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One of the most critical and often overlooked aspects of the successful cultivation of high value crops is the management of humidity levels. Humidity levels are just as important to manage as temperature, moisture, light, CO2, and plant nutrition. Every stage of production starting with seed storage and ending with drying requires a unique humidity level to produce a premium product. Growing operations of all sizes from the hobbyist to the large-scale commercial and wholesale producer need adequate and proper environmental controls to achieve these targeted and optimal levels.
Fortunately for the wide range of growers and crops, there is an equally wide range of dehumidifying equipment on the market made specifically with the grower in mind. That equipment is made by the folks at Anden. Anden designs and builds environmental controls built for cultivation by using reliable components for the extreme ranges often found in a grow room environment. Why do you need an Anden dehumidifier in your grow room? You cannot expect good results from your crop without dehumidifying the environment it grows in.
Why Dehumidification in Your Grow Room is so Important
If for no other reason than to improve yields, dehumidification of the grow room should be a priority. It does much more than that though. By managing the humidity levels of a grow room, such measures as potency levels, flavors and total mass can be increased as well if humidity is properly managed. This is all of course easier said than done; it does require some management and the proper equipment to achieve....
Dehumidifiers are a must for grow rooms. At some point during the production, harvest, or storage phases of your grow (or all of them), your high value crop is going to be exposed to higher than ideal humidity levels that must be controlled. For those needing a quick “brush up” on what exactly is meant by the term “humidity”, read on. In cultivation, the humidity being referred to is actually “relative humidity” (RH). This is the measure of the amount of vapor currently in the air as a percentage of the total holding capacity of moisture in the air at the same temperature. In general, warmer air temperatures correspond to a higher capacity to hold moisture, but cooler air can certainly be humid and can cause many problems for your crop if not controlled.
In a controlled environment like a grow room, the humidity level is a function of the natural processes of crops. As a matter of course, plants absorb water and then “breathe” it our through respiration. This puts moisture into the air and if it has no place to go, the humidity levels rise. This process is normal and healthy for your crops. Plants create their own food through photosynthesis by synthesizing light, water, and CO2. This food is delivered throughout the plant through a process know as transpiration where the nutrients are carried to their destination by water which is then released through the stomata (openings in the plant leaves akin to pores) as vapor, causing humidity.
On a more granular level, this release is regulated by the pressure differential between the humidity level in the outside air and the pressure within the plant. Under ideal circumstances, the humidity level in the outside air is of a lower pressure than that inside the plant. This encourages the vapor within the plant to be released since physics teaches us that gases and liquids want to move from areas of high pressure to areas with lower pressure. The faster these processes can occur, the faster the grow cycle of the crop. If the humidity levels in the grow room are too high, this process will not occur, or at least will not occur at the rate needed for efficient use of the crops’ resources. Proper dehumidification of the grow room is therefore essential for this process to occur. This is not the only reason that dehumidification is necessary though.
A grow room with moisture levels that are too high foster the development of unwanted pathogens. Fungi, rot, and other disease will set in if the air around your crops is not properly ventilated. This obviously compromises the health of the plant but also makes them easier targets for other pests to move in. Insect pests have an easier time infesting plants that are already stressed. Studies suggest that many species of plant pests can “see” when a plant is under stress and is an easier meal or suitable host for them to move in.
By keeping RH levels in the optimal range, not only are diseases kept at bay, but so are opportunistic pest species, providing your high value crops a level of protection so that they can reach their full potential. Anden products can help make sure these optimum humidity levels are met and maintained.
Managing Humidity and Sizing Your Dehumidifying Unit
Controlling humidity in a grow room is not just a matter of buying a dehumidifier, plugging it into the nearest available outlet and thinking that the problem is solved. Proper sizing, placement and management of your dehumidifying unit or units is critical for success. Realizing that different stages of pant growth and development require different humidity levels is also key and necessary for raising a successful crop.
Determining the proper size of your dehumidifying unit is the first step toward achieving proper environmental conditions in your grow room. As mentioned above, plants “exhale” their moisture. In fact, they respire up to 97 percent of the water that they absorb. Since this is almost a 1:1 ration, it is easy to calculate what size of a dehumidifying unit will be needed.
Figure out how many plants will be grown at one time. Then, determine how much water each will receive daily. So, for example, 50 plants given one gallon of water per day would require a dehumidifying system that can remove about 50 gallons of water. Since dehumidifiers are rated in units of pints, gallons must be converted. There are eight pints per gallon, so a system rated to remove up to 400 pints would be needed. Every pint is about one pound. Over the course of a 24 hour day, in this example, the dehumidifier would need to pull out about 16.7 pounds or pints per hour to dehumidify the full 50 gallons of water that the plants had “exhaled”. If the need is greater than the capacity of a single unit, then multiple units can be deployed.
