Greenhouses forum: GH Window/Vent Opener

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Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
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ShadyGreenThumb
Nov 23, 2014 6:00 PM CST
Does anyone have any thoughts on an automatic vent opener?? On sunny days my GH gets close to 90º. If I am not home to open the windows, I'd hate to think of what might happen inside! It's on my wish list.

I remember reading Harbor Freight openers are not that good? The reviews seem to be OK. Apparently they are spotty for buying lemons? It's the $18 price difference (with the 20% off HF Coupon) from others that makes it worth a try. Might get one and see what's up.
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
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Name: Carol Texas
Central Texas (Zone 8b)
"Not all who wander are lost."
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Ecscuba
Nov 23, 2014 7:32 PM CST
SHADYGREENTHUMB we bought two of them for our 6 x 8 HF GH and quickly returned them. The way they anchored to the window frame was fragile. Neither one of them would come on either so we decided the reviews were correct and we returned them.
[url=Www.carolmedfordart.com]Www.carolmedfordart.com[/url]
My passion is painting but gardening is running a close second.
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
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ShadyGreenThumb
Nov 23, 2014 8:01 PM CST
What did you get instead, Carol? @ecscuba
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Carol Texas
Central Texas (Zone 8b)
"Not all who wander are lost."
Region: Texas Composter Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents Organic Gardener Hummingbirder
Herbs Garden Art Dragonflies Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Ecscuba
Nov 23, 2014 8:15 PM CST
Old fashioned open it myself. So far I don't have to worry about 90 degrees. As we head to spring it may become more important. I did see somewhere in a blog that there is another mfg of greenhouses whose parts are interchangeable with HF and I am going to find that again And see if they have the openers.
[url=Www.carolmedfordart.com]Www.carolmedfordart.com[/url]
My passion is painting but gardening is running a close second.
Name: Carol Texas
Central Texas (Zone 8b)
"Not all who wander are lost."
Region: Texas Composter Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents Organic Gardener Hummingbirder
Herbs Garden Art Dragonflies Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Ecscuba
Nov 23, 2014 8:40 PM CST
http://www.greenhouses.com/JulianaVentomaxAutomaticVentOpene...

Found it. Someone posted on another blog that Julianna greenhouse parts are compatible with HF -link above for the automatic window vent opener. I don't know that for sure but you could call and ask. This opener is very expensive compared to HF but "maybe" it works? If you get it and it works I'd sure like to know.

So far I still have trouble getting my windows to stay tightly closed. Frustrating.
[url=Www.carolmedfordart.com]Www.carolmedfordart.com[/url]
My passion is painting but gardening is running a close second.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Nov 23, 2014 9:23 PM CST
I think @Dave might have used the HF openers (?)
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Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
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ShadyGreenThumb
Nov 23, 2014 9:25 PM CST
I have one window that closes tightly. The other two leak from the top, runs down and drips into the GH. One doesn't leak into the GH. But I can see daylight at the top of it. I don't mind as they are only drips and I have plants situated underneath. But I sure would like to know how I was able to build one window perfectly sealed and the others not? I have backer rod as far over as I could without impeding the window. But I can still see daylight on the top near the crown. As drips and leaks go, they drip perfectly and do not get important things like heaters and a/c units wet.

This is what one reviewer says about the opener:
This is an excellent design. I added springs to prevent the wind from picking up and/or tearing the window off the greenhouse in high winds. The quality control is poor, however - you may have to go through several units to find a pair that work smoothly and reliably. I don't recommend repairs due to the liquid contained inside, but many units are improperly assembled and don't operate smoothly. For the mechanically inclined, operation can be improved by polishing the piston and cleaning debris off the rubber o-rings. Or be prepared to take 2 back to the store for every one you keep.

I am willing to try given the price difference. The store is not far from me at all and DH is in across the street from it 3 days a week. Reading the reviews on this is giving me shades of feelings I had before building the greenhouse! I am not mechanically inclined to deal with this. But we'll see. I built the greenhouse, right? Here are some productive hints from the reviewers:

More hints:
these things work pretty good. the little retainer washers are total junk though. you can buy a little bolt to replace the pin and the washer though and then they are solid. Even with that major flow these are still awesome for the price
*****************
The openings in the brass caps were too small to allow the push rods to pass through to the piston inside. This cause them to be impossible to install. This caused them also to not be able to function.

