View Full Version : Shop heaters.

12-08-2005, 10:50 AM
I want to take the chill out of the air in my garage.I don't want to connect to the gas supply so I'm thinking about a portable infrared heater. Specifically the ones that sit ontop of the propane tank. They come in one, two, or three burners. Any one of you habve any experience with them?
My garage is about 400 square feet with a 9/1/2 foot cieling.It's attached to the house so I get some relief.

12-08-2005, 10:53 AM
Propane tanks are not allowed inside.

12-08-2005, 11:25 AM
I have one from Harbor freight single head unit clamps on top of the tank. need lots of vent and it only heats what is in the line of fire( pardon the pun) *radiant* infrared heater it does not heat the air as such. really good for setting the powder coat paint. It will not take the chill out of the air.But it does the job for warming up the backside when working on the trauck that you can't get in the shop because of to many toys.
I have one of those 100K jet fuel heaters with the blower sometimes called a torpedo heater. It also needs a lot more ventilation. will warm up tyhe shop fast. smells of kerosene.
Since I have a two story shop, its a pain to drag any up and down stairs. Its also a mess. I have an electric frankilin stove and a couple of electric heaters with fans.
It will take the chill off and then I work in vest.
I have got to finish installing the furnance in the joint. don't know if I will be able to afford to run it.Natural gas in southeast Mich is supposed to go up 47%. Figures just joined the monthly budget plan it has already gone up once lol.

The franklin stove type heater was on sale at the local miejers store for 89.00 has a fan in it and two elemnts a high and low. also the fake flame/log burning Stuff never have turned that on.
Harbor freight had the style on sale last month for 99.00

Been there, probally broke it doing that

12-08-2005, 11:26 AM
I have a two head Mr. Heater... put it on a 20lb cylinder as well as a 80lber now and then. They work ok but are more a spot heater then anything else. They will raise the ambient air temp but not real fast being a radiant heater. I prefer to take the chill out of the air with the 175000 btu hurricane heater... it will melt the snow off the roof... then use the little heater to keep me comfortable when welding. As with most thing use common sense at you be fine around the bottle. I've also seen a mini hurricane heater that are adjustable in the 7-25000 btu range. I think they would be real nice in a small garage for fast heating.

If you go with electric look into the oil filled radiator type heaters. I have one in the small machine shop building and have it set on low. It keeps the temp very comfortable for the machines... I did insulate it when built so it holds the heat really well.

[This message has been edited by Tinkerer (edited 12-08-2005).]

12-08-2005, 11:50 AM
Thanks guys. I'll look for another alternative. At 32 deg. because it is insulated and attached to the house, it's livable. But at 20 deg. for a week at a time it gets a bit chilly.
I would rather use propane than Kero.

Frank Ford
12-08-2005, 11:54 AM
After years of struggling with different kinds of heaters, I finally hit on the perfect solution - for me.

I got a pair of those overhead infrared heaters, switched them separately and wired in a timer. Now, I simply wind the timer as I walk into the shop, and the heaters immediately start heating ME. No wait for air to heat up or for all that junk to start radiating heat. AND, there's no chance I'll leave the heat on when I'm not actuallty in there. Best thing is that my heating bill went way down.

Some photos at the bottom of this page, if you're interested:


12-08-2005, 01:22 PM
i use one of the 100k tarpedo heaters have used it for 20 years in my 40x28 shop. i have had no problems with it i only use k-1 kero. sp i do not get much smell.

12-08-2005, 01:28 PM
I think I'd inquire about how much it would cost to add another vent or radiator to your home heating system.

3 Phase Lightbulb
12-08-2005, 02:52 PM
I installed a vented propane heater in my shop (Mr. Heater BigMAX 75K BTU) this fall and I'm so glad I did. I use it every weekend and a few nights a week. I'm still on my first 100lb bottle which I think has around 40-50% left. The coldest it has gotten in my shop so far was 45 and after turning on the heat I feel comfortable after 5 minutes. I use a standard digital/programmable thermostat and after 15 mins the thermostat on the wall sees 65 deg and cycles the heater every 5 minutes or so. The ceiling fans circulate the heat and move it all around my shop making it very comfortable very quickly. I think the 45K BTU unit would work great in your shop.

These vented shop/garage units have a blower that forces the exhaust/combustion outside so you can easily install a horz vent. It only took about 20 minutes to install the venting system and the rest of the work was figuring out how to hoist the unit up, and bolting it in place.



12-08-2005, 03:17 PM
I agree with Frank Ford. I have the same infra red radiant heaters mounted on the rafters in a tilting bracket. It has a pull chain, one pull= one element on. two pulls
and two elements come on. It provides instant heat like sunshine on me. Only costs about .15 cents per hour to operate.
I bought mine from "Lee Valley" tools.
Cost about 60.00 when I got mine, I think they are even less now. They guarantee them for 10 years.

12-08-2005, 03:22 PM
I had the catalog handy so I looked them up. They are going for 45.00 now.
part # 27K08.30 Quartz Radiant Heater.

