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A heating system efficiency checklist

The unavoidable is upon us; heating season! As unpleasant as it may be for all growers, winter is a fact of life and it must be considered. Heating costs during the cold winter months are of prime concern - here is a quick checklist to maximize the efficiency of your greenhouse heating system:

1. Pipe Insulation
Considerable fuel is wasted each year from bare heating system pipes in areas where heat is not needed. Often in boiler rooms the main pipelines from the boilers are not insulated, this represents unnecessary heat loss and can cost valuable energy. Check the pipes in your boiler room; are they insulated? If they are not, it could mean that you are wasting valuable heat that is needed in the greenhouse, not the boiler room. You will want to insulate these pipes now to help trim your heating bill. Have a look around your greenhouse, where else can you find heating pipes that are warming up an area unnecessarily? Most growers are surprised how much unnecessary heat is emanating from heating pipes that should be insulated, and how much valuable energy is consistently wasted.

2. Pump and Valve Check
Before leaky pumps and valves become issues during heating season, make a visual inspection of all valves and pumps in your hydronic heating system. Leaking pumps and valves means money leaking out of your heating system. Hot water seeping from a pump can often be fixed with a simple gasket; if a valve is leaking it can mean that the bolts on the flanges need to be tightened. While making a visual inspection of your pumps pay attention to the sound they are making, if a pump sounds different it could be a bearing issue, compromising the efficiency of your pump. Putting up with heated water leaking from your greenhouse heating system is common, you always have the intention of fixing the problem but something more important comes your way. Look at that water as cash wasted and you may find your way to fixing those leaks sooner rather than later!

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