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  Heaters, vented & otherwise (was "Anthurium")
From: Steve Marak samarak at gizmoworks.com> on 2006.11.21 at 15:46:56(14818)
The topic of combusting greenhouse heaters without external venting came up at
an orchid society meeting a couple of years ago and the older, more experienced
growers unanimously issued dire warnings. Most said that their orchids didn't
die, but dropped flowers and leaves and generally ailed until they vented their
heaters externally or switched to another heat source.

I've always assumed this was due to carbon monoxide from incomplete combustion,
since that's always a concern when burning things indoors, and since I've
read/heard many times that carbon monoxide damages plants at very low
concentrations. I have no idea what the chemical mechanism would be and for
some reason find it counterintuitive, but it seems to be so - dying plants is
often listed as one of the things to watch for when a carbon monoxide problem
is suspected.

But I've seen a lot of these self-venting greenhouse heaters advertised, and
I've used a portable kerosene heater to heat my sunroom, one winter until we
could get the failing house system replaced. I was meticulous about everything
to get the most complete combustion I could, used the heater the bare minimum,
and kept two carbon monoxide detectors nearby, and didn't see any problems.

If there are people with experience here, I'd love to hear from them - I need a
non-electric backup heat source for a new structure.


From: "Steve Lucas Exotic Rainforest" steve at exoticrainforest.com> on 2006.11.21 at 16:00:13(14819)
Sorry about that Steve! Here's the photo!

Steve Lucas

From: "Harry Witmore" harrywitmore at witmore.net> on 2006.11.21 at 16:46:54(14821)
I have what I call my fern house with a propane heater in it not vented and
have had no problems I would attribute to the heater. Now, I do make sure
there is some fresh air coming in since if I don't and the fans go off it
goes out. So I think there is more of a problem with getting enough oxygen
to the heater than buildup of carbon monoxide or dioxide to the plants. At
least ferns that is.

Harry Witmore

From: RAYMOMATTLA at cs.com on 2006.11.21 at 17:30:52(14822)
I use a kerosene heater almost every night the temps fall near or below freezing as a backup heat source to my regular vented gas source. The main reason why I do this is for fear of power going out at night....but it really does help with keeping the GH floor temps up and lower my heating bills. Ive been doing this for several years now and havent seen any problems...(knock on wood).
Michael M.
From: NORHOW at aol.com on 2006.11.22 at 02:17:04(14828)
And just to confirm that the natural gas in the UK seems to do no more harm than that in the US ....... I heat my two small greenhouses (15 x 16 & 20 x 8) using natural gas (actually I think the gas comes from Scandinavia and Russia!).
I have no vents as such, other than the usual "gaps" at doors, and maintain the temperature at 60F minimum for my aroids, etc. and have done for years.

The latest photo from Steve Lucas (plus the others of his atrium on his website) certainly seem to confirm no ill effect on growth.
Mind you, my hair has gone completely white, but that's just old age!!

Norman Howard

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