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How to Reduce Costs in Your Greenhouse

This is a discussion on How to Reduce Costs in Your Greenhouse within the Orchid Forum Articles forums, part of the TalkTalk category; How to Reduce Costs in Your Greenhouse by Brutal_Dreamer If you have a greenhouse of ...

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    admin's Avatar
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    Lightbulb How to Reduce Costs in Your Greenhouse

    How to Reduce Costs in Your Greenhouse by Brutal_Dreamer

    If you have a greenhouse of any type you probably have tried to think of ways to reduce costs. With the cost of fuel skyrocketing here in the US, many people, including me, have been actively seeking ways to cut cost without hurting our or stressing our tropical plants and orchids. While looking at my gas bill for the last few.....(Read More)

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    Brutal_Dreamer is offline Dreaming with my eyes open...
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    Default An additional topic...

    ... but not long enough for its own article.

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    If you use gas heat in your greenhouse, you can try these couple of tricks to lower heating costs and protect your orchids.

    First, set your thermostat to 55 degrees. That is typically the lowest you want to let the center of your greenhouse temps go to. Now, keep in mind that I said 'center'. The edges (areas close to the walls) of your greenhouse will go much lower than the area in the center of the house (Usually).
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    Since we use gas to heat the greenhouse, our bill was pretty steep. By adding just one electric, oil filled, radiator type heater to the GH and switching to a tankless (electric) water heater we reduced the overall total gas bill in a huge way. We set the electric heater on 'Level 9' and put it opposite of the gas furnace. Working together, they keep the greenhouse an even temperature and because the electric one has a thermostat of its own, it will stay on after and kick-on more often than the gas heater. So for now since electric is a bit cheaper than gas, this works well for us.

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    We also added an additional fan this winter to blow the air in the greenhouse around in a circle instead of just using the fans blowing down from above. This seems to help keep the temps near the edges of the greenhouse a bit higher.

    A final trick to help protect your greenhouse is a temperature alarm.
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    We installed the alarm when we first built the greenhouse and it keeps on working like clockwork. How does it work? You simply set a high level for how hot it has to be inside your greenhouse before the alarm sounds and a low level for how cool it has to get. In the summer, remember to switch to summer mode and in the cooler months remember to switch to winter mode. It works great and is really loud. We put the bell on the outside of the greenhouse so that we could hear it inside our home.

    Cheers,
    BD

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    Default and another thought...

    If you grow in a greenhouse chances are you have algae growing on the inside glass. Our greenhouse is made of double walled Lexan panels. I noticed today while replacing a belt on the exhaust fan in the top of the greenhouse, we have a very thin layer of green algae growing on the inside surface of the roof panels. This algae during the winter has probably blocked some sunlight from reaching the plants and in turn, caused the temperature to be cooler in the overall greenhouse and possibly raised the heating costs. No real way to measure it at this point, but I am sure of the diminished sunlight. I cleaned a spot and from the ground can see a dramatic difference.

    Just the thought that it is costing more money means that as soon as I get a good long weekend, I will be up on the rafters washing the inside of the roof of my greenhouse. LOL During the winter here, my plants get so little light as it is.

    This has happen before behind the benches on the side walls at plant level. Using bleach water and a soft brush, I easily removed the algae from the glass. I did not think about the roof having the same problem.

    Keep in mind when you clean the glass, you will be letting in more light and heat. Depending on the amount of light being blocked, you should be aware of the increased light levels on your orchids and other tropical plants. Hopefully this will help with the overall costs of maintaining your greenhouse.

    Cheers,
    BD

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    Bruce, this should give you a good laugh. Just today, I was looking at my patio/Florida room and thinking that the windows are so dirty, that should help filter the light when I get that room set up for my future orchids. LOL

    Hey, when you live on the second floor of a concrete jungle, windows just don't get cleaned. At least, not often.

    Anne

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    Thanks for the info. I will keep an eye out for algy.

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    Here is a tip I got from a general greenhouse book. I used it in my first greenhouse that did't survive the winter and never used it again but it was useful in the spring. It is simple all you need are some covered containers, the larger the better. I used milk jugs because I am cheap. Paint your containers mat black and place them on the floor on the south side of your greenhouse. They absorb heat during the day and give it off at night. The milk jugs get very hot to the touch. I am sure larger containers would hold the heat longer. They can plastic or metal.

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    Thanks, Larry.

    Cheers,
    BD

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