Inexpensivce Seed Heating Mat

rain2fall(8/Oregon)October 3, 2009

I'd like to buy a seed mat. Online, I find prices of $20 to $45 for a small one, 9x19 inches. That doesn't include the thermostat. Is there a less-expensive source?

Rain2Fall

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calistoga_al

You can find one with the thermostat built in set at about 70 degrees. Buying a separate thermo will double the price, and for most gardeners an adjustable temperature is not required. Al

    Bookmark   October 5, 2009 at 9:09AM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

Many of us have used heating pads for sore back muscles. There was a time when one could get them quite inexpensively at thrift stores. There are Gardenweb threads here: heating mats and others can be found.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2009 at 11:44AM
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chadinlg

I think that the soil heating cables are just as effective, but cheaper than the heating mats for larger areas.

For several years I have used a heating cable attached to a sheet of plywood (to hold it in place - cable ties through holes in the plywood) covered with a vinyl sheet (to keep the wood dry). The plywood acts as an insulator as well.

Chad

    Bookmark   October 6, 2009 at 12:07PM
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rain2fall(8/Oregon)

I like the heating cable idea, Chad. Did you have to buy a thermostat with them?

    Bookmark   October 6, 2009 at 2:33PM
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calistoga_al

I made a heating plate 3 feet by 6 feet using a 300 watt heating cable used for keeping rain gutters from freezing. I used a one half inch foam core which I covered with fiberglass enclosing the cable in the fiberglass. The foam acts as a heat insulator under the cable. A ten gauge aluminum plate was purchased from a metal salvage company and laid on top of the cable. An adjustable thermostat with a bulb type sensor was mounted on the plate. It has worked perfectly for over ten years. Al

    Bookmark   October 7, 2009 at 9:49AM
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chadinlg

My heating cable has a built in thermostat in the middle of the cable, I think that most of the budget ones are this way.

In my case I am not using it that way. I have the cable controlled by a separate thermostat set to turn ON when temps go below 45 degrees. I am using the cable to insure that a small section of my greenhouse is safe for overwintering starts of coleus etc.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2009 at 4:00PM
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calistoga_al

The heating cable like chad describes is available from many locations. The longest one is about 180 watts and is good for about a four foot by four foot area with the builtin thermostat set for about 70 degrees. When I used this type cable I used 1/4 inch hardware cloth which I tied the cable to. If the cable is allowed to cross its self it will over heat at that point and burn out. I first tried covering the cable with damp sand and setting my pots on it. This only worked as long as the sand remained damp,not long. Then I used about a 20 gauge aluminum sheet directly on the hardware cloth and cable. This worked well for several years until I needed more room. I left it plugged in 24/7 as it only heated when the temperature dropped below 70 degrees. Al

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 9:37AM
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rain2fall(8/Oregon)

By hardware cloth, do you mean window screening and its more modern substitutes?

Rain2Fall

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 11:25PM
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Fleur(z5)

Have you considered shopping at thrift stores or yard sales for a waterbed heater?

    Bookmark   October 25, 2009 at 9:02PM
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