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Thread: Kyle's Basement Greenhouse Build Thread

  1. #17
    Kyle's Avatar
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    Well, that would depend upon the frequency with which you need to insulate it and how important it is to you to have it cheaply insulated, eh?

    For care-free, light-friendly insulation, you could always spend a pretty penny and be done with it. LOL.

  2. #18
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    4' wide walkway? That's huge! You can easily get away with 3' or even less and have much more grow space. Also looks like you have just benches on each side? If you add a cross bench connecting the two ends opposite the door and make a U shape you will have even more space!! wooo gotta love space... Seriously though, it will fill up quickly so the more space you start with the better.

    I read about the floor and sealing the baseboard and what not but I am curious how you are actually planning on watering and keeping the water from hitting the floor? At least I figure that is what you are planning for the most part, aside from the few drips here and there that are going to fall no matter what.
    I think your concern over condensation is probably overblown. With all the lights in there you will need to let heat out probably, along with some moisture. You probably only want to aim for 60-70% anyway, more than that is not necessary and can do more harm than good, in which case you shouldn't see alot of condensation because the 'greenhouse' isn't outdoors where the surface is exposed to cold nights where moisture will then condense on the covering/framework.

    You will inevitably have to do some tinkering with the venting/cooling/heating/humidifying systems once you get things functioning. These types of things never work quite as intended in the planning stage once they start interacting with each other as well as the local 'environment' ie your surrounding basement.

    I want to also point out that you may(or may not) want to put the fluorescent ballasts outside the structure. They do get warm which can be good if you need to add heat to the inside. But they also tend to cause warm spots in the fixture so that anything above the fixture where the ballast is located will be like sitting on a heat mat in that one little area. Taking them all out and relocating them is alot of work to rewire though ;<
    Is that a Nepenthes in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

  3. #19
    Kyle's Avatar
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    Thank ya, Tony.

    Even if I were to make the walkway more narrow, it doesn't create any more growing space simply because of the nature of the design. The racks (which will be functioning as the frame/walls) would also just get moved in (6 inches on each side I guess). So it ultimately decreases square footage without creating any extra grow space. There are no benches or tables, it's all going to be those big 4'x18"x6' metal racks. And, yeah, I thought about having another rack at the end of it to create a u shape - that was another reason I went with 4', because the racks are 4'. ;p

    As far as watering goes, it's just going to be trays and tanks, for the most part. Tanks to hold the water for the auto-watering areas and trays to collect any excess water from watering the plants. Not to mention all those that are just fine on the tray method. I have a couple REALLY big Neps ('Miranda' and ventrata) that I'm planning on just hanging from the top of a rack and putting a big rubbermaid underneath them, which is how I'm growing them now. The rubbermaid catches excess water.

    In regards to the condensation, I think you're probably right, but will be making use of drip loops regardless; safety first, right!?

    I'm sure I will need to tinker with things for a while before I get things where I want them to be, but I'm more than happy to tinker. That's a lot of what comes with DIYing. ^.^

    I do intend to have at least one fan in there, which should theoretically combat the development of hot spots over the ballasts. I wasn't even aware of the option to relocate the ballasts, though. I'll see how much my cooling systems have to work to keep things within reasonable parameters. If I think they're working harder than they ultimately should be, I will most definitely look into rewiring them. I can imagine that would, indeed, remove a LOT of the heat source in such a closed environment.

    Thanks again!

  4. #20
    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    Just a note on the safety first thing, good plan as always.
    Might want to check your breakers or outlets you are going to use for any power going to the structure and be sure to have ground fault units in there. Same type of situation you would find in a bathroom where you have potential water/electricity mixing.
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  5. #21

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    Looks like a very cool project. How about you dispense with the idea of carpet altogether and get some alkyd paint in a color you like or more of the epoxy and add a couple handfuls of sand or purchase some sort of paint texture additive (same thing more or less) and paint the floor for a non-slick surface? If you regularly check Lowe's or HD, you can find mistinted paint cheaply. Sometimes you can even talk them into adding a bit more tint if it is an off color. I bought a gallon of alkyd paint once for a dollar.

  6. #22
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    @Tony: Oh, that's a good idea. There aren't any down there right now. My understanding is that you only need one GFCI unit per breaker, is that correct (assuming you know)? If so, I'd be more than happy to replace one of the outlets with a GFCI outlet. I'll even replace them all if need be, that's probably something worth investing in. Better to be safe than sorry.

    @pearldiver: Hmmmm, now that is something to consider for sure. One concern that comes to mind is resale value. We won't be living in this house forever and were planning on selling it down the road. One random patch of textured paint might be kind of a "WTF?" to potential buyers. But then, we were planning on putting carpet back in down there before selling anyway... Mmmm, this is a great idea indeed, and one I will certainly look into. Thanks! Oh, it will definitely have to be barefoot-friendly too since I am rarely caught indoors with anything on my feet. XD

  7. #23
    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle View Post
    @Tony: Oh, that's a good idea. There aren't any down there right now. My understanding is that you only need one GFCI unit per breaker, is that correct (assuming you know)? If so, I'd be more than happy to replace one of the outlets with a GFCI outlet. I'll even replace them all if need be, that's probably something worth investing in. Better to be safe than sorry.
    Depending on how much you know about the wiring in the room, there are a few options. One is certainly to just replace each outlet with a GFI outlet. Kind of a pain though and shouldn't really be necessary. The GFI outlets allow you to either protect that single outlet or to wire a series of outlets into that single outlet and protect the whole string of outlets. Just need to read the wiring instructions that come with the outlet. The trick with that though is figuring out which is the first outlet coming from the breaker and making sure the rest of the outlets are wired to the same circuit from that initial outlet box.

    My personal preferential choice however is to use GFI breakers. Much simpler and easier to deal with.
    Most likely there is just one breaker supplying power to the outlets in the room. If that's the case then you can simply replace the breaker with a GFI breaker and everything on that circuit is protected.
    Last edited by Tony Paroubek; 12-24-2011 at 10:27 PM.
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  8. #24
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    Makes me wish I had a basement.

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