Author Topic: Bubble wrap for greenhouse insolation  (Read 2214 times)

Plantinyum

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Bubble wrap for greenhouse insolation
« on: September 25, 2021, 02:48:48 AM »
I will be buying some of this stuff,its commonly used for packaging fragile things and apparently its commonly used for greenhouse insolation during colder seasons. I will use the big bubble type. Anyone using this material, what were/are the results?
Thanks !! 🙂

brian

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Re: Bubble wrap for greenhouse insolation
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2021, 08:34:18 AM »
Are you using it on the inside or outside?

I have been thinking of various ways to insulate my greenhouse at night.  Pulling a bubble wrap sheet over the roof at night is one, but it has challenges (wind, friction, storage)

Plantinyum

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Re: Bubble wrap for greenhouse insolation
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2021, 01:42:06 PM »
Are you using it on the inside or outside?

I have been thinking of various ways to insulate my greenhouse at night.  Pulling a bubble wrap sheet over the roof at night is one, but it has challenges (wind, friction, storage)
i am talking bout fixing it in some way to the outside of the gh. It must be sturdy and all since it will stay on trough winter....i will probably put at top of it one nylon layer also ..

brian

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Re: Bubble wrap for greenhouse insolation
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2021, 02:18:52 PM »
if you leave it up during the daytime the UV light will destroy it, but it should last the winter at least before that happens and bubble wrap is inexpensive.  It isn't a bad idea, I am curious how it works out for you. 

Plantinyum

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Re: Bubble wrap for greenhouse insolation
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2021, 02:39:47 PM »
if you leave it up during the daytime the UV light will destroy it, but it should last the winter at least before that happens and bubble wrap is inexpensive.  It isn't a bad idea, I am curious how it works out for you.
i will keep the topic updated, with pics of how i fixed the material and etc....

fruitnut1944

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Re: Bubble wrap for greenhouse insolation
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2021, 05:23:12 PM »
I've seen it recommended for inside the greenhouse. That makes sense to me. More effective and would last longer.

I've now got a greenhouse within my greenhouse. Not what you are thinking about. But how about bubble wrap on the inside surface of the greenhouse. Then make a frame and drape frost blanket over the plants. The more layers between your plants and the cold the better off they'll be.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2021, 05:27:15 PM by fruitnut1944 »

MisterPlantee

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Re: Bubble wrap for greenhouse insolation
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2021, 09:08:27 PM »
You can buy a type of bubble wrap that comes with a repositionable sticky side on one side and the bubbles on the other side from warehouse shipping supply stores. Also they can be gotten in different thickness for durability. I tried it last year on one of my greenhouses however I noticed the amount of sunlight that passes through takes a big hit. Like about 35% from my meter readings.. So I removed it. Using double/triple/quad polycarbonate is a much better, but more expensive idea.

Plantinyum

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Re: Bubble wrap for greenhouse insolation
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2021, 12:40:39 AM »
I've seen it recommended for inside the greenhouse. That makes sense to me. More effective and would last longer.

I've now got a greenhouse within my greenhouse. Not what you are thinking about. But how about bubble wrap on the inside surface of the greenhouse. Then make a frame and drape frost blanket over the plants. The more layers between your plants and the cold the better off they'll be.

using it on the inside in my case will be very hard, next to imposible since i have passion fruits that are cramped at the top. Other plants will also make the task of getting it fixed hard.


You can buy a type of bubble wrap that comes with a repositionable sticky side on one side and the bubbles on the other side from warehouse shipping supply stores. Also they can be gotten in different thickness for durability. I tried it last year on one of my greenhouses however I noticed the amount of sunlight that passes through takes a big hit. Like about 35% from my meter readings.. So I removed it. Using double/triple/quad polycarbonate is a much better, but more expensive idea.
thanks for reccomending this product, maybe i can try this in the future, however i will stick to the non fancy type for now since right now i need something cheaper. Do u think that the type u have used had such an impact on the light levels since it was thicker and had a glue layer ?
I am also thinking about having an removable thund layer of polycarbonate,that has a air space between it and the existing one, yet this is also an idea for next winter, hopefully.

brian

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Re: Bubble wrap for greenhouse insolation
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2021, 09:24:31 AM »
I am not aware of any insulation solution that has both high light transmission and good insulation value.  Even polycarbonate panels filter quite a bit of light, especially when the sun is hitting it at a non-perpendicular angle.  You could add grow lights in winter to offset this.

