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Six Ways to Maximize the Benefits of LED Lights When Making the Switch from HIDs

Learn how to enhance the quality and yield of your crops when you transition to LED grow lights.
Learn how to enhance the quality and yield of your crops when you transition to LED grow lights.

The technological advances in today’s LED grow lights provide indoor growers with the opportunity to reduce the overhead of their operations while increasing the quality of their crops. Since LED lighting does not generate a significant amount of heat, indoor cultivators find that they do not have to cool their grow spaces to the extent needed when using HID lights. In addition, the directional lighting provided by LED lights is much more energy efficient than HID grow lights. As a result of these factors, growers who switch to LED grow lights realize as much as a 60-70 percent drop in their power bills.

Switch to LED Lighting Improves Crop Yields Efficiently

Since electricity expenses constitute a major part of the overhead with indoor farms and gardens, the cost savings alone are enough to motivate people to make the switch to LED lighting. Once cultivators successfully transition to LED grow lights, they soon discover another bottom line benefit – improved quality of their crops as well as increase yields. From what we’ve seen, high-quality LED grow lights increase crop yields by 50 percent and plants grow 2.5 times as fast when compared to grow operations using traditional illumination. What do you need to do to make your switch to LED lights a success?

How to Take Advantage of the Benefits of LED Grow Lights

Since LED grow lighting provides an efficient source of directional light with less heat output compared to HID lights, growers find they have to make adjustments in their grow operations. These tips below will help you maximize the advantages of using LED grow lights.

  • Avoid Overwatering Plants: Since HID lights generate a significant amount of heat and infrared light, which both cause water evaporation, growers have to water their plants frequently to make up for the water loss. Since LEDs are a source of low output lighting and the do not generate light in the infrared spectrum, plants and soil tend to retain water. In fact, indoor grow rooms using LED lighting use 80 percent less water than outdoor operations.
  • Monitor the Temperature of Your Grow Room: Grow operations using HID lights require a high level of cool air circulation to prevent the plants from dehydrating. Cultivators who switch to LED lighting find the grow room environment much cooler than when they used HID lights. Another advantage of LED lights is that they do not leave a thermal signature. When transitioning to LED grow lights, make sure keep a close watch on the temperature of your grow room to maintain an optimal environment for your plants. If you live in a cold region and rely upon your lights as a heat source, you will need to find an alternative heat source.
  • Pay Attention to the Height When Mounting Your LED Grow Lights: Since plants use 100 percent of the light generated by LED lights, as opposed to 10 percent when HID light are used, growers find they need to mount their LED lighting systems lower than their old HID lights since there is virtually no heat emitted from LED grow lights. Additionally, the placement of the light needs to provide even light distribution while allowing penetration into the plant canopy.
  • Install Multiple LED Grow Light Units: By installing several LED grow light units, you permit the light to overlap, which maximizes the light distribution. This efficiency provides appreciable savings in electricity costs.
  • Automation Provides Defined Light Cycles for Optimal Plant Growth: In nature, light provides plants with a rhythm that defines periods of growth, flowering, and dormancy. For optimal plant growth, indoor growers need to mimic these light cycles. The easiest way to provide crops with the appropriate amount of exposure to light is to automate your LED light setup with a timer. Remember a plant’s need for light exposure changes during its life cycle. For example, a plant during its vegetative phase requires 18 hours of light, while reducing its light exposure to 12 hours each day triggers flowering.
  • Pay Attention to the LED Recipe Used in Your Grow Lights: Just like plants require different lights cycles during various stages of their development, they also need specific wavelengths of light during various growth periods. In general, plants need exposure to light in the blue, white red, and far red spectrums. Keep in mind that dark green leafy plants need exposure all blue light wavelengths to thrive, while exposing flowering plants to light in the far red range decreases the flowering time, which means less waiting time before harvesting the crop.

Growers who follow these recommendations when they switch to high-quality LED lighting, find they quickly realize a positive return on their investment.

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