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Any Reccomendations on Garage Heaters?

Discussion in 'Technical Q&A' started by HOF Ferrari, Dec 25, 2007.

  1. HOF Ferrari

    HOF Ferrari Formula 3
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    Nov 22, 2007
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    I have a garage that currently is not heated,...I plan on doing that ( installing one) in the next 6 months...but in the meantime, are there any garage heaters that are safe ( electrical, I guess)...for the garage and for the cars in the garage. The garage is 20'x 24'....and it can get pretty cold here in Ohio in the winter..
     
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  3. 348SStb

    348SStb F1 Rookie
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    If electricity is not too expensive for you, I would recommend electric baseboard. It's easy to install and very reliable; and it'll keep the place as hot or as cool as you want. Get a digital thermostat. Don't settle for a mechanical thermostat.

    If you prefer to use oil, then I would say oil/hot water operated baseboard. Again, use a digital thermostat.

    Baseboard is the best in my opinion. It's the quickest to heat the place and the most efficient.
     
  4. KKRace

    KKRace Formula 3

    Aug 6, 2007
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    I just put a 75K propane fired unit heater in my 26 by 42ft. Leave it set at 45 most of the time and turn it up to 65 when I go out to work. Heats up the garage in about 10 minutes. Reznor UDAP 75. The one I got is a low profile and only hangs down 16 inches from the ceiling. This is basically what most of the shops use. Safe and great if you want to heat things up fast. The baseboard heaters or even heat pumps work well if you keep it at a constant temp but not as good as the unit heater when you want to raise the temp quick. Mine cost around $700. For a smaller garage you could get away with a 45K BTU unit. They come set up for natrual gas but you can change over to Propane or for a bit more get an oil fired unit heater. Let me know if you want more info.
     
  5. KKRace

    KKRace Formula 3

    Aug 6, 2007
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    Sorry, Just read the original post and saw you were looking for something temp until you install permanent heat. Depending on insulation the safest would be those oil filled portable electric or maybe a mister heater to hang on the wall. I used a propane bullet heater but was always nervous and would only run it if I was standing in the garage
     
  6. FasterIsBetter

    FasterIsBetter F1 Veteran

    Jul 22, 2004
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    I have a natural gas fired industrial heater in the garage. It works great. I do not keep it running unless I'm planning on working in the garage. Also, I turn off the pilot light when I don't plan on using it for a while, like from spring to fall.

    The major concern with a unit like that, however, is having a flame in an area where there is a potential build-up of gas or other chemical fumes. I'm very careful about gasoline or flammable liquids in there when the pilot light is on or when the heater is operating (which is a good idea in a garage anyway, as there are lots of other things that can cause a fire or explosion). And don't assume that electric baseboard is any safer. If it has a built-in thermostat, unless it is rated as explosion-proof, it can cause a spark that can ignite built up vapors. Use any kind of heating device in a garage very carefully, and be safe.

    Also, if your garage is like mine, and is attached to the house with no living space above it, chances are there is no insulation in the ceiling and probably none in the walls. And garage doors are notoriously uninsulated and are lousy at making a good seal. If you plan on heating the garage all winter, not just for those few hours you are doing a project on the weekend, consider at least putting 6" of insulation in the attic above the garage and sealing the garage doors as well as you possibly can to cut down on drafts.
     
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  8. Meister

    Meister F1 Veteran
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    In a day or 2 you could or could have one of those ceiling mounted vented propane heaters up and running. You can find them at Home Depot. Thermostatically controlled, vented, fairly quiet... Pop one in get a 250 gallon propane tank delivered, hook up and youare pretty much set. I use one in a workshop that's roughly 20'x24', it came with the garage, so I don't know the BTU rating but it does a good job.

    Most if not all or your portable gas/oil options wont be vented and if you are wroking in there you wont be a ble to stant it for long pewriods of time. Also non-vented units like the hang on the wall garage heaters, salamanders, etc create humidity/condensation.

    I did see some quartz radiant units at SAm's the other day but didn't check them out. They basically look like a flourecent shop light, but the light is replaced with a quartz element. You plug them into a 110 outlet, mount it on the wall and your are off. Those would be pretty quick, but don't know how many you'd need to keep it around 50.

    Good luck.
     
  9. Verell

    Verell F1 Veteran
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    May 5, 2001
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    I've been using a pair of dual burner 24,000 BTU infrared propane heaters similar to these for several years:

    http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_6970_200332705_200332705

    Both running can bring my 2 car garage from 35F to 60F in 2-3 hours. Then it just takes 1 burner on reduced power to keep it comfortable, even in 15F weather. This type of heater is 100% efficient as all fuel is burned & turned into heat. The garage has a high ceiling, & I installed a ceiling fan to bring the warm air down.

    Humidity/condensation & fumes have not been a problem possibly because in spite of my best attempts to seal them, the garage doors do have some leakage. If the heater has been running for half a day or so, or overnight, I open a garage door for a few minuites for a near complete air exchange.

    One nice thing about the infrared/radient type heaters is that they work by heating objects, not by heating the air. So as soon as I've got one fired up, I can start working on something & it'll keep me comfortable even tho the garage temp is still quite low.

    The direct vent propane/natural gas garage heaters like this:

    http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_6970_200307961_200307961

    are handy, & pretty easy to install, but run around 80% efficient which means that 20% of the energy goes out the vent!!!

    I've been planning on installing one of the super-efficient energy star rated direct vent hot air furnaces that they sell for condos/apartments or mobile homes, but just haven't made it a priority.
     
