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  An Aroid greenhouse question
From: "Sue Zunino" <suez at Northcoast.com> on 1998.06.06 at 14:28:38(2232)
Dear Aroid people,

Can anyone give me some suggestions on choosing a greenhouse heater for my
greenhouse Aroids? My greenhouse isn't very big (9' X 15') with a covered
wagon top that reaches 10'. I've heard of kerosene, gas, wood and compost,
but the ones that appeal to me the most are kerosene and propane gas
heaters. Can anyone recommend a heater?

I hope this is an appropriate question for the list.

Thank you anyone,
Sue Zunino, Zone 9

From: "Jared R. Shortman" <jared at libcong.com> on 1998.06.06 at 19:19:27(2233)
(this is always an appropriate question). I use kerosene in my greenhouse.
Before I went with it I heard all kinds of comments about using one-all from
people who didn't have one. It worked great this winter. There are no
problems if you keep it full of kerosene. Get one with a fan in it though so
that the heat is dispersed and not collected in one spot. Most new kerosene
heaters have a shutoff switch if you happen to forget to fill it, so don't
worry if you hear about greenhouses being coated with black smut from
heaters going empty.
I also have a couple of fans blowing around too because air movement is
important in keeping a greenhouse warm, otherwise you develop cold spots.
The annoying thing about kerosene (and propane) is that unless your heater
has a huge tank, you basically have to refill it every night. If you go away
at all in the winter you have to make sure that someone can and will do the
heater. Natural gas piped from the house would be optimum method of heating
and I think by next winter I will try to do this for all my greenhouses. I
think I bought my thermostat which hooks up to the plug in on the kerosene
heater (the best ones have electric switches) at Stuppys or at Hummert (both
mail order sources).

Jared R. Shortman

From: Plantbob at aol.com on 1998.06.06 at 19:24:20(2234)

Heating a greenhouse full of any type of plant is always a challenge. I have
kerosene for years with no negative effect on my Aroids. It did effect my
jades, and some of the other flowering plants such as passion flowers.

Now I use a wood burning stove. It is more work and mess, but it is clean
Just keep the humidity high.

I think the best heat is a vented natural gas heater, if the cost justifies
the pleasure
of the plants (most plant nuts like us will justify the cost). I plan on
converting to
natural gas in the near future.

Good luck in preparing for this winter, which I hope NEVER comes.

Bob Kleiser

From: "Jared R. Shortman" <jared at libcong.com> on 1998.06.07 at 03:17:26(2235)
Bob Kleiser,

What exactly happened to your orchids and other plants that you said was an
effect from kerosene heat? This concerns me being that I use kerosene.


From: "Sue Zunino" <suez at Northcoast.com> on 1998.06.07 at 15:20:22(2238)
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.

Content-Type: text/plain;
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

Jared, Bob and Neal,

Thank you for your responces. I did a search on The Southern Burner =
Company and found this:

TheModel C-1 Unit Heater is an open flame heater that does not need =
to be vented. Although it does require a fresh or combustible air =
intake from the outside of the greenhouse. The C-1 is round in design - =
12.5 inches in diameter and 22 inches tall, constructed of non-rusting =
mill polished aluminum shell supporting a stainless steel burner rated =
at 20,000 B.T.U.

This is exactly what I was looking for. It also says: In Northern =
states, it is suggested that one unit be placed for every 150 to 175 =
square feet of floor space in a conventional greenhouse.

My greenhouse has 135 sq. ft., so this heater should work just right. =
I haven't seen the cost of one yet, but I'll find out Monday, which will =
probably curtail purchasing a years worth of Aroids.

Thank you all very much for the suggestions,
Sue Zunino

From: Plantbob at aol.com on 1998.06.07 at 15:27:54(2239)
In a nut shell, the buds turned yellow and dropped off before opening. The
had leaf drop like it had been under watered. All flowering plants had the
From: Chris Marsden <Byway at compuserve.com> on 1998.06.07 at 15:31:43(2240)
Hi Folks,

> Can anyone give me some suggestions on choosing a greenhouse heater for=

> greenhouse Aroids? My greenhouse isn't very big (9' X 15') with a
> wagon top that reaches 10'. I've heard of kerosene, gas, wood and
> but the ones that appeal to me the most are kerosene and propane gas
> heaters. Can anyone recommend a heater?

