How Much Propane Does It Take To Heat A Greenhouse?

The amount of propane it takes to heat a greenhouse is dependent on several factors. These include the location of your greenhouse, the structure and covering, type of propane heater being used, use of other heating sources and much more. 

The following is a list of some of the most important things that contribute to how much propane it takes to heat your greenhouse:

Propane Heater! How Long Will One Tank Last
– Propane usage for greenhouse heating depends on factors like greenhouse size, insulation, outside temperature, and desired indoor temperature.
– Consulting with a heating professional or referring to manufacturer guidelines can help determine the appropriate propane usage for heating a greenhouse.
– Unvented heaters are not recommended for greenhouse use due to potential carbon monoxide and water vapor buildup. Proper ventilation is essential.
– Propane offers advantages such as high energy efficiency, consistent heat output, cost-effectiveness, and independence from electricity supply.
– Ensuring proper ventilation, including intake and exhaust systems, is crucial when using propane heaters in a greenhouse.
– Safety precautions, including regular equipment maintenance, ventilation, and adherence to local regulations, should be followed when using propane for greenhouse heating.


The location of your greenhouse is critical to how much propane it will use. You can reduce your propane consumption by locating your greenhouse with the following factors in mind:

Distance to the sun. The closer you are to direct sunlight, the less heat that will be required inside your greenhouse.

Direction of prevailing winds. In addition to sunlight and distance from a water source, prevailing winds play an important role in determining how much heat will be needed for heating a greenhouse. 

Wind direction affects how efficiently snow melts and evaporates water into the air; if there is no wind during wintertime (or if it’s blowing from a cold direction), more energy will be required for keeping warm inside your greenhouse than if there were wind coming from any other direction (and especially if this particular wind brings moisture).

When it comes to keeping greenhouses warm, there are many easy ways you can implement. Check out our guide on how to keep greenhouses warm to discover effective methods like insulation, thermal curtains, and heating systems.

Structure and Covering

The structure and covering of your greenhouse are important because they affect the efficiency of its heating system. In other words, if you choose to heat a greenhouse that has poor ventilation or a thin covering, it will be harder for you to keep the temperature within an optimal range.

A structure that is too open can allow cold air in and make your propane heater work harder to warm up the space. 

On the other hand, if there are too many walls or doors that can be opened and closed throughout the day (as opposed to just having one door), this may cause some areas of your greenhouse to become uncomfortably hot while others remain cooler than comfortable for raising plants.

The covering material should be selected based on specific factors such as durability, strength against wind damage and insulation value (how effective it is at retaining heat). 

If possible choose something like polycarbonate panels that combine all these qualities plus they come in various sizes so they fit almost any budget!

Aluminum framePolycarbonate panels
Steel framePolyethylene film
PVC frameGlass panels
Wood frameAcrylic sheets
Galvanized steel framePolyvinyl chloride (PVC) film
PVC-coated steel frameFiberglass panels

Type of Propane Heater Being Used

Gas heaters are a good choice for greenhouses because they are easy to use and portable. Gas heaters can be used in combination with other heating methods, such as electric or oil heaters. 

Because propane is both a fuel and an ignition source (think butane lighters), these types of heaters are more efficient than oil-fired models that require an external source of ignition like a pilot light.

If you’re operating a cattle panel greenhouse and looking for heating solutions, our article on heating a cattle panel greenhouse has got you covered. Explore various propane heating techniques and tips specifically designed for cattle panel structures.

Use of Other Heating Sources

If you’re looking for an alternative source of heat, there are a number of options. Your greenhouse may be able to use solar energy, wood, or even natural gas (if it’s available). 

However, there are some drawbacks to these options as well:

Solar energy is not always available in the wintertime and isn’t as efficient as propane. This makes it a good choice if your greenhouse is located in an area that gets plenty of sun throughout the year.

Wood can be difficult to transport and store due to its size and weight while also requiring frequent maintenance so it doesn’t become too dry or rot away completely. 

It’s also not very safe if you have children who might get into trouble playing around with fireplaces or burning hot embers left behind by previous fires – this could result in injury if they accidentally touch something hot while playing inside the greenhouse!

The Level at Which You Plan to Heat the Greenhouse

Finally, the level at which you plan to heat the greenhouse is a very important factor. The higher the level, the more propane you will need to heat it. 

If you are heating a greenhouse for seedlings, you will need less propane than if you are heating it for mature plants.

Frost protectionMinimal heating to prevent frost damage.
Cool season cropsMaintaining temperatures suitable for cool-season crops.
Year-round productionConsistent heating for year-round plant growth.
Tropical plantsMaintaining warm and tropical conditions.
High-temperature cropsHeat-intensive crops requiring elevated temperatures.
Custom requirementsSpecific heating requirements based on plant needs.

Temperature Outside the Greenhouse

Another factor to consider is the temperature of the air inside your greenhouse. If you’re using propane to heat a greenhouse, it’s important to note that even if you set your thermostat at exactly 50 degrees Fahrenheit, this may not be what is actually happening inside the greenhouse.

If you’re in a colder climate and it’s below freezing outside, your greenhouse will need additional heating from an indoor source such as a wood stove or radiant flooring. 

