If you grow your cannabis, veggies, or other plants indoors, learning how to hang grow lights can be very important. It will help avoid the need to hire an electrician each time you want to adjust your grow lights. So, how should I hang grow lights, you ask?
Quickly put, you can hang grow lights using a ratchet, hook, or a metal wire. The method you choose will largely depend upon the setup you have in place. And each of the available methods has its own possibilities and limitations.
In this article, I’ll explain to you – in a more basic lingo – how to hang grow lights the right way. Whether you’re a born DIYer or not, my tips will be handy if you grow plants indoors. Buckle up, and continue reading to learn more.
Why Do I Need To Hang Grow Lights?
First off; why do you actually need to hang grow lights and keep adjusting them as plants continue to grow?
If you follow my articles, you must have learned that light rays are photons. You must have also learned that photons are particles containing wavelengths.
We use a quantum meter, like this Apogee MQ-500, to measure the intensity of light. Ideally, when determining how intense light is, we’re essentially determining how many photons are falling in a specific area.
Usually, photons tend to sort of scatter about, rather than falling in a straight line. Therefore, if the light source is far from where it’s supposed to illuminate, not many photons will fall on the target.
Sure, this may not be a bad thing. After all, it creates a wider light footprint to cover more plants. However, plants would benefit most if they had more photons falling on them.
If we keep the gap between the light source and plants longer than needed, our plants won’t get enough photons. And that would only mean that our yield won’t be that awesome.
This being said, let’s now get to the core of our discussion today. And that’s how to hang grow lights correctly.
How To Hang Grow Lights From Ceiling
Proper planning is always vital in any project. When you want to hang grow lights from the ceiling, there are tools you will need to get the work done.
If you have those tools within reach, the actual job will be a cakewalk. So here’s what you need to assemble upfront:
- Grow lights
- Stud finder
- Grow light-reflector combo
- Hook drivers
- Hanger nails
- Joist hangers
- 10015 ¼” Rope Ratchet with 15’ Super-Duty Adjustable Rope Clip
You can easily get all these items on Amazon for cheap. Just click on each link and get directed to shop.
Steps To Hang Grow Lights From Ceiling
Step 1: Map Out The Framing Studs
The chances are that you already know that grow lights are heavy. To ensure firm support, you’ll want to hang the lights from a firm spot, such as the framing studs.
So, before you use hooks to attach the lights from the ceiling, you’ll need to locate the studs. Here, tools like Magnetic and Electronic stud finders will help you locate the ceiling joint.
These stud finders have sensors that make a beeping sound to indicate the framing studs behind the wall surface. To be 100% sure, you can use your knuckles to tap the area where the studs get detected.
Step 2: Make Pilot Holes And Drill Them
By this time, there’s a good chance you have already decided on the type of system to use. This will largely depend on a few factors, including the number of plants you have, their growth phase, and how much light they need.
You may also have to decide whether to install several grow lights or use a combination of lights and reflectors. For lightweight grow light systems, it’s safe to directly mount the light hangers to the ceiling with hooks.
However, for heavier systems, you’ll want to install a joist to give extra support. No matter which option you choose, you’ll be required to drill holes for the hooks or joists.
So, using a pencil or marker pen, mark the spots where the studs were found, and make a few pilot holes. Then, drill those holes into the wall or ceiling for use for hanging the grow light system.
Step 3: Installing Hooks For One or More Grow Lights
This is one of the most crucial steps in the entire grow light installation process. It’s the most technical one, too.
Hooks are ideal for those who wish to install one or more “single grow lights.” Whether you want to hang one or more grow lights, be sure to use one hook for each light.
Here’s how to install the hooks:
- Place hook screws over the holes you drilled in the previous step.
- Turn the hook anticlockwise with firm and steady pressure.
- Continue twisting until the hook is even with the ceiling.
Step 4: Install Joist Hangers Onto The Ceiling
This step is for you if you want to hang grow light-reflector combos. Usually, these can weigh as high as 10-20 pounds, which means that hooks alone won’t bear the extra weight.
