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  • Back up heat for greenhouse?

    Hi all,

    The greenhouse project continues to go forward...slowly. Both in-ground inspections passed this week (gas and electric). The gas company may finish by the end of the week and hopefully we will also be ready for the 2nd electric inspection of 3. I never knew this would be so complicated.
    So my worse nightmare going into the greenhouse and seeing everything frozen. I think I have found a few alarm systems that will work and will keep you posted on it as I start using them.
    My second worse nightmare is waking up to a alarm in the middle of the night and not being able to get the heat going.
    So here is the challenge. What do you use as back up heat?
    Mine is natural gas with electric starter so will go down in a long power failure.
    Looking for heat source that would not be too expensive and keep the greenhouse above freezing until help arrives or power is back on.

    Thanks for your help.
    Sharon
    NC Zone 7a-b

  • #2
    It might be worth investing in a small generator that could power the heater when you have a power outage.

    While you're doing electrical work, it may make sense to put in an over-ride or patch panel that a generator could be hooked up to.

    I know many folks that have done this up here in New England so they can power their well pumps during a power outage.
    Kevin (Eastern MA - Zone 5b/6a)

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    • #3
      A whole house generator running from the same propane source would run your home and take away all worries for the greenhouse. Not the cheapest item of course. Advantage is they start automatically 30 seconds after the power goes out and runs till the power returns then shut s itself off. You could also use wood as a back up heat source. I know Art and Hershell have both used it. I believe Art (kubota) uses wood as his sole heat source for his greenhouse and he is in PA.
      Cutting sales have ended for the season. Plant sales will start March 1 at 8 eastern time. If it is still too cold in your area I can hold your plants till a date of your choosing.

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      • #4
        Those are good ideas and I will also look into it. My only concern is what if the heater itself decided to die at 2am? I currently only have one heater so that could be an issue. I am looking into some small kerosene heaters but not sure if they could do the job.
        NC Zone 7a-b

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        • #5
          I bet the kerosene heaters would work, they put out a lot of heat.
          Cutting sales have ended for the season. Plant sales will start March 1 at 8 eastern time. If it is still too cold in your area I can hold your plants till a date of your choosing.

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          • #6
            Kerosene heaters might be perfect. They can put out tons of BTUs. The only problem is the sulphur in Kerosene. Ends up a sulphur dioxide which isn't good for human lungs, or plants. You could use "Kleen-Heat Kerosene" in the heaters, but that stuff runs $9.00 a gallon at home depot.

            What about a catalytic propane heater? A Mr. Heater Big Buddy runs $135 on Amazon, and can run off small canister, or tanks of propane. Runs at 4,000, 9,000, or 18,000 BTU.
            Amazon.com: Mr. Heater MH18B, Portable Propane Heater: Automotive
            Fig & Blackberry Farmer in Sunol, CA.

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            • #7
              I use a forced air kerosene heater with a thermostat, if the temp gets below 45* it kicks on but it needs electric to run. I have a back up generator
              Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana
              Buffalo WV Z6

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              • #8
                How large of a Greenhouse are you trying to heat?
                2021: The year of figs and a new love of Citrus thanks to http://www.madisoncitrusnursery.com

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                • #9
                  24 x 40
                  NC Zone 7a-b

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