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HPS vs LED Grow Lights

Mar 21, 14 HPS vs LED Grow Lights

We know that LEDs are all the rage in household lighting, saving you hundreds in energy and maintenance costs over the life of the bulb. But what about when it comes to indoor growing? Are they worth the extra investment? Do they provide extra benefits that HPS bulbs don’t?  The most popular types of grow lights are high pressure sodium bulbs (HPS) and LEDs. While both are used to mimic the sun, the differences between them are substantial.

HPS

High pressure sodium lamps have long been a staple of indoor growing. They are favored amongst growers because of their ability to produce a variety of light across the lighting spectrum and because they can be used in all stages of plant growth, from the vegetative to the flowering phase.

HPS grow light fixtures have a few things going for them. For starters, they’re relatively cheap. For example, for about the cost of a night out on the town, you can get a 250 or 400-watt reflector complete with ballast; you need only to supply the HPS lamp.

Sun System 900514 250 - 400W Grow Light Kit

Sun System 900514 250 – 400W Grow Light Kit

Not only is the cost of the whole kit pretty inexpensive, but so are the replacement bulbs. The same 250-watt replacement bulb for your grow light kit will run you about $12. So all in all, when the time comes to replace your bulbs, you’re not looking at a whole lot of out-of-pocket expense. Plus, these all-inclusive kits are ready to go right out of the box, making it super easy to start growing.

However, there are some downsides to HPS bulbs. For one, they produce heat, and a lot of it. Heat is detrimental to your plants, so it’s important to have air circulated throughout your grow space. That being said, adding a ventilation system will up the cost of your indoor growing experiment.

Another downside of HPS bulbs are the life hours. While a bulb with a life hour rating of 24,000 hours isn’t too shabby, you’ll go through those bulbs faster than you think. For example, during the flowering stage, your plants will need 12 hours of light, while the vegetative stage requires about 18 hours. So with those numbers, and assuming my math is correct, your 250-watt HPS bulb rated for 24,000 life hours will last about 1,333 days, which equates to roughly more than three and a half years. Not bad, but it still doesn’t compare to LEDs.

*From the moment an HID bulb (high intensity discharge), such as an HPS or metal halide bulb, is switched on, the quality of light steadily decreases. For best growing results, replace these bulbs every 9 to 12 months. 

LEDs

As mentioned above, LEDs (light emitting diodes) are gaining popularity in the household sector as more and more people are realizing their incredible energy efficiency and impressive longevity. The same holds true for LED grow lights.

Unlike their HPS counterparts, LED grow lights emit very little to no heat, therefore eliminating a detrimental factor to your plants and a further expense from your grow room since you don’t have to add a circulation system.

California Lightworks CLW-SF-200-VM 200W LED Grow Light

California Lightworks CLW-SF-200-VM 200W LED Grow Light

While your HPS bulb may be rated for 24,000 life hours, some LED grow lights are rated for nearly four times that. For example, this 165-watt LED grow light is rated for 80,000 life hours, which equates to 4,444 days or roughly 12 years, based on using the lights for 18 hours during the vegetative state. With such a long life, the LED fixtures won’t have to be replaced nearly as often as the HPS bulbs. Chances are, the paint will fade before the lights go out on this thing.

So we know that LEDs offer incredible longevity, but what about energy efficiency? The 165-watt grow light mentioned above is equal to a 200-watt HPS bulb, but only consumes 165 watts, thereby saving you 35 watts and lowering your energy bill.

What about the colors your plants need to thrive? For the proficient growth of plants, there needs to be a combination of cool and warm light. Tall and spindly plants love cool light, while warm lights produce shorter, fuller plants. With LED bulbs, both tones are available in a single bulb, striking that perfect balance your plants need.

The only downside of LED fixtures is price. Just like household bulbs, LED fixtures are going to be noticeably more expensive than standard light fixtures, about double to be exact. However, their longevity and energy savings more than makes up for the initial cost.

So, decision time: HPS or LED? Honestly, either one will work just fine for indoor growing. The question is whether you want to shell out the extra money up front and not have to worry about changing your fixtures for a decade or save some dough upfront and lose the longevity. Many people opt for what they know and are familiar with, so HPS usually gets the nod. But as LED technology progresses and prices drop, we should see more and more diodes being used in indoor grows.

Which fixture are you more partial to, LED or HPS? Tell us in the comments below or drop us a line on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, or Pinterest!

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Fun Lighting Solutions for the Kid’s Room

Mar 19, 14 Fun Lighting Solutions for the Kid’s Room

Kids’ rooms are often the most challenging rooms in the house to decorate. While most homes typically adhere to a particular style or color scheme, the kid’s room usually breaks away from the mold as a vibrant, wacky wonderland filled with storybook characters, games, toys, and other such nonsense. Since there is little hope of carrying over your usual style into this domain, you may as well keep up the adventuresome spirit and try out some of these fun lighting ideas!

