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  • Shop heater options

    It's time to get off my butt and get some heat in the garage. Garage is an insulated single car, with 12' ceilings. I live in south central/eastern Ontario, with below freezing winter temps. I'll probably keep it around 15*c and raise it when I'm out there. My main concern is keeping condensation at bay and I'm on the fence between a forced air unit heater (mr heater style), or an overhead radiant tube style. There won't be a lot of opening and closing the door, as I can enter from the house, and there's a lot of Iron in there to radiate the heat.

    When I put my furnace in last year, we teed off the propane line coming in from outside, so installation should be simple.

    Anybody here have an opinion?

  • #2
    Unless you need the 12' ceiling height you could make it easier to heat by putting in a lower well insulated ceiling, 8' maybe?

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    • #3
      I thought about tearing the entire house down, and building a brand new energy efficient ICF construction home and attached shop (2 story with metal on bottom and wood up top) with radiant floor heating supplied by a ground loop geothermal system, but for now have just settled on the 2 relatively inexpensive options above. And yes, I'd like to keep my high ceilings.

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      • #4
        For an insulated single car garage, you could get away with a small portable 1500W electric radiant heater. Maybe it won't need to cycle as much as you might think and the cost might be reasonable.

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        • #5
          Dan, There is only one option better than the radiant heater and that is infloor heating. I am sure you will not be going that route now.
          My first workshop was warmed by a wood stove. Then I was able to progress to an oil furnace that came out of an old house and I used it for over 20 yrs.

          Then one winter day I was visiting a friend, who was also into roadracing and we were in his shop and I could feel the warmth of the floor coming up from my feet to my legs to the relieve of my back..
          That's when Henry explained to me about his radiant heater
          . Not too long after I was able to find a good deal on a radiant heater, and I am so thankfull every day I am out in my shop
          .
          The oil furnace was a whole lot nicer than a wood stove but they both just heat the air, and I was always crippled up after a couple of hrs. because of my back, and standing on a cold cement floor.
          The radiant heater is about the only way I would go, knowing what I know now.

          I can't say for sure, but I would imagine with enough iron in your shop to reflect the heat back it may be a lot more efficient too.

          I know you are a former Road Rasher and your body will be thanking you every time you are in your shop if you go with radiant heat.

          Dave

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          • #6
            If it is just a shop and you are not running the car into it for maintenance then seal up the door. Put 12in of glass insulation in the roof and 6in on the outside walls. Cover the floor with at least chipboard if not a multilayer insulation. Run a dehumidifier. If some of the heat is from electric implement it using heaters in the machines and tool cabinets.

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            • #7
              Go with a small ceiling mounted heater like this. Radiant heaters only heat what they "shine" on and everything in the "shadows" stays cold.
              Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

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              • #8
                One large heat sink is the concrete floor.
                Not sure if you have a slab or foundation, but dig up the outside foundation wall and
                spray /paint some tar adhesive and then apply some pink foam ( 1" or 1.5" ) insulation sheets and then backfill.
                The energy savings is enormous . Leave no bare concrete exposed.
                Some in this area (Green Bay WI) also lay sheet pink foam about 6 inches deep and go outward 24 inches from the foundation to prevent freezing
                of the soil under/around the foundation wall.
                Our "frost" line has gone down to 44" some winters, but we average 36"
                Rich

                Blue and White foam sheets disintegrate , so Pink is important

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                • #9
                  I installed a Modine Hot Dawg garage heater for a friend of mine, and I think it’s a good option. You could connect it to a Nest thermostat and control it from anywhere.
                  Jerry

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                  • #10
                    Hey Dan,

                    I 'm not sure of the air humidity levels in your area, but the propane heaters tend to make the old iron sweat and get surface rust pretty quickly. It burns at a lower dew point and causes condensation in the room on things that are cold. Electric heat does not do this and of course the good old wood stove is the best for general heat in an existing building.
                    Just one persons opinion.
                    Sounds like a good down coat and NO scarf are in order for Safety reasons.

                    TX
                    Mr fixit for the family
                    ​​​​​​​Chris

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                    • #11
                      how about a wall heater such as this?
                      https://www.homedepot.com/p/Rinnai-2...824P/306730285

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Arcane View Post
                        Go with a small ceiling mounted heater like this. Radiant heaters only heat what they "shine" on and everything in the "shadows" stays cold.
                        I just saw a really nice one like that here but I dont know where it went.

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                        • #13
                          I have infloor and forced air in my farm shop 46'x100' 18' ceiling and our attached house garage 34'x36'12'ceiling.I am really happy with the floor heat in both,I also like the forced air in shop also for bumping heat up when in their working.Have you ever considered installing floor heat if you could get by with raising the floor a few inches if this will be long term home&garage ,just a thought.

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                          • #14
                            Vented heaters are the only way to go if you do not want condensation from burning fuel. I have a direct vent wall furnace in my garage and it has been in service for over thirty years. I thought it was expensive to buy back then. Reality is it has not cost anything in parts or service. It just requires general inspection and periodic cleaning. Make sure you install it correctly and to code to keep safe and your insurance in force.

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                            • #15
                              I wonder how efficient those larger 220v forced air electric garage heaters are. Even tho they are like 5kw, if it heats up the space quickly and you only use it for a couple of hours when in your shop, that's still only basically a cup of coffee electricity wise(?)

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