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  • rbertalotto
    replied
    Best thing I ever did in my shop was to remove a hot air Modine type heater and install a radiant plasma type heater. This unit is 12' long and sits at a 45 degree angle at the rear ceiling wall intersection. Mine is natural gas but propane and electric is available.

    Advantages:
    No open flame.....natural gas is lighted in the tube and all flame is contained in the tube
    Radiant Heat...heats stuff, not air. Tools, floor, walls, etc heat up and hold the heat. Works like sun. When you open the door you don't lose all the heat.
    Costs about 40 percent to heat the shop compared to Modine forced hot air. 60% savings in gas.
    No fan blowing dust all over the place.
    Quiet, comes on very infrequently
    Comfortable, even heat throughout the shop

    Click image for larger version

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  • outlawspeeder
    replied
    I have an old forced air heater that uses heating oil. The oil is diesel so I also use the the same tank to fuel the tractors. Noise, but I can work in a t shirt at 20 deg F, the build doesn't have insulation. Got it from a heating and cooling shop when they a home owner upgraded. I waited about three weeks after I asked about it and when I got the call, it was a cash and go with a bunch of parts. I did get a couple of pointers from the shop.

    If you're not going to heat it all the time you will want forced air heat. Any thing else is going to take too long to get the shop warn enough to work in. I tried a couple different things. I
    Last edited by outlawspeeder; 12-31-2020, 09:25 AM.

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  • wmgeorge
    replied
    Yes your unit is too small. You did not share your location, but my 24x24 insulated shop here in Iowa I have a gas 45,000 btu heater and a 18,000 btu window AC. On my glass on 3 sides, thermal pane glass 12x20 or so porch or 4 seasons porch I have a 15000 btu cooling 18000 btu heat mini split works down to -13 or so and can maintain 65 degrees at that temp.

    OK you did say Dayton Ohio... not large enough unit. I am going to say my 45,000 btu input gas heater is 80% Efficient so equal to 36,000 btu Heat Pump but I admit its oversized as I keep my garage at 45 and only take it to 70 when I am working and it does not take that long. Key is insulation.
    Last edited by wmgeorge; 12-31-2020, 08:32 AM.

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  • Jim Caudill
    replied
    For over 20 years I used an electric furnace and a window air conditioner to heat/cool my 24x24 shop. When I drywalled the ceiling, I did put some bat insulation in there. After going through a bunch of window A/C units, I decided to install a 12,000btu mini-split heat pump this past spring. I love it! However, the unit I bought is supposed to be good down to 17 degrees F, and I have run it at 13 degrees F this winter. Above 17 degrees I can maintain about 53 degrees in the shop. 13 degrees is just too low. I bought an LG LS120HEV2 unit for just under $1,000 and the "all-in" installation ran about $1,300. I did all the labor and borrowed the vacuum pump and nitrogen tank - the rest of the stuff I had. I wished I had researched a little more and found a "Cold Weather" mini-split that would still put out a reasonable number of btus when operating in the single digit range. I also have a 5,000 watt hanging electric heater that I got at Rural King for about $65 on sale. I love the mini-split and am very pleased with the overall performance. It usually consumes less than 1 Kw per hour. I installed a $20 wattmeter and ammeter that I got from Amazon and I track the electricity use every day in a spreadsheet. I live near Dayton, Ohio and my December heating cost (including the occasional use of the electric heater) will be less than $90 for this December. For my purposes, If I did it over I would buy an 18,000 btu cold-weather heat pump. The 12,000 btu worked fine for summer cooling, but I think I'm a little shy for winter heating. Right now, with an outside temperature of 33 degrees, I can maintain 68 degrees in the shop with about 900 watts per hour. A better choice would have been the LG LS120HSV5; this system can deliver over 10,000 btu's at -4 degrees F. It would have cost me an extra $400, but I wish I had taken that route.
    Last edited by Jim Caudill; 12-30-2020, 10:14 PM.

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  • RB211
    replied
    No point investing in a nice Mitsubishi mini split if your not going to stick around another 10+ years.

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  • BCRider
    replied
    Oakland, from your last post just above it sounds like this or perhaps at most next winter will be your last two in this shop... and that house thing attached to the shop. If so then an electric cube heater on its own with no changes to the garage itself would likely serve your needs. It'll be costly because it'll run the whole time and make it just tolerable. But what you spend in electricity for the heater for the rest of this winter would likely be roughly what it would cost you to put in the insulation that would be what it takes to cut down the power used. So six of one, half a dozen the other. But a lot less work for the "use more power" option.

    If you find that it's still pretty nippy in there perhaps try blocking off the shop portion with tarps on the ceiling trusses and two "walls" to isolate the working corner. Even just keeping the warm air within the work area like that but no insulation will help a lot. And that way it's just a few tarps and screws. And the tarps can go with you to the next place.

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  • aribert
    replied
    OaklandGB
    We are virtually neighbors - my workshop garage is in Eastpointe, MI. I typically spend 8 hrs /day, 4 or 5 days per week there. Detached 3 car garage, 9.5 ft ceilings in 2 bays and 8 ft ceiling height in the 3rd bay. R13 in the walls, R19 in about half the ceiling, the rest is R13 (29 year old me was cash strapped and figured I would add extra insulation later - problem is there is too much "stuff" in the attic to remove decking and add insulation later). Dry wall walls and ceiling.

    I use force gas heat set at the minimum T-stat setting of 45F. When I arrive I bump it up to 54 or 55 and light one kerosene heater (the round ones, I set it on a 5 gal pail to keep the flame elevated). Eventually the kero heater brings the temp up to about 57 or 58F. I do not have a condensation issue but that may be in part a function of the gas force air heat keeping the air dry (though our winter air is relatively dry to begin with). The forced air system is a counter-flow unit (blows the air down). I ran a rectangular section air duct under the workbench shelves, about 14 inches off the slab along about 25 ft of the length of the garage with multiple registers that I can close off to somewhat direct air flow. Reason for the unusual two heating source is that I don't live at the address any more and I credit my tenant for gas use for 4 months in the winter (kero exclusively in late Oct/Nov/early April, also no condensation issue). I try to use less natural gas than I credit the tenant for.

    Fiberglas batt insulation is so cheap for what it does. If your walls are already covered, you can blow cellulose in them (I have done that at a rental that I renovated, hid the holes I created at 3 ft up and at the ceiling by mounting a chair rail and crown molding, in a garage I would use 1x4s). Even if you moved in 3 months, you would be ahead to insulate.

    Fire scares me. I would be very aware of any flammable curtain/partition or ceiling covering. Drywall is also very cheap for the amount of surface it covers - it's not like you have to tape and float the garage.

    Another advantage to insulation is that it can keep your workshop cooler in the summer. I keep the doors closed as much as possible and my typical interior temp is 7 to 10 degF cooler than outside in the summer (I really minimize larger welding projects in the summer).

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  • kendall
    replied
    I'm in west Michigan, and heat my 140 square foot shop with a 9000 btu propane buddy heater an a milk house heater when I am in the shop, and the milk house heater alone when I leave for the night. It is insulated pretty well, and the the milk house easily keeps it 50-55 inside without hurting the electric bill. If I'm gone more than a day or two, I shut down the fridge and make sure the heaters are off, when I get back, both heaters going will get it warm enough to take my jacket off in an hour starting from 20 degrees.

    Amazon has the wall mount natural gas radiant heaters for around $200. If you go that way I'd go for one with a thermostat, the buddy heater, even on low can easily cook you out.

    If you plan on walling it in, I'd suggest using the advanced framing method (also called OVE framing) , it's faster, saves on materials and allows for better insulation.

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  • OaklandGB
    replied
    Larry,
    I think your post was my decision turning point. It looks like your shop ceiling is not insulated, same as mine. Even if I point one such heater at my "galley style" work benches, I think it will provide adequate temperature while working in the 36" walkway between the two benches. I have good work boots so floor level heat is not much concern for me. Thanks for providing the photos of your set up. Looks and sounds great.
    Gary

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  • OaklandGB
    replied
    Considering my situation, I think I'm moving toward a 5,000 watt, 240 volt, wall/ceiling mounted, fan blower, electric garage type heater. I have access to a dedicated 240 volt circuit that I use only occasionally for my welder.

    Why?
    • Currently, seriously looking to move to a 10 acre home where "real" people live. Will take this heater with me when I go.
    • Not going to invest in structural changes, not even much in the way of insulation at this point due to potentially moving out if find a new place.
    • Looking at some kind of hanging partition to limit the space to be warmed.
    • Already have a suitable circuit to serve the electric heater.
    • Will only heat workbench area as needed. My area is like a "galley kitchen", 2 six foot long benches parallel to each other, providing about 36" walk way between them.

    With 4 pages of valuable suggestions and experiences received by this highly experienced group, it really got me thinking about what I actually need to make more use of the work area in the depths of winter.

    Non vented gas or oil fueled heaters are out due to the humidity introduced by the units as well as some concern for combustion gases building up.

    Bottom line is, as it always seems to be, what is the situation and the true need.

    Thanks to all who commented and shared their experiences, many things mentioned I never thought of. I bet there are a lot of guys and gals out there who read and get value from all this shared wisdom. I guess this is why this is such a valuable forum.

    Thanks, maybe I can pay it forward somehow.

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  • RB211
    replied
    Only 10x10 space? A mini split would be good for the entire garage of course. Maybe you'll consider heating the entire garage? At least when you open the garage door the air is dry outside. Shouldn't be issues with Dew Point.

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  • Tundra Twin Track
    replied
    Originally posted by J Tiers View Post
    My father-in-law (Northern Ohio, near lake Erie) has a garage shop which is insulated, and is about 20' x 25'. It has an additional problem in that the garage has an upstairs pistol range, which is additional volume, but that area can be closed off.

    It takes at least two hours for just the shop space to warm up to a reasonable point, but even then there are still many cold machines and workbenches etc, which hold the temp down. And the floor is still cold. By the end of the day, the space is reasonably warm, but floor is still very cold.

    The shop has both a propane garage-type hanging heater, and a pellet stove. The propane heater simply cannot hack it. The pellet stove does OK, mostly because it pulls air to be heated from floor level, so the coldest air gets heated up. The hanging propane heater can only "mix" some warmed air with the floor air, which is not very effective.

    If both heaters are on at once, the space warms a bit faster, but not by that much, surprisingly.

    When I worked in a place that had 18' ceilings, I discovered the secret to warming up the space. All the hot air was up top. Floor level could be at 50 deg, at 5' up it was maybe 60 deg, but at 15' up, the temp was nearly 120 deg!

    So, what I did was grab a box fan, lay it down, and blow cold air up into that 120 deg air. That mixed the air enough that it became very reasonable in there. That can work with a smaller shop space also. All your hot air is likely to be above you, so mix it up!
    Originally posted by BCRider View Post
    JTier's point about the heat rising into the upper area is spot on. Even my slightly high 9.5 ft ceiling caused this to occur. I was running the heater for a longer day in the shop and it was nicely sweat shirt comfy at my level on the floor. I got out the step stool to get something off the upper shelf and it was like a sauna up by the ceiling. Adding a blow down fan stuck onto the garage door opener frame fixed that nicely. Two other folks here installed ceiling fans in their new shops based on my experience and both have confirmed that even with forced air if they forget to turn on the ceiling fan that there's a massive rise of heat up into the upper part of the space. They are now confirmed ceiling fan fans!

    For those of you that watch his YT channel Alex Steele ran into the same thing with his new Montana workshop.

    It's also a good point about how long it takes and how hard the heater has to work to warm up not only the air but the machines and other metal things. So if I know I'll be in the shop the next day as well I sometimes just turn it down fairly low and leave the ceiling fan on. Then in the morning I turn it up to the sweat shirt comfy setting and go make breaky. Then it's sweat shirt, bunny slippers and cuppa type temp after breaky and dishes are done.