 

Colored Light Strings

coloredlightsWhile clear Christmas lights are no stranger to bedroom décor, colored lights are unusual because they can be hard to match and don’t provide the enchanting, yellow glow that many people strive for. However, as kids’ rooms tend to contain a plethora of colors, there’s nothing to match, and these lights still give off plenty of illumination. Plus, your child is guaranteed to enjoy the cozy feeling of being enveloped in a warm, dim prism.

Rope Light Word Art

dreamDoes your child’s room have a large, blank wall space that you have no idea what to do with? If so, you should consider DIY rope light wall art. Rope light is an interesting way to illuminate, as well as personalize, your child’s space. Just configure the shape or the word that you want, and their bedroom is sure to emanate it.

Seem like a daunting task or a lot of work?  It’s really not – we’ve done it ourselves. Take a look at our DIY Rope Light Word Art blog and video tutorial to see how simple it really is to make your own rope light art.

Night Lights

sleepingmoonnightlightNight lights have always been a staple of children’s bedrooms, helping them sleep with ease as well as navigate through the night without mishaps. If your child’s bedroom doesn’t already have a night light, you should definitely invest in one. We recommend any of our LED night lights. Some even come in kid-pleasing designs, and considering that these bulbs are intended to operate all night long, the LED technology will save you money in the long run due to the lowered operating costs.

RGB Color-Changing Tape Light

tapelight RGB color-changing LED tape light was practically invented to complement the lively atmosphere of your child’s room. Flexible and thin with a sticky, adhesive backing, tape light is easy to place anywhere you want it. Popular placements include outer rims of desks, along the tops of headboards, and around the sides of windows. Moreover, using an RGB controller, you can mix and match the colored lights as well as create fun patterns your kid will love.

LED Light-Up Stuffed Animals

animal  lampStuffed animals are probably already in abundance in your child’s room. Why not use one of them to practice your DIY skills and give your child an adorable, plushy, light-up playmate? Plus, it’s simpler than you’d think: all you have to do is cut open the animal, intermix battery-operated LED Christmas lights with the stuffing, and sew it back up (leaving a small space to access the on/off switch, of course). Or, if you’d rather the animal be a stiff, stand-up lamp that plugs into the wall, all you have to do is coat the animal with fabric stiffener (the animal must have a thin fabric for this to work) and use regular LED Christmas lights.
*WARNING: Do NOT try this with incandescent lights – they get far too hot!

Do you have any interesting ideas for lighting kids’ rooms? Let us know in the comments or give us a shout on Google PlusFacebookTwitterPinterest, or LinkedIn!

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CFLs vs. LEDs: How Are They Different?

Mar 17, 14 CFLs vs. LEDs: How Are They Different?

Now that household incandescent bulbs are slowly but surely becoming a thing of the past due to government efficiency standards, many people are being pointed in the direction of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and LEDs as replacements. But you may not know what makes these two incandescent alternatives different from one another, beyond their appearance and pricing. When it comes to CFLs and LEDs, there have a lot more differences than what meets the eye.

Energy Efficiency: While both CFLs and LEDs fall well within the government guidelines of light bulb efficiency, they are not on a level playing field in terms of energy consumption. While a 60-watt equal CFL typically consumes about 13 watts of energy, a 60-watt equal LED will only consume about 8.5 watts. LEDs also produce more lumens per watt than CFLs. Even though they both conserve a considerable amount of energy compared to incandescents, this discrepancy in energy savings, among many other things, is why LEDs are being praised as the ultimate in efficient lighting.

Mercury: As you may already know, CFLs contain a small amount of mercury whereas LEDs do not. This mercury doesn’t necessarily make CFLs more dangerous, considering you’d be able to find more of it in a tuna sandwich, but it does mean you should exercise caution if one breaks. Here’s what to do if you break a CFL bulb.

Life Hours: If you’re trying to make the choice between CFLs and LEDs, you should know the typical life expectancy of each. Bulbs with long rated lives are less likely to need frequent replacement and will drastically reduce maintenance costs. Incandescent bulbs are known to have a short life expectancy of around 1,000 hours. Even though CFLs can last anywhere between 6,000 and 20,000 hours, LEDs are capable of lasting up to 50,000 hours.

ledtracklighting1000bulbsLight Directionality: LEDs and CFLs are made to emit light in very different ways. While CFLs are omnidirectional, meaning they emit light in all directions, LEDs emit light in one general direction. The directional beam of an LED can be ideal for applications where focused lighting is needed, such as track or display lighting. However, LEDs can be made omnidirectional using lenses like on standard A19 LEDs.

