advanced lamps, it doesn’t really matter
what you choose, because you can get lamps with mixed spectrum, more blue or
more red. I prefer HPS only because that’s what I used in the past, but it also
depends on what is available to you.
What size wattage do we want? Well as
a rough guide a 250W lamp will do
about 0.25-0.5m2. A 400W will cover an
area 0.05-1.2m2. A 600W will cover
about 1.0-1.5m2, remembering the
bigger the area the lamp has to cover,
the less the light intensity (Lm), the less
photosynthesis, less harvest at the end
of the day. So in the case of above,
depending how we lay our room out, to
cover an area 2m2, we could use 3x
400W or 2 600W (1200W for the total
area, 2m2). Should I choose the 400’s or
the 600’s? Well using the Philips Son-t
Plus lamps (HPS) as an example, which
come in 400W and 600W we can Fig 2: Example of lamp set up, each one
compare the amount of lumens ((Lm) a
measure of light intensity on a given square metre)emitted by each lamp. The
400w emits 55000Lm and the 600W emit 90000Lm. With 3x 400w that’s
165000Lm and with two 600W that’s 180000Lm. Well it’s a no brainer where
light intensity is concerned. You are roughly using the same amount of power, if
not more with 3x 400W.

Why not use 250W? Well, to illuminate an area 2m2 and still keep the light
intensity of the 600’s, you would need at least 5 to 6 lamps. That is a bit
impractical, will cost a shit load and you would use ~300W more than you need
to, to illuminate the same area. Why not use 2x 400W? You could, but for the
price of 2x 600 vs. 2x400, the 600’s are only a little bit more expensive, and for
that extra yield, in my opinion, it is worth it. As a guide you don’t want to drop
below at least 50000 Lm per m2. Below this your plants will begin stretching for
light so the more Lm you have the better the crop. To put it in perspective
sunlight on any given day is about 90,000 to >110,000 Lm for example. We are
providing 90,000 and there are a lot of extras you get with sunlight, UV etc. It is
a hell of lot more technical than that but for our application that’s all we need to
know.
Ballasts/control gear

Next, once we have chosen our lamp size we need to choose the ballast to go
with our lamp. We have a choice between electronic/digital and magnetic. They
both have good points, and to keep this short, magnetic are noisy and cheap,
electronic are quiet, expensive, can increase lumen, which in turn can reduce
bulb life. So it’s up to you, magnetic if you are on a budget, electronic if stealth is
of extra importance. Make sure that the ballast matches your lamp, e.g. 600W
HPS lamp, you want a 600W HPS Ballast, this is extremely important. Ballasts are
there to regulate the power supply entering into your lamp, if you take out the
ballast or you use a ballast that is too big for your bulb, the new, very expensive
bulb you just brought will either; burn out or could potentially explode. This is not
good as these bulbs contain mercury, and mercury vapours’ floating around the
room is not a good thing. You can also buy ballasts that are interchangeable
between MH and HPS lamps but these are usually more expensive and at the end
of the day the easiest solution is buy a “kitset”. Most places will offer these, so if
you are unsure, go the kitset.

Shades

Now the shade, they come in all different sizes and types. Working in a smaller
area I fully recommend getting air cooled shades, if air cooled shades are
available to you, and you can afford them, get ‘em. If not just buy the shade that
most appeals to you. It isn’t recommended that you run a bulb without a shade.

Climate Control.

The most important aspect of your grow room, the more control you have over
your growing environment the happier the plants, the better quality plants, the
higher the yield. Climate control ranges from a simple Cooling thermostat in the
middle of the wall to control your fans, to an expensive climate control unit, such
as a Harvest Master, or a Microclimate controller. Climate control solutions really
depend on your budget; if you can afford it, go for a full climate control unit.
These units can be used to control every aspect of your growing environment,
light timing, heating, cooling, ventilation, humidity, and
pumping/irrigation/hydroponics. What more do I need to say, if you can’t afford
one, save up, then buy one, it will save a lot of cursing, headaches and fucking
about, and you will get the best crops you ever did, trust me.
Ventilation

The second most important aspect of your grow room. The reason for ventilation
is to exhaust hot, humid air and replenish CO2 levels in the room itself. I’ve
looked all over the internet, its hard to find anything on the internet about
ventilation for grow rooms, no one had the sure fire answers to my questions.
This is for good reason, because all setups are different there are no sure fire
answers. There are a few simple rules to designing your ventilation system.
Always make sure that the extraction fan is slightly more powerful that your
intake fan in L/hour. What happens is, the fans turn on and this causes the room
to slightly pressurise, and forces odour filled air out cracks in doors etc because
the exhaust can’t keep up. Always filter your exhaust, remember filter before fan.
Use radial/centrifugal fans only, they are more powerful and last longer than
inline fans, use acoustic fans, if available, especially ifyou are going for a bigger
room. Always make it more powerful than you need it, extra cost is better than a
cooked or mouldy crop or having to go by bigger fans.

Now to figure out what sort of fans you are going to need and how many, check
out your local suppliers first and see what is available. Ideally you only want two
fans, and intake fan and extraction fan (not including fans for room circulation).
We know how many lamps and the size of lamps we have, so to find out what
size fans we want, we work off our lamps. This is because these are the biggest
emitters of heat and the amount of lamps is usually fairly relative to what size
our canopy is. Canopy also relates to potential humidity in the room.

