Learn All About Greenhouses using Wood Chips
As the seasons advance and winter approaches, you will notice that your greenhouse isn’t staying as warm as it did during the summer months.
- In order to keep your plants alive during winter, you will need to provide a heating source for them somehow.
- Using a wood chip heater is an excellent way, to provide warmth to your greenhouse residents.
Why Wood Chips?
- Purchasing the wood in already chipped state is possible, although pre-chipped wood is difficult to find in some parts of the country.
- Supplies can also be found from businesses that deal with wood, such as sawmills and landscaping companies.
- Many of these places will provide the wood chips, which they will refer to as wood waste, at little or no cost.
- However, you will often have to shovel it into containers that you provide and haul it home yourself.
If you can’t find an adequate supply of wood chips locally, you can still purchase wood logs regularly.
- You will need to need to learn how to shop and choose a wood chipper, when you purchase a wood chipper, you can turn the wood into chips yourself. This will require not only cutting the wood down to a proper size to put into your chipper, but then catching the chips and storing them properly.
- Wood chippers require safety training before use, they are dangerous pieces of equipment.
- Always read any instructions carefully and wear all appropriate safety equipment when using one, the hazards of wood chipper accidents can be be fatal.
- Wood chips are generally more efficient at producing heat than regular wood burning heaters are.
- Wet wood chips will emit 4,000 BTU per pound, while those with much lower moisture content will produce around 7,400 BTU per pound.
- Wood chips, being smaller than logs of wood and having more surface area per ounce, will dry out faster than wood logs will.
Wood chips are measured by the ton. In general, 194 tons of wood chips will produce the same energy output as 10,000 gallons of diesel fuel. You won’t need nearly that amount of wood chips to heat your greenhouse though.
The average home can be heated all winter long by 7 cords of firewood.
One ton is roughly equivalent to 1.5 cords of firewood. When the math is worked out, this means that the average home could be heated by 4.7 tons of wooden chips over an entire winter season. This should give you a rough idea of your wood chip usage.
Your greenhouse will not be as well insulated as your house is.
- Depending on the size of your greenhouse and its average heat loss, your wood chip ton usage could be different from this estimate.
- Buy small, and arrange for more as needed until you have an idea of the annual requirements for your wood chip burner.
Types of Burners
There are two types of wood chip burners, interior and exterior units.
- Both units are usually fed by a hopper system.
- You fill the hopper as needed, and it distributes wood chips for the fire to burn.
- This creates less hassle than needing to feed a log burning heater.
The exterior unit must be placed on a solid surface like a slab of cement.
- Soggy ground may not support the weight of the unit by itself.
- You will need to have the proper piping installed, usually underground, to carry the heat to your greenhouse with minimal loss. Any heat emitted by the unit will dissipate and be wasted.
Interior units will add their emitted heat to their regular output, but will get soot and ash into your greenhouse.
You will need to install piping to remove the smoke from your greenhouse. This includes adding a metal sheet around the exhaust tube that will be large enough to protect the surrounding covering from the heat of the exhaust pipe.
Regardless of your choice, you will need to install fans in your greenhouse to circulate the heat produced.
Fans should be placed near the plants to create circulation. Other fans should be suspended from the rafters to blow rising heat back down. This will create less wasted heat from your wood chip burner. Following these steps will successfully and safely teach you how to heat your green house using wood chips.
#1. Wood Chipper Safety Training Course at Oklahoma State University – (PDF) – Oklahoma State University (OSU) agricultural safety program training guides.
The knives on wood chippers and shredders are sharp enough to slice through fresh wood. The engines are powerful enough to grind thick branches and limbs. Those same knives and engines would make short work of worker’s finger, a hand, or an arm. Workers can be pulled into the knives or struck by the chipper disc hood.Workers should never operate this equipment without training.
#2. Safety and Health Informational Bulletins: (SHIBs) – http://www.osha.gov/dts/shib/index.html
SHIBs, aka Safety and Health Informational Bulletins, are one tool OSHA uses to inform internal staff and the public of significant occupational safety and health issues concerning hazard recognition, evaluation, and control in the workplace and at emergency response sites. The scope of SHIB topics and the procedures for the development of SHIBs are outlined in the OSHA Instruction CPL 02-00-065 [CPL 2.65A].
#3. How to Wood Chipper Essential Safety Tips – (PDF)
News Title: Man Killed in Wood Chipper Accident
Published by: Los Angele’s Times Local
“A man killed in a Tustin wood-chipper accident was identified Thursday as Gabriel Gonzales-Ferrer, 24, of Orange.
The tree service worker “was standing at the back end of the chipper, throwing branches into it with his co-workers nearby,” said Sgt. Pat Welch of the Tustin Police Department. “One of them looked over, and he was gone.”
Authorities took the wood chipper and the truck to which it was attached to a parking structure at the Orange County coroner’s office, where it was dismantled and Gonzales-Ferrer’s remains removed. An autopsy is scheduled today to confirm the cause of death “and rule out anything else, including foul play,” supervising deputy coroner Leslie Meader said.
There was no immediate evidence of a crime or that alcohol or drugs were involved, Welch said.
“He was one of three workers trimming trees and removing debris from a private residence,” he said. “One was in the tree and the other hauling debris. He was there and then he wasn’t there; it was an unfortunate industrial accident.”
Read the entire article: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-woodchipper9nov09,0,2983821.story?coll=la-home-center