Being a grower we face so many challenges. Because taking care of your plants from a 360-degree angle ain’t any child’s play.
You might need to include so many modern conveniences like an air-cooled reflector in your grow room. And this whole paradigm shift from being an indoor gardener to some sort of mechanic is complicated.
So, you might wonder what are the steps for air cooled reflector setup?
Well, to set up the air-cooled reflector you need to open the lid of it and then place the cool tube inside. Now put the cool light inside of the reflector and put the lid back. Now hang the reflector with hooks and attach to the ducting from both ends. And the setup is done.
So, even if it’s not clear just yet, we’ve got your back with a step-by-step guide to help you.
Let’s get into the root of it!
Air-Cooled Reflector [Basics]
As a gardener, you must be wondering- do you need fresh air in a sealed grow room?
Not really! If you want the perfect grow room, you need an exchange of air. This means you need to draw the air outside to your sealed room.
In this case, an air-cooled reflector can be a big help. Well, before going to the steps, you will require some prior knowledge of different parts of the air-cooled reflector. So, let’s give you an in-depth tour of what exactly an air-cooled reflector is and how it works along with its parts.
Well, we don’t intend to bore you with tech jargon. After all, we’re indoor gardeners, right?
So here’s a list to help you understand the reflector parts better-
Air-Cooled Hood for the Perfect Reflection
You might get confused between reflector hoods and the reflector itself. If that’s the case then don’t be ashamed because even I’ve been a victim of that.
So, what is the air cooled hood reflector?
In layman’s terms, the upper part attached to the ceiling is known as the air-cooled hood. It’s covered with reflective aluminum sheets on the inside that can reflect up to 95% light.Apart from the reflection quality, the air-cooled reflector hood can be found in different shapes and designs. You can choose them based on your preference from our following recommended list.
Ducting For Smooth Air Flow
Ducting is the most common part. Even in an air-cooled ventilation structure. The pipe attached to both of the ends of the reflector is the ducting. So, there are two ducting used for one reflector. I used the AC Infinity Flexible 4-Inch Aluminum Ducting before. Because its four-layer layout makes it more sustainable and immune to leaks, rips, and scrapes.
One ducting is used to bring air to the reflector and another one is for blowing the air outside. Now if the ducting setup has you concerned, don’t stress over it yet. Because we explained that later in the following steps.
For now, let’s just focus on the easy part. This is pretty simple to understand right?
Cool Tube For Keeping The Bulbs Cool
As mentioned earlier, another easy-to-remember part is the cool tube. It’s got the super important job of holding the bulb.
So, let’s see how effective are cool tubes?
As heat emerges from the bulb, this cool tube comes to the rescue by reducing the heat up to 90%. So, if your bulb is emitting around 40 watts of heat energy then these cool tubes can bring that down to 4 watts per second.
Simple but helpful, right?
Again if you’re pondering on a cool tube setup. Then wait till we get to the steps. However, you don’t need to be worried about its availability. You can get the following cool tube right now!
- Hydro Crunch 6″ Cool Tube with Wing Reflector– affordable & quality indoor garden equipment for start-up
HPS Bulb For All The Glow
Lighting in a garden is as important as the lighting in a planted tank. That’s why we need to put as much effort into lighting as we can.
Have you heard of the HPS reflector? Thinking why we asked this?
Because you’ll hear the term a lot when you look into air-cooled reflectors. But there’s really no such thing as an HPS reflector. Rather, it’s the reflector that comes with an HPS grow bulb.
HPS is the air-cooled bulb. The reflector ensures that most of the light coming from the bulb reflects the light towards the plants. So that it only lights up in the plant’s direction other than spreading to the whole room.
So if there was a clash going on in your head between air-cooled light vs normal lights, then you already know that air-cooled light(HPS) is the better of the two.
Exhaust Fan for Controlling The Air
No matter how weird the name sounds, it’s nothing but a fan, buddy. But it’s special because it drives in or drives away the air.
