Greenhouses forum: Using drums/barrels of water to heat green house

Views: 5140, Replies: 11 » Jump to the end
Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Frogs and Toads Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Native Plants and Wildflowers
Cottage Gardener Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: United States of America Echinacea Xeriscape
Image
Natalie
Aug 24, 2012 1:42 PM CST
I hope someone can help me! I used our dog kennel to make a cold frame last year, which I've described on another thread:
The thread "My Dog Kennel Greenhouse!" in Greenhouses forum

I'd love to heat it this winter, and see that using drums or barrels of water is a good way to go about doing that. I'd like to use 30 to 50 gallon drums. I was told that painting them black will make them heat up even more, which is great, but I have NO idea how many barrels or drums I'd need to help keep the green house a little warmer during the winter. It's 6 feet wide by 10 feet long, and about 8 feet tall. I'd prefer to use 30 gallon drums because they would take up a lot less room on the ground.

Anyone know how many I should use? Also, do the drums need to be covered with a lid? I was hoping to set boards across the top to use as a table to hold more plants. Would that be enough of a cover or should they be sealed shut? I don't want it super hot in there, but a little heat would be great. Thanks for any help!
Natalie
Name: Dottie Fennell
Grassy Creek, NC (Zone 6b)
Image
dottie
Sep 1, 2012 5:02 PM CST
Natalie, My husband built my greenhouse a couple of years ago (15 x 30). It is timber frame, and he used polycarbonate for the walls and roof. Along the back wall, which is cinderblock and butts a hillside, we have put 55-gallon barrels all across the back wall, and they are double-stacked. The entire back wall has barrels. I think there are at least 10 on each side, but in the middle is a fish pool. They have lids, of course - since they are doublestacked, there is no way to use them. The barrels are painted black. We have had success with this method. It does add warmth to the greenhouse in the winter and, in fact, it keeps the greenhouse cooler in the summer. If you have more "technical" questions, please feel free to ask me, and I will ask my husband for the answers. I can also give you the names of a couple of books he used.

[url=www.gardensinthewood.com]www.gardensinthewood.com[/url]
Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Frogs and Toads Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Native Plants and Wildflowers
Cottage Gardener Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: United States of America Echinacea Xeriscape
Image
Natalie
Sep 2, 2012 9:37 AM CST
Dottie, thanks so much for the information! Your greenhouse is totally different than mine is, but I think the heating part would work the same. I had given up hope that someone would come along and answer, so I really appreciate your input! I never thought about the water barrels keeping it cooler in the summer, so that is an added bonus!
Natalie
Name: Dottie Fennell
Grassy Creek, NC (Zone 6b)
Image
dottie
Sep 2, 2012 12:28 PM CST
Natalie, I forgot to mention that the more water you have in there, the better it is supposed to work, so that is why we have double decker barrels. It is not attractive in the least, but it works and saves money. Also, there is space on top but not enough for more barrels, so whenever I have a cat litter plastic containers (scoopable kind of litter) empty, I fill themt with water and put them on top, too. If you have any questions, I'm glad to help. I have seen this used in other types of greenhouses, too.
[url=www.gardensinthewood.com]www.gardensinthewood.com[/url]
Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Frogs and Toads Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Native Plants and Wildflowers
Cottage Gardener Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: United States of America Echinacea Xeriscape
Image
Natalie
Sep 2, 2012 12:59 PM CST
I'm really short on space in my greenhouse, since it's very small. It's made out of our chain link dog kennel that wasn't getting used, and is wrapped in plastic. I'm planning on putting the barrels on the outside of the kennel, and then wrapping the plastic over them. Otherwise, I'd have no room for the plants! I can put the barrels on two sides, since those are the sides that will get all the sun.

I heard about using milk jugs before, and I'm going to put some of those inside. I'll wrap them in black garbage bags, since I heard that helps.

