Heating a Greenhouse with an Outdoor Furnace

Heating a Greenhouse with an Outdoor Furnace

Whether you are operating a small backyard greenhouse or a large hydroponics system, heat is an essential element in the growing process. Although not all plants require tropical conditions, you will want to keep enough heat in your buildings to prevent frost and ensure the health of your crop. Heating your greenhouse using an outdoor furnace is a reliable and affordable option for many greenhouse operations.

When choosing a heating system for your greenhouse, there are many factors that must be considered.

  • Outside Environment – Do you live in an arid environment that is warm and sunny during the day but chilly during the night? Or do you experience long winters with arctic blasts that keep temperatures below freezing for weeks at a time? Consider your seasons and the length of time you will need to utilize your outdoor furnace.
  • Greenhouse Size – If you have a small operation, an outdoor furnace that burns cord wood will easily heat one or two small buildings. If filling a stove on a daily basis is not for you or if you have multiple buildings to heat, you may want to consider a biomass wood chip boiler as your heat source.
  • Plant Requirement – Most plants can survive the long winters if temperatures are kept above the point of frost. However, growth rate and germination will slow to a crawling rate if soil temperatures are not allowed past the low 50 degree level. If the plants you grow require tropical like weather, more fuel will be required.
  • Heat Loss – Conduct an energy audit in your greenhouse(s). Where will the greatest heat lost occur? Do improvements need to be made to the walls, weather stripping added around the vents or doors? When installing your outdoor furnace, make no shortcuts and use the highest quality underground tubing to ensure the least amount of heat loss.
  • Available Fuel – What fuel type is abundant in your area? Do you have access to dry, seasoned wood, wood chips, corn, wood pellets or coal? On a BTU basis, wood is one of the most affordable fuels available.
  • Calculate your BTUs – Here is a simple formula to calculate the BTU requirements of your heating system: (Wall area + roof area) X difference of outside temperature and inside temperature of the greenhouse X 1.1 = BTUs required. Using this formula with the above factors, you should be able to get a good idea of what size outdoor furnace your greenhouse operation will require.

After taking all of the above into consideration, now is the time to shop for the best outdoor furnace or biomass wood chip boiler for your application. With multiple models and sizes to choose from, Crown Royal Stoves can help you choose the outdoor furnace that is right for you. We also offer all of the plumbing supplies and parts needed to install your stove, including a line of unit heaters and air handlers that can heat your buildings. If you have any questions about what we offer, please call us at 1-866-361-7355.
We are happy to help!