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Thread: help me heat my greenhouse for zero cost after initial investments

  1. #9
    D_muscipula's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whimgrinder View Post
    In a climate such as ours in the PNW it is possible to rely on "passive" techniques to capture what heat you need to maintain a greenhouse for highland species, under most circumstances. However, it is worth keeping in mind that once or twice every winter, we experience a few nights that dip down to as low as 8F, and there isn't a passive heat system on earth that will prevent serious freeze damage to the contents of any greenhouse that does not make use of artificial heating. You may be able to engineer a system that works when night temps do not drop below 40F, but beyond that, you will need to have a backup system at the ready.
    hmmm..... I wonder if there is a more efficient backup system that a regular old space heater.
    I wonder if I could make use of some victorian technology.

    ---------- Post added at 08:59 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:45 AM ----------

    Here's a link on victorian greenhouse technology
    http://winsfordwalledgarden.com/gree...uses_Home_Page
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  2. #10
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whimgrinder View Post
    However, it is worth keeping in mind that once or twice every winter, we experience a few nights that dip down to as low as 8F, and there isn't a passive heat system on earth that will prevent serious freeze damage to the contents of any greenhouse that does not make use of artificial heating.
    I beg to differ. There are many passive solar homes in subarctic regions that can maintain inside temperatures above 40F throughout entire winters at sub-freezing outside. A small fully glazed greenhouse has substantial heat loss and dismal thermal mass, but I think it's possible to at least prevent a hard freeze for a single night with a little ingenuity. A greenhouse can withstand arbitrarily large temperature drops if it's big enough - the difficulty with small ones is that they don't have the thermal mass to store enough heat to last through a cold night.
    D, check out this guy's compost heater: http://onestrawrob.com/
    On the off chance that your greenhouse is near your house, it might be possible to warm it with exhaust from your heater. Also, what are you growing? If most of the plants in your greenhouse can withstand a light frost, you might also consider setting up a smaller enclosure within the greenhouse to shelter the most sensitive individuals, and heat that instead of the whole space.
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
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    D_muscipula's Avatar
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    My greenhouse is right next to my house, and there are windows right next to both ends of the greenhouse. Only problem is these windows are full of plants. My room only gets to about 60F in the winter
    I might be able to circulate the air in my room into my greenhouse, having one duct pumping warmer inside air into the GH, and the other duct bringing it back into my room. I have a solar powered exhaust fan with a thermostat, that could be useful for doing this. I think I would need some way to warm the air though.

    I want to grow HL nepenthes in the greenhouse like lowii, khasiana, rajah, mikei, etc. The idea of me setting up a greenhouse is so I don't have to confine nepenthes to a tiny space. But I have thought of a coldframe within my gh.

    I'm browsing that link you gave me Joe, but there's a lot of info.
    Do you have a direct link to his compost heater?
    Last edited by D_muscipula; 08-23-2011 at 11:32 AM.
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    mobile's Avatar
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    There is a lot of energy wasted in a domestic household, e.g. hot gases from gas boiler flue (can be in excess of 60'C), hot water from bath, washing machine, shower, sinks etc, hot air from tumble dryers, all of which are simple disposed of either to atmosphere or drains. I've also read about heat being extracted from sewage pipes. Problem is capturing and storing the energy can be difficult and expensive.

    BTW, if you are a little frugal you could leave the water in a bath after bathing until it gets cold. That way the heat is transferred to the room

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    Eats genetically engineered tomatoes Sig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mobile View Post
    There is a lot of energy wasted in a domestic household, e.g. hot gases from gas boiler flue (can be in excess of 60'C), hot water from bath, washing machine, shower, sinks etc, hot air from tumble dryers, all of which are simple disposed of either to atmosphere or drains. I've also read about heat being extracted from sewage pipes. Problem is capturing and storing the energy can be difficult and expensive.

    BTW, if you are a little frugal you could leave the water in a bath after bathing until it gets cold. That way the heat is transferred to the room
    Actually, this could be a very good idea... pumping "waste" hot water into the greenhouse in general. If you arrange the water from a shower to go into the drum in the greenhouse, you could get a lot of radiant heat. You'd just have to rig it so the water goes outside afterward.
    Formerly known as Silenceisgod!

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    D_muscipula's Avatar
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    what about woodgas?
    Gasifiers have been used to power tractors, taxis. They can also be used to generate electricity and they can run on scrap wood soft or dry and possibly junk mail.
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  7. #15
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by D_muscipula View Post
    I'm browsing that link you gave me Joe, but there's a lot of info.
    Do you have a direct link to his compost heater?
    Whoops, sorry, didn't realize how hard it is to find from the main page. Here we are:
    http://onestrawrob.com/?cat=32
    I don't suggest recirculating air from your house to your greenhouse and back - just slowly pump it one way. The greenhouse will be damp and stuffy at times and you don't want to blow that back into your house on a muggy day. But the house air will almost always be warmer at night, and just a trickle of that warm, (relatively) humid air will make a difference to the climate in the GH.
    As for growing your Nepenthes in the greenhouse, you're going to have to make some hard choices. You'll need exhaust fans to keep temps from getting too high, and even if you use passive heat you'll need an emergency heater every once in a while - there's the matter of getting thermostats to control it all, too. (I suppose you can get some of those snazzy emergency exhaust vents that open automatically when the temperature reaches a high enough point, but especially with a smaller greenhouse, you'll want a fan as well due to the small thermal mass.) You can get away with a no-power setup for a while, but eventually there will be an accident or a weird weather event you didn't plan for, and powered devices are just better suited for emergencies like that. I suggest gradually moving your biggest, hardiest plants first to optimize the use of your indoor space. Also start collecting greenhouse parts - vents, fans, swamp coolers, controllers, etc. If you buy just a few things at a time, and scavenge for used stuff, it'll be much more manageable than doing it all at once.
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

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