For beginners, a grow tent is a very compact yet tall construction used for growing plants. Its walls and ceiling are covered with foil; it’s lightproof and waterproof, protecting your plants and allowing for a separate microclimate. Inside, you can install a fan, a grow light, and place your plants.
Buying a growing tent means you’re moving to a new level as an indoor grower. We congratulate you and want to help with a complete guide on installing the tent and everything inside of it. There’s a lot to do, but it will be fun, and the results of your work will pay off very quickly.
The installation of such a compact yet powerful construction might seem very difficult, but with the right tools and a step-by-step tutorial, you’re going to do it quickly and efficiently.
Let’s start with the basics like design planning, and then we’ll get into the installation recommendations.
How to Set Up a Grow Tent: A Full Tutorial
First of all, think about the space inside the tent. How large is it? How do you want to organize it? There are tents for everything from a small closet to a big garage. Think about your possibilities, desires, and the scale you want to reach.
You can sketch it to have an understanding of the inner organization and for an additional inspiring push!
Now, let’s see what you will need for the job:
- A full grow tent kit;
- Measuring tape;
- Wire cutters or pliers;
- Screwdriver with a flat head.
For the tent itself, you won’t need a lot of tools. However, as you proceed to install equipment, you’ll need a screwdriver, wire cutters, and a measuring tape. Here are examples of their uses:
- A measuring tape will be useful in ducting calculations. To prevent leaks after installing ventilation and carbon filters, your measurements have to be precise;
- To cut the ducting, wire cutters or pliers that can cut are irreplaceable. If you want the project finished quickly and efficiently, convenient and high-quality cutting tools are a must-have;
- To attach the parts of your ventilation system properly, you’ll need a flathead screwdriver. This is one of the most difficult steps of the project, and basically, you’ll only need the tool for this part.
Step 1: Assembling the Grow Tent
Assembling the tent is the first thing to do. You’ll see the scale of work there, plus the most basic step will be done, which will allow for an easy start of the whole project. Consider asking someone for help because the mission is quite strenuous. With another person to assist, you’ll finish the assembly in about half an hour.
The tent should have 2-3 poles of different lengths. The vertical ones should come divided into 2 pieces. The first thing to do is to build the carcass. Make sure every pole is attached securely and in place. Every tent is different, so make sure you follow the user manual for the construction strictly.
If the manual is missing or doesn’t contain full information, check for reference links to the official website of the manufacturer. You can also go online and look for PDF versions of the manual. If the tent is rare and there’s little information about the assembly, it’s worth contacting the manufacturer directly and asking for coordination.
The most difficult part here isn’t the carcass assembly but the canvas setup. That’s why we recommend you to ask someone for help and assemble your tent outside or in a spacious room.
Step 2: Check Other Elements in the Kit
A grow tent kit contains much more than the tent itself. You should receive a full tech supply for the interior as well. Before purchasing, check what you’re buying. Some offerings include only a grow tent, while others will provide you with everything necessary for creating a microclimate for your plants.
Check if the kit has:
- A lighting system with all necessary cords and a manual for installation;
- An inline fan;
- A carbon filtering system;
- Sufficient ducting;
- A ratchet with hangers (usually 2);
- A duct clamp (also usually 2);
- A timer.
All of these will make your growing experience much better.
Step 3: How to Set Up Grow Tent Ventilation – Locations
The best answer to the question “How to ventilate a grow tent?” is to install a decent ventilation system.
This is the most difficult part, but we’ll try to make it easier for you. Gather up your motivation and effort, as well as all the details and tools needed, and you’ll have no problem.
While there are various configurations and setups for ventilation, we recommend installing both the fan and the filter inside. This is a top choice if your kit has a small or medium carbon filter. The air moves slower, improving the growing footprint. Odor control becomes more effective, and the hot air that usually accumulates closer to the ceiling of the tent is removed more efficiently.
The best placement for a large carbon filter is near the tent on the floor or a plate on the ground. It’s not the best decision if you have limited space, but then you don’t need a large filter. Make sure you buy a kit according to the space you have for it.
