timshaw

Replacement parts for HFGH

timshaw
13 years ago

Just finished building my HFGH and was wondering if anyone knows where if a panel gets damaged can you purchase new polycarbonate panels?

Thanks,Tim

Comments (25)

  • laserfan
    12 years ago

    Sheri we are in sunny So. Central Texas--yes it gets hot here, but frankly I suspect UV as the culprit. If you have looked at all at other types of plastic panels (that you get at Home Depot or Lowes) these typically have a side that is "UV protected" somehow, and they even state that if the panel is used in such a manner that the underside is exposed to light, that these can fail as well. Couple thoughts:

    1. We should start a new thread!?
    2. The holes are small and on one side only (so far) and limited to a single "channel" of the polycarb. Time to do something!
    3. Given we are in the Sunny South and our GHs are overexposed to sun as it is, we should consider painting the roof.
    4. There's a product out for GHs that apparently changes color; white-to-clear-and-back or some such magic. Prolly way expensive.

    Gotta start researching what kind of paint(s) might adhere to the polycarb. Then my thought is to flip my damaged panels over and paint the good sides. Heck, even in the dead of winter the sun drives inside temps to >100 around here--we could use the extra shade that paint might provide (roof only I'm thinking, for now).

    Whaddya think? You first! ;-)

  • mudhouse_gw
    12 years ago

    Good point about the warranties!

    Hmmm, my GH roof is almost always covered with an endless supply of desert dust. I can hose it off, but it will be covered again in no time (in spring, anyway.)

    I have had a lurking concern that IF there is a panel deterioration problem, it may be heat related. I read a post on another forum last year from a Tucson GH owner who'd purchased two 6x8 kits to use the poly panels in his own homebuilt wood-framed GH. He posted that after a few years the roof panels were brittle and breaking. I know he doesn't use his GH in the summer at all, and I figured his roof panels must have been subjected to extreme temps (if it's 110° outside, imagine what it may be inside an uncooled GH in Tucson, especially the air right under the roof panels...140°? 150°?) I hoped my plan to use the GH year round might help me to escape the same fate (I'm hoping I can keep the temps in mine under 100°, although most of my plants will tolerate that.)

    Still, I note that the three mentions of this problem so far (the Tucson person, yours, and Jamesy40's) have all happened in southern states. If heat is a problem, mine will likely fail sooner than some...so I'm keeping an eye on this trend!

    I guess it could be an opportunity to upgrade the roof to 6mm at least, eh? :-)
    Sheri

  • laserfan
    12 years ago

    Maybe you know this Sheri but a 10-year warranty says nothing about a product; it's more a marketing ploy (an extraordinarily tiny number of people would ever call them on it). Everything's made to order by one big company in China anyway! ;)

    Seriously I had not seen those other threads; my panels are identical to James' complaints. We have no chemicals here, nor do we have acid rain or any such.

    My advice: if you have water to spare keep your rooftop clean. Maybe that will help slow the deterioration. If not, well, it will cost us a few hundred bucks to replace those panels some day.

  • mudhouse_gw
    12 years ago

    I'm really disheartened by this, Laserfan. I'm remembering three recent threads by Jamesy40 (in his second year with his HFGH):
    Holes developing on south side HFGH panels
    HFGH panels are deteriorating
    HFGH Panels Destroyed by Hail

    As I researched this kit, I believed the main value was in the poly panels. Many greenhouse sites selling twinwall poly panels offer a 10 year warranty, and I thought that was the whole benefit of polycarbonate...the improved heat retention, and the long lifespan. Small holes appearing for no reason doesn't make sense. Now I'm worrying about the panels being manufactured in a defective manner. I wonder if we should start a new thread to gather thoughts from others on the topic?

    This has me worried...
    Sheri

  • laserfan
    12 years ago

    Not sure shastadaisy why you posted in a > 1-year-old thread, but in the 3rd post (January 2007) I said about the panels:

    "I think it's very DIFFICULT to damage them!"

    Well, this spring I have noticed several small holes in the roof panels, smaller than dime-size. Have no idea what would cause this--we have no snow, have had no hail to speak of, they almost look like they've "melted" into the polycarb somehow, but this can't be right. Maybe since we've had no rain the panels are getting very dirty, and brittle. I don't know, but while so far it's only happened on roof panels maybe tree branches have come down on these panels or something (I doubt it).

    In any case it looks like our HFGH is not going to last very long!!!!

