Last Updated on April 20, 2022 by Gary Stephen
Every grower knows that light is the ultimate essential for growing any kind of plant. The energy from the sun has a key role in converting the water and carbon dioxide into glucose, the plant’s food. Needless to say, enough lighting is imperative for its growth and survival. Thus, this article on “how to hang grow lights correctly” will help provide the idea of even distribution to your plants.
Having the appropriate amount and disposition of light can be quite a challenge. Especially, if you are cultivating in an indoor environment. To help you deal with this issue, we have gathered valuable tips and guidelines. You will learn how to install hanging grow lights correctly in your grow room’s ceiling.
Obstacles When You Hang Grow Lights
To be honest, setting up grow lights isn’t as easy as it seems. Well, at least not for some beginners. Before getting started, you have to be aware of the possible challenges you may encounter along the way. Thus, knowing such factors will prompt us to become more mindful of the process.
- The support hooks are not strong enough to carry the weight of the light system.
- There is a limit for height and unadjustable.
- The strength of the ceiling is likely to get compromised.
Step-by-Step Guide to Hang Grow Lights Correctly
Step 1: Locate the right spot.
Basic rule – Always hang from the studs. Regardless of how heavy the grow light you intend to hang, make it sure to attach it from the studs. This is to provide proper weight support.
So, to do this, you can use a stud finder. This handheld device allows you to locate the framing studs behind the wall surfaces. To further assess, you may also tap with your knuckles the spot where the sensor beeps into. You will know that you are on the right spot when you hear a hollow sound upon tapping.
Step 2: Mark and drill the holes.
By this time, you should have already decided what type of system you ought to use for your grow lights. It depends on how much plants you wish have, its current growth stage, and its proximity against the light. You have an option to use either many grow lights or a combination of both light and reflector instead.
For lightweight systems, you can get away with mounting the hangers with hooks. But, for heavier systems, it is safer to install a joist to give extra support to the entire weight of the grow lights.
Now onto the actual step.
On the location where the studs get detected, mark the spots in the ceiling and/or walls. Especially, to where you are likely to drill holes for the hooks or the joist. You may use a pencil or a marker for this task.
Step 3: Install the hooks or joists.
This step is the most crucial and technical in the process.
In the previous step, the options whether to use hooks or joist has been already explained. Now, we will discuss the installation of both methods herein.
How to install hooks.
This method is easier to do. Whether you intend to install one or more grow lights, the key thing to remember is to allow one hook for every light.
- Use hook screws and place them over the marks you made earlier.
- While using firm pressure, twist the hook in a clockwise direction.
- Continue until it reaches the end of the groove and when you feel the resistance.
How to install joist.
This method is necessary for setting up a grow light system that weighs between 10 to 20 pounds. Like in a light & reflector combo, the entire system is too heavy for the simple hooks to carry on its own. Hence, installing a wooden joist will help to bear the extra weight.
You will need a couple of materials for this project:
- DIY wooden joist frames
- Joist hangers
- Appropriately-sized hanger nails
- Hammer, and of course,
- Hook screws
- Attach the wooden joist frames in the ceiling using the joist hangers and nails.
- Once the joist frames are in place, you may now attach the screw-type hooks on the beam.
- Make sure to place the hooks in the right way so that it can support various points of the light/reflector combo.
Step 4: Set-up the ropes.
Once the base of support is already installed, you may now proceed setting up the ropes. This mechanism is particularly essential for indoor cultivation. The different stages of plant growth may need varying concentrations of light. To alter the distance between the light source and the plant canopy is to adjust the length of the rope itself. It gives growers more control and flexibility.
There are 2 common ways to apply this method:
Method 1: Rope Ratchets
One popular method to hang grow lights is to use a compact rope ratchet device. The edges of the cord are each attached to a hook or carabiner. On one of the ends, it gets connected to a ratchet mechanism. To use:
- Take the end with the free rope and loop it through the installed hook in the ceiling.
- Insert the closest part of the rope into the carabiner.
- Once the set up on top is already secured, release the lever of the ratchet and adjust to the desired height.
- Attach the second carabiner to the metal hangers provided in your light system.
- Do the same process on the other side.
- Readjust the length of the rope as necessary to ensure that light hangs even on both sides.
- Make sure to lock the lever tight to secure the placement.
Rope ratchets come in 2 sizes:
- ½-inch Rope Ratchet – It has the capacity to carry up to 150 pounds of load. It is ideal to use with lightweight fixtures only.
- ¼-inch Rope Ratchet – It has the capacity to carry up to 300 pounds of load. This is applicable for heavier systems like the Light/Reflector combo.
Here are some of the product we recommend:
Method 2: Yoyo Light Hangers
Yoyo light hangers work the same as the rope ratchet system. There are usually two types available. The one with straight tension and the other comes with a lock mechanism. For hanging grow lights, it is advisable to get the one with a stopper or lock mechanism. This to secure the placement of the rope at your preferred height.
Below are our suggestions:
Step 5: Hang the grow light system.
After installing the supports, connect the hook or carabiner into the metal hangers. If you are using a reflector along with your system, make sure to attach the hooks strategically. It will help distribute the weight and maintain the hang well-balanced.
Step 6: Adjust according to the correct distance.
We’re almost done by now, all that’s left to do is to adjust the height between the light system and the cultivars. The distance differs from one case to another. It all depends on the type of plant, its current growth stage, and the intensity of the lights used.
To somehow give you an idea, this is how much light gets dispersed in relation to distance. It’s based on the Inverse-Square law of physics.
|Distance from Source||Distribution of Light|
|At ONE foot away||Full illumination|
|At TWO feet away||25% brightness|
|At THREE feet away||12.5% brightness|
|At FOUR feet away||6.25% brightness|
And last, double-check the lock mechanisms and other attachments once again. This is to make sure to have guaranteed safety.
Choosing the Appropriate Light for your Space
The capacity of the light to deliver efficiency is based on the height of the reflector. Also, from over the cultivars and the size of the room. Still, it is also worth noting that there are other aspects too that need consideration. Like the size and shape of the reflector, the desired footprint, and the amount of light the plant needs.
The guideline below presents the estimated coverage of various types of lights. This is per the reflector height and size of the area.
|Type of Grow Light||Height of Reflector||Area Coverage|
|250 Watt HPS||12 inches||2×2|
|400 Watt HPS||12 to 18 inches||2×4|
|600 Watt HPS||18 to 24 inches||3×3|
|1,000 Watt HPS||24 to 36 inches||4×4|
|1,000 Watt Double-Ended HPS||More than 36 inches||5×5|
|315 Watt CMH||24 to 30 inches||3×3|
|630 Watt CMH||More than 30 inches||4×4|
|200 Watt LED||16 inches||2×2|
|400 Watt LED||16 to 24 inches||3×4|
|600 Watt LED||More than 24 inches||4×4|
How high should I hang my grow lights above the plant?
In general, grow lights for seedlings should be mounted between 24 to 36 inches above the plant canopy wo allow for happy and healthy growing. However, this could also depend on the strength of your light, so be sure to read the exact wattage and recommendation by your light supplier.
So there you go, the basic principles and guidelines to hang grow lights correctly. It may take a little bit of elbow grease to install. But, once done in a correct way, your plants will reap the most benefit. Thus, giving us growers better quality and higher yield in the end.