Solution: Drill the hole serially until the push rod passes through easily.

Three hands would be much better. One has to hold the window up, align the holes in the bracket and the piston housing while screwing in the retaining pins.

They are working perfectly however.

The modification probably voided any guarantee.

***********************

However, all the screws and bolts will rust within a month of installation! I recommend substituting stainless steel screws and bolts (even the tiny set screws in the cartridge)before you install the device.

***********************


Almost took it back because it did not want to close.
I put it outside in the cold (40°F) and it seemed to still not work - so I pushed the lever down lightly and it closed ! Stiff in the beginning but it worked.
So get it cold (Fridge ?) and try it before taking it back.

**********************

Badly manufactured!

This unit failed - leaked oil out of the cylinder - after the warranty ran out. Before throwing it out I took it apart as my habit. The cylinder was filled with some kind of oil that is sealed on either end with a stopper that has two O rings each end. The O rings were damaged and allowed the oil to leak when the pressure got too high. The O rings were damaged because the cylinder ends were slightly counter-sunk and the machining process left sharp burrs. In the process of assembling the end plugs into the cylinder small pieces of the O ring were "chipped" off the O rings - hence the leaks. I smoothed off the burrs, bought 4 O rings of similar size, filled the cylinder with some light viscosity oil I had and re-assembled the cylinder and now the opener works.

So, I salvaged mine. At least I did not have to throw it away, but it is a sad commentary on quality conrol. I post this in the event someone has the same luck as I did.

*********************
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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dave
Nov 24, 2014 7:49 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

I have HF openers on all four windows and they've been working this entire time, coming up on a year now. I've been happy with them. They were very frustrating to install but I think that's mostly due to a fault with the windows. I have a hard time getting the windows to close properly and I have to bend them a bit to make sure they'll close properly. Even then, though, they leak rainwater which is aggravating.
Name: Ric Sanders
Dover, Pa. (Zone 6b)
And his children Are his flowers ..
Region: Pennsylvania Dog Lover Cottage Gardener Ponds Garden Art Seed Starter
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Eric4home
Dec 5, 2014 3:14 PM CST
Holly bought me 2 Bayliss auto openers when we assembled our GH. I did have to add a 2" piece of aluminum angle to make them mount better. Otherwise they seem to function well, possibly too well. Sun light seems to warm the cylinders too easily, and on sunny fall mornings they open before the ambient temperature requires it. They do operate well and increasing the weight may help, as well as wrapping the cylinders with aluminum foil. I plan to write them about this.
As too the vents closing tightly, the problem is with the vents themselves, as Dave mentioned. They are so flimsy, they wobble. Bending slightly helps to tweak them but next spring I want to try and make them more stable. I'm thinking adding a crisscross of 1/4x1/2" aircraft aluminum from corner to corner may solve this problem, especially since the hinge piece in it's self seems sound enough.
The Bayliss product is a quality one. Prices vary a good bit between suppliers so shop around. http://www.baylissautovents.co.uk/
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Ric of MAF @ DG
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
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Weedwhacker
Dec 5, 2014 11:14 PM CST
Thanks for posting that, Ric -- it's good information!!
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Name: Carol Texas
Central Texas (Zone 8b)
"Not all who wander are lost."
Region: Texas Composter Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents Organic Gardener Hummingbirder
Herbs Garden Art Dragonflies Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Ecscuba
Dec 6, 2014 2:19 AM CST
ERIC if you come up with a solution for the window vents we will all shout hooray. My harbor freight window vents are a pain and the auto openers can't really close them properly. Of course the openers went back to store because they only functioned once. I'd get another brand if I could overcome the basic flawed construction of the vents. Would be really great to be able to rely on auto opening.
[url=Www.carolmedfordart.com]Www.carolmedfordart.com[/url]
My passion is painting but gardening is running a close second.
Name: Ric Sanders
Dover, Pa. (Zone 6b)
And his children Are his flowers ..
Region: Pennsylvania Dog Lover Cottage Gardener Ponds Garden Art Seed Starter
Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Butterflies Birds Greenhouse Garden Ideas: Master Level
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Eric4home
Dec 6, 2014 11:41 AM CST
I do have to rely on mine in the spring when I have 20 or so flats of tender transplants in the GH. A bit of chill will not hurt them, but overheat once and they're toast.
Bayliss cost a bit more but they are the highest quality materials and craftsmanship I've found. When I worked in commercial GHs I learned the best system overall was a polytube ventilation system using a thermostatically controlled louver. I have been looking for the materials I need to assemble one on the scale I need (difficult). Since I run fans 24/7 the operating cost would not change that much. The poly tube causes a constant even flow of air throughout, the louvers open at a preset temp, and lastly an exhaust fan or vent opens later as needed.



