View Full Version : Heating Shop

11-09-2004, 12:35 PM
With prices for electricity going through the roof I have decided to retire my commercial 220 volt helectric heater. I dont have much room and with a seven and a half foot high ceiling not much ceiling height. Any recommendations on a economical heating source. Wood is most definately out of the question. Thanx. Audrey

Paul Gauthier
11-09-2004, 12:36 PM
Oil fired hot air furnace would be the quickest to install and use.

Paul G.

11-09-2004, 12:44 PM
I just wired up a small Berko 220 overhead heater. I don't think it'll see a lot of use for the reasons you mentioned. I was looking at one of those propane deals.

Hoffman in Warner Robins Ga

11-09-2004, 12:53 PM
Gas fired infrared heater.

11-09-2004, 01:27 PM
Audrey, A while back you said that you had hundreds of gallons of hydraulic oil and were thinking of building a waste oil heater... what happened?

[This message has been edited by fixxit (edited 11-09-2004).]

11-09-2004, 04:35 PM
I recently built a waste oil burner for my shop. Got the plans off the internet. It puts out a lot of heat. It was also a fun project to build.I made my burner with heavier gage steel than the plans called for. If your interested the website is wasteoilplans.com/. I built the "little dragon".

11-09-2004, 04:42 PM
Heat pump! Still uses electricity, much more efficent than a bar heater. Cost more to buy inttially though.


11-09-2004, 04:48 PM

You will always ne warm then.

11-09-2004, 04:51 PM
Mark here ...to the rescue
no nead to pay for plans
there are plenty on this site for free.
it mentions "how to build a waste oil heater for $36" but this is what it would cost you to build it not the price of the plans
fantastic site
go there and have a look around Audrey..


AND this one looks neat

or you can join this yahoo group
if you like reading a lot ..caution posting rate in excess of 50 a day sometimes


all the best....mark

[This message has been edited by aboard_epsilon (edited 11-09-2004).]

11-09-2004, 06:39 PM
I'm with zl1byz here, a Geothermal heat pump and lots of insulation. Plus, it makes airconditioning the shop in the summer economically viable.


This Old Shed (http://http:thisoldshed.tripod.com/enter.htm)

11-09-2004, 06:51 PM
As Paul said, "oil fired hot air furnace". This is what I have plus a stack heater mounted on the stove pipe to reclaim some of the lost heat going up the stack.


11-09-2004, 09:00 PM
Was just having a read of that oil burner construction, looks pretty neat!

Anyone know if it would be possible to convert a unused slow combustion wood stove to work in the same manner?

I have a heat pump in the house and the wood stove is redundant, would be nice to get it going for next winter - the heat from it is so much nicer than from the heat pump...

11-09-2004, 09:06 PM
The garage/workshop being built at my parents cabin has hot water heating underneath the concrete flooring.
I tried to tell em to make the floor as thick as possible, its only about 4" thick then foam below that, you think a 2000lb bridgeport is going to cause problems for that floor?

11-09-2004, 09:13 PM
Geez...I feel bad for you all that can't use wood. I keep my shop really warm (too warm) for an outrageous sum of about $10 a month (maybe $12 when it hits -40)

11-09-2004, 09:23 PM
yeh until you run out of trees, hehe, or you buy your wood.
Parents cabin has a wood stove that will nearly cook you right out of the building, and propane heater as well.

[This message has been edited by BillH (edited 11-09-2004).]

11-09-2004, 09:47 PM
Wood heat and LOTS of insulation is, in my opinion, the way to go. Torker.. lets see.. at $10.00/month that would mean you burn about 1/5 of a cord per month.. pretty good. The main problem with wood is that it takes awhile to get the shop up to 60 deg F especially when the temps go below zero.

11-09-2004, 10:00 PM
Wood in Australia costs me $100 for a 6x4 tralier load split. This lasts me about two-three months - thats $74usd btw...

Free oil heating would be very attractive, or a bush block with a chainsaw and hydraulic log splitter, either would be nice http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//wink.gif

11-09-2004, 10:18 PM
I will vote for Propane. $800.00 and i got a unit that can heat my garage at -20 C no problemo. NO worries. The thermostat keeps an eye on everything. It costs me about 150-200 a year. That includes me forgetting it on a couple of times a year.

