Upgrading from HID to LED may seem overwhelming, but it’s worth it in the long run. Growers all over the world are upgrading to LED. While this may be partly attributed to advancements in LED technology, it’s also because growers are learning how to adapt their grow environment to use LEDs and the cost of LEDs has dropped dramatically.
Making the change to LED is a big decision that has trickle down effects on the rest of your grow setup.
LED fixtures pay themselves off quickly through energy savings. Switching to LEDs can save up to 60% on power costs. LED’s run at about 40% less electricity than HIDs, but they also enable energy savings through reduced ventilation/cooling.
Compared with HIDs, LEDs can convert electricity into more light and much less heat. 80% of the light emitted from HID lighting is in the form of heat. Whereas, LED lights release 15-25% of their energy as heat.
LEDs waste less energy. A standard 600W LED offers the same PPF score as a 1000W HPS system. Recent estimates also suggest LEDs give off a PPE of 2.7 – 3.5 μmol/J versus 1.8 μmol/J from a comparable HPS.
LED lifespans are variable but typical values range from 25,000 hours to 200,000 hours or more before a fixture requires replacement.
HID lifespan values range from 6,000 hours to 24,000 hours before a bulb requires replacement. Note: sometimes HID lights need to be changed out before the end of their useful life to pre-empt serious degradation effects like color changes or cycling.
HPS bulbs can reach 750 degrees on the surface and require cooling/ventilation. LED grow lights run cool making it easier to control the temperature in your grow room.
LED technology has drastically improved since the early days. Historically, HID lighting produced higher lumen output than affordable LEDs, but LED technology has caught up. In addition, LED technology has innovated to produce the spectrum of light most effective for indoor growing.
LEDs may have a higher upfront cost, but in the absence of all the heat produced by HIDs, there is no need for extra inline fans, ducting, or AC units.
The most important factor to consider when upgrading to LED is temperature. LEDs run cool, which means the temps will be lower in your grow room. You will not require as much ventilation.
Humidity goes up as the average temperature goes down. LEDs run cool and won’t raise the temp in your grow space. As your plants transpire during photosynthesis, the amount of relative humidity will increase in an LED grow room. Consider how you will control the humidity.
Some LED lights will be equipped with a control that allows you to increase or decrease intensity so you can slowly acclimate those plants to higher light levels. Make sure you space your lights evenly around your grow space, and don’t place them too close to your plants.