A Greenhouse Build (Summer is just the time!)

Re: A Greenhouse Build (Summer is just the time!)

Postby BaboonScience » Sat May 30, 2009 2:38 pm

Clownfish75 wrote:This looks so cool john,

Whats next on the list to be done?

Christian

Christian
Coming close to finishing those other projects.
Next on the greenhouse list is to install the Sump for the recirculating system and get the electrical box and overhead lines in place. I also need to pull the skin tight before installing the end plastic.

John
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Re: A Greenhouse Build (Summer is just the time!)

Postby BUGSY » Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:59 pm

john hows the greenhouse coming along would love to see some pics? greg
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Re: A Greenhouse Build (Summer is just the time!)

Postby BaboonScience » Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:11 pm

Greg, As soon as I get the sump and return pump setup in place I'll post more.
As it is, I have set up a 300 gallon (more or less) recirculating system in full sunlight to get an estimate of the worst case heat load. With day temps in the upper 90's the water temperature is still only in the upper 80's. This is good, as any measures to cool the system should bring it down to reasonable.
More to come.
John
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Re: A Greenhouse Build (Summer is just the time!)

Postby Jeff » Fri Jun 26, 2009 11:52 pm

John, look into shade cloth to help with solar gain....get blue shade cloth (might as well get some spectrum shift out of your shade :)

We always ran black shade cloth until this past summer/fall. When using black, we had to use 75% shade to get the thermal gain to a manageable level (even with ventilation and a swamp cooler. Last fall (september) we ditched the 75% black cloth and replaced it with a layer of 30% aluminum and a layer of 30% blue. Coral colors have increased with the incoming sunlight being shifted to a bluer spectrum...but more importantly, the heating bills this past winter were lower because of the "aluminum" (actually aluminized mylar) shade cloth (think of an emergency foil blanket :wink: ). The solar gain this summer has decreased dramatically as well. We have the chillers running now (SPS don't like temps above 81 IME), but with the outside temp at 96 and the humidity at 90% the water temps only hit 84 before the chillers were running. Compare that with running the 75% black shade cloth...with the same outdoor conditions, water would have hit 88 easily.

http://www.signaturesupplyonline.com/ is where we got it. The price was pretty reasonable...about $600 total to do our 24' x 30' GH IIRC.

You'll still prob want some chillers on hand to get temps down on those super hot "dog days" :)
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Re: A Greenhouse Build (Summer is just the time!)

Postby BaboonScience » Sat Jun 27, 2009 1:18 am

Jeff
Thanks for the tip.
We have the black cloth but the aluminum cloth and blue cloth seem more practical.
We seldom have to worry about cold whether down here. Last winter was a freak occurrence with a foot of snow, extensive power failure and a failed generator. :roll:
We have a good generator now.
Anyway, heat is our main concern. I have the swamp (evaporative) cooler from the takedown plus the vent fans that will be installed. With your idea, I may be able to reduce chiller costs considerable.
I will certainly be looking at that link as soon as I hit the submit tab.

BTW, a local AC specialist has offered to help me install a chiller system utilizing a whole house AC compressor. I may take him up on it. Overpowered systems are often less expensive to operate because they do not have to struggle with the load.
Any ideas on that one would be appreciated.
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Re: A Greenhouse Build (Summer is just the time!)

Postby Jeff » Sun Jun 28, 2009 12:38 am

John,

You can save a LOT of money by doing a geothermal ground loop chiller. It's about the same upfront cost as a good chiller (a little cheaper actually), but operating cost are reduced exponentially.

It's fairly simple...you will need:

1/4" -1/2" "flexible coiled" copper pipe. Comes in boxes in 25', 50' and 100' coils (diameter will depend on how large your system is).
PVC pipe
copper sweat - PVC couplings
a chiller barrel (aquatic-eco has some nice thermostatically controlled ones)
Lots of aluminum shavings
Dry concrete mix
a large auger to drill a hole (8" - 12")

PM me if you are interested in doing this, and I'll explain it better on the phone...but here's the short and sweet of it:
Drill a hole deeper than the frost line (below the water table if it's not to deep)
Loosen up the coiled copper some so there is some space in the coil, connect PVC to it so that the coil is at the bottom of the hole and the PVC is running to the chiller barrel in the GH.
With the coil in the bottom of the hole, dump in a couple of garbage bags of aluminum shavings in the hole, followed by the dry concrete. The aluminum/concrete mix increases the ability of the fluid in the coil to "get cooled"
Back fill the hole.
Inside the GH, you will connect the PVC coming from the hole to the refrigerant lines of the chiller barrel, and the system to the barrel.
when the system calls for cooling, fluid will cycle through the chiller barrel, picking up heat and transferring it to the ground through the coil/aluminum/concrete heat sink.

You are creating a "closed loop" system, so you should use glycerin or some other non freezing fluid in the cooling loop so that it doesn't need drained and flushed every winter.


