Wood stove in greenhouse

gardener1908March 6, 2009

We have installed a small potbellied stove in our small greenhouse( will put bigger ones in our bigger houses down the road) We are having trouble with smoke blowing back into the greenhouse. Has anyone done this, and what have you done to prevent this problem?

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web4deb(5 CT)

My guess is you don't have a fresh air vent and it's choking the stove. Along with that it's also possible that the chimney/stack isn't tall enough so it doesn't have a strong enough draft.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 6:14PM
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web4deb. Do you use a woodburning stove in a greenhouse? Any tips would be helpful. Thanks

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 10:48AM
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web4deb(5 CT)

Sorry, I don't heat my greenhouse. But a wood burning stove (or any furnace that uses gas or wood )needs an air source. Most houses are leaky and large enough to get enough air through the doors and windows. My new house is so tight, I have to have an air exchanger to bring in fresh air.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 6:54PM
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What usually causes problems for me is when the flue pipe is not sealed properly or partially blocked. You should have the pipe extend a few feet above any obstacle(incl. the greenhouse) within a few feet.

Granted you will still have some back-smoking on overcast or rainy days if your draft is borderline. When starting a fire place lots of crumpled newspaper and smaller kindling in to get a good initial draft.

I never saw a greenhouse that was as tight as web4deb's. Usually there is plenty of makeup air. But your pot bellied stove may be a poor choice for greenhouse because it is not a very airtight stove and therefore relies on a more positive flue draft. Therefore, if you want to use it make sure that your flue pipe is fairly tall and is fit together tight at all joints, then burn your stove hot constantly.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 10:14PM
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web4deb(5 CT)

I should clarify my last post. When I said "my house is tight", I was referring to my actual house....my greenhouse leaks like a sieve!!! ;-)

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 8:25AM
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bmoser, What kind of stove do you use in your gh? What size is your gh and what size stove. The gh we have this stove in is a 14ft. x 8ft. house for starting seeds. We are putting up 4, 50ft. houses in Mar. We found kits that you can use to make stoves out of steel drums to use in the bigger ones. The little potbelly was something I bought a garage sale to use as a plant stand, but thought I would use it to put a little heat in the small one,I have used an electric heater in the past

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 1:16PM
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Code in most all areas concerning wood burner stacks on houses is two feet taller than the point ten feet away measured horizontally. This puts the top of the stack at the minimum height. How tall is your stack off of the roof using the horizontal measuring method and where is it located?

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 1:24PM
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I use a wood stove to heat a 10"x10" greenhouse that I use to start seeds for transplant and grow spinach direct. The GH is not airtight but holds heat really well. My early problem was overheating until I learned how to regulate the wood and air flow in my stove. The type of wood and amount of air supplied to the stove is going to determine the amount of heat and smoke. Seasoned/dry wood burns hot and produces less smoke than green/wet wood but seasoned wood also burns fast and is hard to prevent overheat. Green/wet wood requires a good bed of hot coals to start burning and will produce significant smoke during the fire up process. However, the green/wet wood has a relatively slow burn rate and once it gets hot produces a minimal amount of smoke. The described smoke problem has to be associated with the wood type, air regulation, or a combination of wood type and air regulation. All wood stoves have one common need. They all need a good engine (flue) to make them work. Without a good flue system to create air draft "it ain't gonna work"! Every wood burning stove has its own unique characteristics. Doors, lids, cracks, holes, etc can change the way a stove burns. Even the way wood is stacked into the stove can effect the draft pattern. You might say that the wood stove is somewhat fickled and sometimes downright frustrating but if you provide its needs and treat it right your wood stove will serve you well.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 10:16AM
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rosepedal(Four seasons zone4/5)

I am so happy I stopped in the forum..We are attaching another 10 x 12 Hfgh this spring and are placing our wood stove we took out of the house and placing in it the two ghs...We are hoping during the really cold Wi nights we would be able to use it to heat to keep the heating bills down...I am concerned over how dry the heat is though..I was hoping if we didnt use it too much it wouldnt do too much harm on the plants and seedlings? Barb

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 1:50PM
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Great info. Thanks to all for your imput. We are putting a taller stack on it, and as jij41 says "it's fickle" so we will learn by trail and error. Does anyone know about smoke harming seedlings?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 12:22PM
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To help with the humidity why not get a couple steel drums, put an auto fill mechanism on them and stick them really close to the wood stove? They may even help in regulating the heat output. Absorbing heat when you're running on the hot side and releasing heat then you get on the cool side. Not sure if just a couple drums would cut it for that purpose though. You'd probably have to surround it with drums for the temperature regulation aspect to work out very well.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 12:57AM
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