Wiggle Wire and Temperature Control in a Greenhouse

Wiggle Wire and Temperature Control in a Greenhouse

If you’re constructing a greenhouse in a hot or cold area, temperature regulation can cause roadblocks. Here in Wyoming, we have had to get creative about how to efficiently manage temperatures in the easiest, most cost effective way. After much trial and error, we have found that 2 layers of 6mm polyethylene film, wiggle wire, and some pumped air can make all the difference.


What’s With the Wiggle?

Wiggle wire connects two pieces of polyethylene plastic to the greenhouse sides using a wiggle wire channel, allowing for air to be pumped in between.  This creates a cushion of air that serves as a temperature regulator between the inside and outside of the greenhouse. The wiggles in the wire easily secure the polyethylene to the receiving channel. Removing wiggle wire – so that the sides of the greenhouse may be rolled up for ventilation – is also simple.

Supplies to Gather

First, gather your supplies:

  • Wiggle wire

PVC coated wiggle wire will be easier on the polyethylene plastic.

  • Wiggle wire channel

We generally purchase wiggle wire channels in 6-feet sections.

  • Polyethylene plastic greenhouse covering.

There are many materials available for greenhouse covers, including polycarbonate, acrylic, and polyethylene. Regular, opaque polyethylene plastic was chosen for our greenhouse because it is cheap, strong, and effective.

Installing Wiggle Wire

Ensure the two sheets of polyethylene plastic extend slightly past the ends of the channel. Insert one end of the wiggle wire into the channel so that it traps the two pieces of plastic between the wire and the channel. Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 1.25.36 PM Wiggle the wire back and forth in the channel to secure. The bends in the wire are slightly larger than the channel, creating pressure and allowing for a tight, strong bond. Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 1.29.47 PM Continue inserting and wiggling wire back and forth until it has secured all of the polyethylene plastic.

The Finishing Touches

After finishing the wiggle wire, attach a pump to inflate and create insulating air space between the two sheets of polyethylene. Secure the pump inside the greenhouse, and attach it to the innermost layer of poly. Pumping air in-between the plastic sheets provides desired temperature regulation. Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 1.39.00 PM


To remove the wire,  start at one end of the wire, and use pliers to pull the end out. Wiggle the wire to release from the channel. We re-do the wiggle wire 2 times per year – once to install in the fall/winter to ensure maximum insulation, and once to remove at the beginning of the summer for ventilation.

But is it stable?

While this may not seem like a stable structure, we have had incredible results using wiggle wire. In Wyoming, winds can regularly exceed 70 mph, and snows can be substantial and heavy. That is no problem for wiggle wire; it holds true though all elements. Polyethylene plastic coupled with wiggle wire is very strong. It has withstood all snow loads and other adverse weather.


Final Considerations

Though some growers are skeptical of wiggle wire, we have found it to be cheap, effective, and easy to install. The benefits in temperature control and improved temperature consistency allow for better results from any system. While wiggle wire may take some time and money to get started, the benefits are game-changing, and we encourage all growers to give it a try.

Want to learn even more? Check out another wiggle wire video here.

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  • http://www.frostyfish.com Jeremiah

    A lot of people are excited about Solexx as a double-wall greenhouse material. Do you have any thoughts on it vs. double-wall poly with a blower?

    • http://www.brightagrotech.com Chris Michael

      We’ve actually never used Solexx, but it looks like awesome stuff just a bit expensive for some. The light transmission and R-value is high though. I’m sure it’s great.

  • Nicole

    My questions are in regards to using wiggle wire with dual layer poly and an air inflation system with roll up side curtains…… Do you only double the poly on the top and not the curtain? I’ve seen one of your videos where your inflated dual layer goes all the way to the ground. How would you do this with the roll up sides for winter and summer use and the installation of the eye hooks for the curtains stabalizing ropes? How do you secure everything to be airtight in the winter to keep the heat in?

    • http://www.brightagrotech.com Chris Michael

      Hi Nicole – Our sidewall/wiggle wire combo is definitely a seasonal endeavour. What I mean by that is throughout the winter, we’ll secure the double layer poly covering all the way down to the baseboards of the high tunnel. In the summer when we need to cool our greenhouse, we’ll move the wiggle wire to the top of the rollup sidewall portion of the poly film (about 3 feet off the ground. At the very end of our poly film is a piece of steel conduit that will keep the poly in place when the rollup section is down at night with it’s weight. Once it starts to heat up again during the day, all we have to do is roll it up from one end and stake it down to secure for the day. I’ll try to get a closer picture of our eye hooks and stabilizing ropes, but it sounds like you understand.

      • Nicole

        So you keep the second layer on year round, in the summer you secure it with wiggle wire above the curtain…..then do you roll or fold it above the bottom layer of poly and eye hooks that are still in the down position? I’m thinking you can’t leave the second layer down to roll up with the first layer because the eye hooks would create holes in the top layer making it useless when inflated come the winter season. Yes, I would love to see closeup photos of how you do this.
        BTW, your setup is beautiful. I hope one day to be close to what you have. Thanks! :)

        • Patrick

          I’d love to see the close pictures. I am trying to understand how all this works on the sidewalls with two layers all the way down and how to roll it up in the summer. I’m also planning on putting in a evaporative cooling system in my 40×20 greenhouse that I’m building. I wonder if you roll up the sides is their any point in having the evaporative cooling system or if I have a powerful enough system then maybe I don’t need to worry about rolling up the sides in the summer. Can you provide any links to how all this works? I have looked through almost all the videos and blog posts.



  • Nicole

    Ok, so I installed the second layer of poly and the fan, but it’s not creating a pocket of air like it should be. The second layer of poly keeps getting tight in the cool weather and laying right up against the first layer like a glove. Can you recommend a website or video that shows exactly how to install the poly and fan with the wiggle wire? I’ve even loosened up the 2nd layer but it just shrunk and tightened up again. Am I supposed to have some sort of spacers between them? Also, is the wiggle wire channel supposed to come together where the sides and gable ends meet? I can’t find anything on the Internet that shows full instructions. PLEASE HELP :)