By this, we mean that it helps to get the warm air out through the ducting. But choosing the right exhaust fan is a hassle. For that, we’ve mentioned two of our favorites just below-
We would suggest using a fan controller to easily control the speed of your fan. And make sure to run it as long as the light is on.
Carbon Filter to Keep It Clean
Now, to answer your question- do I need a carbon filter in my grow room?Unlike the exhaust fan, a carbon filter is not an essential part of the reflector. It is mainly attached to the fan. But we recommend attaching one to it so that the wind is filtered out.
It would be best to attach it to the fan primarily when setting up the reflector for the first time. Or you can just buy AC Infinity Air Carbon Filter. The carbon air filter will air out any bad odor as well.
So, that’s pretty much about all the main parts of the reflector. Now, scrolling through the introduction to different parts got you thinking about why you need to know about them.
Then the answer is that being a gardener, it would be quite normal for you to struggle in understanding and memorizing all the part names.
So while we move to the steps and refer to any part name, you could always refer back here to double-check if you’re choosing the right one or not. Now let’s move to the steps-
Setting up the Air-Cooled Reflector [Step-by-Step Guide]
We’re assuming that you’re a beginner at this. This is why we broke down the setup process into several steps.
Things You’ll Need
If you want to skip the hassle of going back to the store or turning your place upside down in search of tools, don’t stress about it. Because we listed out some equipment for you to keep handy beforehand.
So, you’ll need-
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Now that you’re equipped and ready. Put on your shoes and get ready to work. Just follow the steps and it should be a piece of cake.
Step 1 of 8: Unbox the Reflector
First things first, if you’ve already unboxed the reflector already, just look through the parts. If not then it’s time to unbox your reflector and see if all the parts that we’ve mentioned are there.
You must be wondering- can you use aluminum foil as a reflector?
Of course, you can! In fact, aluminum foil works as a very good reflector. Even the wrinkled ones! If you can reflect the bulb on three closed surfaces then you should be good to go.
If yes, then jump to the next step.
Step 2 of 8: Open the Reflector Panel
Now, it’s time to do the basics. First, try to roll the panel’s screw with bare hands. If it comes out, then all is good. If not, then just use a screwdriver to loosen it up.
Now that the screw has come off, remove only one panel. Notice if the glass is a sliding opener or pulls opener. If it’s a slider one then just slide the glass out. If not then it has to be opened with a pull just like a door.
If you have an air-cooled reflector without glass, then you can just skip the step and move forward.
Step 3 of 8: Add the Cool Tube to The Reflector
Remember we said that we’ll let you know later how to set the cool tube up. Well, now’s the time. In most cases, the cool tube is attached to the bulb. If not, then just set it in accordance with the two holes on your reflector.
But at first, just attach the end cool tube with the bulb holder to the reflector. And secure it with duct tape. And the cool tube setup is done.
Step 4 of 8: Set the Light
Now it’s time to attach the light to the cool tube or reflector. In both cases, the procedure is the same.
Before touching the bulb, make sure to wear gloves. Because you sure don’t want fingerprints on your bulb.
Now just put the bulb end through the spring ring hole. And roll it until it gets tight and cannot be rolled further.
Step 5 of 8: Put the Lid Back
After setting the bulb, it’s time to put back the glass just the way you opened it. For a slider, slide back the glass. Put the panel again and secure it with the screw.
In case you opened it by pulling, then push it back and secure it with the screw.
Step 6 of 8: Attach the Fixture Hooks and Rope Ratchets
We’re almost done buddy, it’s finally time to hang the reflector. Get your rope and let it pass through the loop on your grow room ceiling. Now tie up the rope ratchet with the rope.
Finally, attach the triangle fixture hooks with each side of the reflector and attach them with the rope ratchet.
Voila, the reflector is hanging properly. Before you move to the next step, just go through the basic placement hacks to save your time later on.
Placement Hack 1: Place the Plant Canopy in A Safe Distance
Air-cooled reflectors are known to reduce heat. And you can place it nearer to the plants. But till now we haven’t enclosed the exact measurement of the distance between your plant and the reflector. Well, we saved the best for the last.
