How long will it take for a hydroponics unit to pay for itself

In a nutshell – How long it will take for an indoor hydroponics growing kit to pay for itself. Assuming I eat one packet of bagged lettuce a week at a cost of £1.50 a week.

grow salad all year live lagom

If I spend £1.50 on a bag of lettuce a week that is costing me £78 a year.

How much does the growing kit cost?

I was lucky enough to have money from Ikea to buy a whole Vaxar indoor growing kit which cost £75. Some of that isn’t totally necessary to growing indoors so this post lists the vital components only which are:

A cultivation light, the smallest is £27

cultivation insert kit in the smallest size £2.50

If you don’t have shelf above you will need a fixture for cultivation light for £3.50

Total cost of a bare bones kit is £33.

Money saving indoor growing tips:

  • The lights have to be on for 16 hours a day so it’s worth spending a few more quid on a timer. Mine came from Wilkos and cost £5.
  • You can use a small plastic Tupperware to hold the seedling plugs instead of the large nursery unit. If it’s cold use another Tupperware over the top as a lid.

How much does it cost to run indoor grow houses?

The small cultivation light uses 4.8 kWh per month, if used for 16 hours per day. so it its £ 0.154 a kWh that is 73p a month or £8.76 a year

The large light (which I have) is 7.68 kWh per month, if used for 16 hours per day so that is £1.18 a month or £14.16 a year

I based this on the first figure that Google gave me for an average cost of electricity, it’s about the same as mine is at the moment. There is an easy electricity running cost calculator here if you want to find out the actual cost based on your tarif.

An easy way to work this out would be to assume that electricity is at least £ 0.1 a kWh – that would be 48p a month or £5.76 a year to run the smaller light and 76p a month or £9.12 to run the bigger. Round it down it’s at least a fiver for the smaller light and £9 for the larger.

How much are the consumables?

Assuming you need one packet of each consumable a year:

  • 500 ml fertiliser: £3
  • 50 grow plugs: £2.50
  • 3l growing medium: £2.50
  • 3 packets of seeds: £1.50

Total cost of consumables per year = £9

Will indoor growing save money?

Eventually, assuming the light lasts a few years and nothing breaks, then yes, this kit will save you a bit of money.

Using the pared down kit with the smallest components it will cost £33 to set up with a light.

You will then need to spend £9 a year on consumables and at least £8 a year on the cost of running the light.

So the total running cost will be close to £17 a year using the small size of light and around £23 a year using the larger light (assuming £ 0.154 a kWh)

From my £78 spent on bagged salad a year, if I use the minimum of equipment, I will save £28 in the first year and £45 in the second.

My kit is lovely but it will take longer to pay for itself. In the first year it will cost me £98 in total (the cost of the unit (£75) plus the cost of running it (£23)) Next year it will cost me £32 in consumables (£9) and running costs (£23) so next year I will save £46.

Is it worth it?

For the fun of growing indoors, the minimal hassle to do and the taste of super fresh salad straight off the plant then yes, the Ikea indoor grow house is totally worth it. My grow house is in my work room, the bright white light is great to work with and it makes me happy to see lush green foliage in January.

From a money perspective it will save you money within the first year if you get the bare minimum of kit. If you buy the whole kit it will cost you in the first year and you will begin to save in the second.

I am probably saving extra money on lighting because the grow light is so bright we no longer need a night-light.

If you are considering getting the Ikea indoor growing kit please read my more detailed post about the good and bad bits but overall, it’s a winner!

I’ve also written about the kit 6 weeks into growing on this post so you can see the progress. Next week we shall start to eat our fresh salad!