If you want to save on heating without sacrificing growth and without supplemental light I think you need something you can cover it with at night, and remove in the morning. 
« Last Edit: September 26, 2021, 09:27:38 AM by brian »

brian

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Re: Bubble wrap for greenhouse insolation
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2021, 09:53:44 AM »
MisterPlantee, what light sensor are you using?  I have been thinking about buying a PAR sensor for a while and am finally looking into it.  Apogee seems to be the only brand I see other than no-name amazon sellers

EDIT - I did a bit of research, this is the best article I could find on it: https://reefs.com/magazine/aquarium-equipment-par-meters-and-leds-how-accurate-are-the-measurements-a-comparison-of-three-meters-and-lux-to-par-conversion-factors-for-leds/

This article suggests that a good PAR meter costs $3000, and the $200-500 ones aren't as accurate as you might hope.  In the end, I am thinking I will just get a cheapo lux meter and compare the reading on a clear sunny day to a known reference of "direct sunlight at X latitude", and then see how much lux is lost with various coverings.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2021, 10:12:39 AM by brian »

Daintree

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Re: Bubble wrap for greenhouse insolation
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2021, 08:03:21 PM »
So, I actually did this when expanding my greenhouse!  I sold houseplants I had raised, and built the addition bit by bit.  The first winter I had the foundation and frame (made of 2x4s) completed, and decided to encase the whole thing in the "big bubble" bubble wrap.

Here were the results -

#1 Bubble wrap IS NOT WATERTIGHT.  Many of the bubbles filled up with water.  I thought "cool", maybe the water inside will heat up and help with additional heat retention.  Well, all the water did was turn green and moldy.  Within a month I could not see out large portions of it.

#2 Bubblewrap is not very insulating because in between the bubbles are the flat spots.  It did not help insulate the greenhouse much at all.

#3 Bubblewrap tears easily.  The first big wind ripped most of it off.

So, I moved the bubblewrap to the inside, and stapled heavy, clear (sort of!) plastic sheeting on the outside.

#4 If you put it on the inside of the greenhouse, humidity/condensation and the weight of the moldy water in the bubbles will cause it to all pull off of the staples and fall down. All over your plants.

SO, I did manage to make it through the winter, but boy was it a LOT of work.  Way more work than it was worth.

Sorry.

Carolyn

MisterPlantee

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Re: Bubble wrap for greenhouse insolation
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2021, 11:19:39 PM »
MisterPlantee, what light sensor are you using?  I have been thinking about buying a PAR sensor for a while and am finally looking into it.  Apogee seems to be the only brand I see other than no-name amazon sellers

EDIT - I did a bit of research, this is the best article I could find on it: https://reefs.com/magazine/aquarium-equipment-par-meters-and-leds-how-accurate-are-the-measurements-a-comparison-of-three-meters-and-lux-to-par-conversion-factors-for-leds/

This article suggests that a good PAR meter costs $3000, and the $200-500 ones aren't as accurate as you might hope.  In the end, I am thinking I will just get a cheapo lux meter and compare the reading on a clear sunny day to a known reference of "direct sunlight at X latitude", and then see how much lux is lost with various coverings.

I don't have a PAR meter, but I have a high end LUX meter. Its good enough just to see roughly how much light is affected by doing XXX to things


Plantinyum

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Re: Bubble wrap for greenhouse insolation
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2021, 12:30:08 AM »
So, I actually did this when expanding my greenhouse!  I sold houseplants I had raised, and built the addition bit by bit.  The first winter I had the foundation and frame (made of 2x4s) completed, and decided to encase the whole thing in the "big bubble" bubble wrap.

Here were the results -

#1 Bubble wrap IS NOT WATERTIGHT.  Many of the bubbles filled up with water.  I thought "cool", maybe the water inside will heat up and help with additional heat retention.  Well, all the water did was turn green and moldy.  Within a month I could not see out large portions of it.

#2 Bubblewrap is not very insulating because in between the bubbles are the flat spots.  It did not help insulate the greenhouse much at all.

#3 Bubblewrap tears easily.  The first big wind ripped most of it off.