Thanks again for your help!
Natalie

Image
Faisal
Sep 7, 2012 12:53 AM CST
If Natai is short of space then she can use the stones to heat the place, stones will absorbs the heat in day light, and heat will be release at night.
May we join each other for further discussion on skype my ID is mentioned below
faisal.kaps
[Last edited by Faisal - Sep 7, 2012 1:10 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #307192 (6)

Image
Faisal
Sep 7, 2012 1:02 AM CST
Dear Dottie
I would love to go for the helping books too those are consulted by your husband.
Because i am working on passive heating for my greenhouse in Pakistan size of 30 x 120 feets.
As far as my knowledge is concern may be 4 gallon water is recommended for 1 sft.
Regards



[Last edited by Faisal - Sep 7, 2012 1:11 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #307193 (7)
Name: Dottie Fennell
Grassy Creek, NC (Zone 6b)
Image
dottie
Sep 7, 2012 7:41 AM CST
I will be glad to list the books for you and will do it today. If you have any questions at all, I will be happy to get my husband to answer them.
[url=www.gardensinthewood.com]www.gardensinthewood.com[/url]
Name: Dottie Fennell
Grassy Creek, NC (Zone 6b)
Image
dottie
Sep 7, 2012 10:15 AM CST
Faisal,

Here are two books my husband used as references when building my greenhouse. He informed me today that most of what he did came out of his head and/or from hearing about it from others. If you want to "pick his brain," I'll be happy to ask him questons for you.

The Solar Greenhouse Book, Edited by James C. McCullagh, published by Rodale Press
Greenhouse Basics: Building Your Own Greenhouse by Mark Freeman, published by Stackpole Books
[url=www.gardensinthewood.com]www.gardensinthewood.com[/url]
Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Frogs and Toads Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Native Plants and Wildflowers
Cottage Gardener Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: United States of America Echinacea Xeriscape
Image
Natalie
Sep 7, 2012 10:16 AM CST
Faisal, thanks for the information on gallons of water per square foot. Until now, I had no idea what the ratio should be. That gives me a much better understanding of what sized water barrels I'll need to use.

Stone are also a good idea, and I have lots of them, but I'm not sure that they could absorb enough heat through the plastic to keep the inside warm at night. It gets very cold here in the winter. It's a great suggestion though
Natalie
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Oct 10, 2012 7:14 PM CST
If thee is any way to keep it dry, "drywall" or gypsum sheets are very good insulators, especially if taped together to prevent drafts.

I thin k that, if your water barrels are not INSIDE your greenhouse, you wnat as much insulation as possible surrounding the barrels on the outside, so that they "thermally INside" the greenhouse as much as possible. Otherwise they will give up their heat to the atmposphere and not help your plants.

You do want lids, or water will evaporate and chill the barells, producing humidity instead of raised temperatures.

Allow as much air circulation as possible, to get the heyat out of the barrels and into the air.

If the greenhouse is v ery well insulated everywhere the sun doesn't shine on plants, it MAY hold heat well enough for you to run an elctric heater affordably on a thermostat to provide just 10-15 degrees rise, if that's enough.
Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
Be a voice - not an echo!
Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters Hybridizer Birds Seed Starter Cat Lover
Pollen collector Morning Glories Greenhouse Bookworm Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Image
Xeramtheum
Dec 5, 2012 8:16 AM CST
I use 2ltr soda bottles painted black and filled with water for passive solar heating .. they collect heat in the daytime and release it at night .. I also heat both my GH's using a milk house heater on a portable thermostat and a fan at the other end of the GH for air circulation .. system works out really well.

Thumb of 2012-12-05/Xeramtheum/b8dd21


Thumb of 2012-12-05/Xeramtheum/3eb8da

Thumb of 2012-12-05/Xeramtheum/a3dff6

Here is a link for the portable thermostat:

http://www.kkontrols.com/
"We were all humans until race disconnected us, religion separated us, politics divided us and wealth classified us."

Unknown

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Greenhouses forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Today's site banner is by Baja_Costero and is called "Agave"