Will A Space Heater Heat A Greenhouse?

Imagine having a lush greenhouse oasis where you can nurture your favorite plants and extend the growing season. But, as the chilly winter days approach, you might wonder if a space heater could do the trick in keeping your greenhouse cozy and warm. This article explores the fascinating question: will a space heater truly heat a greenhouse? Find out as we delve into the science behind heating greenhouses and uncover the effectiveness of using a space heater in this horticultural haven.

Will A Space Heater Heat A Greenhouse?

Factors to Consider

Size of the Greenhouse

When selecting a space heater for your greenhouse, it is crucial to consider the size of the greenhouse itself. The size of the greenhouse will determine the heating requirements and the type of space heater needed. Smaller greenhouses may require a smaller space heater with lower heating capacity, while larger greenhouses will need a more powerful heater to effectively heat the entire space.

Insulation of the Greenhouse

Another important factor to consider is the insulation of the greenhouse. Proper insulation helps retain heat, allowing the space heater to work more efficiently. Insulating materials such as double-pane glass, polycarbonate panels, or bubble wrap can help reduce heat loss and optimize the heating process in the greenhouse.

Outside Temperature

The outside temperature also plays a significant role in determining the heating requirements of a greenhouse. Greenhouses located in colder climates will require a space heater with a higher heating capacity compared to those in milder regions. It is essential to consider the average winter temperatures in your area to ensure that the space heater can adequately maintain the desired temperature inside the greenhouse.

Type of Space Heater

Different types of space heaters are suitable for greenhouse use, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Electric space heaters, propane space heaters, kerosene space heaters, wall-mounted space heaters, and ceramic space heaters are some options to consider. Each type has varying heating capacities, fuel requirements, and safety features, so it is important to select the type that best suits your specific needs and preferences.

Heating Capacity of the Space Heater

The heating capacity of a space heater refers to the amount of heat it can generate and effectively distribute throughout the greenhouse. It is crucial to ensure that the space heater’s heating capacity matches the specific heating requirements of your greenhouse. Underpowered heaters may struggle to maintain the desired temperature, while overly powerful heaters can lead to overheating and excessive energy consumption.

Benefits of Using a Space Heater


Using a space heater in your greenhouse can be a cost-effective way to provide supplemental heating. Compared to more complex and expensive heating systems, space heaters are generally more affordable and require minimal installation or maintenance costs. Additionally, many space heaters offer energy-saving features, allowing you to efficiently heat your greenhouse without breaking the bank.

Ease of Use

Space heaters are known for their simplicity and ease of use. They typically come with user-friendly controls and settings, making it easy for you to adjust the temperature to your desired level. Moreover, many space heaters are portable, allowing you to move them around the greenhouse as needed. This convenience ensures that you can effectively heat different areas of your greenhouse without any hassle.

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Space heaters are versatile heating solutions that can be used in various locations within the greenhouse. Whether you need to heat a specific section, provide warmth to newly planted seedlings, or maintain a consistent temperature throughout the entire greenhouse, space heaters can be positioned strategically to meet your specific heating needs. Their portability and flexibility make them an excellent choice for greenhouse owners.

Safety Features

Modern space heaters are equipped with a range of safety features to ensure safe operation. Features such as tip-over protection, overheating protection, and automatic shut-off mechanisms can provide peace of mind knowing that your greenhouse and its occupants are protected. It is important to choose a space heater that prioritizes safety to minimize any potential risks or accidents.

Types of Space Heaters Suitable for Greenhouses

Electric Space Heaters

Electric space heaters are popular choices for greenhouse owners due to their ease of use and affordability. They rely on electricity as their power source and are generally considered more energy-efficient compared to other types of space heaters. Electric space heaters do not emit any harmful fumes or gases, making them safe for use in enclosed spaces such as greenhouses.

Propane Space Heaters

Propane space heaters are another common type of space heater suitable for greenhouse use. They are powered by propane gas and offer high heating capacities, making them ideal for larger greenhouses or colder climates. Propane space heaters require proper ventilation to prevent the accumulation of carbon monoxide, so adequate airflow is essential when using this type of heater.

Kerosene Space Heaters

Kerosene space heaters are fuel-powered heaters that can efficiently heat greenhouses. They are known for their long burn times and high heating capacities, making them suitable for larger or poorly insulated greenhouses. However, kerosene space heaters require proper ventilation to prevent the build-up of fumes, and their operation should be closely monitored to ensure safety.

