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  • Heating my Garage Shop

    I'm in Michigan and cold weather is fast approaching. I need to heat my free standing 2.5 car garage. I have been insulating it and now need to get to the nitty-gritty task of providing some heat. I had bought a wood burning stove last winter but have changed my mind about it for a few reasons (stove pipe costs, fire hazard, constantly feeding wood) so now I'm thinking about running a 70' gas line from my house and getting a gas heater. However, this can be expensive and I'll need a professionals help. I have heard electric heaters are very expensive to run so I wasn't sure about that, then someone mentioned they have new ultra-efficient electric heaters that make this viable?

    Does anyone have any suggestions on a good way to do this, or do you think I'm heading down the right path running a gas line? I have grinders with coolant tanks and machines I would like to keep warm. Another question is will the machines be OK if they did drop below freezing or would this cause damage to them.

    Thanks for any input, I just want to make sure I'm not missing something.

    NOTE: I'm reposting this in "General"... I think it fits their better. Thanks!
    Last edited by Carbide Dies; 09-29-2011, 10:33 AM.
    Carbide Dies

  • #2
    Heating a Garage Shop

    I'm in Michigan and cold weather is fast approaching. I need to heat my free standing 2.5 car garage. I have been insulating it and now need to get to the nitty-gritty task of providing some heat. I had bought a wood burning stove last winter but have changed my mind about it for a few reasons (stove pipe costs, fire hazard, constantly feeding wood) so now I'm thinking about running a 70' gas line from my house and getting a gas heater. However, this can be expensive and I'll need a professionals help. I have heard electric heaters are very expensive to run so I wasn't sure about that, then someone mentioned they have new ultra-efficient electric heaters that make this viable?

    Does anyone have any suggestions on a good way to do this, or do you think I'm heading down the right path running a gas line? I have grinders with coolant tanks and machines I would like to keep warm. Another question is will the machines be OK if they did drop below freezing or would this cause damage to them.

    Thanks for any input, I just want to make sure I'm not missing something.
    Carbide Dies

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    • #3
      I have a 24'x30' shop I heat with wood. I have plywood on the walls and ceiling. I insulation in the walls and ceiling too. The 2 metal garage doors use to have NO insulating and I could not keep the shop warm at all. I bought 2" thick styrofoam board at Lowe's cut to fit all the door sections and put 2" styrofoam board over the windows. I covered the top half of one window with sheet metal with a round hole for the stove pipe. Stove pipe is cheap only about $3 for a 4ft section of galvanized stove pipe. This is actually the same stuff they use for AC duct work. I have one 4 ft section come up out of the stove, elbow and 2 more sections to the window and 2 more sections out the window. I put the stove pipe sections end to end with 4 screws. I have a small box stove from TSC. I start a fire and in 20 minutes the temperature is getting pretty warm. Once it gets warm I only need to throw in about 4 pieces of wood every 1 hour at first once everything in the room has warmed up too then wood every 2 hours is all I need to keep it warm. I can get the temperature up to 90 if I want but I keep it about 65 degrees F that way I can stay busy and not get hot. I check Craigslist during the summer and after storms for free firewood. I have about 5 ricks of wood already cut it was all free. Free wood is a lot cheaper than paying for gas or electic heat. I only burn 1 rick of wood every winter so I don't need anymore wood for about 4 years.
      Last edited by gary350; 09-29-2011, 10:50 AM.

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      • #4
        I can't help much with your choice of heat, but I have a rather large garage that is too big (read expensive) to heat. I use spot heating for when I'm inside, a kerosene bullet heater. I also have partitioned off a smaller section that gets electric heat all the time for things that could freeze. My tools have not had an issue with this, but I don't heat the area for very long periods ( I rat around in the evenings some and all day on weekends). And if it's too cold and it isn't an emergency, I just stay in the house. Winters can suck with such a large building.

        Unless you will keep the space heated continually, you may want to watch out for condensation. The spot heater is trained directly to the tools I'm using and so they warm past condensation level rather quickly. If I were going to heat a smaller space continually, I would look at a small heat pump with a couple of strip heaters for the butt-ass cold days. Then you get the bonus of AC in the summer!

        Mark

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        • #5
          Originally posted by garagemark
          If I were going to heat a smaller space continually, I would look at a small heat pump with a couple of strip heaters for the butt-ass cold days. Then you get the bonus of AC in the summer!

          Mark
          Thanks for responding! I don't mean to sound dumb, but here goes... what do you mean by heat pump?
          Carbide Dies

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          • #6
            In the context of heating your garage there is no such thing as an ultra-efficient heater.

            If an electric heater consumes 1 kW-hour then that amount of energy goes into heating your garage. An ultra-efficient heater cannot turn that 1 kW-hour of energy into 1.1 kW-hour. Equally a low efficiency heater cannot turn that 1 kW-hour of energy into 0.9 kw-hour.

            If you burn wood or gas you have to vent the combustion products outside, along with a significant portion of the heat unless you buy a sophisticated system.

            My garage has the luxury of electric underfloor heating.

            Phil

            Originally posted by Carbide Dies
            then someone mentioned they have new ultra-efficient electric heaters that make this viable?