Capacity Number of Lights


1 2 3 4 6

250w Intake Not Not 100mm Buy a


required required 600W
Exhaust 100mm 100mm 125mm

400w Intake Not 100mm 125mm 125mm


required
Exhaust 100mm 125mm 150mm 200mm

600w Intake 100mm 125mm 150mm 200mm 200mm

Exhaust 125mm 150mm 200mm 250mm 250mm

Note: that your intake and extraction fans can be the same size, as long as the
capacity of the exhaust fan (in L/h) exceeds the intake fan. They can be the same
type of fans if they have variable speed settings or speed controllers on them.
The table above is only a guide, and is based on radial/centrifugal fans, not
inline fans; consult your dealer if you are not sure on the subject.
Once we know what extraction fan we will need, we need to choose the correct
filter for our extraction fan. If the filter is too small, it will reduce the life of your
fan and filter. And will cause the room to pressurise as above. Most places sell
fans and filters as a kit set, so if you know what fan size you need, then the kitset
is an obvious choice. Kit sets are usually cheaper than buying items individually.
Go the kit sets.
The next logical step is the ducting, the size of ducting should be the same as
your fans or bigger. The length of your ducts should be kept as short as possible,
without to many corners, and without the ducting sagging too much. If possible
tee the intake ducting after the fan into two ducts and drop these into the
corners at floor level of your grow room. This is to help spread the air and let it
mix with the air already in the grow room so you don’t have cold air stressing the
plants.

Ideally your intake air


should be coming from
another room in your house;
this is because air taken
within your house is usually
more stable in temperature
and humidity, where as
outside, it fluctuates. You
should try not to vent your
exhaust into your house;
humid air taken from your
room is a recipe for fungus
and mould, try to always
vent to the outside. Venting
to the outside can be a
problem in some areas as plumes of warm air are easily seen through thermal
imaging Fig 3: The possibilities for your ventilation setup are limitless. This is just an example of
cameras. In what one can do. Note the filter in the middle of the lamps; this is where it is going to
some cases be most efficient at dispersing heat.
in may be
best to vent to the inside. Also when purchasing ducting, remember the flanges
to go with the ducting, using these will make it easier to seal the room up tight.

Ok so we have decided on our room, how big it is, how many lamps we need, the
fans and filter we need where we are venting to and from, how much ducting we
need, and the climate controller we want. Sweet.

Fitting out your room

Before you jump on the internet, or go running down to the grow shop, there are
a few extra things you will need to buy as well as all your grow gear. These may
include Polythene plastic sheeting, panda film (it is black on one side and white
on the other), Mylar sheeting (optional), duct tape, staple gun, double sided
sticky tape, screws, screw hooks, cable clamps, chains, wood, jig-saw, extension
cords, disinfectant pressure sprayer, silicone sealant (white), polystyrene rubber
rings and PVC strapping. And for later on, hygrometer, a container for storing
water, pots, potting mix, small oscillating fan, measuring containers, small water
heater and pumps etc. A bit of forward thinking and planning before you go
buying all this equipment will save lots of time, unnecessary trips to the
hardware store, surplus shit, a lot of money, and you can finish your room in one
hit. Make a shopping list and price everything out first, so you know if you are
leaving anything out.
First thing to do is to completely strip the room bare, carpet, curtains, get rid of
them. Now time to disinfect. If this step is skipped, come time to remove your
grow room, you could discover a nasty, stinky, rotten, mouldy surprise lurking
under all that panda film. Not good. Use a good quality disinfectant and get into
every nook and cranny you can, ceiling and floor as well. Easiest way to do this is
with a pressure sprayer. And always follow safety instructions on the packaging,
if it says wear a respirator; it says it for a reason. Let that dry completely before
the next step.

Now you need to seal up any windows. Best way to do this is with MDF or particle
board, cut to size. Apply a bead of silicone sealant to the areas that are to be
joined, and screw down. If this is a stealth grow, there are many ways to stealth
out your windows, just search the internet to find out how. The most important
things are they are light proof and air tight. Next you need to create a basin for
your plants to stop any spillages; it’s up to you how you want to do it. I would
recommend a 300mm high piece of particle board around your plant area. You
must also run a length of batten timber around the walls of your plant area the
height of your basin, so that you have something sturdy to staple your polythene
sheeting too later on. Where your plants are going to sit in the basin, lay down
some polystyrene to insulate your plants from the floor.

Next step is line the floor with polythene sheeting; this means the entire floor of
the room, not putting any holes in the bottom for water to sneak through. Next,
line all the walls and ceiling with panda film. Stapling is the best way to hold it
up, as well as using double sided sticky tape. Or if you are made of money you
can line your room with Mylar, but panda film is more than adequate. Make sure
you line every square inch of the room, and then seal up all your joins with duct
tape, we don’t want anything getting in or out.

Now its starting to look like a grow room. Next, it is time to set up where your
lamps are going to hang. Screw your hooks into the ceiling, preferably into wood.
You don’t want them falling down and breaking. Make sure that your lamps are
evenly spaced. Run your power cords to your ballasts and then to your power
source. One thing you need to check here is, if the number of lamps you have,
are going to over load your circuit breaker. You may have to stagger when your
lamps turn on.

Next, setup your ventilation system. If you planned it out earlier, this should be a
piece of piss. Lay out all your equipment on the floor first so you know where to
screw in all your hooks from which to suspend your fans etc from. Once you’ve
got a good idea, fire in your screws and suspend your fans, filters and ducting
with chains, or even better you can use rubber rings or strapping which will stop
vibration transferring to the ceiling and also make sure they’re not going to fall.
Connect all your ducting up with duct tape and make sure they are air tight.

Right, all you need to do now is connect up your climate controller and all your
electrical components to appropriate outlets. When positioning your sensor for
you climate controller, make sure it is about plant height and away from your
ventilation inlets to avoid getting false readings. Also use an oscillating fan in
your grow room, this will prevent your lamps creating hot spots within, and will
help to buffer temperature changes when your ventilation fans switch on.