The aluminum/blue combo has proven to be a huge money saver in operating costs...in both summer and winter :)
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Re: A Greenhouse Build (Summer is just the time!)

Postby Jeff » Sun Jun 28, 2009 12:52 am

here's a link to the Aquatic-Eco chiller...It's not the one I was thinking of though, I'll have to keep looking "wink"
http://www.aquaticeco.com/subcategories ... s/barrel/0

Edit:
Here is the water to water exchanger :)
http://www.aquaticeco.com/subcategories ... qua-Logic/
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Re: A Greenhouse Build (Summer is just the time!)

Postby Jeff » Sat Jul 11, 2009 10:09 pm

So, have you made any progress John? We're getting near those "dog days" when life in the GH gets REAL FUN :lol:

Seriously, this time of year usually I would go into the GH at 5 AM and try and be out of there by 10 or 11 AM....this year with the combo of shade cloth, the temps in the GH have only hit 90 ONCE when it was 96 outside. I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS SHADE CLOTH!!! I am continuing to find added benefits to this stuff :)
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Re: A Greenhouse Build (Summer is just the time!)

Postby BaboonScience » Sun Jul 12, 2009 1:04 am

Jeff
Yes, not many really hot days in SouthWest Ohio. I grew up in NorthWest Ohio. The winter cold was more of a concern.
We are having a relative cold spell lately.
http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.ph ... 2=-83.5055

At this time, I am focusing on the sump and other floor level fixtures. Then upper lever (return) plumbing and electrical. The chiller links will come in handy. A neighbor has a heating and air conditioning business and can supply an appropriately sized power plant at cost.

I am giving the skin some time to loose the wrinkles of storage. I will probably finish pulling it tight next week, then worry about the shade cover.

John
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Re: A Greenhouse Build (Summer is just the time!)

Postby Luis A M » Sun Jul 12, 2009 1:32 am

BaboonScience wrote:Jeff
Yes, not many really hot days in SouthWest Ohio. I grew up in NorthWest Ohio.

Is Cincinnati SW or NW?.I had really some very hot days one summer there...
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Re: A Greenhouse Build (Summer is just the time!)

Postby Jeff » Sun Jul 12, 2009 1:50 am

Cincinnati is in SW OH Luis...I am about 45miles from there.

We have pretty hot summers here...regularly 100+ in late July and early August...pretty much mid 89's to low/mid 90's the rest of the summer. The bad thing is that we can run at 10 deg's for weeks at a time in the winter....so in a year round GH operation, you have to fight both hot and cold!
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Re: A Greenhouse Build (Summer is just the time!)

Postby BaboonScience » Sun Jul 12, 2009 2:08 am

Jeff
One hair brained thought.
Well for me, it is really one hair brained thought after another!
When I was looking at the $1000 plus titanium heat exchangers, I started wondering what everyone did with those old blown titanium heaters. In most cases, they are a titanium tube with a glass sheathed heater inside that can be removed with a little work.
Hmmm!
john
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Re: A Greenhouse Build (Summer is just the time!)

Postby RoxanneJ » Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:43 pm

Hi John,

Roxanne (and Dave) here. We've built a greenhouse much like you're working on now and kept tropical aquatic plants (including lilies) so if you need some help and/or ideas, don't hesitate to let us know.

I will tell you that we had to heat in the winter, even in Georgia. But Dave came up with a pretty simple way to do it, so holler if we can share.

Seriously, if you need some (wo)manpower, we're here.....Dave can't do much physical work (disabled), but I can. Of course, we'd prefer to wait for some cooler temps, but with the right helping hands, you can have this ready between cooling off fall and winter temps.
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Re: A Greenhouse Build (Summer is just the time!)

Postby Jeff » Tue Aug 11, 2009 1:22 am

BaboonScience wrote:Jeff
One hair brained thought.
Well for me, it is really one hair brained thought after another!
When I was looking at the $1000 plus titanium heat exchangers, I started wondering what everyone did with those old blown titanium heaters. In most cases, they are a titanium tube with a glass sheathed heater inside that can be removed with a little work.
Hmmm!
john



John, I think the biggest challenge with using heater shells is going to be figuring out how to attach your cooling lines to the Ti tube. If you can find LONG Ti tubing you can "coil" a drop-in heat exchanger.
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Re: A Greenhouse Build (Summer is just the time!)

Postby BaboonScience » Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:57 pm

Jeff
Thanks for the continues advice. Getting to the point where we will be asking questions.

Roxanne
Thanks for the offer. Your help will be welcomed, since we are essentially a 2 person show!

Now for an update.
We placed the sump and main plumbing tree several weeks ago. Were running on a Dart pump, which did not really have the head pressure to deliver to the entire planned system. The fish room system is plumbed to this sump as well (through UV and filter socks).
NOTE 1: The growout is valved outside and inside for emergencies.

