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Invaluable Safety Tips for Your Hydroponic Grow Lights

May 18, 2008
One of the biggest and most important investments you will make as a hydroponic grower will be your grow lights. The quality and type of your grow lights may very well determine how successful your hydroponic garden is. The grow lights used for hydroponics are just as safe as any standard lighting in your house, but it still pays to be cautious when setting up and using these lights. Here are a few tips you can use to make sure your grow lights don't pose a hazard to you and your garden.

1. Make sure your grow lights don't have damaged cords

In the interests of cost, it can sometimes be tempting to purchase lights on eBay or from a friend second hand. It is very common for these kinds of lights to have worn cords and exposed wiring, often covered with nothing more than flimsy electrical tape. Besides increasing the risk of fire, an exposed cord may also cause electrical shock if touched, which can easily result in a trip to the emergency room. For your own safety, make certain that the electoral wires are not exposed and always purchase your grow lights brand new when starting or expanding your hydroponic garden. Buying new might even save you money in the long run because you will have to replace them less often.

2. Neatly Organize Your Cords

If your cords are placed in a tangled mess on your walkway, they might pose a tripping hazard. If they are placed too close to certain high heat lights, they might expose the wires and create a fire hazard. Cords should be placed away from lights and anywhere else that might cause damage. If you have several lamps, it might be a good idea to use tape to bundle the cords together so they are not splayed all over the floor.

3. Don't Have Your Grow Lights On Continuously

Which the exception of seedlings, which can benefit from twenty-four hour light, it is generally a bad idea to leave your lights on all the time. The purpose of grow lights is to simulate natural sunlight and leaving the light on all the time will not only cause harm to your plants, it will also unnecessarily run your electrical bills up and increase your risk of fire. For most plants, you should use a timer to expose your plants to light eighteen hours a day and darkness six hours a day. If you want to expose your seedlings to constant light, choose a low heat light source to minimize risk, such as fluorescent grow lights or LED grow lights

4. Don't expose your indoor grow lights to water

The most common grow light related accidents happen with water. Electricity and water don't mix, so you need to be extra cautious when using both to make your hydroponic garden function. Make certain that all your reservoirs and tanks don't have any cracks or tears that might causes water to leak out and reach the wires. Don't give any water that drains from your plants the opportunity to touch anything electrical in your garden. Also, make sure to place your electrical ballast on a shelf mounted high on the wall where splashing water cannot reach it.
About the Author
Michael Straumietis is co-founder of Advanced Nutrients and an expert in hydroponics, plant nutrition & soil sciences. If you would like to know more about grow lights, read the feature article in the hydroponics gardening section at http://www.advancednutrients.com.
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