For my 10'x8' aluminium greenhouse, I used propane this winter to keep th=
temp at about 5'C (40'F). It worked well, and (unlike the kerosene heater=
I have used) you don't have to turn it on each night. However, burning th=
pilot light constantly is fairly expensive, and can most cost-effectively=

be done by heating to a higher temperature (the pilot light is on less, s=
a higher proportion of the gas is used for heating, even though it will
cost that bit more).

Propane is expensive (and if anyone in the UK uses propane they will know=

that the price varies a lot... Calor is almost 40 GBP/cylinder where my
local supplier's gas is 24 GBP for the same amount) where natural gas is
cheaper (I think you can convert propane heaters - natural gas heaters an=
vice versa), but remember the installation cost, especially if the neares=
pipeline is miles away, like in rural Herefordshire :-) Also remember the=

carbon monoxide risks if you live in your greenhouse like I do :-)

Anyway, hope this helps.

Kindest Regards,

Toby Marsden

From: plantnut at shadow.net (Dewey Fisk) on 1998.06.07 at 18:21:18(2241)
In a "Nut Shell", with kerosene.... It is the fumes. The residual from
buring does not vent out easily and has an adverse effect.

From: plantnut at shadow.net (Dewey Fisk) on 1998.06.07 at 18:25:55(2242)
What is the fuel on your message below.....

From: "Sue Zunino" <suez at Northcoast.com> on 1998.06.08 at 01:24:10(2243)

>What is the fuel on your message below.....<

Natural gas or LP. One model (A1) is vented in the sense it has a stove
pipe, the other (C1) is not, but requires a 2" to 3" vent pipe above the
greenhouse floor from the outside to: well, here's what they say:

" A 2" to 3" PVC air intake pipe should be installed as the figure shows.
The outside elbow should be turn down to keep out water and screened to keep
out rodents. Intake pipe can be offset to one side. It does not have to be
in center of heater. The pipe extending outside must be no more than 12"
from inside floor grade, and should stop about three inches from the heater,
and about four inches up from the floor."

I have natural gas not far from my greenhouse, so this would be an easy
setup for me.

From: plantnut at shadow.net (Dewey Fisk) on 1998.06.08 at 02:28:52(2244)
This is good... just remember the longer the stove pipe... the more heat
you will obtain. It will not vent to the outside as fast... Lots of

From: Don Burns <burns at mobot.org> on 1998.06.08 at 12:56:11(2245)

Craig Allen of Fairchild Tropical Gardens in Miami posted this message to
the list early this morning. But because he had not subscribed to the
list in advance his message was rejected. I have resent it below in its


From: "Sue Zunino" <suez at Northcoast.com> on 1998.06.08 at 18:59:04(2246)

>This is good... just remember the longer the stove pipe... the more heat
you will obtain. It will not vent to the outside as fast... Lots of

I'm going to go with the non vented heater because there's just no way to
put a pipe through the ceiling of this greenhouse. I can leave the front
doors slid open to help with air circulation and vapor escape. I have one
fan going in there all the time, but I'll probably need to add another. Gas
heat produces moisture, doesn't it? I know when we use our wood stove in
the house, the mildew doesn't grow as well, but with our forced air gas
heater, mildew seems to hang around on the walls in the dark areas of the

From: plantnut at shadow.net (Dewey Fisk) on 1998.06.09 at 01:16:57(2247)
Sounds good to me..... Have fun... and lots of it...

From: "Sue Zunino" <suez at Northcoast.com> on 1998.06.09 at 16:11:50(2248)
Thank you to everybody who had input into helping me find a good greenhouse
heater. It is very much appreciated. BUT, I have another Aroid greenhouse
question (as if everyone didn't know I would).

Once I get my greenhouse heated, I still have COLD water coming through the
pipes. I've been thinking about this being a problem. I have spray
emitters right down the middle of the greenhouse on timers. It's just a
matter of time before the warm water already in the pipes, gets cold. Not
to mention the hose water. I don't think this is ok.....or is it?

