BUILDING YOUR GROW PART II
by Bubba Kush
Wattup wattup! This issue is when we actually get building your rooms mechanics and get a little physical. Remember, this is a liquid world and the room accommodates us, we do not accommodate the room. I have pulled old pictures of grows and attempted to set up a temporary system at the Grow Gen store in Pueblo. So I managed to get some good shots for you that should help tremendously. I’d like to thank Calvin at Grow Gen for helping me set up some basic shots and the use of their equipment. The other shots are old shots from a true pro who can really build a room. So this will be an exciting issue when we get a little dirty and have some fun building!
So far we have discussed setting up one of two basic setups: Setting up in an open room or using a tent. I will focus more on building the tent setup since it is easier to just imagine the tent to be a room instead of the room being a tent. Did that make sense? Your light is now safely hung centered over the table. Make sure you hang the light in line with how you are going to ventilate it. You will have to ventilate the light if you are growing in a tent. As you can see (picture A) the tents are well constructed and have holes for all your electric cords and ventilation ducting. They zipper up to total darkness for sleep mode and have large windows for quick cool down or as an option for more open ventilation. I would still vent your lights in a tent, even though I hate venting, but these are the compromises we have to make. This means you’ll have to maintain cleaning the lens for optimal light operation. With that said, we are going to build your ventilation system.
I am going to explain two systems to ventilate your lights and your room, the super simple system and the one-step-beyond system. This will also depend on whether you are venting directly outside or into another part of the house. Ducting always sucks and it is no fun to work with either way you go. Whether you use flexible duct or regular hard aluminum duct it still sucks. The light in (picture A) is ducted using flexible ducting. It is hard to mount and keep from sagging without strapping it almost everywhere. It is also not very durable and punctures easily whether it is vinyl or foil flexible duct. The light in (picture B) is ducted to the fans using hard ducting that is much cleaner and efficient. This is where you will want to be handy with a measuring tape, drill and a good pair of metal snips. Also on the hardware store list is foil duct tape, metal strapping, and good ladder. Don’t do anything risky like standing on chairs or buckets.
The hoods you are using will dictate the size of duct to use. I suggest at least eight-inch ducting and ventilation parts and pieces. You can always attach connector pieces to go to a larger duct size if you expand to more than one light, but your hood will always be the same. Try to stay away from too many duct size changes throughout your system. A lot of growers will tell you to raise and lower your lights but I find it unnecessary and an easy way to light shock your plants if you are a novice. It is also a reason to hard duct everything. So not to stray… depending what your limiting factor is — whether it is the placement of your light or where your exhaust is going — will determine your starting point for measuring and laying your duct work. Always think ahead and try to foresee obstacles when laying duct and drilling through walls.
You want to design your system so that the air is pulled over your lights and not pushed. This means you want to mount your fan at the exhaust end of the room.
Which brings up the issue of where we are going to exhaust. Hopefully, you have a garage or a nice back yard to ventilate your outbound air. This will determine some of your limitations. I have had to dump my exhaust straight into the walls before as a last resort. Remember that this is part of the creative process. Outside or close to outside is the goal. There are many pros and cons to where you dump your exhaust. I always prefer using ionizers for the last stage of filtration but you cannot have them exhausting indoors around humans, animals, or plants. We will set up an ionizer in the one-step-beyond system next issue.
Let’s now go through the two different ways to scrub and ventilate your room. I will go through the simple quick way first. After you learn that you love to grow, you will want to upgrade to the silent, more stealth system that will cover next issue, which is not too difficult to add on to this simple system. The simple system involves your basic can filter and can fan (picture C) located centrally in the room preferably on the ceiling. I used to hang them on hooks with heavy-duty ratchet straps so I did not need any help hanging them. They are heavy and you have to change the filters regularly. I like them off the floor because they are out of the way and don’t suck up floor dust that will force you to change your filters prematurely. Make sure they go in your ceiling studs. The filters come in many sizes and you need to make sure all the pieces and parts match. I believe in overkill and always get one or two sizes more than what you really need. You want to create negative pressure in the room but you don’t want the doors to whistle. Gauge the size of the room appropriately to the size of your room and the specs on the filter and fan and then go one size bigger. The Can 100 is a nice size filter, and that will usually do the job in most rooms provided proper maintenance. Always change the filters more than the recommended time. Better safe than sorry, right? Also make sure the duct size you are working with is the same size as the fan to avoid messy ductwork with lots of adjusters and connectors. Once the filter is in a good central out-of-the-way place (or wherever the hell you can put it). Lets run the duct from the light to the filter.
