Welcome to OrchidsForum.com. We are a friendly online community for Orchid Growers all over the world. If you haven't joined yet we invite you to register and join our community. Hope to see you on our forums!

Florida Orchid Enthusiast

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by MJZ, Apr 2, 2017.

  1. MJZ

    MJZ New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    2
    I am in Sarasota, Florida and have purchased several dracula orchids. I am currently growing them in a terrarium with fans and where I mist the plants to keep them between 85% and 90% humidity. I keep them just inside the house next to our slider door so they seen to be getting enough light. In the evenings, I move them to my husband's wine room where the temperature is in the mid 50's.

    However, I would like to simplify the process by converting the pool equipment room that is off of the lanai. It is about 8 feet long x 3 feet wide x 10 feet high. I am thinking about putting a controller in there to manage the temperature, humidity, fan and air conditioning. May need to add CO2 as well. Have ordered a light meter so I can check the foot candles of light in the room. Would put a sliding glass door in the front, which would be really neat if we could see the orchids blooming inside. We will also insulate the room.

    However, the complication that I have run into is that I cannot find an air conditioner that goes below 60 degrees. Wine cooler air conditioners go lower but must have an air intake from another room in the house. I do not have this capability unless we would run the piping through the attic into the house, which I do not want to do. We do not want to take a chance on getting mold in the house either. So, I am wondering if anyone has been successful in build such a room for your cold growing orchids. I would appreciate any thoughts that you might have.

    Thanks so much for your help!!!
     
    Ryan likes this.
  2. Ryan

    Ryan Got Pleurothallids?

    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    190
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Hi, MJZ
    I grow Dracula as well. After the problem of not being able to cool down the summer night temps with my evaporative cooler in my old greenhouse, I decided to remedy the situation in my new greenhouse. I realized that air conditioners won't go below 60 as well. So what I am going to do is use an aquarium chiller, and pump water through a product called an Ice Box, hooked up to an inline duct fan. The Ice Box is a radiator with duct fittings that is used to cool HID grow lights. If you are frugal, the chiller and inline duct fans can be found on Craigslist for very reasonable prices. You will need a controller. Other than that, You can pull away the Temp. sensor inside the front cover of the AC and insulate it to possibly get a lower temp. You will also probably need a humidifier as well. These plants are challenging to grow, but well worth the effort in my opinion.
    Hope this helps :)
     
    Marni likes this.
  3. MJZ

    MJZ New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    2
     
  4. MJZ

    MJZ New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    2
    Ryan,

    Thanks so much! I will research your suggestion. How large is your new greenhouse? Sounds like with some help, this could work for me.

    Take care and have a nice evening!

    MJ
     
    Ryan likes this.
  5. carl

    carl Active Member

    Messages:
    450
    Likes Received:
    160
    Location:
    Sooutheastern Pencilvania
    With regards to the Ice Box, sounds like a car radiator would work, too. Or, just a lot of fin tube for domestic heating...
     
    Ryan likes this.
  6. Ryan

    Ryan Got Pleurothallids?

    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    190
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    You're very welcome, MJ. I hope you find a solution that works you.

    My greenhouse is 10ft x 12ft with 7ft sidewalls, and a 10 1/2ft ceiling. It's small but feels very airy and open inside, and I love it!

    Ryan
     
  7. tong tsu shi

    tong tsu shi my first word was Masdevallia

    Messages:
    342
    Likes Received:
    28
    Hello!
    Welcome!
    Sorry for not replying sooner.
     
  8. Ryan

    Ryan Got Pleurothallids?

    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    190
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Great idea, carl! I considered a car radiator as well.
     
    tong tsu shi likes this.
  9. MJZ

    MJZ New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    2
    Ryan,

    I was just at the local orchid society meeting and I could not find anyone that has a cool growing orchid room here in Sarasota. I took your information and looked up the equipment that you recommended and it looks interesting. However, I have no idea of how to set this room up. Do you by any chance have any details on how you set yours up and do you have any photos?

    Since it gets hot here in the summer, I will certainly need an air conditioner along with the rest of the equipment. Here is what I am looking at:

    Hydropods Environment Controller with remote power blocks (just came on the market last June and allows the room to be monitored via a cell phone).

    Air Conditioner - Was looking at Active Air Portable Air Conditioner 12,000 BTU but heard that a portable would be expensive to run. However, the alternatives appear to be a mini split or a wine cooler. All three have their challenges as the room is off of the great room but is connected to the house via the back wall which is cinder block. I think that a wine cooler can get to the low temperature by itself but do not know if it would work in the hot humid environment. I do know that the intake air needs to come from another cooler room in the house. This would be difficult to do in this room but not impossible.