Try to avoid installing ventilation outside. It’s an incredibly space-saving option for the tent, but there are strong disadvantages:
- The air goes too fast through the filter, which makes it impossible to process effectively. The odor control will deteriorate, which may bring further undesired consequences;
- The fan noise may become unbearable because of the outside location.
You can install the system outside, but only if it’s too large for the tent, and placing the filter on the floor isn’t possible.
Step 4: How to Install a Carbon Filter in a Grow Tent
First of all, you have to prepare the filter. It’s very easy: just slide on the pre-filter that should come in the package along with the main part. Make sure it stays in position by attaching it securely with nylon straps or elastic bands. Usually, these come with the kit as well.
Now, there are three ways of installing the filter. Your choice depends on the location from the previous step.
1. How to Install an Inline Duct Fan in a Grow Tent + Hang a Carbon Filter
In the package, there should be nylon straps you can use to securely hang the fan inside the tent. Make sure the tapered side is placed towards the exhaust hole of the tent you’ve decided to use. Locate the fan in the center of the strap for a proper balance.
Then, hang the filter with the leftover strap with the flange pointing towards the fan. Move it to make sure it’s in the center of the strap to achieve balance.
Use your measuring tape to find out the distance between the filter and fan flange beginning. You’ll need this measurement to cut the ducting properly. That’s what you will need wire cutters or pliers with the ability to cut for.
To secure the ducting on the fan end, use a clamp that should be provided in the kit. The other side will be very tight-fitting, so you won’t need further clamping on the carbon filter side. Don’t use the second clamp there because you’ll need it for another piece of ducting in just a minute.
Put the remaining ducting out of one of the holes for the exhaust and make sure that end is secured as well. That’s what the second duct clamp is for. The clamps are usually pretty tight, so two are enough for the whole construction.
As to the power cord, there has to be a special hole in the back of the tent or several holes. Choose the closest to the ventilation system.
2. Placing Ventilation Inside the Tent
While in the previous step variation, you had to hang the filter; in this one, you’ll place it on the floor inside the tent. It’s not very convenient space-wise, but sometimes it’s the best option. Choose the most appropriate location and place your carbon filter there, making sure it stays stable.
The inline fan in this construction will be positioned on top of the filter. Make sure the tapered end is up this time. The flanges, in this case, are one in one, secured with 2 foil wraps (invest in foil ducting tape, it’s not in the kit).
The ducting goes to the inline fan flange; don’t forget to secure it with a clap. The rest of the ducting goes to the ventilation hole of your choice. The inline fan cord also goes to a cord hole closest to the construction.
3. Installing Ventilation Outside the Tent
If no other way is an option, you can install the system outside. Choose a proper location and place the filter there, making sure it stands still. The inline fan then goes on top of the filter, but this time, place it so that the tapered end is pointed downwards. Combine the two devices with a couple of foil duct tape wraps to secure the construction.
The ducting goes to the fan, as usually, secured with a clamp. The other end goes through the ventilation hole nearest to the construction.
We recommend testing the system before proceeding to make sure everything works fine, all the elements of the construction are secure, and there are no leaks.
Step 5: How to Hang a Light in a Grow Tent
This is a very simple yet crucial step for the whole grow tent construction. These lights will help your plants divide day and night and balance their growth cycles. Your mission is to not only install the lights but keep the cords out of the way and off the floor. You can do it using duct tape and leading the cord along the wall outside or use card holes in the tent. Get creative and make sure nothing is in your way. Once the plants are inside the tent, everything has to be perfect.
Use two hangers for one light. If your tent is large and has more lights, there should be at least two hangers for each in the kit. Find the crossbar and hook it to the “ceiling” of the tent. The construction will easily hook and stay in place.
The ratchets have rope ends with other hooks on them. Make sure they are on the same level so that the light is shining equally into all directions inside the tent.
Find hanger brackets on the light itself and place the two hooks in their respective locations. The power cord should go into the nearest hole in the back of the tent and outside. There will be a lot of cords (ventilation system, light, etc.), so try to arrange them somehow for the longevity of the whole tent kit.
The lighting system is very convenient because you can adjust the height of it using the same ratchet ropes. Make sure you do both at the same time to keep the level. To lower the lights, there’s a special tab in the construction that will loosen the ropes a bit. Holding the ropes will help you lower the lights slightly.