Wall-Mounted Space Heaters

Wall-mounted space heaters are a space-saving option that can effectively heat a greenhouse. These heaters are mounted on the walls, providing heating without taking up valuable floor space. Wall-mounted space heaters are often electrically powered and come in a range of sizes and heating capacities, making them suitable for various greenhouse sizes and heating requirements.

Ceramic Space Heaters

Ceramic space heaters are known for their energy efficiency and quiet operation. They use ceramic heating elements that retain heat and provide a balanced distribution of warmth. Ceramic space heaters are typically electrically powered and offer adjustable temperature settings. They are safe for use in greenhouses and provide consistent heating without drying out the air.

Choosing the Right Space Heater

Heating Capacity

When choosing a space heater for your greenhouse, it is crucial to consider the heating capacity. The heating capacity should align with the size of your greenhouse and the desired temperature you want to maintain. It is recommended to calculate the heating requirements of your greenhouse and select a space heater with sufficient capacity to achieve and sustain the desired temperature.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is an essential factor to consider to minimize heating costs in your greenhouse. Look for space heaters with energy-saving features such as programmable timers, adjustable thermostats, and low-power settings. Energy-efficient space heaters can help reduce energy consumption while still effectively warming your greenhouse.

Thermostat Control

Having thermostat control on a space heater allows you to set and maintain a specific temperature inside your greenhouse. This feature ensures that the heater will automatically turn on or off based on the desired temperature, preventing overheating or temperature fluctuations. A space heater with thermostat control adds convenience and precision to the heating process.

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Safety Features

Safety should always be a top priority when selecting a space heater for your greenhouse. Look for heaters with safety features such as tip-over protection, which automatically shuts off the heater if it is accidentally knocked over. Overheating protection is another crucial safety feature that ensures the heater will shut off if it becomes too hot. Additionally, consider heaters with cool-to-touch exteriors to prevent accidental burns.

Noise Level

The noise level of a space heater can impact the overall ambiance of your greenhouse. Noisy heaters can be distracting or disruptive, particularly if you spend a considerable amount of time in the greenhouse. Look for space heaters specifically designed for quiet operation, allowing you to work or relax in a peaceful environment without any unnecessary noise.

Will A Space Heater Heat A Greenhouse?

Positioning the Space Heater

Proximity to Plants

When positioning a space heater in your greenhouse, it is important to consider the proximity to your plants. Avoid placing the heater too close to delicate plants, as they may be susceptible to drying out or being damaged by the direct heat. Create a safe distance between the heater and plants to ensure that the warmth is evenly distributed throughout the greenhouse without causing harm.

Air Circulation

Proper air circulation is crucial for distributing heat effectively and maintaining consistent temperatures throughout the greenhouse. When positioning a space heater, make sure it does not obstruct the natural airflow. Placing the heater near vents or air intake areas can help facilitate better air circulation, allowing the warm air to reach all areas of the greenhouse.

Avoiding Hot and Cold Spots

To achieve optimal heating, it is important to avoid creating hot and cold spots in your greenhouse. Hot spots occur when a heater is positioned in one area and directs all the heat towards that spot. Cold spots, on the other hand, can occur if the heater is not positioned strategically. Experiment with different placements to ensure that the heater effectively distributes heat and maintains consistent temperatures throughout the greenhouse.

Precautions and Safety Measures

Maintaining Proper Ventilation

Proper ventilation is crucial when using a space heater in a greenhouse. Ensure that there is adequate airflow to prevent the build-up of fumes or gases emitted by fuel-powered heaters. Consider installing vents or exhaust fans to ensure proper ventilation and fresh air circulation within the greenhouse. Regularly check vents to ensure they remain unobstructed for optimal safety and efficiency.

Avoiding Fire Hazards

Space heaters, like any heating device, can pose fire risks if not used properly. Keep flammable materials away from the heater, including plants, curtains, or any other combustible items. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and avoid using extension cords or power strips to power the heater. It is also essential to regularly inspect the power cord and plug for any signs of damage or wear.

Monitoring Temperature

Regularly monitor the temperature inside your greenhouse to ensure that it remains within the desired range. Use a reliable thermometer or temperature monitoring system to keep track of the temperature. This will help you adjust the heater’s settings or positioning as needed to maintain a consistent and optimal growing environment for your plants.

Using Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)

For added safety, consider using a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) with your space heater. A GFCI is designed to quickly detect and interrupt power in the event of a ground fault or electrical surge. This helps prevent electric shock or fire hazards, providing an extra layer of protection for both your greenhouse and its occupants.

Tips for Using a Space Heater in a Greenhouse

Choose an Adequate Heating Method

Evaluate the heating requirements of your greenhouse and choose a space heater that matches those needs. Consider factors such as size, insulation, and outside temperature to determine the most suitable heating method for your greenhouse.

