I want to heat my indoor plants with a DIY heater. I thought about using iron to heat up the soil, but I am not sure what material is the best for a heater. Also, what current would it need?

Thank you

EDIT: Could you at least explain why is my question bad before downvoting?

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    \$\begingroup\$ You would do well to focus your question some by providing some key details. Some things to consider: What temperature you intend to work at? What is the temperature differential from the ambient to the working temperature. How do you intend to control the temperature level? Will the temperature be constant? Is a cyclic profile of temperature levels required? I am going to down vote your question because it is a lot off topic for this forum until you get your question directly focused on some electronics design strategy regarded to your heater setup and its controls. \$\endgroup\$ – Michael Karas Sep 25 '12 at 4:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ Who are all these masked down-voters? I know who one is, but the others? \$\endgroup\$ – Russell McMahon Sep 25 '12 at 5:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ I didn't downvote, but in particular the phrase "I thought about using iron to heat up the soil" is not quite clear. Note that downvoting doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad question; when you hover over the button you'll see that being unclear is also listed as a possible reason. 1 downvote may be ignored, but 3 are an indication something is missing. Reread the question and see if you can clarify by rephrasing or adding more details. \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh Sep 25 '12 at 8:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @FakeName: maybe we should add a tag for them :) \$\endgroup\$ – Federico Russo Sep 25 '12 at 8:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes for heating Tomatoes. I said iron because I once plugged a battery to iron and it heated up well. Sorry if i'm lacking specificity , english is not my first language and btw don't take me for a fool, im an EE student. \$\endgroup\$ – Napster Sep 25 '12 at 12:44

The heating element should be electrically isolated from the soil.

You can buy resistive heating cable designed for in-ground use.

You can buy cable intended for heating floor slabs.

For small one-off playings a water-bed heater may be useful (if you can still find one. LOW VOLTAGE versions are essential if you wish to live long and prosper.

You could make your own resistive cables using eg Nichrome wire in a piece of hose. You would need to be sure that maximum temperature rise did not damage the hose.

Many cables mentioned on web. eg

TYCO - very reputable. Available in MANY countries.

Nexans "a global group"

Eltherm - a range of related products



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