You want to run your duct lines as strait and clean as possible with as few bends, couplings, connectors, and reducers as possible. Again, I suggest using hard duct over flexible. It may be a bitch to cut, but you will thank me for it the future. I’m not a fan of flexible duct. It is a messy constant maintenance project and just not clean. Now run the duct through the tent and attach to the flange on the hood. Make sure it is properly attached tightly with a ring clamp. You will want self-tapping screws to affix all your hard aluminum duct pieces to the flanges and lots of foil tape, metal strapping ring clamps, hex bits for your drill, and patience. Look at (pictures A and B) for hard and flexible hood attachment. Measure your duct line carefully twice, lay out all the pieces, double check nothing is in your path, and then start cutting and hanging the duct with metal strapping. You should probably buy a box of ¼ inch anchors just in case you have a weird spot in the ceiling where you can’t find a stud.
Now let’s run the exhaust line from the light to the exhaust fan. The exhaust fan is the same kind on can fan you are using on your filter (picture C) Mount the exhaust fan in a manageable space where you can change it out easy. You also don’t want the fan to vibrate the ceiling or resonate too close to a wall. This is where we can get creative with muffling devices that I will cover in the one-step-beyond ventilation system next issue. For now, mount the fan to a piece of wood and put rubber plates between the fan and the wood. This will dampen some of the vibration. Also make note to which direction of the airflow the fan is positioned before you mount it. There is usually an arrow on the fan indicating the direction so you don’t have to ask the sales guy which way the wind blows. Remember that you want to pull air over the bulbs and not push air through the hood. This prevents hot spots in the line, so hang the fan accordingly. Now pull together the duct and parts and pieces and measure twice and repeat hanging and cutting.
With this simple can filter system you can exhaust in obscure places you find throughout the house, like into walls, without going directly outside and drawing attention if that is an issue. Even if you are legally allowed to grow it is still best to keep it to yourself as much as possible, especially if your neighbors smoke! They will be over everyday bumming weed off you. With this set up, it never hurts to have a stand-alone scrubber in the room as well. Set up another can filter out of the way in the room. Put a can fan on top of the filter and have it just running constantly to help scrub the room. This setup is basically the can filter in (picture C) without the ducting will just circulate and constantly scrubbing the room. This really acts as a prescrub before the air is pulled out of the room by your main scrub/ventilation system. It does not need to be as large as your main filter but I would still go big. Just another precautionary measure.
Hopefully, we have a good idea now of how we set up a basic ventilation system. The can filter is fixed. You have run the duct from the filter to the light and the light out to the exhaust fan. It is a very easy system and is really effective for one to two-light grows. And all the fans pulling air out of the room will create a negative pressure in you room that will alleviate the need to pull in outdoor air. Always try to use intake air that is buffered from the outdoors by pulling buffered air from other parts of the house into the room with negative pressure. Oppositely, it will prevent smelly air from leaking out of the room into the rest of the house. I hope this was relatively easy to follow, next time we will build the super stealth system. I will now leave you with a good story about ventilation.
This is a tale of an old grow that was really cool but had one of my worst ventilation jobs ever. I had a friend who owned an apartment building in Beverly Hills just blocks from Rodeo. Not a very seclude spot to say the least. Another friend and I basically took over the whole second floor and had plans on the rest of the building as tenants moved out. The cool thing was, I would go in to two bedroom apartments and dry wall one bedroom shut. We would then put secret entrances to the rooms through the master bedroom closets. I would have my friends, girlfriends, and even parents come in my apartment and they never knew it was a two bedroom. Again, stupid to grow on the second floor, but we do what we do for the passion of growing our own herb. Well the ventilation blew right in between my building and the one next door that was probably at most ten feet away. I still cannot believe no one other than my friends ever realized that it totally stunk walking anywhere near the space between the two buildings. I was always waiting to meet someone from the building next door who would ask if there was a family of skunks between the buildings. Saving grace…there are a lot of skunks in LA! Love you guys and thanks for listening.
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