You can place your air-cooled reflector just about 8-12 inches above your plant canopy.
This distance will help flourish your plants without burning the heck out of them.
If you’re amazed already, then we’d suggest you wait because we presented another life-changing hack just below.
Placement Hack 2: Pull the Air through The Reflector
Considering the air-cooled reflector push or pull theory-
Always follow the pull strategy. By this, we mean the left side should bring fresh air from outside to the reflector through the ducting. Then the ducting should pull the air out through another end.
And as you can understand the placement of the reflector will be in the middle.
Step 7 of 8: Fix the Alignment of The Reflector
You will be glad to know that most of your hard work is done. Just some touch-up is needed.
By now you know that there should be an 8-12 inches gap in between your plants and the reflector. According to that, you need to adjust your reflector.
Step 8 of 8: Attach the Ducting
The last step is to attach the ducting to both ends of the reflector. Secure the attachment firmly with duct tape.
Go over again and double with the tape. While taping the right side, make sure to put the fan at the end of the reflector hole. Then attach the fan with the right ducting.
If you’re still not sure about the air-cooled reflector push and pull method, then don’t panic. Just add the left ducting to any window that will bring the outside air inside the reflector. And add the right-side ducting to an open window or room. This is to allow the warm air to pass by.
Now that everything’s set, bring your paper wipes and put an all-purpose glass cleaner. It’s time to wipe your glass lid clean.
With this step, you are done setting up your air-cooled reflector. Now give yourself a pat on the back for all the hard work.
Well, by now you’ve understood how tricky it can be to set up an air-cooled reflector. But with these additional tips, it will be easier than ever to set up your air-cooled reflector. Why wait then?
Just scroll down through these 5 amazing tips-
Tip 1: Change the Light on a Regular Basis
If you have a habit of forgetting things then buddy, take some notes. Because you’ll have to change your HPS Bulb every 6 months.
Tip 2: Wear Gloves While Touching the Glass
And don’t forget to wear your gloves unless you want fingerprints on your bulb or the glass opening of your reflector.
Tip 3: Choose the Filter Depending on the Fan Size
While choosing a carbon filter, choose it depending on your fan size. If your fan is 8 inches then buy a carbon filter about that size so that it fits. Otherwise, the alignment will be hampered.
Also, use it only if your left or outward ducting goes outside the house. Because you don’t want all the air with high carbon density inside your house.
Tip 4: Set up to Two Reflectors for A Large Space
If you have one large grow room then one reflector won’t be enough to cover. Then you can add up to two reflectors connected with the same ducting on both sides.
But we highly discourage adding more than that. Because then only the first two will be able to pass cold air. And with each added reflector the air will get warmed up. So it’s a big No.
Tip 5: Check the Temperature Once in a While
We advise you to keep one infrared thermometer to help you with checking the temperature of the plant canopy.
For your convenience, we’ve selected a few thermometers that you should consider:
As the temperature should be under 28 degrees Celsius. Check the temperature at least once a day. Just make sure it’s not above the mentioned temperature barrier.
For a bigger grow room, is it important to put a series of reflectors?
For a bigger grow room, you can use wing reflectors that are known to have a wide range to cover. But do not attach one opening with more than two reflectors. Because the effectiveness will drop with each extra one.
Is it okay to put the fan on the right side of the ducting?
It’s not completely wrong. But this way air will be pushing through the reflector. Pushing the air through the reflector is the hard way and not so effective.
Do cool tube reflectors work?
Yes, the cool tube reflectors work well. But only when the cool tube reflector setup is done properly. This amazing tube helps to reduce the generated heat to 90 percent. And helps your plant to enjoy the light without the heat.
By now, you’ve mastered the art of air-cooled reflector setup. It’s been one heck of a journey from being a gardener to a technician. Congratulations man!
If you’ve got any thoughts to share then feel free to comment below. We’d really appreciate your comments.
Thank you and happy gardening!!