Kerosene heaters for green house?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Randy Rooster, Nov 13, 2005.

  1. Randy Rooster

    Randy Rooster Well-Known Member Supporter

    Dec 13, 2004
    North Carolina
    This is my first year with a green house. Most of the plants I will have in it will be fairly hardy down to 32 degrees but on those nites that hit 25 or below ( not many where I am) I need some supplemental heat. I am thinking of using a bullet kerosene heater and or one or two of the 20,000 btu wick type kerosene heaters that you can get at the big box stores. Will any fumes given off hurt my plants? Does any one have any suggestions for alternatives? I do not want to invest in a regular propane green house heater - too expensive and it wont be used that much either. Thank you. ps the hoop house is 26 feet by 48 feet.
  2. james dilley

    james dilley Well-Known Member Supporter

    Mar 21, 2004
    deep south texas
    First off you are going to have to add moisture to the greenhouse if you use A kerosene heater. The smaller type heaters with A fan used might be A better way to go.Just figure how hot the heaters are going to get, They might melt the covering of the greenhouse. Try A trial run during the day maybe when its not to cold where you can openthe unit if need be. But the main problem will be excess heat..

  3. chas

    chas Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2004
    western pa
    Up north here in western Pa my dad for years used two kerosun heaters.Fumes didn't hurt any of the plants.He had a hoop 16 x 40.The plastic got a bit sooty in three yrs.
    It was kept around 40 degrees.
    This year he has two small electric heaters which means no more filling and spilling every day.Plus it should be much cheaper now with the cost of clear kerosene.
    Keep the kerosene heaters for a back up,just in case electric goes out.
  4. Helena

    Helena Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2002
    north central Pennsylvania
    The very first year I had my greenhouse up..plastic hoop house..I used our kerosene portable heater in it. The next morning the whole house was blacken..covered in soot. During the night something happened to the wick and blew black smoke. So..on Mother's Day morning I was cleaning all the plastic. I know that was a once in a lifetime problem..but asked a couple of people and got different answers. The kersoene will harm the plants with the fumes..and then someone said they wouldn't. I never did try to heat the greenhouse again..just begin my plants in our house and move them up later. But..please remember that it does get very hot on cool spring days so open up the doors during the day. This year I literally burned all of my flats of veggies after forgetting to open the doors in the morning !! The electric heaters sound like a better idea. Less mess and fuss..and probably cleaner too. Good Luck !!
  5. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Well-Known Member

    May 13, 2002
    The first year I had my 14 by 22 ft. greenhouse, I used a portable kerosene heater. It does make some dirt on the inside from the "fumes", but I grew quite well that year. Sensitive blooming plants could be harmed by the ethelyne in the fumes, but most plants should do quite well. I had one 22500 BTU heater and it only kept it above freezing. One caution though, if your gh is very tight which it should be if covered in poly, you may need a small pipe to bring in fresh air to the heater. Mine is rigid plastic and has become more untight over the years, but that first year the heater went out and it took my DH until he saw that the match would not stay lit to realize there was no oxygen left in the place. He exited quickly and we put a small pvc pipe vent in after that.
  6. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 11, 2002
    To cut heating cost with electric, put mini hoops over the plant tables, and put the heaters below the tables. We use 1500 watt "milk house" heaters that have built in thermostats. Cost below $30. This cuts the space you have to heat greatly. We run the plastic to the floor on the sides of the tables so the heat will rise.
  7. SolarGary

    SolarGary Well-Known Member

    Sep 7, 2005

    You are probably already be aware of this, but you may be able to avoid heating the greenhouse some or even all of the time if you can incorporate some thermal mass and insulation in the greenhouse. The thermal mass stores some of the heat collected from the sun during the day, and releases it at night.

    Some ideas and guidelines on how to do this here: