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  • HSM Garage Shop Heat

    Maybe an old topic. I have a 2 car garage, with only a 10ft by 10ft section as a hobby machine "shop". Two benches facing each other, one with the lathe on it the other a work bench with the drill press, grinder and vice. It's just a framed garage, no insulation and being in SE Michigan, I usually do not work in the shop area in winter unless some emergency repair is needed While tearing out some old insulation, I found that the wall has a natural gas pipe line in it probably capped off a few decades ago. That's been giving me ideas........

    Does anyone have a similar garage set up that they are able to heat enough to prevent finger frost bite while running a machine? Any ideas or cautions would be appreciated. Not sure how long I will be at this location, but hey heat is heat.

    S E Michigan

  • #2
    I have a mini split AC/heater, it's a heat pump, works perfect.

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    • #3
      RB211, Is that an air heat pump, that is, no in ground buried hoses etc., ? Is there a brand name is on it? I am going to do some research on shop heat and would be thankful for any and all leads, comments, pros, and cons.
      S E Michigan

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      • #4
        It won't take much to heat that space if you've insulated well. My shop is a similar setup, just slightly larger, and I can get it comfortable with just a small electric space heater. You will always be fighting the cold from the floor, though. With most of it in the unheated portion of the garage it never warms up and it's much colder by my feet. Some mats to stand on help.
        George
        Traverse City, MI

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        • #5
          It's a Mutsubishi, think it was 2500$ installed. Only requires one hole to be drilled through the wall. The condenser is outside, the head unit inside, hence why it is called a mini-split.
          I'm in central florida, it easily keeps my garage a chill 65 in the summer and that is without insulation in the ceiling or cinder block walls. Last night it got down to the low 30's, kept my garage at 65. 12000 BTU I believe, 12 seer. Haven't noticed any detrimental effects to electricity bill either.
          Click image for larger version  Name:	20201227_105424.jpg Views:	0 Size:	1.61 MB ID:	1918330 Click image for larger version  Name:	20201227_105519.jpg Views:	0 Size:	3.14 MB ID:	1918331
          Last edited by RB211; 12-27-2020, 11:03 AM.

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          • #6
            Heat pumps become inefficient and switch to resistance heating only below 35F. Some units can be found that switch to Nat Gas below 35F. What type of heating does your home have, hot air, hwbb, steam? No chance of extending ductwork or if hydronic, adding a loop out in your workspace?

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            • #7
              I've family from Bay City and Ann Arbor, so I know the area pretty well -- and yes it does get cold! First thing I would do is insulation, even the cheap pink panther stuff in a roll. 2nd thing is to look on craiglist for a used NatGas heater or wall furnace. Tap it into the pipe you found. For a space that small (2-car garage) you wouldn't even need any ductwork.
              25 miles north of Buffalo NY, USA

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              • #8
                Reggie, Yes, I have forced air / natural gas. I have thought of putting a duct into the garage with a shut off just to blow some warmth on me while at the bench. Only thing is the furnace runs at the inside thermostat's beckoning. That may very well be the solution at this point unless I want so spend some big bucks on a heater that will go with the place when we move in the not too distant future....

                George, You are about 3 hours north of me, a similar climate, but my garage doesn't have insulation. Was thinking of something to blow warm air that I could just shut off when not using the machines, so I bought a small propane fed space heater, looks like a mini salamander heater,.... it has a fan, and will try that. Winter is one of my favorite seasons but handling ice cold steel parts on the ice cold lathe is a downer. Besides, the chattering of teeth blurs my vision when trying read the mic. 😀
                S E Michigan

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                • #9
                  A pair of wires, a toggle switch will override the indoor thermostat and put the workshop space in control, or wire in a simple thermostat set at 40 and raise it when you are in the shop.

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                  • #10
                    I’m up here in Southern Alberta Canada and the gas company a few years ago went on a program to move the main natural gas meters out of the basements to outside the house. New houses are built that way right off. To make a long story short, I got the gas company to move the meter to the wall outside of my detached garage. Then I had an overhead forced air furnace put in. It was still somewhat pricey but I saved the expense of routing a gas line to the garage. I keep the garage at 5 degrees Celsius all the time (garage is insulated) as there are the cars in there. I bump the heat to about 14 C when I want to work in there which works out very well for me. I don’t find the extra heating expense all that hard on the budget. Naturally I shut the furnace down in the spring.

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                    • #11
                      Don't try to heat the 'space' or the air. When I was in the garage I used a double-burner MrHeater propane radiant heater. Stick 'em on a 20lb 'barbie bottle' and move it to where you're working. You'll be toasty and the machine in front of you will warm up too. They can use a lot of gas if full-time, but for occasional use they're perfect. For a more permanent solution you can buy ceramic block radiants that mount on the wall or ceiling and you easily set those up with a timer if desired, and if you get the natural gas going it'll be relatively cheap to run those.
                      Southwest Utah

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                      • #12
                        OaklandGB: You mentioned the gas pipe you found. Keep in mind that a gasoline leak from an automobile and a gas furnace with a pilot light equal one big fire. Stay safe, my friend.
                        Sarge41

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by sarge41 View Post
                          OaklandGB: You mentioned the gas pipe you found. Keep in mind that a gasoline leak from an automobile and a gas furnace with a pilot light equal one big fire. Stay safe, my friend.
                          Sarge41
                          Modern gas furnace, sealed combustion chamber, electronic ignition (standing pilot illegal in many states), combustion air drawn from outside.

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                          • #14
                            If your shop space is 10' x 10' x maybe 8' high and you do a good job of insulating it you could just plug in a portable electric heater, and the smallest window AC in the summer would do it too for that mater if heat is a problem in in the summer.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by George Bulliss View Post
                              It won't take much to heat that space if you've insulated well. My shop is a similar setup, just slightly larger, and I can get it comfortable with just a small electric space heater. You will always be fighting the cold from the floor, though. With most of it in the unheated portion of the garage it never warms up and it's much colder by my feet. Some mats to stand on help.
                              When I installed a gas furnace, I used an updraft type furnace. The air intake is about 6" above the floor. My feet stay toasty warm. I hate cold feet. The type of furnace that hangs in the ceiling is a very inefficient system. Heat rises and the floor never gets warm.
                              Sarge41

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