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Heating a small greenhouse

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John S-B
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2021 8:42 am    Post subject: Heating a small greenhouse Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I've looked on the internet, but I've not seen any specific information on what I want to do. It's common to use drums of water to store water as a heat sink, but I plan on using a small alcohol jet stove to heat water in a barrel to heat a small green house. I just bought a 8x12 greenhouse kit (Palram brand) and I don' have close enough electric to use an electric heater in it.
So my plan is to place a bulkhead fitting near the bottom, convert the pipe from CPVC to coppper, then back to CPVC into another bulkhead fitting at the top. In the middle of this system, I'll angle the copper pipe at a 45 degree angle, and have the alcohol jet stove to heat the water. The heated water should rise, and cause natural circulation. I'll build a box over this section out of backer board lined with galvanized metal hold in more heat, it will be open at the bottom. That should make it heat resistant using those materials. I'm using alcohol because it will burn cleanly, and provide CO2 which should help with plant growth (so I'm told). I'm making the jet stove out of an unused gallon paint can for more capacity, hopefully it will burn for a few days before refilling. I can get a 5 gallon bucket of alcohol from Menard's for about $40.
I also want to supplement the heat with a compost bin, and reflective heat blankets (like they use for runners on cold days), so hopefully I only need to use the stove on the coldest days. My intent is to be able to grow veggies during the winter.
Anyone heard of this kind of setup?? Any thoughts? I plan on doing a Youtube video, good or bad outcome.
 
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JK-NY
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2021 5:25 am    Post subject: Re: Heating a small greenhouse Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Sounds like a lot of project that may or may not work, so you can use $8/gal fuel. WWhy not just get a kero-sun style kerosene heater? I am not sure what an alcohol jet stove is , but if it is some sort of camping cookstove, I doubt if it will be adequate. Using it to heat water will not increase the heat output. You will have your greatest heat demand at night . Will this alcohol stove hold enough fuel for 10-12 hrs or will you have to go refill it in the middle of the night?
 
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paul
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2021 4:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Heating a small greenhouse Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Kind of an interesting stove design. Had to look it up.

Too bad E85 ethanol fuel doesnt fit your needs, would be a much cheaper fuel. But I suspect the 15% gasoline would not meet your approval.

Good luck with the project!

Paul
 
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Farmboy 81
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2021 5:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Heating a small greenhouse Reply to specific post Reply with quote

We have 2 30ft x 150ft greenhouses that are heated by 2 225,000 btu (best can remember, could be 250,000 btu) Hired Hand LP gas heaters. They are placed 1 on each end on opposite sides of the houses. Both houses do have double layers of plasic for the top. They barely will keep the temp at 75 degrees with no sun and the outside temps in the 30s to 40s. Don't know how hot you need it for germination purposes where you live but I would seriously look at a 100,000 btu Lp or natural gas heater. I think this would be adequate. Think you'll be happier in the long run.
 
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John S-B
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2021 6:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Heating a small greenhouse Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Uh, maybe you didn't read the part when I said it was 8x12'... I want to keep it warm enough to grow things in the winter, not burn it down in 5 minutes...
 
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John S-B
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2021 6:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Heating a small greenhouse Reply to specific post Reply with quote

The jet stove concept didn't work, don't know if I did it wrong or if using a 1 gallon paint can was too much height for the fuel to draw up the wick. I just got two glass Tiki torch burners with 1/2 wicks. Seems to be working ok, had to turn them down just a bit as it's building up too much heat where they're heating the copper pipe. I have to protect the wood structure a bit better with so more backer board.
 
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John S-B
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2021 6:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Heating a small greenhouse Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Started it up about 8pm tonight, no leaks so far. It was 41 degrees as I started it up, just finished filling it up. Had to use buckets to fill the drum, had a bad hose connector, so it wouldn't reach. Two hours later, it was still 41 degrees inside, but the water in the drum was getting warmer, it was probably 55 degrees or so out of the tap, so it will take a bit to warm it up. I'll have to protect the wood frame a bit better, there was a bit of char from the heat coming out of the heating chamber on one end. I'll probably use steel studs to replace that section or add more backer board. I opened it up so heat can escape without burning the wood
 
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paul
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2021 7:26 am    Post subject: Re: Heating a small greenhouse Reply to specific post Reply with quote

It was 16 degrees f this morning.

In winter, at 20 below, the heater he mentioned might be about right for your size greenhouse, if it were located here.......

Paul
 
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John S-B
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2021 1:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Heating a small greenhouse Reply to specific post Reply with quote

100,000 BTU's is about SIX TIMES what I'd need for this greenhouse. My bathroom is bigger than this greenhouse... SMH...
 
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ASEguy
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2021 3:53 am    Post subject: Re: Heating a small greenhouse Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I have a shed that's a bit larger and needed electric for my tractors (block heater's, shop lights battery charger etc. I decided to go with a solar panel kit from HF. I also purchased a large group size 27 deep cycle battery and a power inverter. I then wired my shed for 120 volts and installed a 5,000 lumen LED shop light which really helps a lot for my old eyes. I put my solar panels over my shed entrance at the suggested angle which makes it double as an overhang. I've run a power sander and had the lights on for what I think were extended periods without any noticeable lack of power. I don't know how much temperature you'll need, but you could also use the power for grow lights. Good luck.
 
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ASEguy
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2021 4:00 am    Post subject: Re: Heating a small greenhouse Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Additionally, my son worked for a golf course about three years ago and said he used timers, pipes, solenoids and collected rainwater to drip irrigate his plants inside his greenhouse there.
 
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JK-NY
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2021 9:50 am    Post subject: Re: Heating a small greenhouse Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Well, I hope you can get it worked out. I would be very concerned about fire risk from what you have described. One big factor- what part of the country do you live in ? Heat needs in my neck of the woods would be much greater than a southern area.
 
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John S-B
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2021 7:17 am    Post subject: Re: Heating a small greenhouse Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I'm confident that there's little risk of fire. (I'm a firefighter, so I plan for fire safety) I am going to make some modifications though. I'm going to expand the amount of copper pipe, and increase the size of the heat exchanger to transfer more heat to the water.
I'm in Central Ohio.
 
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John S-B
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Heating a small greenhouse Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I wasn't real impressed with the results, but I have a couple of things I'm going to try. I'm going to increase the amount of copper pipe in the heating area by running the pipe back and forth a few times. I'm also going to try using E-85 fuel as it's mostly alcohol, but a LOT cheaper. I think If I run the burners at full strength, it will help. The water does heat up a bit on sunny days too. Not a total failure, but not an overwhelming success.
 
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John S-B
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 2:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Heating a small greenhouse Reply to specific post Reply with quote

WAY out of my budget...
 
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