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vladimir_atryzek

Yikes!!!!! I just ordered a greenhouse!

Vladimir
6 years ago

My enabler wife ordered me to do it! She said she did not want a house full of trees this winter. So I am going to be very busy building the 9X12 greenhouse and teaching a full course load which start this Tuesday. I haven't figured out all the details yet but will as I go along. I will run a 20 amp GFI circuit to it but no water or gas. Am not looking forward to digging the trench.

Comments (408)

  • Jennifer
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Santa brought me the Temp Stick and I love it so far. I see what you mean about it not calling, Vladimir, and I am not sure a text would wake me up either. I do enjoy downloading the weekly info into a csv file--I am such a nerd.

    Well, it's been 65-70 degrees here at night so right now I'm not too worried about it freezing :-)

  • Vladimir (Zone 5b Massachusetts)
    5 years ago

    Jennifer, the 20 amp line that supplies power to the freeze alarm has been down for two days while I wait for the electrician to come fix it. The freeze alarm does have battery backup but the new battery went dead after a only day but I did not replace it because it has not been colder than mid 30's lately and I have the Temp Stick as back up. Electrician is coming today.

    Having both Freeze Alarm and Temp Stick as back ups for each other is a good thing.

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  • Jennifer
    5 years ago

    Good idea, Vladimir! I'm sorry, my friend, that you're having troubles every time you turn around, it seems. I know you know it's worth it and soon you'll have all the kinks worked out.

    What made the 20 amp line go down, do you know? I apologize if you said it upthread....hectic morning!

  • Vladimir (Zone 5b Massachusetts)
    5 years ago

    The electrician was here just now and he did not know what caused the GFI breaker to keep tripping so he replaced it. By the way, the battery is a lithium battery which is supposed to last a lot longer than a regular battery.

  • pip313
    5 years ago

    Whatever you do don't ever replace a regular breaker or gfci breaker with an afci breaker. They are unreliable pieces of garbage. I'm an apartment maintanence tech and they are a big problem for us. And my site is only 2 years old.

  • poncirusguy6b452xx
    5 years ago

    Pip If your site was 20 years old there wouldn't be a problem

    6b Steve

  • Vladimir (Zone 5b Massachusetts)
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Pip, thanks for the info. I do see a GFI breaker on the 120V line but not on the 240V line for the heater. I need to look into why not on the 240V line.

  • poncirusguy6b452xx
    5 years ago

    30 amp GFCI 240 volt breaker cost $90 at HOME DEPOT.

  • poncirusguy6b452xx
    5 years ago

    Vladimir You and I were born early enough that we are safe with out GFCI. It is the younger generation that needs the extra protection.

    6b Steve

  • Vladimir (Zone 5b Massachusetts)
    5 years ago

    Steve, what does age have to do with it?

  • Vladimir (Zone 5b Massachusetts)
    5 years ago

    I am having more problems with the Temp Stick again. it has not shown any temp recordings for the past 22 hours. I don't know if it is capable of sending out an alarm if the temp drops too low. The company has a phone number and email address but they are available only during business hours and closed on holidays! They only respond by email on weekdays. It sounds like a one or two man operation.

  • Jennifer
    5 years ago

    Oh no, Vladimir, that's no good! Does the battery need to be replaced, or is it just the software?

  • Vladimir (Zone 5b Massachusetts)
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I just put in new batteries. The company has been having problems with their server. The sensor sends signals through Wifi to their server which I access by going online.

    This is the second time in three days that it has not worked. There was another time when it stopped working. Meanwhile, it is 16F outside. I am glad I have the hard wired Freeze Alarm that I could depend on.

  • Jennifer
    5 years ago

    You're right. I have been so busy this week that I had only checked in to check on the temps and had not looked at any of the graphs. Well, I just did, and they are all jacked up :(.

  • Vladimir (Zone 5b Massachusetts)
    5 years ago

    Jennifer, I just got an email from Ideal Sciences and they say that no one else is having problems with their Temp Sticks.

