So, I got tired of bringing the plants inside the house every Fall. Several of them are pretty large (and heavy), you can’t see where you’re going when you’re carrying them, and once they’re in (for several months), they block access to doorways.
Christmas was on the horizon, so I got the bright idea of killing two birds with one stone. A little research found me a popup greenhouse for a reasonable price. I found one on Amazon that looked promising. Six feet by eight feet, for only $165. Perfect.
That would solve my problem for now, but what about when it gets cold? I googled again, for possible sources of heat-that included a compost pile (not enough room), gas heat (too dangerous), and heat sinks (too passive). I settled on electric heat, even though I knew that would drive up our electricity bill. But, would it be worth the extra cost?
You can look at your electrical consumption online and figure out what your kilowatt charges are for your home. In my case, it was 11 cents. So, running a 1,500 watt heater full blast for 8 hours would cost me 12,000 kilowatts, or about $1.32. If I had it on every night for a month, that adds up to around $40.00. If you’re in a really cold climate, where you need heat 24 x7, of course, that could be too much of a cost.
I happened to have a small bathroom heater rated at 1,500 watts, so that would do as my first trial. The heater was a digital model, where you had to push a button to turn it on, then dial in a temperature where the heater would cut off and on to maintain that temperature. Since there’s not much chance a heater would be able to maintain a constant temperature in a portable greenhouse–it’s way too drafty, this heater was overly complicated for the job. I did use it for a while, but it stopped working pretty quickly.
I had another heater that I never used, as it was an older model, and didn’t have those fancy electronics. But, surprisingly, it was better suited for this particular job. The main thing was that it had a manual on-off switch. So, once you turned it on, it stayed on, unlike the first heater, which required you to manually turn it on every time you turned the power off, then on.
You see, since the greenhouse is outside, I did not want to go outside to turn on the heater every night–I had a smart plug to take care of that job. If you get a different one, make sure to get one with a high amperage capacity. This one is 15 amps-plenty high enough. And you’ll probably need a heavy duty extension cord–here’s what I bought.