Rob http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif

11-09-2004, 10:31 PM
dhammer...I actually use about 1/2 a cord a month when it gets really cold. What I do...put an extra layer of firebrick in the bottom of the stove, always leave a good coating of ash in the bottom of the stove (helps hold the heat), stack all my sheet steel in behind the stove on one side and stand all my heavy bar stock beside it on the other side. Once all this heats up it will hold heat for quite awhile. Always warm in the shop in the morning. You do need a good stove...I use an old Earth stove, it'll burn for around 30 hours with a few small blocks. Right now I figure wood is costing me about $20 a cord to get it home... a few bucks for LPG in the pick up, couple bucks for saw gas and oil and allow a few bucks for wear and tear. My neighbour heats his simular size shop with NG...costs over $150 month when it's really cold.

11-09-2004, 11:22 PM
Dumb foreigner question...

What's a cord?

11-09-2004, 11:35 PM
What's a cord

a pickup truck load

I heat my shop with one of those ventless wall heaters, natural gas fired. Moisture does not appear to be a problem.


[This message has been edited by outback (edited 11-09-2004).]

11-09-2004, 11:46 PM
A standard cord is 4'x 4'x 8'

11-10-2004, 01:41 AM
Ben78: a tightly stacked 4*4*8...One of the things you have to be careful of when buying wood is making sure your ideal of a tight stack and a sellers idea of a tight stack are in the same solar system. That said, my brother got a deal on a cord only $125 a cord in NJ... Most places are now charging at least $200 a cord...


11-10-2004, 08:08 AM
I have gone to using those small dish reflector type electric heaters mounted on the ceiling pointed right at where I'm working. They raise the temperature in the shop very slowly and this avoids condensation on the equipment. I'm not in the shop every day so keeping it heated on a daily basis isn't worth while. The chances of a fire with wood are a little to great for me to sleep well with (thats just me) I find that the "infrared" dish heaters are cheap and you get direct heat on your local position even if the doors have to be open, given the amount of time I need them on it has worked out for me.

11-10-2004, 08:36 AM
torker.. I burnt about 4 cords last winter but it was a fairly mild winter as Northern Minnesota winters go. I made up a crude used oil drip system, if I didn't watch out that old stove would turn cherry red.. kind of like burning dry tamarac!! LPG?.. do you run your pick upon propane? I work for a propane company, we used to run our bulk trucks on LP but we switched to diesel.

Outback.. I am considering one of those ventless LP heaters but I am concerned about the moisture problem.. you say you don't have that problem?

11-10-2004, 10:27 AM
If You really want cheap BTU's(except for drain oil), look into burning corn. Yes I mean farm grown field corn. At $2.00 a bushel
it's the cheapest BTU around. Do a google and see how to build a self feeding stove.

11-10-2004, 11:00 AM
I have 320' of PEX tubing in the slab for my shop but have yet to hook it up to a heat source. I'm debating running a gas line to the shop for a water heater (flame hazard) or dig down 3-4' and run insulated water lines from the house and use the existing water heater with a heat exchanger. Either way will have to wait until spring now.

11-10-2004, 11:43 AM
I recently had a 30x50 insulated pole barn built and have been shopping around looking for something to heat it with. Settled on the Modine HD "Hot Dawg" overhead porpane gas furnace. The 75K BTU model cost $519.00 and is supposed to handle up to a 4 car garage. I guess I'll find out here in a month or so how good my choice was http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif


11-10-2004, 12:36 PM
My 25x40 steel shop (North Texas) came with a woodstove built from a 55-gallon drum. Works fine, and gets rid of most of the trash that would otherwise go to the landfill. Fuel of choice is wood, but I also use waste oil absorbed into waste paper. I pack a cardboard box full of waste paper over time. When it's about full, I add used oil to let it soak into the contents. Once soaked in, it becomes a very good fuel.
I also have been known to soak wood with the oil, particularly wood that i otherwise not much good, such as cottonwood. Nobody likes to use cottonwood in their home fireplace, as it does not burn well. But soaked with oil it's fine for my purposes and it's always free.
I intend to add an oil feed to this stove so I can just start it on wood and then turn on an oil drip to keep it going. Depending on how that works out I will build a waste oil heater from the Mother Earth News plans that use a water heater tank.

If I were building new, I'd go with radiant ubes in the slab. Heat with a small water heaters. If I can figure out how to use waste oil to heat the water, that would be ideal.

