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Go Green – Root-Zone Radiant Heating

Radiant heating setupWhen you picture radiant heating, don’t think of that old radiator clanking away in the corner at Grandma’s house. Aside from the nostalgia (and being a good place to dry your mittens), those old-school radiators that we are most familiar with are simply not very economical. Fortunately, times have changed and radiant heating has come a long way!

Heating your greenhouse or high tunnel has never been more efficient, especially when utilizing one of our tankless water heaters. These boilers can provide closed-loop heating water for radiant or fan coil heating, as well as on-demand, potable domestic hot water. No matter where you install these systems, you can see savings of up to 50% on your annual energy costs, which means a fast return on your investment.

For example, we are currently using one of our Quietside on-demand water heaters to heat the soil in the high tunnel demonstration area of our technology center and have observed great results. I have tomato plants that are about to celebrate their first birthday that are still producing quality fruit! With our radiant setup, we have three zones in our soil and one in the cement aisle.
Concrete path with radiant heating systemThe multiple zones allow us to adjust each area’s temperature to optimize the growing environment for the type of plant in that area. For instance, we can get away with running the cold tolerant crop’s soil temperature cooler than the soil of the tomatoes or peppers. Not only does this provide an additional cost savings by not over heating a zone, it also allows us to grow a much wider variety of crops at one time.

Tomato plants with root-zone heatingI know of a farm in New York that has been having great success growing year round utilizing flash hot water radiant heating in the root zone. They have ten acres of high tunnels that they are heating using a mere 1,000 gallons of propane per year!

Don’t pay to heat the air. Heat right where it counts—at the root level. The ambient air temperature of a greenhouse or high tunnel does not matter as much as one may think. As long as you choose the right crop for your growing situation, use row covers and mulch, you can grow quality fresh vegetables all 12 months of the year.

This video shows us installing our radiant heating system in our high tunnel demo area.

How to Install a Soil-Warming Cable System from FarmTek

Radiantly heating with hot water has come a long way. Call us today to make the new year your most frugal yet.

Where could you use radiant heating? Are you thinking about trying it? Or have you already?

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