In that case, you’ll want to set up joist hangers to hold the entire lighting system. To install joist hangers onto the ceiling, you’d need DIY wood joist frames, hanger nails, hook screws, and, of course, a hammer.
Here’s how to set up a joist:
- Place the wooden joist frame on the ceiling.
- Attach it onto the ceiling with nails and joist hangers.
- Once the wooden joist is set, attach the hook screws to the beam.
- Be sure the screw-type hooks can hold and support various points of the hanging light-reflector combo.
Step 5: Hook Up the Ropes
Like I mentioned earlier in this post, you need to vary light concentrations at different phases of plant growth. So, you must be able to adjust the gap between the plant copy and the light source.
There are two ways in which you can approach this: using rope ratchets or Yo-Yo light hangers.
- Using a Rope Ratchet
A compact rope ratchet device is a popular method of hanging grow lights. This is where you attach the edges of the cord to a hook or carabiner.
A ratchet mechanism connects to one of the ends and the lever locks to secure the placement. You’ll typically find two sizes of rope ratchets in the market.
The first one is a 1/2-inch rope ratchet, such as the VIPARSPECTRA ratchet rope hanger. This can hold 150 pounds of load and is perfect for lightweight grow lights.
The second one is a ¼-inch rope ratchet, such as the iPower GLROPEMG4X2 rope ratchet. This can hold up to 300 pounds of load.
It’s best if your lighting system is heavy, or if you want to hang light reflectors or carbon filters together with lights.
- Using Yo-Yo Hangers
With Yo-Yo hangers, hanging grow lights has never been easier. For example, I recommend the VIVOSUN Retractable Plant Yoyo as it has a built-in stopper charged with securing the string at the desired length.
These interesting kits share pretty much the same working principle as the rope ratchet system. You’ll find two types of Yo-Yo hangers in the market.
The first option comes with straight tension, whereas the other uses a lock mechanism. If possible, choose one with a lock mechanism or stopper.
This is because it makes it more convenient to set your preferred height and secure the placement. Regardless of your choice, you should be able to adjust the hanger to match your plants’ light needs.
Step 6: Suspend the Lighting System
You’re almost done with hanging grow lights. Once you have installed the rope supports, all you need to do is attach the carabiner or hook to the metal hangers.
If you want to hang the light-reflector combo, make sure you place the hooks in strategic spots. This will ensure the weight of the grow lights is distributed evenly and their heights appropriately balanced.
Step 7: Adjust to the Correct Height
Now that you’ve hanged your grow lights, all that remains is to adjust the height between the light source and the plant canopy.
Usually, the correct height will vary by the types of plants, their stage of growth, and how intense your light beams are.
Know that some bulbs emit more heat. So, to prevent the plants from getting burnt, the space between the bulb and the plants should be wide enough.
There is no hard-and-fast rule for the grow light heights. However, if using powerful HID lights, you’ll want to hang them about 48-62 inches above your plants.
For the less powerful HID lighting systems, you may suspend them about 24-36 inches above your plants.
Those using fluorescent grow lights can hang them closer to the plant canopy. You can keep these about 5 inches away from the plants.
With LED lights, on the other hand, the correct height can be anywhere between 5 and 20 inches above the plants. Be sure to maintain the right height to avoid damaging your indoor growing environment.
If you have read this until here, give yourself a pat on the back. By now, you should be accustomed to all the steps you need to take when hanging grow lights.
Of course, you may need to apply a bit of elbow grease when installing grow lights. But it’s worth it, considering you won’t need to hire electrical contractors to hang the grow lights for you.
What’s more, you’ll be able to hang your grow lights correctly and reap the most yields from your indoor gardening. Now, go ahead and hang your grow lights using these guidelines.
You can never go wrong with these. And if you have any question or something needs clarification, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments sections below.
In the meantime, good luck hanging your grow lights!