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Hanging Your Shades Part 1

Do your shades hang low, do they wobble to and fro? Do you hang them with a nut, do you hang them with a bolt? OK, enough foolery, let’s talk about hanging shades. Rather than describe every possible way to hang your shades I will try to illustrate some of the common methods and materials, and you can decide what is optimal based on your circumstances.

Mobility

A "yoyo" hanger with string.

In most cases a grower should be moving their shades up and down during the stages of a plants development. When seedlings or cuttings are transplanted into a grow room they are vulnerable to the new conditions; often a more intense light, new media, new environmental variables, etc. Raising the lights allows the plants to acclimatize to the new environment and lets them focus on root growth. Once they start taking off, the lights can be lowered to reduce stretching, and for the large majority of the plants’ life the bottom of the shades generally remain 18-36″ away from the tops of the plants.

If it was a one-shot deal than maybe mobility would not be an issue, but as your plants grow you need to ensure they do not get too close to the light. This leads to the common practice of raising the shades inch by inch through the vegetative and early bloom stages. As well, any pruning and leaf removal is generally more convenient to access if the shades can be raised. The grower should plan to be able to access their shade hangers for adjustments, whether it’s achieved in close quarters or remotely, and the system has to be as fault-proof as possible to avoid cooking your plants with a HID bulb. This leads us to..

Strength

Well hung shade.

If you are a fisherman you might try to catch a 14lb fish with a 5lb test, just because it reels better and the fish can’t see it. In a grow room you want a 30lb test for a 14lb shade, because failure can be dangerous and costly. There is a variety of shade hanging devices that can be used, but the strength and durability of components should always be chosen over convenience or ease of operation. The “easy way” can become the incredibly difficult way quickly if a problem arises.

A bungee can be used as a shade hanger.

Metal is stronger than plastic – generally a metal chain or wire holding a shade can even suspend a person. Plastic weakens over time, can be effected by heat and light, and is generally not reputed for durability. This does not entirely remove plastic from the equation, but puts a realistic limitation on it as a load-bearing material. Rope and bungee also have obvious concerns regarding wear and tear, and a grower needs to be aware of the respective load capacity before using devices with these materials.

Materials and Methods

Steel is the best shade hanging material.

A person can, in theory, use a low strength material to hang their shades, as long as they do not put undue stress on the hanger. Braided string could probably work if one person lifts the shade up while another person reties it – but try using that string to actually lift the shade like a pulley and you can have problems. The material must also be matched to the intended method of raising and lowering, keeping in mind that hoisting an object with a material puts more load onto it than simply suspending a shade.

A well fixed bungee.

Some shades are also really heavy, and a heavier gauge hanger needs to be used. This is where the grower needs to avoid buying hangers with moving parts, plastic components, or materials like rope and bungee. I personally recommend that chain or a steel cable is used simply to prevent accidents and unanticipated issues due to faults in equipment or methods of use.

Click here to continue reading “Hanging Your Shades” with Part 2

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