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Safe heat sources for an oversized two car garage?


Shop Rat

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Right now, after buying a car for my step-daughter, we can't afford to put a heat pump in to heat our garage. So that is out as an option for now.

But with Bill being retired he would like to be able to work in the garage over the winter. Temps here can get down into the teens at times, which means it is too cold to be comfortable out in the garage to work on the cars.

What types of heat do some of you use that would be safe in a garage environment and not cost too much to use? confused.gif

Thanks.

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I use a pair of propane heaters mounted on individual tanks. They won't heat the building, but when aimed in your direction they can keep you fairly comfortable. But nothing beats full time heat from gas, oil or propane fired heaters. Electricity is terribly expensive.

hvs

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Propane here is through the roof in cost. I really wish that we could afford to just put in a heat pump and be done with it. But his daughter was very much in need of reliable transportation, so there went that money.

A friend of mine keeps a de-humidifier in her tack room at the barn and it gets so warm in there it will almost roast you. But, of course, that room is about 1/6th the size of our garage.

Do the oil filled electric radiators work?

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Shop Rat. "low teens"! I usually wear a T-shirt and shorts when it gets that hot! smile.gif

Insulation of the garage walls,ceiling and the large door can be very important. I have a natural gas furnace mount high to keep open flame away from fumes which tend to accumulate on the floor. Never use a wood stove or any other open flame devise where fumes from a gas leak or spill can ignite. I have used a 220 Volt construction heater in the past and other than when the thermometer gets into the -30-45 range the garage can be comfortable enough to work in since it is well insulated but it is also only 400 square feet in size.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">

Do the oil filled electric radiators work? </div></div>

Depends (eh Howard) but I don't think they would provide the kind of heat you would be looking in a large garage. you need something that will circulate the heat. Those 220Volt units are big electric users but you can direct the heat where you need it and tha's a big plus.

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Clipper 47, We have seen "your kind" laugh.gif down at the beach in South Carolina in November and are just amazed that they go into the water shocked.gif and think it is warm. But to someone from Canada, it probably is. laugh.gif

Bill is working on getting the ceiling insulated as materials go on sale. The walls are insulated and finished with drywall so they are not a problem.

Open flames would be a no no. I just figure there has to be something safe that will keep it warm enough so that he does not have to wear a snowmobile suit to be out there.

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shoprat

another means if you could locate one is those old fashion oil fired wall heater but you'll have to have a oil tank out back - and a exhaust stack

but my brother has this set up in his garage and its very warm in there during winter - I just use a construction type propane heater in mine / but you got to leave windows open to be safe and when messing with gas make sure its off

would even think about elect heat - man my house has heat pump - and put another one out in garage - POWER COMPANY would love me grin.gif

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My two car garage attached to the house has an air vent,so when the house calls for heat, the garage gets heated too. This also works for the A/C. The detached two car garage has a regular house gas hot air furnace that heats it up in minutes. Check in the newspaper for used furnaces, sometimes people are upgrading and sell off their old heaters.......

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Bummer. frown.gif I was hoping they would be good. No open flames and not big electric users. Guess I better keep looking. </div></div>

Just remember one thing "There is no such thing as a free lunch." The oil heat space heater mentioned has several drawbacks and one is that old open flame near the floor which is extremely dangerous around gasoline fumes.

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Electric heat is 100% efficient, it doesn't matter if it is a big electrical element or heated oil. One type may spread the heat out a little more evenly but they all spin the meter the same amount proportional to the wattage and the heat is proportional to wattage.

That said. Heat pumps switch to electric heat elements when it gets below mid 20s because their efficiency crosses regular electric (yes heatpumps are more than 100% efficient if all you measure is electrical usage).

I have heated with electricity, LP, wood, oil and kerosene. Wood is the only cheap one and then only if you have a cheap source. When I had a wood stove in the shop I would sort burnable trash and use that in the wood stove, adding a little wood as needed for longer sessions. That shop had LP and electric also depending on how much of an open flame I was willing to have for the project. I have a friend that paints with a wood stove going he claims the fumes are going in and feeding the fire. I don't visit him on those days.

My current shop is heated with a 100K BTU oil furnace I bough used from a fellow converting to gas. Oil isn't cheap either and I only fire it up when I'm going to be in the shop for a long time. I use a 28K BTU portable kerosene heater for local heating for most projects. I don't do work that requires significant painting in the Winter.

Now here is the best advice when it is really cold find a project inside and don't fight Mother Nature.

And I was thinking of moving down your way for the warm Winters when I retire. cool.gif

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How safe they are; I don't know, I use kerosene blower type space heaters to suppliment some gas space heaters that are hanging on the ceiling. My shop was built in the early 1950's. It is not insulated very much and leaks alot of air. The space heaters of this type propably put out CO2 and CO plus other gases in fair amounts. I don't know if they would work in your shop; but for me they do a quite toasty job.

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With only one window that is about a foot and a half square it would be dangerous to have anything that put out carbon monoxide. That is why I thought of the radiant electric oil heaters. No open flames and I not have to worry about him being overcome with carbon monoxide.

A heat pump would be best. It is just out for this winter.

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I have a 2.5 car detached stick-frame garage. I insulated it thoroughly, installed a tight-fitting insulated overhead door and added a $250 220V electric forced-air heater from Northern Tool in the rafters (it's about 15"x15"x10" and hangs on the wall). I also have a pair of ceiling fans to force the heat down into the work area (there's a small crawlspace above the rafters). I keep the thermostat at about 45 degrees all winter long, which I find tolerable and is enough to melt the snow off of my wife's car. My electric bill goes up about $15/month because of it in the winter. When I'm working out there, just moving around and having the lights on usually gets it well into the 50s and the heater stays off. I've never needed more than a sweatshirt to stay warm out there, even when the outside temperatures were in the teens or lower.

