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Proper Maintenance of Hydroponic Supplies

May 7, 2008
When someone makes a large investment in their hydroponic system, they want to make sure that their equipment is going to last. The first step to making this possible is purchasing quality, durable equipment. Sometimes a larger investment up front can save you a lot of money that you would otherwise have to spend replacing your equipment. The second step to doing this is ensuring that all of your equipment is properly maintained and well cared for.

Of all the hydroponic supplies in your garden, your grow lights are usually the most expensive piece of equipment. For this reason, it is imperative that you take proper care of them. Whether you operate your garden in a home or a professional greenhouse, grow lights typically run for twelve to sixteen hours a day. This means that they will constantly be generating a great deal of heat, which over time can wear down not just the components of your lights, but the components of your other equipment as well. For this reason, it is a good idea to try to reduce the heat in your grow room. This can be accomplished by using effective auxiliary fans. Maintaining the temperature around your hydroponic system won't just help your lights last as much as twice as long, it will also make working in your grow room more comfortable for you.

You can also extend the life of your lighting system by making sure that your ballast is working properly. Your high intensity discharge light works with a ballast that is designed to regulate the current through your grow light. If your system operates with an older magnetic ballast, it might be a good idea to upgrade to a digital ballast in order to improve the longevity of your hydroponic supplies. Digital ballasts are more precise and therefore are able to keep a more consistent flow of electricity to your bulbs. Not to mention that they're much quieter and generate less heat than their magnetic forebears. These more stable operating conditions will reduce power surges and will save you money on electricity.

To maintain and flush the reservoir and pump, first fill the reservoir with pH-adjusted water to a level just above the pump and run it for five minutes. Then unplug the pump and disconnect the drip tube and place it in a large bucket. Next, run the hydroponic system to dump the water in the bucket until it runs out of water, trying to unplug the system right as it starts to suck air. Now reconnect the tube properly and fill it again with pH balanced nutrient solution.

Every three months you should clean out the components of your pump to ensure a smooth operation. You should also remember to rinse out or replace your growing medium after every growing season. For the general cleaning and disinfecting of your equipment, you should always keep some isopropyl alcohol on hand. Regularly rubbing down your tools with alcohol will kill bacteria, fungi, and help your equipment looking like new. Isopropyl alcohol can also be useful for safely and quickly dissolving buildup.
About the Author
Michael Straumietis is co-founder of Advanced Nutrients and an expert in hydroponics, plant nutrition and soil sciences. He markets, reviews and publishes his knowledge in short original papers with a focus on soil-plant interactions. If you need more information on hydroponic supplies, visit the website at http://www.advancednutrients.com.
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