  • shastadaisy
    12 years ago

    We used a snow rake to get the snow off our HFGH last winter and managed to rip holes in a couple of the panels. They are not as indestructable as you may think.

  • PRO
    Nell Jean
    13 years ago

    Well, Heather, it wasn't a joke after all.

    We had a three light fixture left over from some other project, so we used it. The water barrels are an ongoing experiment.

    It's all fun. I set a pot of rose cuttings in there, so it would look as if I'm making actual progress.

    Nell

    Here is a link that might be useful: HFGH in Progress

  • gardenerwantabe
    13 years ago

    Heather
    Yes I have a lot of milk jugs and still adding them and they will help but at the temperatures you are talking about you will need heat and a lot of it.
    The water will help but it can not heat a GH over night.
    Without heat by 5am the GH will be very close to outside temperature

  • hascholten
    13 years ago

    Gardenerwantabe,

    Do you use any type of thermal mass as well? I saw that you have a brick floor, but I was curious if you used anything else like water barrels etc. I believe we are the same zone so I'm trying to get ideas for keeping my gh warm next winter when the temps are down in single digits. Oh yes, without using power. Crazy...I know...but the gh will be quite a ways from any power source. Any thoughts would be great as I am a serious Newbie at this....if you didn't already figure that out. :o) Thanks again for the links to the pics.

    ~Heather

  • gardenerwantabe
    13 years ago

    ~Heather
    The heat lamps are just a backup in case of really severe cold. Normally the GH will be heated with two electric heaters.
    However the heat lamps are on their own thermostat and it is set 2 degrees lower then the one that controls the heaters.. If the heaters could not maintain the temperature it will turn on the heat lamps for auxiliary heat.
    I have mine well insulated and it heats pretty easy.

  • hascholten
    13 years ago

    You ROCK!! Thank you so much. Love the heat lamp idea. Hopefully my hubby can figure this all out!

    ~Heather

  • gardenerwantabe
    13 years ago

    Posted by hascholten 5 WA (My Page) on Wed, Jan 17, 07 at 17:50

    Gardenerwantabe,
    I am interested in seeing photos you took while modifying your HFGH. I emailed orchiddude, but I understand that it's your gh not his. Any pics you have would be greatly appreciated!!

    Thanks,
    Heather
    Here is the link.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Pictures of HFGH

  • hascholten
    13 years ago

    Nell,

    Sounds like a fun experience. I'm sure I'll have my stories too. Yesterday my DH was reading about reinforcing the GH and started having buyers remorse. He's afraid that it's going to take way more money to make mods. I told him we could return it and go buy a Rion for 3 times as much. I think he's back on board with the HF one. hee As for the chandelier...I really thought that sounded like a neat idea. Also, I really liked your idea of putting in a bed in the center with the pavers around (my kids would dig making the pavers). What will you plant there? Can you see I'm living vicariously through you? :o) It's snowing more today...so brighten my day...would ya? Take care.

    Heather

  • PRO
    Nell Jean
    13 years ago

    Oh, the chandelier and drapes are a standing joke, from years ago when DH put a fancy finish on the ceiling of the workshop he was building and my mother asked when he was going to hang the chandelier?

    We put the GH together in the tractor shed out of the weather except for the side panels and then hauled it out onto a flat trailer and moved it into place. I wasn't going to tell about the fiasco because orchiddude would enjoy this story too much, but here goes.

    A wind sprang up, picked it up, threw it off, where it turned upside down on the roof and most of the roof panels flew off along with the doors! Two cross supports broke and had to be replaced but all the poly carb panels were intact and the windows stayed in place. We picked it up, gathered up clips and panels, tied it down with chains that we should have used in the first place and continued on around. Once it was in place on the foundation and secured, we loosened some bolts, squared it up again and there's no permanent damage.

    Our opinion is that without the reinforcements, it would have been in many more pieces and more aluminum parts would have broken. What a learning experience!

    Nell

  • hascholten
    13 years ago

    WOW Nell!!
    Thanks for the link...I'm so unbelievably jealous! I got my GH last month, but we have 2 feet of snow...so no gh until the ground is thawed. Anyway, I really enjoyed looking at your pics. You'll need to repost when you get the chandelier and drapes. I would love to see that. Sounds great.

    Heather

  • PRO
    Nell Jean
    13 years ago

    Many thanks to everybody who shared what they did in making their HFGH better, stronger, nicer. I did a search and read every word before we began.