Sue Zunino

From: ERTELTJB at ctrvax.Vanderbilt.Edu on 1998.06.09 at 20:05:35(2251)
Sue -
My sense is that if you're only growing aroids, then there probably
isn't a problem with water temp., that is, I've not noticed a problem with
any of the aroids I've grown over the last 20 yrs. as a result of cold water.
Same is true for the vast majority if not all orchids. However, if you're
slipping some Begonias into the mix, or gesneriads (members of the African
violet family) then cold water is going to be a real problem, both misting
and watering. I've successfully tied in hot water through a variety of
mixing valves (I've held four positions and worked with 4 different mixing
valves), so that as the ambient water temp. dropped through the winter months,
I could gradually increase hot water mixed with it to keep the watering temp.
between 68 - 75 degrees F. Nothing complains from this, and for the more
sensitive plants which I've mentioned (and there may be others), it is crucial.
Good Growing.
- Jonathan Ertelt

From: "Sue Zunino" <suez at Northcoast.com> on 1998.06.10 at 02:30:07(2255)
Gary, Neal, Don and Jonathan,

I do have mostly Aroids, but it's interesting that some have mentioned
Begonias. I happened to notice (at our local Dept. of Ag.) a plain old
Angel Wing Begonia that had climbed to a hight of about 10' using other
plants to get there, and I was going to see if I could get one to climb in
the greenhouse. I do have one little Begonia in there now that hasn't
seemed to mind the temps. much, but it isn't in direct line with the
watering system. It gets overspray, and that's about it. I do want to
think about what other plants I might want to add. There is another heating
system that I have mulled around, and that is a radiator heater for big
trucks, but this would require a radiator with a thermostat, and I just
can't picture how to set it up. I had origanally thought of using it for
the heating system itself, with pipes under the floor. I don't have a lot
of room in the greenhouse, so setting a tank in there would mean less plants
(who wants less plants?). Gary, I would like to hear more about this
system....even though I don't fully understand how you've got it set up. Is
your chest freezer outside or inside?

I really like the idea of the thermostatically controlled water mixing
valve. This would allow me to add whatever plants I like, and would just
require extending my hot water pipe to the greenhouse, or I might be able to
mix and match on the house end? This sounds simple, and it would cover
safety for any plants I choose.

>I noticed neat little water

From: "Sue Zunino" <suez at Northcoast.com> on 1998.06.10 at 12:53:51(2258)
To all interested,

In case anyone else is thinking about a S.B. greenhouse heater, and would
like to know how much they cost, I called the Southern Burner Co. and got
prices. The A1 model / with stove pipe and two stage thermostat runs
$512.00 + $35.00 shipping (that's to CA.). The smaller C1 model / without
venting pipe and with the one stage thermostat, is $345.00 + $25.00
shipping, and the C1 with the two stage thermostat runs $420.00 + shipping.
They can get it to CA within 5 working day by UPS.

Sue Zunino

From: MJ Hatfield <oneota at ames.net> on 1998.06.10 at 13:07:24(2261)
We've been using one of those small, hang on the wall, instantaneous
water heaters for 18 years to heat our whole house. They work great and
take up very little room as there is no storage tank for the hot water.
Ours happens to be fueled by propane altho now that natural gas has been
run out here, we may switch.

From: Gary Meltzer <kathann1 at tsoft.com> on 1998.06.10 at 19:03:43(2264)

Gary, I would like to hear more about this

system....even though I don't fully understand how you've got it set up.

your chest freezer outside or inside?

Hi Sue,

Sorry that my explanation was so lacking in accuracy.  The tank is
inside the greenhouse, and sits on the floor in about the center. 
This tank was the inner lining of a chest freezer that I stripped of the
outer metal skin, and all of the insulation.  I then washed the
outside with TSP and detergent, rinsed well, and sprayed flat black to
absorb the sun's heat.  I did put the tank on a section of 4"
rigid wall insulation trimmed to fit with a knife, to prevent loss of
heat into the substrate.  Additionally, I use a small infrared space
heater ($16 at Kmart when I bought it in Oct., '96) that is propane
fired, placed 1 foot away from the end of the tank and aimed directly at
it.  This is only fired up when the temperature drops below 45
degrees more or less, and works great.  The heat that is absorbed by
the water through the tank walls is even and more equally distributed by
radiation rather than heading straight up.

I have an economical method of keeping the water temperature even
throughout the tank at all times, but don't want to bore everyone with

From: "Sue Zunino" <suez at Northcoast.com> on 1998.06.10 at 21:30:52(2265)

Thanks for mentioning this, because I was going to let these pass by. This
type would be ideal, but I had pretty much forgotten it because they seem to
be so expensive. What brand is it? Sears carries instantaneous heaters,
but I've not seen a very small one there. How small do they come?


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