  • cory (Zone 7a, NJ)
    5 years ago

    Vladimir. I have had problems using those remote thermometers on very cold nights. The cold air seems to mess up the signal. Maybe that happens with the Wifi signal on the Temp stick too. Glad you got the hard wired one too. I guess the stick will be good most of the time to collect data when the weather is not so cold. Sort of reminds me of my experience with my battery operated snowthrower. It would not work in cold weather as they used sensors that fail in cold weather!

    Cory

  • Jennifer
    5 years ago

    Well, Vladimir, now everything is back on track when I look at the app. I don't know if it was a fluke or what last time. Maybe it was the cold messing with the wifi, as Cory suggested.....because we actually saw outside temps at 26 degrees the other night!!! That was the night I thanked God I have a greenhouse lol. I even thought about putting my dogs in there for the night, but they shacked up in our heated garage instead. They are very large dogs and I am afraid of the damage they may do if they get antsy inside the greenhouse.

  • Vladimir (Zone 5b Massachusetts)
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Cory and Jennifer, do you have the Temp Sticks or do you have some other units?

    By the way, it got to -6F this morning! I took the dogs out and they did not waste any time doing their business. They wanted to come right back in.

  • Jennifer
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Vladimir, I have the Temp Stick and I also have some Accurite sensors in there. The Accurite has a remote display that I keep in my bedroom, but no web access.

    So your dogs behave in the greenhouse? Mine want in there so bad, but two of them are 100 pounds, and the other two aren't far from it. We have a few acres that they romp around on and I am also worried they could bring in bugs. Maybe I am worried for nothing though?

  • tropicofcancer (6b SW-PA)
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I am assuming you are using AA/AAA cells or similar. Use Lithium batteries instead. They are rated down to -40C. Any other type will quit below 0C and have very poor performance when it is cold. Electronic circuits, electronic sensors and wifi have no problem in cold, in fact they will perform better as long as the battery can provide the juice. Car batteries also suffer from the same problem as you may have noticed starting a car in cold weather.

  • Vladimir (Zone 5b Massachusetts)
    5 years ago

    In my case, the batteries are lithium and they are inside the greenhouse which is at 60 F.

  • tropicofcancer (6b SW-PA)
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    In that case, my guess would be either a faulty item or the wifi transmitter on the stick is under powered or too far away. You can also use an app (I use Wifi Analyzer) on your phone to check signal strength of your router at various locations to see if you can detect a pattern. Especially, presence of other wifi signals present in the area.

  • Vladimir (Zone 5b Massachusetts)
    5 years ago

    Thanks, tropic, I will check signal strength.

