Proper soil temperatures are a must for successful seed germination. Normal greenhouse or room air temperatures usually are not high enough to compensate for the increased soil temperatures needed for seed starting. Agritape Heat Mat Systems are easily installed and removed, so bench space can be used for multiple purposes. The tape is rated 20 watts per square foot. Agritape Heat Mats distribute heat evenly over the entire mat surface, eliminating the cool spots typically found in wire coil mats.
Agritape is manufactured in long rolls in widths of 11″, 22″ and 44″ wide and can be cut to construct individual Heat Mats of any length up to 25 square feet. The coating heats up when it is electrified with standard house current (110 volts AC) and will generate a surface temperature approximately 85-95 degrees, which is extremely uniform across the entire surface of the Heat Mat.
An Agritape system consists of a control unit to regulate soil temperature, the Agritape Heat Mat, and a grounded screen. The screen serves to protect the tape from physical damage, to safely ground the current if the tape is penetrated, and to draw off static electrons that collect on the surface of the tape. (The tape acts as a capacitor when it is in operation.) The flow of static electricity can trip GFCI outlets if the system is not properly grounded. The screen also holds the tape in position on the bench.
To install a system, roll out the Heat Mat and plug it into the control unit. Cover the Heat Mat with the ground screen. Connect the ground wire from the control unit to the screen. Plug in the control unit and place the bulb thermostat in the soil of the seed tray or container. Set the dial to the desired soil temperature. Insulation board may be installed under the Heat Mat to improve thermal efficiency, but is not necessary. Ambient temperature should be kept at 50 degrees F or higher, as the Agritape will increase soil temperature by a maximum of 20 degrees above ambient temperature.