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  • shop heating

    After years of shutting down in the winter - too cold - I am considering heating the shop on an as-required basis. Intermittent is the way to go as the garage space is totally uninsulated. I bought a 220 volt construction site heater/fan cheap at a garage sale. I have also noted a radiant style heater (https://www.leevalley.com/en-ca/shop...radiant-heater) but given it's 120 volt it would have limits and is a body heater vs a space heater. I recently saw this style (https://www.amazon.ca/Mr-Heater-F271...014125&sr=8-17) of propane heater. Apparently it is to be used without a dedicated exhaust - just light it up & go to work? Can these safely be used in an enclosed space? Is some sort of fresh air exchange system required? Granted, I can install a CO alarm but this breaks every rule! I'm not looking for a shirtsleeves environment, just something to stop the fingers freezing.
    Assuming it is potentially ok what do I need to know?

  • #2
    That is going to cause condensation problems. An uninsulated shop compounds the issue.
    I would consider insulating first.

    I'm not a big fan on running any type of gas burning heater in an enclosed space.

    JL...

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    • #3
      Forget the unvented gas heater for the shop or most anywhere else. There is way too much moisture and it will wreak havok on your machinery.
      OPEN EYES, OPEN EARS, OPEN MIND

      THINK HARDER

      BETTER TO HAVE TOOLS YOU DON'T NEED THAN TO NEED TOOLS YOU DON'T HAVE

      MY NAME IS BRIAN AND I AM A TOOLOHOLIC

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      • #4
        In addition to all the other problems stated above you have to realize that if you "intermittently" heat your shop you're really only heating the air. There's so much mass in the shop that it would take days to warm it up. You might feel somewhat warm while standing near your heater but virtually everything you touch will be ice cold.
        I have essentially the same situation in a detached, uninsulated garage shop. Warm coat, electric heated rubber floor mats and 5 mil nitrile disposable gloves. The logic behind the gloves is that if I do something stupid the glove simply rips away, while intact it behaves somewhat like a diver's dry suit and in really cold weather I can stick a disposable chemical hand warmer pouch inside the glove.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Dunc View Post
          After years of shutting down in the winter - too cold - I am considering heating the shop on an as-required basis. Intermittent is the way to go as the garage space is totally uninsulated. I bought a 220 volt construction site heater/fan cheap at a garage sale. I have also noted a radiant style heater (https://www.leevalley.com/en-ca/shop...radiant-heater) but given it's 120 volt it would have limits and is a body heater vs a space heater. I recently saw this style (https://www.amazon.ca/Mr-Heater-F271...014125&sr=8-17) of propane heater. Apparently it is to be used without a dedicated exhaust - just light it up & go to work? Can these safely be used in an enclosed space? Is some sort of fresh air exchange system required? Granted, I can install a CO alarm but this breaks every rule! I'm not looking for a shirtsleeves environment, just something to stop the fingers freezing.
          Assuming it is potentially ok what do I need to know?
          Forget about any propane heater without an exhaust or you're going to get a headache in short order - trust me. They work pretty well for warming up the shop but then shutting them off completely while you are in there after waiting a bit. Go electric or vented gas or some sort.

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          • #6
            They are intended for construction sites to blow warm air over the workers. In an enclosed space they are in no way safe and the instructions for any of them call for some proper air openings which partially defeats the purpose. The faster they burn the fuel the bigger the openings for fresh air. You end up blowing a lot of the heating dollars out the door. If you try to close them in then never mind the tools, although that's a big deal too, it's YOU that needs to worry. Anything tht burns fuel to make heat will also produce CO or CO2. And in a closed space it ain't healthy. If you're going to burn anything for heating your shop then for my money the ONLY way to go is an external exhaust option.

            There are smaller catalytic units intended for heating cabins too but again because they do not exhaust the fumes to the outside the instructions call for openings. Often leaving a couple of windows open to exchange air. In a thread a couple of years back some liked them and some found that even the slight residue of exhaust made them ill to be in the room with the heater. And the little I've heard about it even mild CO poisoning it's not fun. On top of that I've been in rooms that had a propane fueled catalytic heater running and I found that even with folks coming and going a lot with the door opening and closing frequently that I was starting to feel a touch nousious after 5 minutes in there due to the exhaust. Others didn't seem to mind so apparently I'm one of the sensitive ones too.

            Do you own the place and plan on staying for some years? If you do then I urge you to start out by insulating the walls and ceiling. Even if it is just minimally and you skip a vew spots because of junk in the way it'll make an intense difference. I know it's a big project and higher cost but the increase in comfort is well worth it if you'll get even 8 to 10 years out of it. If you bite the bullet then know that the ceiling is the big issue. Most heat loss is upwards. So just doing something to slow down the heat loss in that direction is a big help.