  • cory (Zone 7a, NJ)
    5 years ago

    Vladimir, I was talking about the Acurite remote thermometers also. The sensor/transmitter is in the greenhouse and the receiver is in my house. They usually work great and are relatively cheap but when the weather gets really cold I get faulty readings. I think I also read that this can happen when I first realized the problem and tried to research the problem. I have read that you need to use lithium batteries in cold temperatures, but the batteries are in warm places at both ends in my setup, so that is not the problem. I now always go out and check the greenhouse every night before I go to bed. The first time I got the strange readings on the Acurite I went into a panic that the furnaces went out and was surprised the temperature could cool down that quickly after just manually checkng the greenhouse. I Also wondered why the hard wired Freeze Alarm did not call my cellphone. Everything was fine though when I went out to check the furnaces, and it was warm in there. But the remote sensors still showed temperatures so low it appeared the furnaces must have gone out. Usually the problem can be a failure in the furnace thermostats rather than the furnaces but they were working fine also. I have noticed the faulty readings have happened several times when the outside temperature goes into the single digits or below. The Accurite thermometers work fine when it is not super cold out, so I am sure it has something to do with the very cold air the signal has to travel through. I have quite a few of the Acurite thermometers, and it is not just one of the units this happens with. Generally they work fine though and I don't have many nights that get that cold. They are a good backup and I keep my eye on them as I walk throughout the rooms I have them in my house. I was surprised that this happens, but I don't go into an immediate panic now that I am used to it. I do go out and check the greenhouse though. That is one reason I put lights back in there. I needed to replace the original lights and did without for a while, but disaster always strikes at night and it is much nicer to have bright light to figure out what is wrong. It is no fun to try and light the furnace pilots in the dark with a flashlight. I also have a quirky problem that happens only once in a while where I get a downdraft from the furnace chimney that blows out the pilot and shuts the furnaces off, and it usually causes both pilots to go out. It must be some way the wind blows, but I can't figure it out and I have even asked a couple furnace experts to figure it out with no success. It only happens every couple of years and once I relight them they stay lit. It seems to happen on very windy days but not always. It is just some freaky series of events that cause it I guess. One thing that causes it is when the exhast fan comes on when it is a very sunny day that warms up the greenhouse but the outside temperature is very cold out and as the super cold air rushes past the furnace thermostats they signal the furnaces to come on. If the fan goes on at the same time the thermostat turns the furnace on it causes a chimney downdraft that blows out the pilots. That took me a long time to figure out so now I shut down the exhaust fan when it gets very cold....(which reminds me as I am writing this that I need to make sure I shut it off or I could have that problem during this recent extremely cold spell!!!! EEK!!! I should know better! Operator error that I need to check in case I get a sunny day.) While the fan is on the furnace should not normally try to come on as the greenhouse is warm enough not to need more heat. The fan causes a chimney downdraft that blows out the pilot. I have learned to monitor the greenhouse closely during cold weather and have backup alarms. When I first got the greenhouse I lost everything in the greenhouse because of these quirks and not enough alarms. I learned the hard way. I am at risk at the moment though because I just cancelled my landline phone line as I was angry my bill more than doubled. I am so used to using my cellular phone and really don't often use the landline I forgot my Freeze Alarm would be affected, and now it is not working on these coldest days until I get connected again. Dumb!!!! I hope I remembered to shut that fan off. Glad I wrote about this so I will check on it, and I am glad Vladimir informed us about the stick alarm problem as I was thinking I might try that and do without the land line. I've got to rethink that plan.

    Cory

  • tropicofcancer (6b SW-PA)
    5 years ago

    Just clear cold weather should not affect the signal. Fog, rain, snow can reduce signal strength though. It could be that effective range of cheap devices are much smaller than they claim. I have never used them and do not know any specifics of those devices. I make my own with my choice of components. I have a temperature/humidity sensor out in my coolhouse (for collecting data only) and has been very reliable and accurate.

    It does help a lot if you can map the signal strength from your router to general vicinity of the intended location of your sensor. But the Acurite is probably using a different signal and so a phone cannot be used to assess the signal quality.

    Looks like you folks have power to the greenhouse. I would then definitely install a a decent second router in the greenhouse that bridges to the router in the house. Most common routers can do that and will say it in their feature list. It will increase your reliability and integrity a lot. Of course, as long as power does not fail.

  • Vladimir (Zone 5b Massachusetts)
    5 years ago

    I down downloaded a wifi analyzer ap onto my iphone and used that to map the wifi signal in the greenhouse and sure enough, I had placed the sensor in a dead zone. I moved it into a better area of the GH and so far it is working great.

    Cory, I agree with tropic: I don't understand why cold weather should affect your sensors.

  • tropicofcancer (6b SW-PA)
    5 years ago

    Valdimir - Great that you could work it out. Hope it stays that way.

  • myermike_1micha
    5 years ago

    Hey Vladimir..I wish I had seen this earlier!!! I was going to tell you about the Wifi thingy..I am glad you made it work for you..Mines is still working wonders and the best thing I could of ever gotten..Thanks for your suggestion! I love this device.