Consider a Backup Heating Source

To ensure continuous heating in the event of a power outage or heater malfunction, it is wise to have a backup heating source available. This could be a different type of space heater, an alternative heating method, or a backup power generator. Having a backup plan in place will help protect your plants from sudden temperature drops and maintain a stable growing environment.

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Insulate the Greenhouse Properly

Proper insulation is key to maximizing the efficiency of your space heater. Insulate your greenhouse using materials such as double-pane glass, polycarbonate panels, or bubble wrap. Insulation helps prevent heat loss and keeps the warm air inside the greenhouse, reducing the workload on your space heater and promoting more efficient heating.

Monitor and Adjust Temperature

Regularly monitor the temperature inside your greenhouse and make necessary adjustments to maintain the desired temperature range. This may involve adjusting the thermostat settings on your space heater or repositioning the heater for better heat distribution. Monitoring and adjusting the temperature will help create an optimal growing environment for your plants.

Regular Maintenance

Perform regular maintenance on your space heater to ensure its optimal performance and longevity. Clean the heater regularly, following the manufacturer’s instructions, to remove any dust or debris that may accumulate. Check for any signs of wear or damage, and replace any parts as needed. Regular maintenance will help keep your space heater in good condition and ensure its efficient operation.

Potential Drawbacks of Using a Space Heater

Higher Energy Consumption

One potential drawback of using a space heater in a greenhouse is the increased energy consumption. Space heaters, particularly those with higher heating capacities, can consume a significant amount of electricity or fuel. This increased energy usage may result in higher utility bills. However, energy-efficient models and proper insulation can help minimize this drawback.

Air Drying and Humidity Control

Space heaters, especially those that generate dry heat, can contribute to air drying in the greenhouse. Dry air can affect plant health and growth, particularly for plants that require higher humidity levels. To combat this, consider using humidifiers strategically placed around the greenhouse or using a space heater with a built-in humidifier or moisture control feature.

Noise Levels

While many space heaters now operate quietly, some models may produce noise that can be disruptive in a greenhouse environment. When selecting a space heater, consider the noise level as a factor. Look for models specifically designed for quiet operation to minimize any unnecessary noise that may interfere with your greenhouse activities.

Alternative Heating Methods for Greenhouses

Hot Water Heating Systems

Hot water heating systems utilize boilers or water heaters to heat water, which is then circulated throughout the greenhouse via pipes or tubing. This method offers effective and even heating, with the potential for zoned heating to cater to specific areas or plant requirements. Hot water heating systems can be powered by various energy sources, including gas, electric, or biomass.

Wood Burning Stoves

Wood burning stoves offer a traditional and rustic heating option for greenhouses. This method involves burning wood logs or pellets to generate heat. Wood burning stoves can provide steady, radiant heat, and are often used in larger greenhouses or those located in rural areas where a readily available wood supply is accessible. However, proper ventilation and safety precautions are crucial when using wood burning stoves.

Solar Heaters

Solar heaters rely on the sun’s energy to generate heat for the greenhouse. These heaters use solar panels to capture sunlight, convert it into heat, and distribute it inside the greenhouse. Solar heaters are eco-friendly and can significantly reduce energy costs. They are ideal for greenhouses located in sunny regions with ample sunlight throughout the year. However, solar heaters may not provide sufficient heat during cloudy or winter months.


Using a space heater in your greenhouse can effectively provide the necessary warmth for your plants, allowing them to thrive even in colder temperatures. Factors such as greenhouse size, insulation, outside temperature, and the type of space heater are crucial in determining the most suitable heating solution. Electric, propane, kerosene, wall-mounted, and ceramic space heaters offer various options, each with its own advantages and considerations. Choosing the right space heater entails considering heating capacity, energy efficiency, thermostat control, safety features, and noise levels.

Positioning the space heater strategically ensures proper heat distribution while avoiding damage to plants and creating hot or cold spots. Safety precautions, such as maintaining proper ventilation, avoiding fire hazards, monitoring temperature, and using a ground fault circuit interrupter, are essential for the safe operation of a space heater. Regular maintenance and consideration of potential drawbacks, such as increased energy consumption and air drying, are also important.

Alternative heating methods, such as hot water heating systems, wood burning stoves, and solar heaters, offer additional options depending on specific greenhouse requirements and geographical conditions. By carefully considering these factors and implementing appropriate heating solutions, you can create an optimal and nurturing environment for your plants, allowing them to flourish year-round.