            My own well insulated garage of around 550 sq ft does suffer from a leaky garage door. Even with that I manage nicely with a 4800W box style heater. It looks like a regular stove element style thing with a fan behind it and a built in thermostat. Downside is that even on 220 it needs a 30A circuit. Sort of like running a compact clothes dryer with the door open and a fan inside But it does the job well. An hour of lead time while I eat Breaky or do some other job and the shop is warm enough to be tolerable even on days that are well below freezing.



            Chilliwack BC, Canada

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            • #7
              It is a pain in the rear.... My FIL has that deal in his 2 story garage. It takes pre-planning to work out there in the winter. He has a vented gas heater, and a pellet stove, and used to have a torpedo heater upstairs.

              It takes 2 or 3 hours to get the place up to a useable air temp, and it IS INSULATED. Even then, you want a heavy shirt plus hoodie at the least.. About the time you are done, and quitting, it is up to a reasonable work temperature..

              All the cold stuff out there, benches, machines, toolboxes, etc, have to be warmed up before the air will be warmish. That takes a long time, and meanwhile, the place is much less than fun to work in.

              Uninsulated, you will never do even that well, but will burn lots of fuel trying.

              I would insulate it as of you wanted to live in it, and put in some form of vented heater that will be set to a minimum temp that you find works out. Then it will take only a considerably shorter time to get to a reasonable temp.

              You can always set it very low, or turn it off, if you will not be using the place for a while.
              1601

              Keep eye on ball.
              Hashim Khan

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              • #8
                I have noticed freeze - thaw cycles push the oil right off the machined surfaces, causing rust.
                Probably better to let it remain frozen all winter or keep it heated.

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                • #9
                  I have used unvented kerosene space heaters in the past with no ill effects. The radiant types can warm you directly by infrared, and they don't create water vapor as the propane types do. They still need some ventilation, though. Infrared heat lamps may help spot warm your hands and tools you are working with.
                  http://pauleschoen.com/pix/PM08_P76_P54.png
                  Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
                  USA Maryland 21030

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by PStechPaul View Post
                    I have used unvented kerosene space heaters in the past with no ill effects. The radiant types can warm you directly by infrared, and they don't create water vapor as the propane types do. They still need some ventilation, though. Infrared heat lamps may help spot warm your hands and tools you are working with.
                    Same here, no probs. Eventually I will want to put a vented wall heater though. I'm used to the cold, I've never worked in a heated factory. At least it kills the mosquitoes.

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                    • #11
                      I would say there is no point in even trying unless you insulate first.

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                      • #12
                        How about putting up a plastic tent around the bench to contain the heat but with insulation at that part of the ceiling as that is where the heat will go. A downdraught fan heater like over retail shop doors over the bench both heats the tools and pulls down heat risen to the roof. Then place a 100w tube heater in the lathe cabinet and turn it on several hours before you go out there not to make it hot but to make it warmer than the floor so condensation from your breath doesn't settle on it.

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                        • #13
                          I have an out door shop, insulated plus I put 3" of Styrofoam in the windows and on the back of the door to keep heat in. I have a small electric heater, one of the 14" square construction type, left at 55 DEG for the winter. The constant temp solves the humidity problem and with insulated winter boot and an insulated plaid shirt it is comfortable to work out there and doesn't break the bank.
                          The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

                          Bluewater Model Engineering Society at https://sites.google.com/site/bluewatermes/

                          Southwestern Ontario. Canada

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                          • #14
                            Green Bay weather is tough and I was teaching my good friend Tom how to machine.
                            Tom was a woodworker and wanted to learn machining and wanted a shop but his
                            rental house had a small un-heated two car garage ( 20 x 22) . I thought he was nuts but he did this to his garage. and still parked his car inside
                            He built a 2x4 wall (2" thickness) 16' x 5' and covered it with 2" Pink Foam panels all sides and had a 2" Foam ceiling and threw a
                            cheap rug on the floor and then put his Vernon Mill, Colchester Lathe, Rollaway and a Bench and put an electric Ceramic 120 volt heater in it
                            and left it on 24/7 ( temp control. ) and it was amazing. A very comfortable machine shop
                            I laughed at the 2" foam door with barn hinges , but it worked and was not two expensive to run....also had two four foot florescent fixtures for light
                            Insulation on floor ,walls, and ceiling make a big difference
                            All things are possible ...
                            Rich
                            Green Bay, WI

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                            • #15
                              Up here in Alberta Canada I have a detached 2 car garage with my shop in it (with the 2 cars). It’s insulated & the gas company recently moved the gas meters from inside the house to outside & I was able to get them to put it right by the garage saving $$. I put in a proper shop heater, vented and all very nicely. I keep the temperature at 4 degrees Celsius (39 F) all the time. Keeps the cars & machines warm enough to avoid excess moisture and I have no trouble with rusting. I just bump up the heat to about 14 C an hour or so before I want to do something there.

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