In setting up a hydroponic grow room, it is important to design the room for safety and ease of use. When installing so much equipment into a small space, it is tempting to hide the controls away in the corner since they are usually set once and forgotten. The flaw in this approach is obvious when the system springs a leak and the controls are tucked away and inaccessible. A good design allows enough space for separate wet and dry areas that are easily accessible and convenient for everyday gardening chores and system maintenance.
Cover the floor, walls and ceiling with plastic. Staple the sheeting in place and use duct tape at the seams. Covering the room in plastic prevents damage caused by humidity.
Design a space that takes advantage of the room size. Closets and small rooms are ideal for growing vertically to make the best use of the space. Larger spaces utilize horizontal racking.
Plan storage space within the room as well as a mixing area with a water supply. Separate electrical systems and timers from the wet area. Locating outlets high on the wall helps prevent contact with water.
Choose a hydroponic system or systems. Different hydroponic systems will require different equipment. Determine what kind of hydroponic systems you will use and install the needed timers, pumps and nutrient-delivery systems.
Nutrient film technique systems and ebb and flow systems are among the most popular for use in an indoor grow room. Drip systems are also popular, but have more problems with leaks and clogged feed lines. Complete systems are available through hydroponic supply stores, or take advantage of the free plans available in the resource list to build a system to fit the space available.
Determine the light requirements needed for your plants. The amount of light needed varies from plant to plant. The number of lights needed depends on the strength of each light and the distance from the plant. Quality of light is highest near the fixture and plants that are further away receive less quality light. Increasing the number of fixtures and using reflectors to reflect light back onto plants increases the amount of light available.
Provide both red and blue wavelengths for healthy growth and keep in mind that the plant needs change when the plant begins flowering. Choose a lighting system that supplies both red and blue light, or use a combination of lights to supply the right balance of light.
Control the temperature. Lights add a lot of heat to the room. Adequate ventilation using an exhaust fan helps, but an air conditioning system may be required. Plan to keep the temperature in the grow room below 80 degrees F.
Control the humidity. In a larger space with 10 or more lights, run a dehumidifier at night to remove excess moisture.
Enrich with carbon dioxide. Using a carbon dioxide generator will increase the growth rates of plants.