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Using Compost Heap to Heat Greenhouse...

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default Using Compost Heap to Heat Greenhouse...

Post by Sparhawk on 5th April 2011, 1:05 am

Am building larger compost heap next to greenhouse, approx 2 x Dalek sizeish, had sudden thought of finding unused radiator, spraying it black, burying it in the soil underneath, putting heap on top, putting pipes from radiator into greenhouse...

Like I said it was a sudden thought...

Is it likely to work? I wouldn't be wanting tropical heat, probably aim to keep temp above freezing in an average winter...

Would it be best using it to heat air or water?

Ponder, ponder, ponder...

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    leads a ragtag, fugitive fleet, on a lonely quest—for a shining planet known as Earth."
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default Re: Using Compost Heap to Heat Greenhouse...

Post by Compostwoman on 5th April 2011, 8:22 am

Is the greenhouse large enough to put the compost bin inside it?

This is a common practice in larger greenhouses and polytunnels over winter, so the warmth keeps the chill off the air.

Also keeping a water butt inside , which absorbs the warmth generated even on winter days and then releases said warmth back at night.

Having said all that I see absolutely no reason why what you suggested should not have an even, or better, chance of doing something beneficial!

But I would ideally site the radiator inside the heap as that is where the temperature will be greatest.


Last edited by Compostwoman on 5th April 2011, 9:40 am; edited 1 time in total

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default Re: Using Compost Heap to Heat Greenhouse...

Post by Sparhawk on 5th April 2011, 8:53 am

Thanks CW, unfortunately its only a standard garden sized greenhouse 8' x 6' off the top of my head so unfortunately not big enough to put anything inside...

Methinks from what you said its worth more pondering though...

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"the luxuries of civilisation satisfy only those wants which they themselves create..."
                 The Worst Journey In The World - Apsley Cherry-Garrard (1922)

                "Fleeing from the Cylon tyranny, the last Battlestar, Galactica,
    leads a ragtag, fugitive fleet, on a lonely quest—for a shining planet known as Earth."
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default Re: Using Compost Heap to Heat Greenhouse...

Post by Chilli-head on 5th April 2011, 10:10 am

It could be that I am not good enough at composting, but I find that a 1 cubic metre heap only gets hot if you happen to have a lot of stuff available at once, and then does not stay hot for all that long. And that is in a Linkaboard double walled plastic container, without taking any heat out. I imagine a rather unusually large heap might do the trick, but I normally need heat in the greenhouse for March-May, which doesn't always coincide terribly welll with having a lot of green waste to compost.

The internal water butt is my favourite idea. I use a black plastic water tank of the sort that goes in the loft, so that it heats quickly in the sun. Also they tend to be low rather than tall, so can fit under a bench and keep whatever is on top a bit warmer.
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default Re: Using Compost Heap to Heat Greenhouse...

Post by Compostwoman on 5th April 2011, 10:33 am

Yes in order to get the 60 C plus in a "hot" compost heap, you do need a lot of the right balance of material all at once. Most compost bins/heaps are added to little and often, so tend to be "cool" composting.

Still makes good stuff, but be aware not hot enough to kill off weed seeds.

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