Greenhouse Heating and Greenhouse Heaters


Greenhouse Heaters

Greenhouse Equipment

Unless you intend to raise only crops that will grow in the border soil without heat, such as lettuces, it is inevitable that one must budget for various accessories — some are almost essential, others are luxuries.

There are many kinds of proprietary staging, and the greenhouse manufacturer can normally supply it as an optional extra, although it is not difficult to make wooden staging.

Some gardeners prefer the appearance of wooden slats, but there is much to be said for staging that can be used to support moist sand. This makes various automatic watering systems feasible.


Greenhouse Heating

After the purchase of the greenhouse, heating is the major cost, and probably the one that will determine the type of plants you attempt to grow.

While the old-fashioned method of using hot water pipes from an outside solid-fuel boiler is efficient, it is not likely to be chosen for the smaller greenhouse today. The choice will usually lie with paraffin or electricity, although natural gas can be an attractive proposition in certain circumstances.

Electricity is undoubtedly the most versatile, but is regrettably very expensive. The advantage of having a power supply in the greenhouse is that so many other pieces of greenhouse equipment (including lighting) can be operated.

For the main greenhouse heating, the choice lies between tubular and fan heaters. Tubular heaters have the merit of a fairly even distribution of heat and allow a gap of about 15cm (6in) between the back of the staging and the glass, so that warm air can rise between glass and plants.


Fan Greenhouse Heaters

Fan greenhouse heaters can be effective, but unless carefully sited can cause pockets of cold air, especially in the lower half of the structure.

All forms of electrical heating can be controlled by the use of a thermostat, and this is an essential piece of equipment.

Electricity offers an alternative form of greenhouse heating — undersoil cables. This can prove more economical for raising many plants, but obviously growth will still be controlled to a large extent by air temperature. Soil-warming cables are, however, invaluable for providing extra heat for propagating purposes.

Gas and oil can be used to fire hot-water boilers, or to provide more direct convected heat, but natural gas is normally used only if the greenhouse is very close to, or attached to, the house and supply is no problem. It may be particularly attractive if the home is already on a low tariff for central heating. If it is possible to run an additional radiator from the existing central heating system, this may be the most satisfactory solution, but is only feasible in a lean-to or conservatory.


Paraffin Greenhouse Heaters

Paraffin greenhouse heaters are easy to install, and still a favourite for background warmth. They are also economical, but need frequent attention. The wick must always be kept clean, and a blue flame burner should be chosen.

A satisfactory solution could be a combination of paraffin heaters for background heat and soil-warming cables or a propagating case for raising seedlings.

30. October 2010 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Greenhouse Gardening | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Greenhouse Heating and Greenhouse Heaters

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