Durability: We all know that incandescent bulbs have a very fragile filament that is prone to breakage if the bulb isn’t handled with care. CFLs and LEDs don’t use a standard filament, but still vary in their ability to withstand certain conditions, like areas that experience frequent vibrations or jolting. CFLs are considered to be more fragile than LED lighting because very strong vibrations can weaken the electrodes that the lamp uses to produce light. Also, CFLs are mostly constructed of glass and are much more likely to be easily damaged. LEDs are a lot tougher and can withstand rough handling.

Temperature Compatibility: Before making the choice between CFL and LED, you should also think about the temperature of the area in which you are planning to use them. If you’re looking for a light that will do well in cold temperatures, LEDs are the way to go. Conversely, CFLs don’t operate well in freezing temps but do much better in moderate to hot conditions.

On/Off Frequency: CFLs and LEDs also have different reactions to being frequently turned on and off. If you constantly turn a CFL on and off, its rated life is very likely to decrease. However, the rated lives of LEDs aren’t affected by frequent on and off cycling.

Heat Emission: All light sources emit some kind of heat – even LEDs. But the amount of heat CFLs and LEDs produce is drastically different.  In LEDs heat is generated in the rear of the lamp where heat sinks minimize its production. Whereas LEDs don’t produce Infrared (IR) or Ultraviolet (UV) radiation, CFLs produce both and can become very hot to the touch if left on for an extended period of time.

Lutron Skylark CFL/LED Dimmer

Lutron Skylark CFL/LED Dimmer

Dimming Capabilities: If you like having the ability to customize your lighting scheme, you’ll want to think about the dimming capabilities of your lights. CFLs and LEDs are more difficult to dim than incandescent bulbs due to the lack of a filament that generates light. Even though dimmable CFLs and LEDs do exist, they both need specialized dimmer switches in order for them to dim properly. In terms of which lights are easier to control on dimmers, LEDs beat out CFLs by a nose.

Start Times: As we’ve already discussed, LEDs and CFLs create light in very different ways. Their difference in technology is why one takes longer to produce visible light than the other. Even though CFLs are technically instant-on, they have to go through a few steps before the light it produces can become visible, usually taking around 60 seconds to reach full brightness. Some LEDs have a minuscule delay of about 1 second, but there is no delay in reaching full brightness and may be a better choice if you’ve gotten used to the instant-on of incandescent bulbs.

Did we miss anything? Do you have any more questions about energy-efficient lighting options? Let us know in the comments or chat with us on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, or Pinterest!

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Do I Need a Grow Tent?

Mar 14, 14 Do I Need a Grow Tent?

Growing indoors offers you incomparable control of the growing environment: you can manage the temperature, amount of light, and even the color of light. That being said, grow tents offer you even more control. But why would you need a grow tent, and what advantages do they offer?

Grow Tents?

“What are these grow tents you speak of?” Well, grow tents are exactly what they sound like: tents that are specially designed for growing indoors. Grow tents are perfect for rooms where the temperature can fluctuate, or in spaces not really designed for indoor growing, like a garage or a closet.

Gorilla-Grow-Tents-GGT33Grow tents give you the ideal environment for growing: flood-proof floors and heavy-duty doors with zippers covered by thick Velcro panels designed to create an air-tight seal, keeping the odors and pests in and the air out. While many grow tents feature walls with a silver coating that reflects the light produced by your grow light fixtures, therefore preventing hot spots, some grow tents utilize adjustable ports for intake and exhaust ducting, keeping the air inside your grow tent fresh and circulated.

Hydrohut  IG3028Many grow tents, like the ones offered from Gorilla Grow Tents, feature a height extension kit, which is great for two reasons: one, it gives your plants more room to grow, and two, since heat rises, the heat generated from your grow lights will rise to the top of the tent instead of hovering right above your plants, which isn’t the best thing for them.

Grow tents come in all sorts of sizes, giving you the ability to choose the one that’s right for you. Whether you’re growing just a handful of petunias or a complete vegetable garden, the bottom line is that there’s a grow tent that meets your needs.

The Advantages of Grow Tents

As mentioned above, apart from total control, grow tents offer more advantages than just growing plants in a spare closet.

  • A major upside to using grow tents is pest control. While some of those pesky critters may find their way inside your science experiment, it won’t be anything compared to growing outdoors or in an open environment.
  • We here at 1000Bulbs.com are all for energy efficiency and lowering your electricity costs. That being said, grow tents are very efficient. Many grow tents feature a reflective inside coating that reflects light. The great thing about this coating is that light is reflected off the walls instead of being dispersed,  so your plants are exposed to a greater concentration of light than they would be, say, in your closet next to a pair of sweaty shoes.
  • There are some flowers that feel the need to release strong odors and allergens, offending the senses of those throughout the house who may be sensitive to such things. The best way around that is with a grow tent. Grow tents are completely sealed, which translates into odor control for you.

Which grow tent are you thinking of getting? Tell us in the comments below, or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest, or LinkedIn!

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