How to Prep Your Grow Tent for the Winter
The winter conditions outside can actually impact your indoor grow tent when it comes to temperature and humidity. Follow these steps to keep your plants happy and maybe save some money on your utility bills.
A common misconception among new growers is that outdoor weather doesn’t affect indoor gardens. However, with a little bit of experience, you will quickly learn that weather factors like rain, heat, and humidity impact how plants grow indoors. Therefore, with the fall season winding down, it’s a good idea to get your grow tent prepped for the winter.
Unlike outdoor growers who only operate for about 6 months, most indoor cultivators grow plants all year long. As such, to get the best possible results from your indoor cannabis garden, you must regularly tweak your setup to account for the changing seasons. After all, cannabis plants thrive in consistent growing environments.
With drastically shifting outdoor temps and fluctuating humidity levels, there are a few key things you can do to get your grow tent ready for the winter. Who knows, some of these preparations might even save you money on your utility bills.
Temperature & Humidity in Winter
You have probably noticed that the air in the winter feels much drier than during the summer. Even in parts of the country that are notoriously humid like the Midwest, the cold winter air seems to be entirely devoid of moisture.
Because it has a higher dew point, warm air contains more water molecules than cold air. As such, warmer temperatures in the summer create humid conditions in many regions of the world. If you are growing indoor cannabis in a humid region, you must regularly account for excess moisture in the air — especially during flowering.
Not only is the air less humid in the wintertime, but furnaces tend to pull even more moisture from the air when heating the inside of your home. If the place where you live is humid in the warmer months, you can count humidity being far less of an issue in the winter. In certain instances, this means being able to remove your dehumidifier or lessen the intensity of your exhaust system.
Exhausts & Intakes in the Winter
For indoor growers, keeping a grow tent cool during the summer is generally much harder than keeping it warm in the winter. As such, the colder winter months should afford much more flexibility with your intake and exhaust systems.
Due to spatial constraints and budgetary considerations, most tent growers prefer intake systems to AC units for cooling grow tents.
While pulling fresh air directly from outdoors often works great during the summer, conditions will likely be far too cold during the winter. Not only could frigid winter air harm your plants, but it would wreak havoc on the ambient temperature of your home.
Due to cooler all-around temperatures in the winter, you can either turn off your intake entirely, or pull fresh air from another room instead of outside.
Almost every tent garden uses an exhaust system to remove hot, stale air from the interior. While you will need to keep your exhaust running during the winter months, you do have the option of making some tweaks to reduce utility expenses.
Since the ambient temperature of the outdoors is colder during the winter, you can keep your tent cooler with less energy consumption. By using a smart controller like the Controller 69 from AC Infinity, you can slow your inline fan to account for colder winter conditions and reduce overall electrical usage.
You also have the option of exhausting your grow tent directly into your home instead of aiming it outdoors. This small tweak allows you to capture the heat from your tent and use it to warm the interior of your home — ultimately lowering your heating bill.
Heat Retention & Tent Location
Another important thing to consider with the impending winter is exactly where your grow tent is located at your house. Certain parts of your home are constructed with better insulation and heat retention properties than others.
Bedrooms & Living Rooms
If your grow tent is situated in a bedroom or living room, you don’t have to worry about major swings in ambient conditions. Since the inside of your home is well-insulated, it should provide a fairly stable environment for your tent.
Growing in Garages
If you are growing in a garage, you will have to add a heat source to warm the entire room, not just your tent. If you go this route, just be sure your tent garden stays above 55 deg F with the lights off. Otherwise, your plants might be in trouble.
Another great option for the winter is to simply move your grow tent from the garage to inside your home. Not only will bringing your grow tent inside save you money on heating your garage, but it can also help ease your expenses for heating your home.
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Irrigation Water in the Winter
A commonly overlooked component of tent-growing during the winter is that of irrigation water.
If you are used to filling up your reservoir from an outside water source like a hose, odds are it will freeze during the winter. If this is the case, you can either find a new water source, or insulate your hose with a heated sleeve.
Even if you get water from an indoor sink, water temperatures will always be colder in the winter due to pipes in the frozen ground. You must be careful with cold irrigation water because it can shock your plants and stunt growth. It’s always a good idea fill your reservoir with warm water or let it come up to room temperature before watering your plants.
A common mistake for newbie growers is to assume that indoor gardens are 100 percent insulated from the outdoor environment. While the insulation and HVAC system in your home help create comfortable conditions for people, your garden climate still experiences swings between different seasons. As such, taking the right steps to prepare your grow tent for the winter months could be the difference between a good harvest and a great harvest.
Luckily for tent growers, the winter months afford more flexibility with important factors like temperature and humidity. In fact, you can save money during the winter months on operational overhead like electrical costs — as well as save a little bit on regular utilities like heating if you see fit. In the end, the best indoor growers not only know how to pivot with the seasons, but also how to make these changes work to their advantage.
AC Infinity is the foremost name in air delivery systems, designing and developing the latest innovations in cooling and ventilation technology. They offer a suite of quiet inline fans that automate the growing progress and track key metrics. Visit acinfinity.com or contact [email protected] to learn more.
Written by Kent Gruetzmacher | Writer, Owner of KCG Content
Kent Gruetzmacher MFA is a Colorado-based writer and owner of the writing and marketing firm KCG Content. Kent has been working in the cannabis and hydroponics space for over a decade. Beginning in California in 2009, he has held positions in cultivation, operations, marketing, and business development. Looking specifically to writing, Kent has worked with many of the leading publications and marketing agencies in the cannabis space. His writing has been recognized by such icons as Steve D’Angelo and Rick Simpson.