            Comment


            • #7
              My 32x32x10 shop is very well insulated and I use a Hot Dawg heater on propane.I can typically get two heating seasons on 400 gallons.This year I am going to try a pellet stove for weekend to raise the temp on all the cast iron and see if I can stretch my propane.
              If I had it to do over again I would put PEX tubing under the concrete and use a domestic water heater for radiant heat.

              Comment


              • #8
                I'd go with a gas furnace even if your not going be in the shop 8 hours a day, turn the thermostat down at night to about 58-60 and kick it up during shop time.

                Call some of the local hvac shops and see if they have any later model take outs that they kept when doing an upgrade/change out, these can be had for cheap(usually less than $100) and they may install it for a reasonable amount also,that is what I did in my previous shop before I moved.

                When I built my new 34x78 playhouse I went with a 96% Lennox heat & air and use about 400 gal. of propane annually with the thermostat set on 68 degrees 24/7.

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                • #9
                  I have two winter problems in my workshop.

                  Condensation. I've had water actually dripping of machines and the floor properly wet. I deal with that using a de-humidifier. I bought a small one from the local DIY store (B&Q) which has the provision for a continuous drain.

                  Comfort. Actually being able to get stuff done. At the moment I'm use a monster fan heater I built. It's a 19" rack case with four 120mm fans and three ceramic cores removed from cheap B&Q heaters. Originally rated at 1200 Watt, each core is actually pumping out more like 1800 Watt thanks to the increased airflow. I've only got two cores connected up as it's running from a 13 Amp fused UK plug.

                  Infra red heating would be better because it would make me feel warm fast, without having to raise the air temperature.

                  A heat pump moves heat from one location to another. A domestic fridge or freezer is a heat pump, it moves heat out of the food and air inside and dumps it out the back. You can use one to move heat from the soil, water, or air around your property to the interior. The Watt/hour value of the heat moved can be several times the Watt/hour of electricty consumed, so in comparison to a simple electric heater you can be getting 300% more heat for your money.
                  Paul Compton
                  www.morini-mania.co.uk
                  http://www.youtube.com/user/EVguru

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    This works,an can be made easily.This is one design. "lots of clips"
                    http://youtu.be/Jzxw1j-dzY4
                    Last edited by P.A.R.; 09-29-2011, 12:46 PM.
                    I never trust a fighting man who doesn't smoke or drink.
                    William Halsey

                    As a Machinist & Gunsmith I like to hear how to not can't do. P.A.R.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Garage Heater

                      Carbide,
                      I can only share my experience over many years. Started out with a old fashion kerosene heater that looked very much like a small fire place that someone had given me. Back then the fuel wasn't too expensive, but it was a pain to refill all the time, took up too much floor space, and like you mentioned I was worried about the fire hazard, especially if not attended.

                      I finally decided on a natural gas fired unit heater that hangs from the ceiling. I was able to get a good used unit. After much discussion with folks that know, I also decided to use a roll of plastic pipe to get the gas from the house to the garage. In my case it was about 75'.

                      Must say that it was the best thing I ever did, almost instant heat and temperature control, and can leave the unit unattended.

                      It has been installed many years without any problems. I have noticed recently while I was at Menards that they carry very compact gas unit heaters that are designed for a garage application.

                      Good luck with your project, the cold weather is on it's way.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have an outdoor wood stove and love it ..The machine shop has a radiator the size of a box of cereal. The garage has a radiator that sits under my work bench and heats a 24x 42 area. I put up a partition wall in the middle and separate where the cars are kept in the winter.I sit out there in the winter with shorts on while I watch tv shows that I want and slurp on beers.

                        This was the best thing I have done for heat. The fire is always going while it heats house anyway so no more starting fires everytime I want to go out.Now it is turn up thermostat and go at it.

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                        • #13
                          My shop is 36 x 40 with 10' sidewalls, fully insulated. I picked up a 125K BTU counterflow gas furnace at a yard sale and have been very happy with it. Gets the shop up to temp in 10-15 minutes. I was advised by other shop owners to get an oversized heater so that the area can be heated up quickly. I turn off the heat at night. It is an older heater with a pilot flame and I believe that may help keep condensation down. I've never had any rust problems, but we live in a dry climate. I had to run about 60' of 3/4" pipe, about half of it underground and used the coated pipe for the underground run. This has been a trouble free and low cost solution for me.
                          Jim

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                          • #14
                            BigMike782...you are going to love the pellet stove...I heat the house (sf ?) and another pellet stove in the shop (4000sf !!! ) ....works nice
                            www.neufellmachining.com

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                            • #15
                              Whether electric is more expensive or not depends on the cost of electricity, cost of fuels, efficiency of appliances, etc.


                              http://www.eia.doe.gov/neic/experts/heatcalc.xls

                              I have an extremely well insulated and sealed shop that gets heated with two 1500 watt baseboard heaters for about $60 per winter. Helps that my winters aren't too bad.

                              Anything that burns in the shop without venting will add water to the air. Once I used a kerosene heater and about a week later noticed a thin film of rust on everything. Sold it soon after.

                              Steve
                              Last edited by SteveF; 09-29-2011, 02:46 PM.

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