Once the correct size has been determined, then knowing where to place your dehumidifying units is the next step. Dehumidifiers help to exchange air within a growing environment to mitigate hot and cold spots as well as removing moisture from the air. For this reason, it is important that there is air flow all around the unit and it is not placed tight to a wall or other obstruction such as a building pillar or pallet of material which could block the proper function of the humidifier.
Dehumidifying units may be suspended, freestanding or ducted in from another room. Which one is right depends on the setup and space of your individual room. In grow rooms where there is space to place a dehumidifier but not on the floor or at plant level, they can be mounted on the wall, so long as there is sufficient air flow behind them. For rooms with space to spare, or those without the option to mount a dehumidifier, a freestanding unit is appropriate. These are specifically designed to work at the ground level. Some of these are stationery and others are mobile, designed with castors so that they can be freely moved about where needed in a grow room. A benefit to these types of units is that maintenance is easier since the unit does not have to be accessed with a ladder or does not need to be removed from its harness to be serviced.
In grow rooms without space for a dehumidifier, doing nothing is not an option; or at least not an option to set yourself up for a good crop. Moisture will still need to be pulled from the air. In these situations, a dehumidifier can be installed and run in an adjoining space and a duct can be run into the grow room to reap the benefits of dehumidified air. It is important when choosing this option to make sure that there are no air leaks in the ductwork and that all connections are properly fastened. Either mounted or free standing units can be used in this type of application, depending on which is more appropriate for the situation.
It is important to be able to quickly pivot and adjust humidity levels at different phases of growing and curing your high value crops. Anden equipment is designed to help with this, During the germination phase for your seeds, the humidity levels should be extremely high, even up to 90 percent. They should remain at an 80 to 90 percent humidity level through their first 10 days. Once they have entered this seedling stage, the humidity levels should be pushed back to between 65 and 80 percent humidity.
As they mature into the vegetative stage this level should be dialed back further, gradually from 70 percent down to 50 percent in increments of 5 percent. In the early flowering phase, push this back yet to between 40 and 50 percent and then 30 to 40 percent when they enter the late flowering stage. After the crop is harvested, the humidity levels for curing should be maintained between 55 and 65 percent for optimum retention of flavor, terpenes, potency, and other desirable traits. Consider one of the remote control or remote monitoring functions available and made by Anden to make these frequent transitions much more manageable and seamless.
Of course, there are always exceptions that are based on the unique characteristics of each grow room. There are several other factors that must be considered when sizing and placing your Anden dehumidifying system(s). Humans add humidity to a grow room too. If there are going to be people working in or spending any amount of time in the grow room, figure that the dehumidifying unit will need to pull an additional five pints of water per day out of the air. Add five pints per day as well if the grow room has more than one door or has windows. If the region where your grow room is located is typically humid already, (whether or not it is typically warm) add another 10 pints per day to the size needed.
Periodic maintenance of your dehumidifying units is also important to make sure that they continue delivering reliable performance for many years. If you have a mounted unit, make sure to check the brackets and screws to make sure none are coming loose from the wall or rusting. If you have a portable unit, make sure the castors still roll freely. For any type, check to make sure that all drainage is working properly and replace anything that is cracked or clogged.
Why Choose Anden?
For over 80 years, the folks at Anden have been producing commercial-grade environmental controls that work for operations of all sizes. Their tough-as-nails products work in the extreme conditions of growing environments and are trusted to deliver reliable results. Their advanced technology has produced the only environment-control products on the market designed to pull moisture from the air even in low temperatures. From small to large and all sizes in between, Anden makes a dehumidifier perfect for your growing environment no matter the size of your operation. With energy efficient and grow-optimized units that pull 95 pints (45 liters) of water out of the air daily to those that can pull a whopping 710 pints (336 liters) per day, there is an Anden system sized just right for you.
Anden products are user-friendly too. They are simple to setup, operate and maintain. Anden builds the most intelligent dehumidifiers in their class. With onboard as well as remote sensing and diagnostics, humidity can be monitored and managed constantly to prevent diseases and pests on your valuable crop. On top of that, their customer service is top-notch and available whenever you need them. Anden stands behind their work too. Growing operations are often harsh environments. Environmental controls need to be able to stand up to the wide range of temperature, humidity, moisture, and vigorous use that they may be exposed to. Anden products are so sure of the ability of their product performance to do just that, that they offer a generous, five-year warranty.
Anden dehumidifiers are more sophisticated than their competition. Their systems can modulate the rate of dehumidification in a grow room based upon the specific conditions in each growing environment and at each stage of plant development so that proper levels of humidity can be maintained from seeding to harvest to storage. This brings a level of stability to the growing environment that their competitors cannot match.