Five Reasons Radiant Heating Should be in Your Greenhouse
December 15, 2016
Many times, when growers are planning and designing a greenhouse, heating is a factor that is often overlooked. A traditional forced-air heater and thermostat are all that one really needs, but is this method of greenhouse heating really the best solution?
For commercial operations or greenhouses located in areas with more mild winters, the answer is typically yes. However, for hobby growers, or those located in colder climates, debating radiant heat vs forced air will be a more prevalent issue. Radiant heating is a more cost-effective means of heating that provides both plants and growers with a number of benefits.
Radiant heating systems, a type of infrared heater, work by radiating heat from a hot surface to cooler surroundings. In greenhouse applications, piping is installed under the structure’s foundation. These pipes are then connected to a hot water heater.
When hot water runs through the system and it’s filled with water, the air between the greenhouse floor and the structure’s foundation is heated. As the hot air rises naturally, heat can then be felt above the floor while it radiates throughout the greenhouse space. This application is ideal for heating an entire greenhouse, or for using as under-bench heating to supply warmth directly to a plant’s root mat.
EVEN, UNIFORM HEAT
Perhaps the number one benefit of this heating system is that it provides gentle, uniform heat throughout a greenhouse. Even heat distribution results in fewer cool spots, meaning that more heat remains at the root mat, rather than sporadically moving throughout the greenhouse to fill cold spots. With consistent heat, it’s easier for plants to thrive, making it possible to keep even the most delicate plants alive throughout the entire year, or to start crops earlier in the season.
Radiant heating is more energy-efficient than alternative methods, such as convection heating via a ceramic heater, baseboard heating or forced-air systems. Traditional forced-air heaters project heat from the ceiling, down. This creates problems with air circulation and can result in majority of the warm air getting stuck or escaping out the roof of the greenhouse.
Baseboard heaters can warm up a space too quickly and run the risk of overheating crops. Since these heaters sit at the bottom of the greenhouse, crops that are placed on a standard height bench, rather than taller, raised beds may end up being too close to the heat source. Radiant heat systems supply heat to the space surrounding the crops, keeping heat levels uniform at any height.
With uniform levels of heat throughout the greenhouse, there is no restriction on the growing season. Even on cold nights during the winter, crops within the structure stay healthy and comfortable. This gives growers the advantage of bringing out-of-season crops to market, leading to higher demand and increased revenue.
This also provides an opportunity to expand to new markets with the appeal of fresh, reliable products year-round. Growers may be able to bring in new clients, such as local restaurants and grocery stores.
EASY TO USE
Once a radiant heat system has been installed, there is little maintenance involved, and use of the system is very easy. As radiant heat supplies warm air to cold space, that warm air is distributed evenly throughout the greenhouse.
If enough warm air is present in a single location, the heat will radiate to a cooler section of the greenhouse to keep the levels stable. This prevents the worry of overheating plants, while maintaining a constant and stable temperature for crops to thrive.
These systems are built by design, meaning that their design, application and more are completely customizable. Radiant heating can be installed under a greenhouse foundation to supply heat to the entire greenhouse, or can be installed under benches, providing heat directly to the plants root mat.
If used under a concrete table or foundation, installing TekFoil Reflective Insulation can help reduce heat transfer loss. TekFoil Insulation helps to reduce heat loss through radiant heat transfer by up to 97 percent, meaning that small amounts of heat are used more efficiently, reducing operating costs and energy requirements.
Radiant heating systems are one of the leading ways to effectively manage greenhouse heat and are often seen as the best way to heat a small greenhouse. GrowSpan offers everything needed to design a custom radiant heat system, including pex tubing, water heaters, thermostats, TekFoil insulation and more.
Contact a Greenhouse Specialist or Request a Quote today.