    But if it's a single day only then I shut it down. It's still a garage with a very leaky roll up door after all.
    Tiers & BC: After reading your posts I thought I would do test in Shop today as I was setting up New Shelving up on my Mezzinine for storing spare parts and other treasures(junk that maybe should be discarded).The Shop floor heat is set at 51F and I turned Forced Air Furnace on set at 61F,5 hrs later the thermometer I placed 4’ above floor read 60F.I then put thermometer up on Mezzanine 15’ above floor and read 66F,ceiling is 18’,never thought there was much difference but their is a little bit.I do have some ceiling fans still in there box’s that I should get installed,Shop is 10 yrs old now so maybe get them up this winter lol!

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  • oxford
    replied
    Originally posted by J Tiers View Post
    My father-in-law (Northern Ohio, near lake Erie) has a garage shop which is insulated, and is about 20' x 25'. It has an additional problem in that the garage has an upstairs pistol range, which is additional volume, but that area can be closed off.

    It takes at least two hours for just the shop space to warm up to a reasonable point, but even then there are still many cold machines and workbenches etc, which hold the temp down. And the floor is still cold. By the end of the day, the space is reasonably warm, but floor is still very cold.

    The shop has both a propane garage-type hanging heater, and a pellet stove. The propane heater simply cannot hack it. The pellet stove does OK, mostly because it pulls air to be heated from floor level, so the coldest air gets heated up. The hanging propane heater can only "mix" some warmed air with the floor air, which is not very effective.

    If both heaters are on at once, the space warms a bit faster, but not by that much, surprisingly.

    When I worked in a place that had 18' ceilings, I discovered the secret to warming up the space. All the hot air was up top. Floor level could be at 50 deg, at 5' up it was maybe 60 deg, but at 15' up, the temp was nearly 120 deg!

    So, what I did was grab a box fan, lay it down, and blow cold air up into that 120 deg air. That mixed the air enough that it became very reasonable in there. That can work with a smaller shop space also. All your hot air is likely to be above you, so mix it up!
    I am going to guess that the heat is only turned on when it’s needed? This is a problem when you have a lot of mass that can get cold soaked.

    The mass is a lot easier to keep warm though once it’s up temp. This is why I keep the electric heater on low for most of the winter.

    Radiant heat vs forced hot air can also make a big difference on what the heat “feels” like.

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  • metalfixer
    replied
    I also live in a cold area, S.E,MI. I installed (2) 5000 watt, 220 volt 15 amp.
    heaters. One is stationary, the other is mounted on a rotating arm.
    Another good feature is that they can be used without heat as a fan in
    the summer. Helps to get rid of the Tap-Magic fumes on the mill.
    Larry
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  • BCRider
    replied
    For about $60 you could buy three bundles of 4 inch wall fiberglass to do the two outside walls just for your 10x10 and staple some plastic to the trusses and lay more of the same over the ceiling. Then wall it off with some drop sheet on the inside and run a plug in heater with fan in the area to take off the chill. I doubt it would do more than get the area just a little above freezing but that and some good mats on the floor and I bet it would easily double your tolerance for being out there in the cold.

    When the air outside is around or below freezing there won't be a condensation problem as long as you don't use a heater that uses fuel and vents the byproducts into the area. In fact heating up air that is below freezing makes it super dry. Living where you do I'd be surprised if you don't have a humidifier on your furnace to put some moisture back into the house. Nothing like dry cracking sinuses due to winter heating in zones that get way below freezing. So as long as you don't create a problem by using a fuel style non vented heater you would be fine with the cycling.

    For the plastic drop walls along with glassing the outside walls and ceiling of your little cube if you can score some old blankets or quilts that no one wants and hang those up along with the plastic I would not be surprised if it were to get fairly comfy in your little cube after an hour or two. Even discarded carpet as your drop walls would work too. Or big sheets of corrugated cardboard.

    .... is it nasty of me that I'm suddenly getting this mental image of a homeless machinist in his cardboard and pallet shop out in some industrial alley?

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