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Harnessing the Value of Heat

Is the winter cold digging in to your heating costs? Are you searching to harness the power of the sun to cut cots in your greenhouse? Here are a few ideas that you can make work for you, where you might be able cut costs, and maybe even cut out heating your greenhouse at all during certain times of the winter months!

Use water barrels. Getting large barrels and painting them black so they can absorb the sun, and hold the heat until the cold of night arrives. When the nighttime arrives, the thermal heat that is being stored in the water barrels is slowly released into the air of the greenhouse and this helps to keep your heat bills lower. You can use any kind of barrels plastic or metal and just paint them black. Fill with water and that is it! One extra thing you might like to do is to keep a screen over the tops of the barrels so that water bugs and mosquitoes cannot lay eggs in the water. For best effects use buckets or containers with lids so that the evaporation of the water does not cause you to loose the stored heat as fast. If you have lids that are not air tight you can duct tape the lids close to keep the heat in the barrels.

If you are still in the purchasing and the building stage of your hobby greenhouse you are in luck! You can correctly calculate and place your greenhouse to where it will receive the most benefit of the sun over the winter months for heat and thermal storage use. When you gauge where your greenhouse will receive the most amount of sun you will find that you can save on heating costs compared to other parts of the yard.

If you are looking to get some five-gallon buckets you can easily inquire with bakeries, delis, caterers or construction companies to get some for free. Many times they are glad to give them away and not to have to store them. You can even use smaller ones (from milk and tea or juice from your home) and fill them with water and place them nearest your most fragile plants to keep them ‘warmer’ during the coldest months. The bigger the container that you use, the slower the heat release will be back into the greenhouse. When you use large fifty gallon drums the heat release into the greenhouse will be much slower than with five gallon buckets.

While you might think this is strange, there are even gardeners who have their greenhouse very close to their home. So close in fact that they run a hose from their dryer in to the greenhouse. This gives the plants both moisture and heat during times when heat is valuable in the winter months. This is easiest when the greenhouse is attached to the home, but is can be done when the greenhouse is even up to 50 fifty feet away from the home! If you are able, and don’t laugh about it, you can place a blanket over the top of the greenhouse at night to prevent even more heat from leaving the greenhouse and to keep your heat bills even lower. Heating a greenhouse does not cost very much at all, but when you can heat the greenhouse for almost free – it is worth the try!

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