We decided to install a pump that develops a slightly greater head. That was done yesterday.
The switch was flawless and the pump ran well, until about 11:00 PM. Was doing a final check before winding down for the night and heard a "pop" inside and lots of water hitting a wall. The additional pressure had blown the hoses from the input pipes.

NOTE 2: Those plastic squeeze type hose clamps are designed for low pressure. Do Not Use for higher pressure systems.

So, I panic and race inside, totally forgetting that there is a cut off on the outside. By the time I get there, there is easily 10 gallons on the floor. Thank heavens, the electrical is all rigged as drops from the ceiling. I then shut off the water valve and start cleaning up.
NOTE 3: A wet vac is a valuable addition to your fish room equipment list. Sizable spills DO happen!

After lifting the water, replacing the clamps with stainless clamps and replacing the water, I started the system and carefully opened the valves. Aside from a few leaks, it works well. The pressure did blow scale and junk from the pipes loose. All 30 valves had to be removed and cleaned.
By the time I was done an early night had turned into 4:45 AM.
But, all is well that ends well!

Hope someone can learn from my mistake.
John
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Re: A Greenhouse Build (Summer is just the time!)

Postby Kmiec123 » Tue Sep 01, 2009 3:26 pm

WOW, hope all is well now John, and sorry for your long night.
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Re: A Greenhouse Build (Summer is just the time!)

Postby Jeff » Tue Sep 01, 2009 3:53 pm

John, glad to hear you are making some progress...Anything I can help with, let me know and I'll help vicariously as much as I can :)
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Re: A Greenhouse Build (Summer is just the time!)

Postby BaboonScience » Tue Sep 01, 2009 7:24 pm

Kmiec123 wrote:WOW, hope all is well now John, and sorry for your long night.
Carl

Thanks Carl
All looks well.
Just a bit on the tired side now. :)
The dehumidifier is working overtime.
The good news is that this pump should be able to handle all of the load that I am planning and at a low power drain!
John
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Re: A Greenhouse Build (Summer is just the time!)

Postby Jeff » Tue Sep 22, 2009 12:44 am

Any more progress John? Summer ends today ya know :lol:
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Re: A Greenhouse Build (Summer is just the time!)

Postby BaboonScience » Tue Sep 22, 2009 1:26 am

Jeff wrote:Any more progress John? Summer ends today ya know :lol:

Jeff
Yes, lots of progress. Not enough time to show it.
I have even taken pics that I will post.
I have been preparing for the MOFIB at MACNA booth. Sort of turned into a full time job.
Hey, Ohio is closer to NJ that Georgia. Pick up and come on down. We could meet there!
I will be the half dead old man trying to keep things together. :lol:

Really, I will post much more next week.
John
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Re: A Greenhouse Build (Summer is just the time!)

Postby BaboonScience » Tue Nov 17, 2009 3:38 pm

Progress
The filtration system is complete now. I added a bio ball type drip filter with a rotating spray bar. This has greatly increased the filtration capacity and thus the holding capacity.

We finished covering the end of the greenhouse and sealed all air leaks. The double layer will come later. As it stands, the house holds a 20 F degree differential to the outside at 35 F, which is as low as it has been so far this year. A small heater should keep it higher. Seems that the ground soaks up heat during the day and radiates at night well enough. This is allowing the in system heaters cycle most of the time.

Heaters: We have 4, 350 watt in line heaters, each individually regulated with separate thermostats. The internal regulators have been disabled in these heaters.

The next step is to reposition the filtration equipment so that it all fits well in the sump housing. This will further help to control water temperature on those really cold nights. Down here, really cold is in the mid 20 F range. Once in a blue moon, it will dip to the teens in the early morning.

I also plan to place an old ceiling fan in the greenhouse to help prevent thermal layering.

One tank rack has been completed and the other is under construction. Problem here is that the accumulation of materials gets in the way. While the pile is getting smaller as the supplies get used, the whole pile has to be moved around as one project is completed and the next started.
More later.
John
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Re: A Greenhouse Build (Summer is just the time!)

Postby Scottt » Tue Nov 17, 2009 5:59 pm

Pictures? I want to see this thing! It sounds awesome.
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Re: A Greenhouse Build (Summer is just the time!)

Postby BaboonScience » Tue Nov 17, 2009 7:09 pm

Not so awesome, at least yet. It is more like a cobbed together mess but it is getting better.
I will get the pictures up.
John
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Re: A Greenhouse Build (Summer is just the time!)

Postby Fishboy42 » Wed Nov 18, 2009 9:33 am

I agree; time for more pictures Dr. John!
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Re: A Greenhouse Build (Summer is just the time!)

Postby Scottt » Wed Jan 06, 2010 2:01 pm

Awesome work John! I didn't realize it got that cold in Georgia, whats your elevation?
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