How To Heat Your Greenhouse

Heating will be a deciding factor on the variety of plants you are able to grow in a greenhouse and the number of plants that can be kept over winter. Here, Robert Hall goes through the pros and cons of the different types of heating that are available.

Created by Robert Hall on Monday, 4th of January, 2016.
Updated on Thursday, 28th of January, 2016.


Greenhouse Heating For The Winter

The temperature in your greenhouse during the winter shouldn't dip below 10C and throughout the year the daily variation shouldn't be more than 10C, this can be controlled by a combination of heating, ventilation and insulation.

You have a choice of tree main types of greenhouse heating, electric, gas and paraffin. Of course all have their advantages and drawbacks, and it is important to take these into sonsideration when choosing a method that will suit your needs and situation perfectly. 

Electricity

  • Easy to use, reliable
  • Clean, no odour or fumes
  • High temperatures can be achieved
  • Temperature can be controlled accurately and cost effectively with a thermostat
  • Fan heaters provide uniform heat and good circulation
  • Fans can also be used to cool in warmer months
  • Professional installation is required to fit waterproof cables and sockets

Gas

  • Propane and butane are easy to use
  • High temperatures can be achieved
  • Temperature can be controlled by a thermostat
  • A spare cylinder must always be available
  • May give off harmful fumes
  • Causes condensation

Paraffin (such as the range made by Parasene)

  • Cheap to buy but running costs may be high
  • Temperature control is difficult
  • May give off harmful fumes
  • Requires frequent re-fuelling and daily maintenance
  • Creates humidity and condensation

Solar energy or wind turbines may become a consideration in the future but at the moment they are far too expensive due in part to the poor heat retention qualities of a greenhouse.

Spent cooking oil is used occasionally commercially but is messy, smelly and not really suited to small scale production.

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