Perhaps the most important feature of a controlled horticulture environment is the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system. Using a network of fans, air conditioners, heaters, humidifiers, air purifiers, CO2 replenishment, and/or other equipment, the HVAC system provides plants with an ideal environment of finely tuned temperature, humidity, and ventilation levels. This helps plants grow fast and strong without the risk of mold, fungus, or mildew to bring them down.
Depending on your greenhouse or indoor garden, you may only need a few pieces of HVAC equipment. The solution that works best will depend upon the types of plants you plan on growing. Once you know the ideal atmospheric conditions for your plants, you can begin to look for the HVAC equipment that fits your needs.
If you are looking for HVAC solutions for greenhouses and indoor gardens, contact the experts at Sobieski Services. We can help you achieve the optimal levels for plant health and growth.
Heating and Cooling
The first thing you need to think about is temperature control. If you want to operate your greenhouse in the fall and winter months, it’s important to maintain proper temperatures with a heater. Your heater will come with a thermostat to set the desired temperature.
For cooling options, you can choose from a variety of techniques, including evaporative coolers, mechanical fans, passive vents, and air conditioners. Many greenhouses and indoor gardens simply need a ventilation system for adequate cooling. Typically, this begins with an exhaust fan placed high in the room and a fresh air intake placed low to the ground.
Some plants require the additional cooling power of an air conditioner, usually a ductless mini-split system.
Ductless heat pumps eliminate the need for ductwork. Also, if you have separate areas that require different temperatures, you can add as many as four indoor wall-mounted or concealed air handlers (each with their own “zone”) per one outdoor heat pump.
Ductless heat pumps tend to be more expensive to install, but they offer better efficiency, less noise, less clutter, and more power. If you don’t want to deal with ductwork and large pieces of equipment, consider all the benefits of a ductless system.
Work with a qualified HVAC technician to select the perfect unit that takes into account things like cooling load in BTU (British thermal unit), lighting equipment, CO2 enrichment equipment, and other factors of professional HVAC sizing. Sobieski Services follows strict Manual N procedures for optimal HVAC design.
The great thing about air conditioners is that they also function as dehumidifiers. Many units come with built-in temperature and humidity control so you can automate your levels. If the humidity hits a certain set-point, the system will turn on the fans to remove moisture from the air. Keep in mind that unless you have a separate humidifier, AC can’t add any moisture, it can only take it away.
Many plants require proper airflow for the best growth rates. Without air movement around the garden space, CO2 can quickly become depleted and mold may form.
Many greenhouses and indoor gardens use oscillating fans to create a steady breeze to get rid of stagnant air. If you have a fresh air intake, it’s best to have a fan nearby to help it circulate throughout the room. Keep in mind that too much air movement can have a drying, moisture-sucking effect, especially for smaller plants. The bigger your plants, the more they’ll benefit from air movement.
Greenhouses and indoor gardens without standalone CO2 injection systems or CO2 enrichment built into the ventilation system must rely on fresh air intakes to replenish the CO2 in the environment. The CO2 injection system monitors the atmospheric concentration of CO2 and then turns on if the concentration falls below a certain level. There are ventilation systems that come with built-in CO2 sensors that open the dampers depending on the actual CO2 concentration in a space.
For complete control of the indoor growing space, you want an atmospheric controller that runs all of the HVAC devices at once, including ventilation fans, heaters, and humidifiers. A single command center makes it easy for all of your systems to work as one. For example, if the exhaust fan is on, the CO2 enrichment will automatically turn off.
Wireless Automation Devices
One of the most exciting advancements in HVAC technology has been the introduction of remote access to HVAC control features. Now, you can monitor and control your greenhouse and indoor garden environment from anywhere. All you need is a mobile WiFi-connected device.
Other HVAC technologies allow automated temperature and humidity control with the use of sensors for optimal crop performance. As long as everything is properly installed, you won’t have to worry about regulating the atmospheric conditions.
Plants grow best in consistent temperatures, humidity, and CO2 levels. A well-designed HVAC system will maintain the proper indoor conditions for indoor horticulturalists and greenhouse growers.
Speak with the professionals at Sobieski Services for help monitoring and controlling your garden’s atmospheric conditions from your phone. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our HVAC experts in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.