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Ask Erik: RAW! – Up To Code: Growing Gear Safety

Make sure your indoor grow room is safe and meets local codes. Make sure your indoor grow room is safe and meets local codes.

Q: How safe is most of the growing gear that is for sale at the local hydroponics shop? I haven’t had any problems, but I’ve heard of fellow growers getting inspected by local by-law enforcement for electrical codes in their rented buildings. My one friend had no problems, the other place got temporarily halted until they made some changes and got re-inspected. I want to avoid this potential production pitfall-what can I do to protect myself and my grow?

A:

If you are shopping at a reputable hydroponics shop, all of the gear they sell to you should be “safe” when used according to the instructions, and they should also have gear available that meets specific codes or requirements as your needs dictate. A satisfaction oriented grow shop will also make sure that you leave the store with the knowledge you need to set-up and operate your growing equipment safely and successfully.

Besides codes and by-laws, use your own common sense; rules will not always protect you or your property from danger.

However, even if you make sure that all of the gear you buy meets or exceeds local codes (check your local building center for a wiring code guide for your area), how it all goes together is of equal or perhaps even greater importance.

Most hydroponic equipment like fans, lights, timers, etc are very user friendly and plug and play these days. However, for larger scale grows or custom operations, there is typically going to be some wiring involved. Here is where you be should be honest with yourself: “Am I qualified to wire this, and can I do it safely and up to code?”.

For most of us, the answer is likely “no,” so call a professional that comes with good references. Don’t instantly opt for the cheapest install quote either - you get what you pay for. And make sure they will sign off on the job for the local inspector, and that they are qualified to do so!

If you are comfortable and skilled with basic wiring, you can buy a pre-wired-to-code “timer board” that you simply need to run the appropriate gauge wire and breaker capacity to, for the length of the run required from the electrical source to the board. After you hook up the board safely and successfully, just plug your gear in and grow away!

Besides codes and by-laws, use your own common sense; rules will not always protect you or your property from danger. Below are some of the cardinal rules.

NEVER:

- overload electrical circuits; stay under the rated breaker capacity by at least 20%

- try to save money by going with thinner gauge electrical wire than is required

- have electrical cords running on the grow room floor - wall hooks cost dimes - keep electrical cords off the ground no matter what!

-use frayed, damaged cords or cords that are missing the ground prong

-operate any equipment other than for its intended stated use.

So, in a nutshell, if you follow these simple practices and temper them with your own good judgement and common sense, you and your grow stand to be happy, safe and successful.

Cheers, Erik Biksa

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This is how some of us learned about electricity, but you’ll need a little more expertise before wiring your grow room.
Last modified on Tuesday, 10 July 2012 17:08

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