    Ideal-Air Commercial Grade Humidifier

    Titan Controls CO2 Regulator and CO2 Rain System (would prefer not to have to bring in a CO2 tank but not sure how to avoid it)

    Hydro Innovations Ice Box 6" Cool Heat Water Exchanger

    Aquarium Chiller (not sure which one)

    Inline Duct Fan (not sure which one)

    I will need to have the 8x3x10 foot room insulated and I do have a person who can do that. I am also thinking about putting a triple insulated clear glass door in the front of the room so we can see the blooming draculas hanging inside. Since the room is so narrow, I might have to be outside the room with the door open. Do not know if I need extra lighting but possibly not. The room does not get direct sunlight but is covered by the lanai ceiling.

    Well, that is where i am right now. What do you think about my ideas so far and do you think it is doable? My husband is game for me to do this but he does not know how to set it up either.

    Thanks so much!!!!

    MJ
     
  10. Chuck-NH

    Chuck-NH Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,983
    Likes Received:
    1,925
    Location:
    New Hampshire, USA
    Ryan likes this.
  11. reloader

    reloader feeding the Catasetums

    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Florida
    that's not a hobby its a job!
     
  12. Ryan

    Ryan Got Pleurothallids?

    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    190
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Hi, MJ

    I'm in a similar situation as well. Since we both live in areas that are challenging to accommodate cool growing plants, my orchid society only has a few people that grow them. The few that do, live right on the coast where the conditions are pretty much ideal for most of the year.

    As for the equipment you mentioned, they all sound good. The controller sounds great. Here is the best part...a chiller is all you will need! If you get one that is powerful enough, it will be your a/c. They are much more efficient than a typical a/c, and will cost less to run. The controller you mentioned has separate day/night temperature settings as well. The humidifier you mentioned is what i use, and they are awesome. I have two of them, but only because I use an evaporative cooler (swamp cooler) that drops the humidity low and fast. One comes on with the cooler to buffer those effects, and the other is run by my controller. I'm not so sure you will need CO2 if you can provide a fresh air intake. The ice boxes come in 6" and 8" sizes ( I actually saw a manufactured dual 8"ice box/fan combo on it's own special stand yesterday while doing some research. IIRC, it was on the Hydro Innovations website). The fan I have is an elicent that is made in Italy, and is very high quality, efficient, and quiet.

    Your limiting factor sounds like it will be providing enough light. While Dracula don't need much light, they do appreciate good quality, diffused light with a proper duration (photo period). Supplemental lighting may be a good idea.
    All in all, your on the right track, and it is doable. If I were to do it over again, I would use a chiller as my sole source for cooling.

    Best Regards,
    Ryan
     
  13. Ryan

    Ryan Got Pleurothallids?

    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    190
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Great find, Chuck! I was just thinking yesterday that all I would need to do for a window a/c is pull away the sensor, and use a tiny preset aquarium heater that is used for Betta fish. Put the sensor and heater together, wrap em up, hook up the controller and be good to go. I already have a chiller from my reef aquarium days, and inline fans. To top it all off, someone just posted 6 ice boxes for $60 each on Craigslist! I'm hoping they will do 2 for $100 :)
     
  14. Ryan

    Ryan Got Pleurothallids?

    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    190
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    A labor of love ;)
     
  15. naoki

    naoki Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,468
    Likes Received:
    1,194
    Location:
    Fairbanks, Alaska
    Ryan, do you happen to have a pointer to how/where to find the efficiency comparison of A/C vs chiller? This is something I have been wondering about the efficiency comparison for a while, but I haven't found an answer (or too technical to understand). They both use compressor based technology, and I have guessed that chiller has additional heat transfer steps (and possibly lose efficiency), so it may be less efficient overall. But I'd like to learn about it.

    Here is a related topic, but I guess that for greenhouse, it probably needs something much more capable.
    DIY Air Conditioner - Cooling Systems for Highland Nepenthes
     
    Ryan likes this.
  16. Ryan

    Ryan Got Pleurothallids?

    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    190
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Hi, naoki

    It's basically water vs. air efficiency. With an a/c, the evaporator is surrounded by air. With a chiller the evaporator is surrounded by water. The chiller has the same components as an a/c, it's just that the evaporator on a chiller is in an insulated Titanium "barrel" with the coils inside.

    Water has a thermal conductivity of 0.6 W (m *K)
    Air has a thermal conductivity of 0.03 W (m *K) much lower than water.
    Water has a much higher specific heat capacity than air.
    Water can absorb and remove 4 times more heat than air nearly 20 times faster.
    Only 30% of energy used in a/c is converted into usable cooling power, the rest is wasted.

    That DIY article you linked is awesome, Thank you. I think the only difference is the price point between the DIY chiller and a manufactured chiller. That was the reason I suggested looking on Craigslist for one, which can usually be found for 1/2-1/4 of the retail price.

    Hope that helps :)
    Ryan
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2017
    Chuck-NH likes this.
  17. Ryan

    Ryan Got Pleurothallids?

    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    190
    Location:
    San Diego, CA