If you want to know how to tell if a HPS bulb is burnt out, there are signs to look out for and expected life spans to consider. Compared to LED bulbs, UK gardeners know that HPS bulbs often need replacement. However, it cannot be obvious to understand when to replace them, and the last thing you’d want is to replace them too early or too soon.
We all know how crucial it is to maintain the efficiency of growing light indoors, especially when at the early stages of plant growth. Therefore, polytunnel maintenance doesn’t stop with the usual cleaning and checking of indoor temperature and humidity. It’s also essential for the British gardener to know what signs indicate burnt out HPS bulbs and when they’ll need replacement.
How To Tell If A HPS Bulb Is Burnt Out And What To Expect
Signs to look out for
The most common sign to look for is if the area around the bulbs’ base has turned black. However, this doesn’t mean that you should wait for this physical sign to happen. For example, some gardeners in the UK change their HPS bulbs after four or even three harvests because HPS bulbs only last 8000 to 16000 hours.
Therefore, a darkened base’s physical sign may not be present, but the bulbs might already lose lumens. The chance of facing drawbacks in production can occur from this loss, so keep the two tips together in mind. If you notice darkening on the base and it will be your fourth harvest, there’s a good chance the bulb is close to burning out.
Another telltale sign of burnt-out HPS bulbs is when they flicker a lot or shut off completely. It’s best to replace them because this can lead to a decrease in spectrum colour. Remember that spectrum also plays a significant role in the growth lights’ efficiency, so if the bulb looks whiter instead of the usual orange, it’s time to change.
When to change an HPS bulb
As mentioned earlier, you can wait until the fourth harvest to change an HPS bulb. However, different UK gardeners also have various founded considerations on when to change the bulb even if it’s not showing signs that it’s burnt out. First, you can replace the bulbs after 18 months, considering that they have a lifespan of 24,000 hours.
Besides computing how many hours are there in a year, some HPS bulbs will also degrade faster. For example, those with a blue spectrum will also have this spectrum output deteriorate more quickly, making it useless. Instead of 18 months, it’s sensible to replace the HPS bulbs after 10 to 14 months.
The duration of using your bulbs also plays a role in when you should change them. Of course, using the bulbs for 12 to 18 hours a day will burn your HPS bulbs faster. You can even consider how it’s expected for an HPS bulb to last for 20,000 hours, but its intensity tends to lessen after 8,000 hours.
To prevent problems from insufficient lighting, use a light meter to check the brightness, and consider replacing after the bulb loses 15%. Whether you choose to replace them every 12 or 18 months, ensure that you keep backups in case they burn out earlier.
How Often Should You Replace An HPS Bulb
Experienced growers replace HPS bulbs every 6 to 10 months if they are under continuous use. Ideally, you want to replace them once a year if you’re using them for 12 hours on and 12 hours off cycle to ensure that their output is still optimal. On the other hand, you can replace HPS bulbs every eight months if they are 18 hours on and 6 hours off cycle.
The frequency of replacing is essential. As mentioned earlier, those who use HPS bulbs in the UK with a blue spectrum must replace them quicker because of the degradation of the spectrum itself. The importance of knowing when an HPS bulb degrades is that it also dictates the potential loss in your yield. To make the explanation more straightforward, a loss of 20% output equates to a loss of 20% yield.
You might also have to replace it earlier if you notice darkening on the ends of the inner arc tube. Not only does this potentially indicate burning out, but the black discolouration will also block the light. Lastly, those who experience power outages should assume a shorter lifespan for their HPS bulb.
Signs that the HPS bulbs are damaged or used
There will be instances that you feel unsure if the HPS bulbs you have are still new. If you suspect tampering, you can confirm this if there are black specks on the element’s bottom. Shipping can also damage the bulbs and cause scuffing on the base contacts, so always check first before using them.
Maintaining the polytunnel is vital to ensure that your plants will get their optimal requirements. For lights, are you confident with how to tell if a HPS bulb is burnt out? For starters, you can check some darkening at the base as an indicator.
Additionally, mark your calendar on when to expect your bulbs to degrade. Even if it isn’t your fourth harvest or earlier than ten months, you may need to replace them, depending on their daily experience. The bottom line here is that you don’t have to wait for the bulbs to burn out, as degradation leads to low output and poor yield.