Recommendations on Installation and Using of Grow Tent Kit Lights
Some growers might not realize the importance of adjusting the height of their grow tent lighting system. There are a lot of different lighting types, including LED, fluorescent, and others. The type of lights, the wattage, type of reflector, and many more factors influence the final quality and power of the lighting your tent will get. The tents are of different sizes as well, so following recommendations in the user manual as to the height of the lights is important.
- You can bathe the plants in the light they need, but keeping them too close will bleach and kill them. The lights also emit heat, and too much heat is harmful to the plants;
- When installing bulbs and working with cords, be very meticulous and careful. Lighting is a fragile system that needs everything to be clear. Any small mistake might lead to system damage. If you’re not sure how to assemble it, and the user manual doesn’t help because you have no experience, make sure to give professionals a call;
- Water and electricity aren’t the best combinations, so make sure the lighting system is protected from high humidity and water splashes;
- The new HID bulbs require some special care as well. You should leave them working for 12 hours or more during the first switch-on to guarantee prolonged lifespan;
- When changing these HID bulbs, always use gloves. The glass may be damaged by the natural oils from your fingers. Plus, the old one may be too hot to touch with bare hands.
While installing the tent, ventilation, and lighting isn’t considered too difficult, if you’ve never done it and don’t want to mess up the cords, it’s better to ask a more experienced grower or an electrician/technician for help. This might mean more investment, but it’s totally worth it.
Step 6: The Final Touch – Tent Timer
We highly recommend automating your tent with a digital timer. Even if plants are everything you think about, people forget stuff, and it’s fine. Why not have a piece of technology back you up just in case? Plus, you never know when you’ll have to go out.
The timer works for the lights and ventilation. They help keep the routine for the plants the same every day, not giving them any reason for a shock.
Installing the timer is relatively easy. Just plug one cord of the lighting system inside the timer and set it. The lights will go off as soon as the timer triggers them. You can choose to connect the fan as well, plugging its cord into the other side of the digital timer. There are two triggers, one on each side.
Usually, timers need a 120V wall socket. You can also use a power strip or an extension cord.
Grow Tent Pro Tips
Here, we’ll review some additional recommendations on keeping your grow tent up and running.
How to control the temperature in a grow tent?
The ventilation system you install in the tent should be able to control the temperature inside. Run it frequently to get rid of stale air and let fresh air inside. You can also use clip-on fans if something is wrong with the ventilation system.
It’s wise to have a thermometer inside the tent to make sure the temperature is at a suitable level all the time.
How to cool a grow tent?
Run the ventilation system for a longer time. If an urgent cool-down is often needed, consider installing an air conditioner inside the tent.
How to heat a grow tent?
Consider investing in a tubular heater if your grow tent needs heating often. It’s a simple, affordable solution, and there are a lot of types and sizes to choose from. Find a model that will work best with your tent. It will save floor space and is energy efficient (it only uses 90-200W of power).
How to control humidity in a grow tent?
Humidity can be controlled with the same good-old ventilation system. If you live in a climate with high humidity, a dehumidifier is also a good idea. It helps you control the levels and advance microclimate for the plants.
How to clean a grow tent?
If you see mildew or spider mites, or just decide it’s time to clean the grow tent, remove the plants in the first place. Any cleaning solution might get on the leaves or roots, damaging them.
Clean the surface areas with a cleaning solution of your choice or a combination of bleach and water, topping it all with 3% hydrogen peroxide the day after. This simple two-step algorithm will help you clean and disinfect the tent. Wait for some time before putting your plants back in the tent to make sure the chemicals evaporate.
What a journey it is, assembling a home for your plants. It’s a huge step, as now you can create a separate microclimate for your small green friends. If you assemble everything part by part, guided by a tutorial and a user manual for each system, the process won’t be bumpy.
It’s surely time and effort-consuming, but it’s worth it. Make sure to ask a friend for help or call a professional to handle everything electricity-wise.
We really hope you got the answers to your questions here. How did you like the article? What was your experience with grow tent installation? Share your tips and recommendations, and share the article with friends who need inspiration for purchasing and installing their own grow tent!