  • cory (Zone 7a, NJ)
    5 years ago

    Vladmir, I bought a Temp Stix. I remember you had a problem at first with the signal and mapped out a stronger signal location in your greenhouse. Mine seems to lose the signal and find it again immediately. It happens about every 3 or 4 hours even though I have tried different locations. Does yours do that? I am wondering if my WiFi kicks on and off once in a while that I have never really noticed before except something does restart my smartphone quite often. Could that be the WiFi? I always thought that was a problem with my phone. I have Verizon Fios. I don't think it is the Temp Stix. As long as it connects immediately it is not really a problem. So far it seems to reconnect immediately.

    Cory

  • Vladimir (Zone 5b Massachusetts)
    5 years ago

    Cory, the WIFI signal does fluctuate. I learned that that may be due to interference from various devices going on and off including things like microwave ovens. The problem I have is that when it loses the signal, I have to go through the process of re-establishing contact between the Temp Stick and WIFI and for some reason, that requires installing new (lithium) batteries.

  • cory (Zone 7a, NJ)
    5 years ago

    Thanks Vladimir. I don't seem to have to reset mine with new batteries but it sends me a message every few hours that it has lost connection and immediately follows that it has found connection. Usually both messages come at the same time. As long as it reconnects immediately there is no problem, but I was just wondering why this was happening and if it was normal. All the disconnecting and reconnecting may be draining the batteries faster though. Still not really much of a problem though. I probably should get a simple remote thermometer with an alarm again though as the email coming in is not waking me up at night when I am sleeping. I have a lot of the remote digital thermometers around my house, but none seem to have an alarm anymore. The device is nice to have though when I am away from my home now that I gave up my land line.

    Cory

  • tropicofcancer (6b SW-PA)
    5 years ago

    Strange behaviour indeed. But something to note though. When signal is lost it cannot send any notification but most likely stores the incident. When connection is established again it sends both the notifications together. So the actual time gap of no signal may be larger than it leads you to believe.

    Wifi devices uses most power when transmitting. Receiving consumes a lot less. These devices usually do not transmit often to conserve power. It scans to see if it is receiving something first and when it finds a signal it transmits its credentials. The problem could be at either end. Hard to figure out. If you have second router you can try swapping the router which in itself is a pain.

  • cory (Zone 7a, NJ)
    5 years ago

    Thanks for your thoughts Tropicofcancer.

    Cory

  • Jennifer
    5 years ago

    My problem with the Temp Stick is that it always reports 100% humidity. I am quite sure the humidity has not always been 100% because I have other sensors, but I can't figure out how to fix it.

  • Vladimir (Zone 5b Massachusetts)
    5 years ago

    Jennifer, your unit is defective. Send it back for a new one. It should still be under warranty.

  • tropicofcancer (6b SW-PA)
    5 years ago

    Jennifer: You can try a hair dryer at its low setting to see if it fixes it. There has to be some holes on the body of the stick where the sensor is located. Keep the dryer a foot away so as to not to heat it up too much. There may be water accumulated inside and if so this may just fix it. You should notice a change in reading within few minutes. Otherwise it is defective.

  • Jennifer
    5 years ago

    Great idea about the hair dryer, Tropic! I'll give that a try before looking into a warranty claim.

    You guys are the best!

  • poncirusguy6b452xx
    5 years ago

    I guess if I loose power on a very cold day I could be in trouble to.

    This is the first year that my citrus trees are not putting on most of their growth in the winter time. They are completely dormant and harden off. The temperature fell well below freezing a couple of times. The benefit of having very cold hardy citrus trees has paid off. We will be going through a cold snap that will cool the green house to near freezing again. In February 11th it is to warm up to the point that I will be frost fee outside for 4 day. It will be time to heat the greenhouse to get these trees growing. Has anyone considered getting a corn burning stove. Cheaper than natural gas and can go for hours off a reserve battery pack.


    56,000 BTU countryside.

    6b Steve

  • Vladimir (Zone 5b Massachusetts)
    5 years ago

    We found out recently that the 1.8 acre parcel abutting my home will be developed into 24 3 bedroom condos. That means at least 50 cars and at least 100 people. We will not be able to put up with the noise and traffic. It is time for us to move. I don't know if I will be able to take the greenhouse with us. It depends on whether we buy or rent. I don't know if we will be able to buy. We have lived here for 29 years and have raised our daughter in this house. We are heart broken.