    We've ordered extra spring clips and they should be here in about a week. We bought a whole box locally of 1/4" x 3/4" hex head bolts and nuts to fit and found uses for most all of them along with some 1 3/4" bolts as well, tucked in those little channels before the ends were secured.

    Nell

    Here is a link that might be useful: Some Modifications

  • hascholten
    13 years ago

    Gardenerwantabe,

    I am interested in seeing photos you took while modifying your HFGH. I emailed orchiddude, but I understand that it's your gh not his. Any pics you have would be greatly appreciated!!

    Thanks,
    Heather

  • gardenerwantabe
    13 years ago

    greginshasta here is a photo of the angle holding the cover. This has already been put to the test by a couple of severe storms and it stayed put. Also notice the flat pieces down the sides. IMO this is far better than trying to tie it on and allowing the wind to get in under it.

    Here is a link that might be useful: {{gwi:287708}}

  • greginshasta
    13 years ago

    I'm eager to see the photos when you have time. Thanks for the update.

  • gardenerwantabe
    13 years ago

    Well one of the more recent upgrades was to install a thermal blanket. I bought a heavy Magni- Clear and since everyone said that they could not keep them tied on I decided to take a different approach.
    I laid it on the roof and put aluminum L shaped pieces on the end roof rafters and put #8 self tapping screws in both vertical and horizontal.
    Then I used aluminum flat and secured it to the sides and with a utility knife trimmed off what little was hanging over.
    Not only did this make it impossible for the wind to get under and tear it off but the added pieces made the roof much stronger. Far less chance for it to twist or sag.
    I'm sure that I have done much more than what I would of had to do but I'm confident that I will not be posting that mine was nuked in a wind storm.
    I put the cover over the whole roof so I don't need to worry about the roof vents being blown open during a storm.
    I only use it for a short time in the spring to start plants from seed so if it gets too warm the exhaust fan can cool it. I plan on leaving the roof vents closed off year round.

  • greginshasta
    13 years ago

    Hi Gardnerwantabe,
    I'm self-employed, and we moved to our community in May 2005. We have set an agressive schedule for ourselves regarding growing as much of our food as possible.

    We spent the past summer and fall building infrastructure (sheds, irrigation, power, enclosed veg. garden) and my business (web development) keeps me extremely busy.

    I read gardenweb to keep track of what's going on occasionally, but don't have time to post on a regular basis.

    I do have to say that I am heartened by the lighter tone - the joking and stuff - that seems to have descended upon the board. Nice change from the more serious and sometimes deeply frustrated tone of posts when I first found the board.

    I'm eager to see the latest reinforcement you made to your GH. I noted some posts where you mentioned having used rigid conduit at the ridge?

  • gardenerwantabe
    13 years ago

    Posted by greginshasta (My Page) on Tue, Jan 9, 07 at 0:55

    With all due respect to that guy Solis whose unit got nuked by wind, maybe he would like to sell his! I don't get the idea he wants his any longer

    Good idea I never thought about that.

    Good to hear from you greginshasta. I have not seen you posting lately.

  • greginshasta
    13 years ago

    With all due respect to that guy Solis whose unit got nuked by wind, maybe he would like to sell his! I don't get the idea he wants his any longer.

    Sorry Solis - not trying to be mean! LOL

  • laserfan
    13 years ago

    You will find panels for sale, at great cost, if you Google a bit for them. I don't think though Tim that these panels are easily damaged (to say the least--I think it's very DIFFICULT to damage them!).

    I hafta laugh now when I think about first building mine, and I wore cotton gloves to avoid fingerprints. The panels are VERY very tough indeed.

    If I were to make a list of "spare parts" for potential GH damage polycarb panels would be fairly low on it. The biggest potential for damage in a finished GH, at least one that is properly re-inforced structurally, would be for a roof vent that "gets loose" and gets twisted. I don't think aluminum can be returned to its original shape if bent.

    I think you can LOSE a panel if it gets loose and flies into the next county, but they're gonna be really hard to damage...

  • gardenerwantabe
    13 years ago

    HF can order them but it takes forever to get parts.
    As of last January they did not stock parts.
    Their are places that sell them but usually they require you to buy a bundle of them.
    I never tried to buy any but I think I would start by contacting a local window replacement and see if one of their suppliers could get one for them.
    HF would undoubtedly be cheaper but it may be months before they can get you one.