When growing Cannabis indoors, unless you have a license and can freely work as you wish, many home growers must be conscious of noise, smells, and light breaks that close-by neighbors may notice. Below is better explained what life was like before charcoal filters, the way certain varieties were pushed out of the market place, and some top tips on using carbon filters.
By Stoney Tark
Life Before Charcoal Filters
The evolution of Cannabis from a legal perspective is now more transparent than ever, with many growers operating with an official license and full compliance. However, life was not so easy over 50 years ago, when most outdoor farmers actually chose to grow indoors due to fear of local enforcement and helicopters.
The laws and sentencing were much heavier back then, and the risk to reward for growing outdoors was not enough for the outdoor farmers. As we are talking way before the revolution of horticultural lighting, growing Cannabis indoors in comparison to the results achieved outdoors was very difficult, yet there were many growers who began dialing in their indoor setup.
At that time, the most sought-after varieties were heavy indica and skunk strains that were floating around California amongst friends. Once the Skunk and Afghani dominant plants began to flower, the pungent, acrid, and menacing fragrance they would emit could easily have you busted or at least red flag the local community that all of the air you were exhausting from the grow room was, in fact, reeking of an earthy, gassy, funky fuel aroma that 99% of people who did not smoke could not identify yet knew there were laws being broken.
Fruity and Floral Strains Worked Best
After numerous busts and sleepless nights, indoor growers decided that it was almost impossible to grow a crop of the loudest, kush, skunk or indica hybrids without some type of detection just from the smells alone. This gave rise to the demand of fruity, sweet, and floral strains that may not have been at the top of every connoisseur's list, however, growers were able to pull off harvests whilst being able to control the odor as much as possible.
Unfortunately, this is one of the reasons why the famous Skunk strain also known as the ' Road Kill pheno ' disappeared off the scene and, only in the last decade, has made a comeback. When charcoal filters became commercially available, this really changed the dynamics of what could be done indoors without the fear of a knock on the door or worse.
The Introduction Of Charcoal Filters
After charcoal filters came on the scene, everyone from large scale to bedroom grower became equipped with smell-proof tech. Basically, a metal can containing an inner wall of charcoal carbon that removes the smells from the air that is being pulled in by the exhaust fan.
The air that comes out of the exhaust fan will have a clean aromaless quality which is how the air must be if you are growing in a public building, or close to neighbors. Nowadays, we are able to grow a wide range of strains that represent the full spectrum of flavor and aroma groups. These are fuel, gassy, earthy, and floral without having to neglect one over the other for any other reason than popularity and demand.
Unwanted Smells During Drying and Storing
There is not much good to having an indoor garden that is controlled by exhaust fans and filters if, when it comes to drying and storing, a nonchalant approach is taken. Take the time to prepare a drying room that is airtight, such as a grow tent that has a filter and exhaust fan inside. Using a bedroom cupboard to hang wet Cannabis is only asking for trouble, and a shoebox or cardboard box approach will also cause problems.
There is no better feeling than drying your flowers in a dark grow tent that is providing the right temperatures and amount of airflow to dry the buds to perfection, without any worry of loud smells coming from a bedroom or nearby window. Once your buds are dried, transporting them can be a nightmare task, especially when working with dank kushes and other pungent strains.
Storing your flowers should also be done in an airtight environment such as a mason jar or plastic tub. The quality of the jar or tub does not need to be anything fancy and needs to be kept out of direct sunlight. Storing dried Cannabis flowers this way is the most professional, discreet, and secure way and will allow for a proper cure.
Top Tips On Using Charcoal Filters
- Replace carbon filters after several grow cycles as they can lose efficacy over time, and always wash and clean sleeves that cover the filter.
- Carbon filters can struggle to work well during high temperatures so be careful not to let your grow lights or grow room become too hot.
- Make sure that the ducting around the ends of the carbon filter and exhaust fan are airtight. Using cable ties will ensure an airtight fit around the connecting parts.
- Leave the exhaust fan and carbon filter on permanently even when lights are off. This will create a consistent rate of airflow and smell proof the garden 24/7.
- Sometimes using two smaller carbon filters in a large-sized garden can be more practical than a large-sized one in the center of the grow room.
- Use acoustic foam ducting. Not only will this silence the fan and noise of the moving air, but it will also allow your filter to produce no smells with minimal sound.
- If you are using one carbon filter, try and place it in the center of the garden allowing air to be evenly sucked through vents if you are using this method.
- The capacity of your exhaust fan will dictate the efficacy of the carbon filter. Upgrading to a more powerful fan can increase the amount of air recycled per hour.