The temperature difference between what’s going on outside and inside of your greenhouse can have a significant impact on how much propane it takes for you to maintain 50 degrees Fahrenheit inside of it (which is actually warmer than most outdoor temperatures).

Proper waterproofing is essential for maintaining an efficient greenhouse. Learn the easy way to waterproof a greenhouse and discover effective methods to protect your greenhouse from leaks and moisture-related issues.

Size and Capacity of Your Propane Tank

The size and capacity of your propane tank will determine how much gas you can store before needing to refill. The size is measured in gallons, and the capacity determines how long it will last at full power. 

For example, if you have a 40-gallon propane tank with a 99 gallon capacity, then it would take almost two weeks to run out of fuel (at 12 hours per day). 

This means that even if your greenhouse uses 20 gallons per day and runs on full power for eight hours each day during spring and summer months—which are peak growing seasons—it won’t run out of propane for about four months.

Efficacy of Insulation Provided by the Covering and Structure

In addition to the amount of heat your greenhouse is exposed to and the type of glazing you use, you also need to consider how much insulation you have available. In other words, how well does your greenhouse keep in the heat?

Polycarbonate panelsDouble-walled construction
Polyethylene filmTriple-layered design
Glass panelsInsulated metal frames
Acrylic sheetsFoam-filled profiles
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) filmThermally broken components
Fiberglass panelsAir-tight sealing

Volume of the Greenhouse (Cubic Feet)

The volume of your greenhouse is an important factor in determining how much propane it takes to heat. The larger the greenhouse, the more propane it will take to heat it.

The calculation for this requires multiplying the length, width and height together: length x width x height (LWH). This figure is in cubic feet (ft3). 

A simple example would be a 10’x10’x8′ greenhouse with an 8 ft ceiling would be 80 ft3 (80 cubic feet).

Managing a backyard greenhouse involves various aspects, including heating, watering, and more. Our comprehensive guide on backyard greenhouse management provides valuable insights to help you maintain optimal conditions and maximize your greenhouse’s potential.

Maintenance of Heating Equipment and Regular Check-Ups

Regular maintenance is essential to the life of your heating system. It’s important to have a professional inspect it on a regular basis, at least once a year, and make necessary adjustments. When checking your heating system for repair or replacement, look for:

Leaks or cracks in the tank

You should also check the connections between your regulator and gas line and thermostat wires/bolts when you’re checking your propane lines. 

If these connections are loose or corroded, they may be causing problems with your propane flow rate (or lack thereof). If you notice that any of these connections are loose or corroding, tighten them as needed immediately!

Weather Changes and Long-Term Trends in Average Temperature

The weather also plays a big role in how much propane you use. The temperature of your greenhouse may change based on the weather and long-term trends in average temperature, so it’s important to plan accordingly.

For example, if it gets colder than usual for a few weeks in the winter or hotter than usual for a few weeks in the summer, you may need more propane than usual.

Securing your greenhouse is crucial for its stability and insulation. Discover a better alternative for holding down a greenhouse with our article on greenhouse securing methods. Learn about anchor systems, tie-down kits, and other effective techniques.


The bottom line is that it costs a lot of propane to heat a greenhouse. You need to know how much you can afford and take into account the costs of running your heater, insulating your structure and covering, weather patterns in your area, etc. 

It’s best if you plan ahead so that heating doesn’t become an unexpected expense next winter!

Further Reading

Heating a Greenhouse: Electric vs. Propane: Learn about the pros and cons of using electric and propane heating systems in a greenhouse, and discover which option may be best suited for your needs.

Problems with Using Unvented Greenhouse Heaters: Understand the potential issues and risks associated with using unvented heaters in a greenhouse, and learn about safer alternatives to ensure proper ventilation and air quality.

Propane Greenhouse Year-Round Enjoyment: Explore the benefits of using propane for year-round greenhouse operation, including efficient heating, cost-effectiveness, and versatility in fueling various greenhouse appliances and equipment.

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Now, here’s the FAQs section:


How do I determine the appropriate propane usage for heating my greenhouse?

Propane usage for heating a greenhouse depends on various factors, including the greenhouse size, insulation, outside temperature, and desired indoor temperature. It is recommended to consult with a heating professional or refer to manufacturer guidelines to calculate the propane usage accurately.

Can I use an unvented heater in my greenhouse?

Using unvented heaters in a greenhouse is not recommended. Unvented heaters can produce high levels of carbon monoxide and water vapor, leading to poor air quality and potential plant damage. It is crucial to prioritize proper ventilation and consider vented heating options for greenhouse heating.

What are the advantages of using propane for greenhouse heating?

Propane offers several advantages for greenhouse heating, including high energy efficiency, consistent and reliable heat output, cost-effectiveness compared to alternative fuels, and the ability to operate independent of electricity supply.

How can I ensure proper ventilation in my greenhouse while using propane heaters?

To ensure proper ventilation, it is essential to have adequate intake and exhaust systems in place. This can include sidewall vents, roof vents, fans, or other ventilation equipment that allows for the exchange of air while maintaining a suitable indoor environment.

Are there any safety precautions I should take when using propane for greenhouse heating?

Yes, safety precautions are necessary when using propane in a greenhouse. This includes regular maintenance and inspection of heating equipment, ensuring proper ventilation, keeping flammable materials away from heating sources, and following local safety regulations and guidelines.