For the moderate investment, it's been the single greatest improvement to my workshop. Plus, as you mention, there are no dangerous fumes or open flames as with a gas or wood-burning furnace. And a $250 up-front investment is pretty moderate compared to a lot of other heat sources, giving me the ability to afford the admittedly more expensive electricity. Insulation is the key, not the heat source itself.

Here's a picture of the heater (arrow) and its location in the rafters (also note all the insulation fragments laying around--I had just finished insulating the roof). It's kind of aimed at the work area but for the most part, the whole garage is pretty comfortable. If I didn't have the open rafters and attic area, I would have just hung it from the ceiling.

Loft_1.jpg

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Wow, Matt, thanks. I sent a copy of your message to our e-mail so that I will have it to talk to Bill about. He is working on the insulation, trying to buy it on sale as he needs it. With two cars and all the "stuff" in the garage he has to do it in batches. But this sounds like a great idea.

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Some people around here have outdoor wood furnaces that boil water and circulate it into the building. I'd consider it over a heat pump which is expensive to operate. For example see centralboiler.com

or any of a number of others.

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Coleman makes several 3,000 BTU catalyic heaters powered by propane. This is superior to any other stand alone heater since it does not have a component that becomes hot enough that it will ignite flammables spilled near it. Being catalyic there is no open flame! Most importantly if it is knocked over it will not cause problems.

STay warm and don't end up like this guy.

Penguin.gif

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Work shop is 50' X 17'. I use a 72,000 BTU fuel efficient ceiling hung gas unit heater I bought from Grangers ($400). Use a pilot-less type ignition to avoid problems if case of a flammable liquid leak, solvents, etc. Be careful and always alert with any type of garage heat around old vehicles as they can leak. Garage is well insulated and kept at 55 degrees and when I am in the shop it can reach 70 degrees in minutes. Usually work at 65 degrees. Approximately $350 in gas costs for the season (4 to 5 months).

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What about needed ventilation? We had a small one of those when I was younger and camping with my mom and dad in a tent in Canada. This garage has almost no ventilation. One small window that is covered with plastic right now for the winter.

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Gas can be LP (propane) in lieu of natural gas which won't require expensive lines. Tanks are cheap and obtaining a 100 or 200 pound tank from the gas company is no problem. Gas is clean, efficient and cheaper then electric or oil.

Depending on your electric heater size many times re-wiring may be involved including a new service (200 amp) if you currently only have a 100 amp. A separate service to a garage here where I live mandates that you pay commercial electric rates of which is typically 2 times (plus) more then a residential service.

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You know what works good for my dad and I????

We plug in two electric heaters to heat up the shop and blame the high electric bill on the CHRISTMAS LIGHTS!!! grin.gifgrin.gif

Mom hasn't figured it out yet, and we're not going to tell her!!

If not, get some electric space heaters, a couple lengths of extension chords, and go see your neighbor grin.gifgrin.gif

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The heat pump in my Virginia house was installed in 1984 and doesn't switch to electric until the temperature is about 6-9 degrees. The house is well insulated and it does a wonderful and inexpensive job....and we keep the house at 74 degrees. I also have 14Kw of electric backup for quick heat up in the morning. Usually they have 5Kw for defrosting only. My house has 8 foot ceilings and floor air ducts. My stick built new garage is 40x22 and has an outside heat pump so there is NO ignition inside of the building. The garage is well insulated, and the doors have styrofoam insulation on them as well. However, this heat pump doesn't do well because the IDIOT I hired to build the garage put in a 12 foot ceiling. I run it continually in January and February at 50 degrees to keep the lacquer on my old Buicks more stable and it costs $100 a month to do that. That's almost as much as the house costs those same months. If I had 8 foot ceilings as specified and floor vents intstead of ceiling vents it would do much better. The Florida house has ceiling vents and never ever feels as warm at 40 degrees outside as the Virginia house does at 15 degrees outside. In addition the Virginia house cools just as well if not better. I do not like ceiling vents as I guess you can tell.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">The oil filled radiators work great in the bathroom, but talk about electricity in your garage? They work great, but they'd really make the electric meter spin. </div></div>

A while back my brother had a house with a one car garage. He installed electric heat (baseboard type)that was so efficient he could turn it off and just let the heat from the lighting take over. The key to the whole deal which was mentioned above is insulation. As long as the cold air cannot return, you'll keep it warm pretty cheap..........

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Not evil, just highly creative. Actually what we do is fire up a wood stove to heat up the shop. If we're going to paint, we get that stove good and hot, shut it down, do our paint, and then use electric heaters to sustain the heat in the shop until the paint dries. With you living in West Virginia, maybe you might want to think about a stove and heating with coal. As long as your work space is well insulated, you can heat the shop pretty cheap, and really wouldn't have any issues until you do any painting.

- But if you're siginicant other is on you about hanging up tons of Christmas lights, this might be a way for you sneak in an alternate heat source and letting her think that it is the Christmas lights that are driving up the electric bill grin.gifgrin.gif

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I am the spouse. grin.gif So now that I know your tricks he can't get away with it. blush.gif

I had kind of thought that if someone had a cheap enough idea I would get it for him for Christmas and that way he could enjoy working on our 1963 1/2 Sprint convertible over the winter.

Maybe I just better get him some electric socks and a box of handwarmers for every pocket. laugh.gif

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Boy Pat, You sure walked into that one. I started ducking before I ever scrolled down to ShopRat's post. <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" /> I knew fur was about to fly. You need to pay closer attention, son! <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> It would be real embarrassing to have a friend get maimed on the AACA Web Site! <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" /> Wayne

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