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How to Buy and Use CFL Grow Lights

Within hydroponics circles CFL grow lights have become an increasingly popular choice among growers. This can be primarily attributed to the fact they are now widely available, relatively cheap and in comparison to many other forms of grow lights, can be used in a standard socket and are smaller than normal full size fluorescents.

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One of the best things about CFL grow lights is that they produce almost no heat when in operation, which is impressive when you consider the amount of light they emit. This is great because as they are cheaper to buy in the first place, they’re also cheaper to run (making your electric bill cheaper) and due to the low heat emitted there is a much smaller risk of overheating your plants. This makes them a great long term option and an ideal replacement to their fluorescent counterparts.

If you have chosen to utilise CFL grow lights (and who would blame you, what with all of the benefits), then what must you consider as you go through the purchasing process?

One of the first considerations is how powerful you want your CFL grow lights to be. Many first time and even some experience growers become confused when it comes to the wattages associated with CFL grow lights, however it is fairly simple. On the box there will typically be 2 numbers, one is the actual wattage of the CFL lamp, the other is what the equivalent wattage would be for an incandescent bulb. It’s only really worth paying attention to the equivalent wattage as this is what will be affecting your yield. It’s also worth checking which size grow tents would best suit different wattages as you don’t want to use too much power or too little to light your growing space.

Light colours are another area of confusion, particularly as some stockists will retail different types of white, full spectrum lamps or provide you with a list of colour temperatures. It is worth looking at the spectrum of light a lamp produces and matching it to a particular stage in the plants life cycle (as different colours will help at different stages of growth). An example would be at the vegetative phase a colour temperature of 6500K or 5000K is likely to be suitable, whereas during the flowering phase 2700K or 3000K is likely to be more suitable.  If you buy a selection of bulbs that match each stage it is possible cater for your plants entire life.

CFL lights should ideally be placed around 3 inches from the plant’s leaves, this position should be maintained so that the plants are continuously stretching for the light as it would do the sun. Ultimately you need to be vigilant with your positioning to ensure that it is correct for your plants at all times.

CFL grow lights are a great option for many growers and with enough knowledge it should be possible to buy them so that they are perfect for your needs and the requirements of your plants; hopefully you save yourself a bit of money (both in bulbs and bills) on the way!


Author Bio

Today’s guest post has been provided by Growell, a leading UK Hydroponics supplier


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  • CFL lights are great but anyone who wants to use them should know that the 42 W bulb is the most efficient if we calculate the lumen per watt ratio and bigger / smaller ones are less efficient!

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