3 Phase Lightbulb
12-08-2005, 03:46 PM
I'm very happy with my propane setup, but I also found dirt cheap (basically FREE) electric base board heaters that might appeal to other people... Electricity is obviously very expensive for heating your home, but maybe they make sence for heating your shop only when needed?

Check out the price on these NEW surplus baseboard heaters from http://www.surpluscenter.com:

208/240 VAC 750/1000 watt 4 foot long Baseboard heater ($12.99 each):


208/240 VAC 1500/2000 watt 8 foot long Baseboard heater ($24.99 each):


208/240 VAC 1875/2500 watt 10 foot long Baseboard heater ($25.99 each):



12-08-2005, 04:32 PM
Yankee1, is the same unit?

Robert Duncan
12-08-2005, 04:46 PM
I installed a 75k BTU overhead infrared tube heater. Takes in outside air, vents exhaust outside, burns LP from an outside tank setup (LP company provided tanks 2x120 gallon).

AFAIK, for each gallon of hydrocarbon fuel you burn you create about a gallon of water vapor. If this is not vented outside, when the temperature drops, i.e. the heater is turned off, the water will condense somewhere. Like on cold machinery and tools.

Thats why I went for the external vented system. I use a thermostat set at 45 degrees when I am not in the shop.

12-08-2005, 05:43 PM
Hello JPR,
Yes thats the one I bought but the gaurantee was 10 years.

12-08-2005, 07:20 PM
Yankee1, thanks I just ordered two from the local Northern. No shipping, but the in store price was $40 not $35 shown online.

I wanted to go with something like 3Phase, but the cost was an issue.

12-09-2005, 12:21 AM
My shop is small, only about 250 square feet, I'm thinking of getting one of the small propane furnaces like they use in RV's. They are a 'direct vent' (through the wall) type unit, output is from about 20,000BTU up to around 50,000 BTU, with a fan, and optional ducting too (I think the one in our RV trailer is 4" duct work.) Most will require a 12vdc supply for the fan, and that should be it.

I do have a woodstove in it now, will likely leave it in, at least for a while. I just want something taht will keep it above freezing to keep the moisture levels down.


12-09-2005, 06:03 AM
My shop is a converted 20' shipping container for the time being. It is pretty small But works. It is insulated & has power wired in all over. It was free! used to be a scale house.
Nevertheless when I put my Bridgport in there I needed heat. I looked at Monitor Kero heaters...Gasp! the working man could not afford them. I found an Empire brand propane heater that fit the bill. Since my space is small I elected for the 10,000 BTU unit. They make them in several sizes

It is a sealed direct vent, requires no electricity, has what is called a Millivolt thermostat on the wall. All for a managable $829 Usd Installed.( I cut the hole in the steel wall for them) It keeps my litle shop warm & is quite efficent. I insulated the heck outta the place. Since it vented outdoors there is no humidity problem. Bridgey, Lathey & the tools stay warm & rust free.

You can get a fan option installed to move the air. But I use old condenser fans from refigerators to move air around. Quiet & cheep to run

Now for what it is worth. I like to keep the heat on all the time. for what it costs to replace rusted tools I think heating is cheeper. The key is to insulate, insulate, insulate.

The only thing I have left to do is make some kind of ventalation system for those smokey days!

[This message has been edited by Warren (edited 12-09-2005).]

12-09-2005, 08:51 AM
I like my kerosene heater, I have a small garage that has minimal insulation. I use it for small area heating when needed, and for the house when the power goes out. I tried those little top of the small tank propane heaters, the double head large tank things - nothing would create heat that would go out unless you stood right by the thing, and cost of fuel was rediculous for the heat gain I got.

The kero heater I have is a 1000 foot heater Duraheat 2403 or something like that. Holds about 1.5 gallon of kerosene, and this goes about ten hours. Before major storms, I fill it up, and keep five gallons on hand - like today. It works with no electricity, and the storm we had where the power went out for 18 hours, or about short of three gallons, this heated my home quite well, and much safer that a propane heater. Also portable, so I can move it where I am while it is running. I also use it in the school shop on weekends as the heat is cut to 55 degrees as of 2:30 Friday until 4:00 a.m. Monday. I also take it in on the occassional Monday when the heat can't catch up....

The smell factor bothers people, but we are machinists and work around smelly oils, coolants, and solvents..... There are also additives if you wish to cut the smell back. I would not know how they work, do not use them. Many tell me they make the smell better, and the burn better. The smell from Kero heaters is usually from the first five minutes of operation, and when shut off anyway, so when in the school shop, to keep the hollering from others down, I start it up outside, bring it in after five minutes, and then move it outside, hit the shut down, and leave it for about five minutes - nobody knows it is there.

One thing about portable heaters - propane or kerosene. A major problem in New England is fires started from these things. Usually carelessness or improper placement. Have a fire extinguisher nearby in your shop, or your home, and do not run unattended.