March 19

Keeping Your Greenhouse Operational While the Snow Melts

The weight of snow can change based on whether the snow is wet or dry, as wet snow can be up to four times heavier than dry snow. Dry snow can mostly be found in the middle of the country, while wet snows are more typically found on coastlines or by large bodies of water. When melted, three inches of wet snow or twelve inches of dry snow is equivalent to one inch of water. How can this water weight affect your greenhouse? In order to lighten the load of the snow, the best method is to melt it before it starts to pile up. Here’s a list of some snow melting tips to help you as this winter comes to a close.

  • Energy Blanket: Before the storm starts, lay out the energy blanket and turn the heat on BEFORE the snow starts to fall. This will warm up the glazing so the snow will melt on contact. Even if the snow does start to pile up, it will act as a good insulator, which will reduce heat loss.
  • Reducing Air Pressure: Double layered greenhouses are less effective at melting snow, as the second layer slows the heat transfer. By reducing the air pressure, you can deflate the greenhouse to a single layer.
  • Snow Rake: If energy blankets are not available, you can manually remove snow from the greenhouse with a snow rake. Be careful not to build the snow up too high around the sides, as it may crush the walls in.
  • Heating Cables/Water Piping: The effects of these methods are limited due to the small concentrated area of the tools and their small heat output. However, these methods can help if used with other tools.

As always, you should be sure to develop a complete plan before a storm starts. Be sure to check up on snow accumulation throughout the storm’s duration. Also, check all heating equipment before the storm, to make sure it is operational.

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