  • hibiscus909
    5 years ago

    I hope you are able to make the best of it, whatever happens.

  • Amanda Tyner
    5 years ago

    Oh I am so sorry to hear that. After so many years in the same house, I can not imagine uprooting but no one wants to live by that noisy business, especially when they are building and the air is filled with construction noises. I am in the same boat. My house is in the country but the field and pond area behind me have been sold to build a subdivision. We cannot move with me in school but as soon as I am finished we will be looking.

  • cory (Zone 7a, NJ)
    5 years ago

    Oh, that is so sad Vladimir.

    Cory

  • Laura LaRosa (7b)
    5 years ago

    Oh no Vladimir!! Don't rush or make hasty decisions. It may not be as bad as you think. On a smaller scale, we are in the same boat. A developer is likely going to build three houses on a lot where there was one house right behind my house. While it is not what I would want, the houses will be very highly priced so at least it will help with property values. Wait and see before throwing in the hat.

  • hobbyartisan (Saskatoon, SK Canada, 2b)
    5 years ago

    I'm sorry to hear that Vlad! That would be very upsetting news. But I agree don't panic yet.... you have time. Looks we all have similar issues... my acreage is surrounded by hundreds of thousands of acres of community pasture land that the government has always held for the local farmers to turn their cattle out onto in spring. We just heard this year that our block will be auctioned off for acreage subdivision. We are hoping the local farmers will buy it and keep it as is.

    It's a tough conundrum... people need space but at what cost?

  • poncirusguy6b452xx
    5 years ago

    I am sorry to hear too. I live in the inner city Cincinnati and our lots are 50 feet by 100 feet. That is why I garden on my roof. No light below. Wait and see. They may not interfere with you in any way

    6b Steve

  • myermike_1micha
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Vladimir, coming from a family raised with environmentalists, I can sympathize with you. It stinks. My mother keeps telling me that to see a farm or tree in ten years we will have to hit the Zoo here in Mass...There is too much development going on at the cost of the environment so that cities and towns can just collect more taxes and build more and more. It's a vicious cycle taking out all of the surrounding forest around me leaving us with drought and a lack of pop of storms that once existed every summer less the 20 years back.

    We have Turkeys, Dear, Bears and much wild life running around peoples backyards, it's no wonder all to make room for those dam mini malls that we already have too much of or huge Condos'.. They just took down over 50 acres of forested hill tops to build another hotel, condos. and supermarkets which we already have just 2 miles away from that! ..I am so sorry to hear this Vladimir and I hope it all works out in some way. I love people but I just don't like noisy ones and being crowded...Good luck and please keep us informed.

  • Vladimir (Zone 5b Massachusetts)
    5 years ago

    Thank you everyone for your kind thoughts and encouragement.

    This project will go through even though there is a lot of local opposition. We are located in an area zoned residential 2 family with farming allowed except that pigs are not allowed. It will go through because it will include affordable housing and because it includes affordable housing, the zoning bylaw does not apply.

    The house next door where the development will be built, and our house, are in a historic district called Rabbit Hill Historic District. The developer wants to tear that house down and there is nothing can be done about it except that the Historic Commission can order a 9 month delay of demolition. The way it looks now, the development will consist of 24 condos attached to one other all lined up in a row with no attempt at making it look historic.

  • Amanda Tyner
    5 years ago

    I wish there was a dislike button because I would push it 10 times. Sorry to hear that Vladimir

  • Laura LaRosa (7b)
    5 years ago

    That is terrible Vladimir. However, you should not allow that to drive you from the home you love. While frustrating on many fronts, it may not be as bad as you think and may not interfere much with your life. I hear you. I wish we could afford to buy the lot behind us, but for 220k, we cannot afford it :-(

  • jaydub83
    5 years ago

    "affordable housing", better sell quick while you still have some property value.