11-10-2004, 12:51 PM
Audrey might wish to look into a pellet stove. They are pretty popular around here as we have a pellet plant in town. They burn manufactured wood pellets made from wood chips from the sawmills. The pellets are the size of small dry catfood and the stoves are automatic electric self feeding. They can be had with battery backup to operate when the power is out and the fuel cost is very competitive. They are CSA approved. Audrey, you will need to check and see if they are available in your area and more importantly if the pellets are available. It is a form of wood heat that is acceptable to the insurance companies.



[This message has been edited by Evan (edited 11-10-2004).]

11-10-2004, 02:09 PM
Our waste oil heater worked well but the putrid gut wrenching odour was too much for us to keep breathing in. Also at times the chimney would provoke the foulest blackest smelling smoke you have ever had the pleasure of inhaling. Since we live in a neighbourhood with the Mayor less than 6 houses away we felt it was time to dismantle our waste oil burning heater for the sake of Humanity and the last bit of the ozone layer, Also didnt want the authorities coming over and bugging us, Thanx Audrey

11-10-2004, 04:02 PM
dhammer....Yes I run my ol' truck on propane. $0.54 per litre, gasoline right now is $0.90 per litre. For the time being I'm lucky...we have thousands of acres of bug killed lodgepole pine that is there for the taking. Lots about 10 mins from my house. The oil burner idea is interesting. Up here it's getting hard to get rid of used oil. Might be a solution.

11-10-2004, 05:20 PM
After an election, you could think about harnessing a politician's promises. How many BTUs back up their worth? Or may be a real deal on left over signs and posters.


11-11-2004, 02:56 AM
There are a number of people heating their greenhouses with Solar. Swimming pools, too. In some areas, the pool is used to such heat from a building as well.

There were a number of practical articles in Home Power Magazine some time back.


11-11-2004, 03:44 AM
I have a 20kw diesel heater (75,000 btu ?) it looks like a 10"pipe on a fuel tank. Smells a little but instant heat and lots of it. I also have an old pot belly (actually straight sided) coal stove but the laws are changing so I may have to do a bit of a clandestine operation to install that. There is nothing worse than being cold, except maybe terminally ill.

Weston Bye
11-11-2004, 01:45 PM
I have heated my shop for the past 12 years with a ventless propane heater. Nearly 100% efficient, with no waste up the chimney. In a tight room oxygen depletion could be a hazard. Moisture is a problem when I bring a chunk of steel in from the cold - instant condensation. Also, the combustion by-products though not great, do tend to accumulate over the months, giving some objects a yellowish coat of whatever. Any use of paints or oil-based solvents, aside from the safety issue, catalyze in the flame and produce a strong oily smell that clings to clothing.
It is nice though, to stand in front of on a cold day and toast my buns (bum? for those on the other side of the pond) after a trip from the house.
Weston Bye
Grand Blanc, MI

Paul Gauthier
11-11-2004, 02:45 PM
I did post about an oil fired furnace being quick to install and use but I would also agree with Evan about pellet stoves, also quick to instal and use. I use two of them to heat my house. One in the parlor and one in the basement. As to cost, I use about 5 tons of pellets per year, $900.00. My gas furnace would cost $1500.00 or more. The two stoves have more than paid for themselves in the time that I have had them. I tried burning corn in my basement stove but it would not sustain a burn. I believe I use the wrong stuff, whole kernel dried corn, believe it or not is pretty wet on the inside, using cracked dried corn should work better, as it would be drier. I will try that soon.
So if I may ammend my earlier post I would have to say get a pellet stove, you will love it. I seems that most of the different brands of pellets in this area come from Canada so getting pellets should not be a problem for you.

Paul G.

11-11-2004, 03:20 PM
If your waste oil heater is smoking and stinking, it's not running efficiently. It has to be kept burning hot. Most commercial models use compressed air for this. One account I read recently took a cheap hair dryer and got a much higher efficiency.
Also, commecial models have to be cleaned regularly to stay efficient.

11-11-2004, 04:01 PM
I boughtn one of those quartz element type
heaters with an adjustable bracket. Its mounted on the rafters above me. I sit on a
swivel bar stool in front of my lathe or mill. The heat is like instant sun shine it
does not heat the air it just warms you imediately. Cost to operate with both elements on about 15 cents an hour. Clean, fast, ecconomical. It cost 60.00 last year to purchase from "Lee Valley Tools" but I
noticed the price is down to 45.00 this year. The Gaurantee is 10 years.

11-11-2004, 05:49 PM
isnt a pellet stove a wood burner? unless you use corn. they do well here in IOWA