Nico’s Nuggets: Safe Wiring


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Hey Nico,
Growing isn't exactly legal here in the UK, whether it's for medicinal purposes or not, but through a lot of research and thanks to HIGH TIMES you can find out how it's done properly and safely. My question is, how would you safely set up the electrical equipment for a growroom? Or, what excuse could you give to an electrician to make at least setting up the fuse box, adding outlets and putting in an HID light controller sound plausible? Thanks, Brian S.

Greetings Brian, and thanks for emailing us from the UK!
You bring up some very good and serious questions regarding electricity and safety in the growroom. You are wise to consider these aspects of growing, especially in a non-legal environment.

To start with, if you are doing heavy duty electrical work such as installing new sub-panels, breaker boards, or running new lines from your mains, you need to have a qualified professional help you with this task. This last thing you want is to start a fire in your home or apartment building and endanger peoples' lives. This type of work is hard enough to do without being noticed, so you really need to have a good cover story both for your neighbors and your electrician. 

Lesser electrical tasks such as adding additional outlets, switching out fuses, or installing light and atmospheric controllers can probably be done on your own so long as you follow instructions carefully and be sure to turn off the power from your breaker boxes in the rooms you are working in.

I had a friend who once set up a growroom in an apartment building in NYC. It was a tough sell to any electrician as he needed to run a new 80-amp circuit from the basement, where his breaker box was located, up to his apartment on the second floor. Luckily for him, there was construction going on in the ground floor which allowed for his electrician to gain access and run the wires up two floors. The excuse he gave to the electrician, which I thought was pretty ingenious, was that he was installing a “server farm” and that he needed to load-in several racks of computer servers as he ran a website development and hosting business. Obviously, this carries zoning implications and involves other city codes, but he was paying in cash and the electrician really did not seem to care either way. So, equally as important as a good cover story is finding an electrician who is good with just getting some paid work and getting the job done. If I remember correctly, he “screened” several electricians over the phone before choosing the right one.

In terms of installing your equipment around the garden, there are a couple of key rules you should adhere to. First of all, never run any wires on the floor. All electrical currents must be off the floor and high up on the walls or ceilings, out of the way of both people and possible flooding. Also, be sure to bundle wires together in groups conduit or zip ties whenever possible. An organized electrical system is key to safety and easy repair work.

Next, all electrical equipment should be installed outside of the growroom whenever possible. This includes, but is not limited to, ballasts (which produce a ton of heat you don’t want in the garden anyway), timers and controllers. Reservoirs, pumps, and related irrigation equipment should have their own room, or area outside of the garden and away from electrical equipment and wiring. The growroom is reserved for plants and necessary gear only.

Gear such as lamps, fans, filters and CO2 kits are all installed within the growroom, so anything else that does not need to be in the garden should be outside it. This is why many indoor growers choose to build a growroom inside a warehouse, or to use large grow tents within a larger room. And keeping electricity away from water is the number one rule.

So, to recap, following these basic guidelines, home growers should have no issues in carrying out a safe and secure grow:

  • Always hire a professional electrician to carry out serious electrical work such as panel boxes, new circuit lines, or any electrical work involving your home’s main electrical line.
  • Always read all instructions and manuals carefully before installing any equipment on your own.
  • Always shut off the power from the breaker box in the room in which you are working.
  • Always separate your irrigation equipment and water supplies/ reservoirs from your electrical equipment.


Thanks for reading everyone and remember: Grow… And help the world grow, too!

Got questions? Email ‘em over to Nico at NicosNuggets@hightimes.com and be sure to put “Nico’s Nuggets” in the subject line!
 

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