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How to Save Money on Hydroponics Equipment

May 9, 2008
Hydroponics is a fantastic way to grow your own plants any time of the year but it can also be costly, especially if you want to operate a decent sized garden. Getting started in the world of hydroponics does not always have to break the bank though. Following these simple tips can save a lot of money on hydroponics equipment and operating costs.

Calculate Your Costs Over Time - Just because a piece of equipment appears cheap, that does not mean that it will actually save you money in the long run. For example, it can be tempting to purchase used equipment off craigslist or eBay, but used equipment is more prone to breakdowns and other problems, which will result in additional expenses in the form of repair or complete replacement. Newer equipment can be pricier, but will actually save you money over the course of several growing seasons, not to mention a lot of headaches and hassles.

Your lighting is another area where up front costs can be deceptive. Fluorescent lights might be appealing for their cost and low energy requirements, but when you factor how little use that they actually offer to the average hydroponic grower and how often you have to replace them, the cost can add up over time. Try to learn what the cost per hour is of each grow light you are interested in purchasing, how often you will have to replace them, and factor that into your considered costs.

Assess Your Needs - You certainly don't want to purchase a very large hanging lamp if all you want to grow is a couple tomato plants. And you don't want to purchase a weak bulb if you want to plant rows and rows of roses. Try to assess what kind of hydroponics equipment best matches your specific circumstances, and buy no more and no less.

Comparison Shop - The internet allows you quickly comparison shop hydroponics equipment without ever leaving your home, and the costs are often cheaper than what you might find at brick and mortar retailers, even when you factor in shipping. But just to make sure you are looking at the broadest swath of prices, call around to your local hydroponics retailers and see what prices they offer on comparable equipment.

Build Your Own System - Hydroponics retailers often offer complete, all-in-one systems that do not require you to buy anything else to start growing. These companies often charge a premium because they have essentially done all the work for you. Typically, it can be a lot more cost efficient to simply buy the hydroponics equipment you will need for your system individually and buy it yourself. Beginners should not be intimidated by the prospect

Invest in Quality Digital Ballasts - One of the biggest costs over time is the energy you will need to keep your lights on through the majority of the day. A high end electronic ballast for you lights can regulate how much energy goes to your lights, cutting down on lighting costs and keeping your grow room a little cooler.
About the Author
Michael Straumietis is co-founder of Advanced Nutrients, an international marketer and manufacturer of agricultural, home & garden, hydroponics and soil less fertilizers and plant nutrients. If you need more information on a hydroponics equipment, visit the hydroponics gardening section at http://www.advancednutrients.com.
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