When it comes to helping your plants survive the cold winter months, a heater is a great idea. However, deciding which kind of heater best fits your needs can be tricky. Often homes are heated with propane, but can you also heat your greenhouse with that same gas?
You can heat a greenhouse with propane. Propane is the most popular method for heating because it’s so cost-effective. However, it’s essential to watch for signs of poisoning in your plants, as propane heaters can release harmful fumes into the air killing your plants, especially tomatoes.
In the rest of this article, I will discuss the costs of running propane in your greenhouse, the most efficient heating methods, alternative heating options, if you can use a ventless propane heater, and whether propane heat is suitable for your plants. So, if you want to learn more about how propane will affect your plant nursery, let’s get started.
How Much Does It Cost To Heat a Greenhouse With Propane?
Cost can be a huge factor when deciding on a heating source for your greenhouse. Most people look for a heating source that will be relatively cheap and easy to maintain. So how much will it cost to run a propane heater in your greenhouse?
It costs about $0.80-$1.50 per hour to heat a greenhouse with propane. Therefore, this method of heating is relatively cost-effective and easy to install. Propane heaters also do a great job of evenly heating large spaces and last a long time.
How much you pay to heat your greenhouse with a propane heater can vary based on the heater and your propane provider’s rates. However, even with the slight fluctuation in cost, this method is still relatively cheap, and you shouldn’t have to run the heater constantly if your greenhouse has good insulation.
What Is the Most Efficient Way To Heat a Greenhouse?
There are many different greenhouse heating options available. However, two options are more efficient than the others, especially if you live somewhere with a lot of snowfall and harsh winters. So what heating methods are the most efficient for heating a greenhouse?
The most efficient way to heat a greenhouse is through propane or electric heaters because you can easily set them up in a greenhouse. They are also relatively low maintenance as long as you install proper ventilation. Propane heaters are also excellent at heating large spaces.
Propane heaters run pretty hot and can efficiently run for 10 hours or more at a time, making them a great option to prevent your poor plants from freezing at night. There are also two main types of propane heaters available. You can choose to have a professionally installed unit or a portable heating unit for your plant nursery.
You can purchase electric heaters just about anywhere for a low cost, and you can even set it up on a smart outlet to turn them on and off from your phone. They don’t run as hot as propane heaters, but they can still do a great job of keeping your plants from freezing.
Both provide excellent heat; one is a little more cost-effective and portable. It’s also important to note that with any heating unit, you will want to ensure you don’t place the heater near anything flammable.
Alternative Heating Sources for Your Greenhouse
Propane heating isn’t an option for some, and the possible plant poisoning isn’t worth the risk. Luckily there are a few other heating sources that can work just as well to keep your little plants from wilting in the cold.
Other ways to heat a greenhouse during the winter months:
- Sunshine: If you live somewhere relatively warm all year long, solar heating is free and easy to use if your greenhouse has plenty of glass paneling. The paneling on greenhouses helps magnify the heat and trap in the greenhouse, thus keeping your plants warm in the winter.
- Compost: You can use compost barrels to heat your greenhouse naturally. Just be sure to monitor your greenhouse’s temperature to ensure it’s warm enough during cold winter nights.
- Woodstove: Heating your greenhouse the old-fashioned way with fire and wood is an excellent way to adjust the temperature of your plant nursery. However, it’s not as effective at keeping a consistent temperature.
- Electric: An electric heater is also an excellent option for keeping your greenhouse warm during chilly months so long as you have electricity in your greenhouse. This heater type can be a cheaper option since purchasing a small electric heater can be easier than installing a new propane one.
Ultimately, whatever heating source you choose, you will need to monitor and see how your plants react. Every plant has different temperature and humidity needs, so it’s essential to consider those when heating your greenhouse.
If you would like to learn other ways to heat your greenhouse, be sure to watch Simple Tek’s video on greenhouse heating methods. He does a great job reviewing the most common heating methods and some more obscure heating options.
Can You Use a Ventless Propane Heater in a Greenhouse?
As you can see, there are quite a few heating options, but propane still seems to be at the top of everyone’s heating list. Now, there are a few different propane heaters, and many wonder if a ventless propane heater will do the job.
You can use a ventless propane heater in a greenhouse. However, you should ensure adequate ventilation and incorporate a CO2 detector. The harmful fumes that sometimes are emitted by propane heaters can cause your plants to die and will significantly affect any tomato plants in the greenhouse.
Many people have successfully used a wall-mounted ventless propane heater in their greenhouse. This style of heater doesn’t have vents to the outside and recirculates the air in the room.
The main reason this can cause issues is that most unvented heaters burn fuels like:
- Natural gas
While these gasses are relatively safe to burn, they can still release harmful fumes into the air and poison your plants in such a closed-off space. Tomato plants are highly susceptible to propane fumes, so be sure to pay attention to your plants’ health after installing a ventless propane heater.
Is Propane Heat Good for Plants?
Harsh winters can quickly kill off the plants in your greenhouse, so heating is essential during the cold months of winter. So having happy, warm plants is excellent but is propane heat good for them?
Propane heat is good for plants so long as you install proper ventilation in the greenhouse. However, even if your propane heater claims only to burn clean fuels, harmful fumes can still be released and cause your plants to wilt or die.
Propane itself isn’t suitable for plants, but its heat is a great way to keep your plants healthy all winter. Having propane in your greenhouse can cause plants to grow ill, but you shouldn’t have a problem if you have proper ventilation in your greenhouse. Many people opt for propane heating, and their plants happily thrive.
However, you should never forget that clean-burning fuel burners such as propane heaters should be properly maintained, cleaned, and serviced. If you neglect your heater, it will not work at peak efficiency and will result in inefficient combustion. This partial combustion may result in pollutants in your greenhouse that may harm you and your plants.
In close, you can use a propane heater to warm your greenhouse. Propane heating is the most popular method since it does a good job combating icy winters and can run for long periods without interruption.
However, you should consider the significant downside to using propane as your heating source. Propane can sometimes leak into the air despite the designer’s intent and slowly poison your plants. So it’s essential to ensure that your greenhouse has good ventilation when using propane.