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Fluorescent Grow Lights ~ Common Failure Issues Within The Grow Room

Due to a recent conversation with a customer regarding failure issues of his T5 fluorescent grow lights (Not purchased from us!) We thought that it might be a good idea to briefly highlight the common failure issues with this type of lighting within the grow room. 

Types of Fluorescent Grow Lights:

There is a large variety of Fluorescent grow lights available on the market today but generally, the choice will fall down to the three main types:

  1. T5 grow lights that utilise either 24 watt or 54 watt T5 (T meaning tubular and 5 being the diameter in eighths of an inch) Tri-phosphor 2-pin lamps such as the Maxibright range of T5 Lightwave grow lights
  2. Grow lights that utilise 55 watt Tri-phosphor 4-pin lamps such as the Maxibright PL2 & PL4 grow lights 
  3. CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamp) grow lights that utilise a variety of wattage lamps such as the Maxibright CFL Pro grow light and Maxibright range of CFL lamps.

Brand:

The first question we will ask when addressing an issue with any product (that wasn't purchased from us) is..what brand is it?.. or who is the manufacturer? If the answer comes back with "I don't know..it was unbranded" or the response comes back with a brand name or manufacturers name that is not generally recognised within the UK market for quality products, then our response will obviously be polite (and is always pre-expected by the customer!).."So you've purchased an unrecognisable brand name grow light and at a price that seemed too good to be true yeh?!.."you know whats coming next don't you Sir... :) 

Quality brands and manufacturers utilise quality components and lamps..that's it..end of!

Lighting Failures:

If a fluorescent grow light/lamp fails prematurely it will generally be due to the following:

  • Failure due to a sub-standard/cheap ballast being used by the manufacturer.
  • Failure due to high humidity (continuously over 70%) in the growing area causing shorting problems over time at the point where contact is made between lamp and lamp housing fitting.
  • Failure due to excessive heat build-up under the light which then causes internal ballast failure. This is generally due to the grow light being placed in a very small enclosed area without adequate ventilation.

Fluorescent Lamp Lifespan:

We would always recommend changing any lamp (fluorescent, MH, HPS) within 9-12months as the drop off in output can be as high as 30-40% within 12-14months. This will obviously mean that you are still consuming the same amount of power to run the light, but to only generate two-thirds of the light emitted from new! The amount of time a fluorescent lamp will physically last before natural failure is approx. 10,000hrs, but again this is very much influenced by the quality of the lighting unit, quality of lamp and climate of the growing area.

Alternatives to Fluorescent Lighting:

If you are looking primarily for a propagation light or simply a grow light with high efficiency, low power consumption, low heat emittance and similar growing properties to using fluorescent lighting, then we would recommend taking a look at the new Secret Jardin TLed grow lights. or Budmaster HC-2 grow light.