So, I moved the bubblewrap to the inside, and stapled heavy, clear (sort of!) plastic sheeting on the outside.

#4 If you put it on the inside of the greenhouse, humidity/condensation and the weight of the moldy water in the bubbles will cause it to all pull off of the staples and fall down. All over your plants.

SO, I did manage to make it through the winter, but boy was it a LOT of work.  Way more work than it was worth.

Sorry.

Carolyn
thanks for your experience! I was thinking of covering the bubble whap with nylon, so the levels stay like that- policarbonate, bubble wrap, nylon. I dunno how i will fix theese two to the poli, i will probably use some kind of water proof tape ,if there is such a thing.
I think mine will be sturdier since i have the policarbonate below ,so i am putting the layers on a sturdy base.


I am not aware of any insulation solution that has both high light transmission and good insulation value.  Even polycarbonate panels filter quite a bit of light, especially when the sun is hitting it at a non-perpendicular angle.  You could add grow lights in winter to offset this.

If you want to save on heating without sacrificing growth and without supplemental light I think you need something you can cover it with at night, and remove in the morning. 
yeah i may also cover the greenhouse with some old carpets that i have or a sheet of billboard..however i am planning this to be only on the coldest nights, itll be too much work and time consuming to do it every single evening for like six months...

BayAreaMicroClimate

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Re: Bubble wrap for greenhouse insolation
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2021, 09:16:35 PM »
I did this once and I wasn’t happy with how it left little flakes of plastic all over everything once it gets old and falling apart

Plantinyum

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Re: Bubble wrap for greenhouse insolation
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2021, 04:04:06 PM »
I did this once and I wasn’t happy with how it left little flakes of plastic all over everything once it gets old and falling apart
how much time did the matterial last for u ? Did it helped at least temperature wise ? Thanks for your input !!

gardenhoe

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Re: Bubble wrap for greenhouse insolation
« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2021, 04:39:37 AM »
my greenhouse is small so I thought bubblewrap would be a good option but it was difficult to keep in place on the outside and when I put it on the inside the humidity made it difficult to adhere. I broke down and bought an inexpensive water resistant electric heater.

Plantinyum

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Re: Bubble wrap for greenhouse insolation
« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2021, 02:01:59 AM »
Heres and update on this and what i ended up doing....
I placed one layer of the big bubble bublewrap type, i quess its not the uv treated type but to my judgment it looks guite sturdy and lasting by itself. At the top poli pannels i have 4 lenghts of bubble wrap which i fixed together with tape. Then i placed on top one big peace of sturdy nylon which covered it  from end to end. The two layers of insulation are fixed with the screws  that are holding the policarbonate ,which i removed and placed on top and are now holding the two layers very well .
I need to do the vertical sides theese days also... and also need to fix the layers down where the poli meets the wall.

I was also wondering should the sun exposed side of the gh insolation be removable, do i need to remove it trought a sunny day to help the sun pas trough ?? I would rather not do thid since it will be a pain to do it every sunny day ,but if this really affects the warmth gain from the sun i will have to find a solution.





« Last Edit: November 11, 2021, 02:06:30 AM by Plantinyum »

brian

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Re: Bubble wrap for greenhouse insolation
« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2021, 09:56:43 AM »
After doing a lot of research into PAR meters, quantum detectors, etc...  I simply purchased a cheap lux meter for ~$15 on amazon.  I compared the outside direct sunlight lux to various areas inside my greenhouse.  I saw measurements of about 33% to 66% of "full direct sun" in my greenhouse, depending on location.  I suggest you try this, see how much reduction in light the bubble wrap contributes. 

If I remember correctly, many plants only need a fraction of full sun to thrive (20-50%?) because they have limits on photosynthesis rate, and extending the length of the day (lights) may be more important than brightness.

Plantinyum

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Re: Bubble wrap for greenhouse insolation
« Reply #18 on: November 11, 2021, 12:03:36 PM »
After doing a lot of research into PAR meters, quantum detectors, etc...  I simply purchased a cheap lux meter for ~$15 on amazon.  I compared the outside direct sunlight lux to various areas inside my greenhouse.  I saw measurements of about 33% to 66% of "full direct sun" in my greenhouse, depending on location.  I suggest you try this, see how much reduction in light the bubble wrap contributes. 