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Ric of MAF @ DG
Name: Ric Sanders
Dover, Pa. (Zone 6b)
And his children Are his flowers ..
Region: Pennsylvania Dog Lover Cottage Gardener Ponds Garden Art Seed Starter
Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Butterflies Birds Greenhouse Garden Ideas: Master Level
Image
Eric4home
Dec 6, 2014 11:45 AM CST
I lost one of the pics. *Blush* They may be growing cows in the last pic, but it was the best overall view of the tube system i could find. A closeup of the fan, louver, and tube follow.
Thumb of 2014-12-06/Eric4home/079a5d

Ric of MAF @ DG
Name: Carol Texas
Central Texas (Zone 8b)
"Not all who wander are lost."
Region: Texas Composter Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents Organic Gardener Hummingbirder
Herbs Garden Art Dragonflies Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Ecscuba
Dec 7, 2014 4:18 PM CST
Today we got Christmas decorations out and I grabbed the two long strands of rope lights. I was amazed at how much nice heat they put out. Thanks to the idea post by @Eric4home.
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[url=Www.carolmedfordart.com]Www.carolmedfordart.com[/url]
My passion is painting but gardening is running a close second.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
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Weedwhacker
Dec 7, 2014 8:34 PM CST
And festive as well, Carol ! Big Grin
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Name: Lauri
North Central Washington (Zone 5b)
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lauribob
Dec 13, 2014 7:04 PM CST
I've had good luck with the ones from Lee Valley. They've been working for several years now. Mine are mounted on smallish triangle windows mounted vertically. (not overhead) I have one at either end to get a cross breeze going and they are a must for me.
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More costumes, less uniforms!
Name: Ric Sanders
Dover, Pa. (Zone 6b)
And his children Are his flowers ..
Region: Pennsylvania Dog Lover Cottage Gardener Ponds Garden Art Seed Starter
Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Butterflies Birds Greenhouse Garden Ideas: Master Level
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Eric4home
Dec 14, 2014 12:36 PM CST
Here is what I got back from Bayliss:
"You are quite correct in your assumption that the direct sun on the
autovents is warming the power tubes, causing them to open earlier than
you would have desired. Do you have the autovent set to open at the
maximum end of the temperature range? If not, then you could adjust the
units in the sun to open at a higher temperature than the other vents.

As you suggest you could cover the tube. Rather than using tin foil,
you could cover the tube with insulating foil. The insulating foil
would delay the time it takes for the heat to reach the wax inside the
tube. On days which are not so sunny though, you would find that the
unit is taking much longer to react to the ambient than the ones you
have not covered.

I hope that this information is of help to you."

So I'm thinking that rather than wrap them with an insulating material, I will make an insulated shade for them. That way they will be exposed to the ambient temperature as well and work as they are supposed to.
Ric of MAF @ DG
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
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drdawg
Dec 14, 2014 12:55 PM CST
I think that might work best for your problem, Ric.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
Image
Weedwhacker
Dec 14, 2014 3:06 PM CST
" the direct sun on the autovents is warming the power tubes, causing them to open earlier than
you would have desired. "

It's a GREENHOUSE vent, for pete's sake -- do they think it's going to be in the shade ?? Rolling on the floor laughing
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
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