If I remember correctly, many plants only need a fraction of full sun to thrive (20-50%?) because they have limits on photosynthesis rate, and extending the length of the day (lights) may be more important than brightness.

thanks , i am more conserned abbout the warth that the sun provides, if the light waves that cary the warmth do not get affected , thats my goal actually. I dont think that the reduced light will be so detrimenthal, since i am watering the plants very sparingly and not fertilizing at all. I am trying to keep them from having new growth spurts .....

K-Rimes

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Re: Bubble wrap for greenhouse insolation
« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2021, 02:13:20 PM »
Has anyone experimented with double wall? One layer of greenhouse plastic and then another layer 3" inward? I hear that's good for some degrees.

brian

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Re: Bubble wrap for greenhouse insolation
« Reply #20 on: November 11, 2021, 04:25:44 PM »
Has anyone experimented with double wall? One layer of greenhouse plastic and then another layer 3" inward? I hear that's good for some degrees.

Isn't double-wall polyethylene film the most common greenhouse covering?  At least for hoop-house types.  It looks to be about 3" separation between layers.

However, from what I have read on insulation R-values, any air gap more than and inch or so provides almost no additional benefit because of convection within the air pocket.  So, you need additional layers to increase insulation value, which means greater loss of light. 

Plantinyum

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Re: Bubble wrap for greenhouse insolation
« Reply #21 on: November 11, 2021, 05:47:01 PM »
Has anyone experimented with double wall? One layer of greenhouse plastic and then another layer 3" inward? I hear that's good for some degrees.

Isn't double-wall polyethylene film the most common greenhouse covering?  At least for hoop-house types.  It looks to be about 3" separation between layers.

However, from what I have read on insulation R-values, any air gap more than and inch or so provides almost no additional benefit because of convection within the air pocket.  So, you need additional layers to increase insulation value, which means greater loss of light.

Yeah if you say so this may be a problem since i am planning in the end to have one small opening on both vertical sides for some fresh air to get in since i will have a burning fire inside most of the time. The openings will be minimal , my gh is generally well sealed since i have used silicone on any gaps and such, so now with the insolation layer added which will further seal gaps ,will have to provide some fresh air via small openings.

Plantinyum

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Re: Bubble wrap for greenhouse insolation
« Reply #22 on: November 14, 2021, 02:26:13 PM »
Seems like the additional layers of bubblewrap and nylon do not stop the suns heat, inside it gets as hot as it did without them, and actually seems that it gets hotter now .
We had some quite cold nights theese days, heavy frosts and ice in water puddles etc. In one of those mornings ,before the sun came out i checked the outside termometer which read -2c but i guess we had temps of arround -4c in some of theese nights. Inside the gh the temp at soil level where the termomether is ,hasnt dropped under 4c. This was before i placed the bubblewrap and nylon on the sides of the gh, only the top was made.
Seems like the top gave an additional 3c warming effect, which combined with the polycarbonate and the ready now side sides of the gh will give me arround 7-8C difference compared to outside. I will have a fuller insight on ghe temp fluctuations and differences in a few weeks when i collect more data.
As a side note the layers did reduced the light that is passing trough, like i did not measure the levels with a device or smt ,but its just visible to the naked eye. However i think the light will be enough for the plants, given i will not fertilize and will water sparingly.
I just wanted to attaing some additional warmth with this, so i think it did work.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2021, 02:29:35 PM by Plantinyum »

Plantinyum

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Re: Bubble wrap for greenhouse insolation
« Reply #23 on: November 14, 2021, 02:31:06 PM »
I am also thinking of having a removable hail net on top of the gh, with purpose of adding some friction layer for the snow to hold on to. I think if i manage to hold the snow that accumolates during snowing events, this will help me alot to retain heat on a past cyclone days, when we usually have the lowest temps.
Thats another idea of mine i will try when weather is favorable, thought the snow may just melt away since inside i will be having a wood stove burning...
« Last Edit: November 14, 2021, 03:09:59 PM by Plantinyum »

brian

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Re: Bubble wrap for greenhouse insolation
« Reply #24 on: November 14, 2021, 03:38:27 PM »
My experience with polycarbonate panels is that the snow quickly forms a thin layer of melt water where it touches the glazing, and then the whole pile of snow slides right off.  If you can hold the snow in place it will provide additional insulation, but also prevent sunlight in.

 

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