  10. 308 milano

    308 milano F1 Rookie
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    I just installed an electric heater in my 28 x 30 garage here in Montana, I'm a building contractor and we have installed about 4 of these in garages around here, there called "the hot one" by cadet, home depot can order them for you, they are 220v and come in either 4 or 5000watt, I put the 5000 watt in my garage and it works great. You can mount them on the wall or free stand on the floor, is thermostat controlled and run about $275.00. Their red (almost the color of my 308) so they look great next to the ferrari flag on the wall!
     
  11. F&M racing

    F&M racing Formula Junior

    Feb 26, 2006
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    Mister Heater, a Radiant heat unit is OK when your out in the garage, I don't trust them to run automatically by themselves. I have one and I only run it when I'm working, I don't even like the idea of the pilot running because one little leak and BOOOOOOM! Cars do spring leaks just sitting in the Garage, I had one car years ago that sprung a fuel leak and if I had the radiant heater at that time running I would have lost the house.
     
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  13. Dr C

    Dr C Formula Junior

    Dec 1, 2002
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    I put a "Sun Twin" electric heater in my garage which keeps it about 55 degrees F all winter. First, of course, I added storm windows and put a bunch of insulation in the attic as well as improved the weather stripping on the doors. I like this heater because it has no exposed sparks and no flame. The thermostat is sealed so it can be used around fumes. I've had it for more than 5 years and am quite happy with it.
     
  14. Mike C

    Mike C F1 Veteran
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    Aug 3, 2002
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    I've used one of those for years. It doesn't make the garage WARM during the winter, but it DEFINITELY does a good job of taking the edge off and keeping it tolerable for human and car.
     
  15. HOF Ferrari

    HOF Ferrari Formula 3
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    Thanks to all...that is a big help...
     
  16. Gerry328

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  17. Artvonne

    Artvonne F1 Veteran

    Oct 29, 2004
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    There is some good advice here, but there are different things to consider, some based on your geographical area.

    The main reason service shops use cieling mounted gas fired furnaces are two fold. Propane and Nat. gas are cheaper than electricity, and gasoline vapors are heavier than air. Thats primarily why you dont want to use a residential furnace in a garage. Lots of people do, as well as wood stoves, sunburst heaters, etc., but I'm sure we have all heard of garages that blew up.

    Regarding resistance electric heating, up here in Minnesota the electric bill would kill you. Ive seen electric bills from a few people that exceeded several thousand dollars for a season of heating a small garage. A lot depends on how warm you want it, how often you heat it, how cold it is, as well as the rate for electric, but its still bad. I suppose in southern climates it would be more easy to cope with.

    I used to heat the garage at my old place with a Kerosene torpedo heater, but only when I needed to work out there. The biggest problem was condensation. Everything in the garage would sweat, and it got worse the colder it was when I decided to heat it. But anything below 10 above F was nasty. I would open up a drawer in my tool box and all my wrenches would be soaking wet. And with the rising cost of Kerosene, and the fumes and all, I gave that up when I moved here.

    My small 30K BTU input propane hanging cieling furnace is fantastic at heating my 25 X 30 garage. I wont EVER use anything else in a garage ever again. I heat the garage all season, keeping it a constant 62 F all winter long. This fall I had Natural Gas brought in and converted the furnace. I doubt it will cost more than $200 to heat the garage all winter now.

    So, IMHO, I would bite the bullet and buy the right tool for the job. My 30K BTU unit would be marginal in an uninsulated garage. You could temporaily, to get youthrough the winter, cover the cieling with vapor barrier material to keep the heat from rising into the attic, and greatly improve the efficiency. If I bought another one I would have up it to around 50K BTU for a garage this size, just to have better reserve. And 50K BTU would heat an uninsulated garage "okay" on all but the coldest days, especially with the cieling closed in.
     
  18. BillyD

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    Don't mean to hijack thread......
    With constant 30-40 degree days & nights here preventing me from working on the cars I too am looking at a garage heater. Seems like a propane ceiling mount is the wisest (cheapest) permanent solution for heating the garage/shop up rapidly for short periods of time. I don't think I could justify the cost to maintain the garage temp above 50-55. Living in the Northwest with my less that .05 cent per kilowatt electricity it seems like it would almost be cost effective to do so with a small heat pump. I calculate if the heatpump ran 24/7 it would cost me $90 a month, figuring it would run 25-30% of the time $30 seems reasonable to have a not butt cold space to park the toys & work in. Now, I work for the government and as normal my calcutions could be off by 1000% or more. Anyone experienced running a heatpump for their garage?
    Thanks
    Bill
     
  19. Steve King

    Steve King F1 Rookie

    Feb 15, 2001
    4,366
    NY
    A few years back I got my hands on a trailer furnace. It is 2'x2'x4' high with a bottom discharge. Simple hot air unit that runs on kerosene. I mounted it on a steel dolly and have a piece of 4" stove pipe running out my garage. It's a simple 110V unit that if I need to move it I can push it around the garage. Takes about 10-15 minutes to heat up my 25'x25'x12' garage up from 30* to 50*. Nice little unite and pretty safe. I use maybe 20 gals of #1 kerosene during the winter season. I'll work out in the garage maybe 3-4 days a week on avg. Nice unit.
     
  20. fletch62

    fletch62 Formula Junior

    Mar 8, 2004
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    I have about 1000 sqft garage, and use a Friedrick AC/Heat pump. It is a ductless mini split unit. It cost around $1800 and probably $35 per mo. to run. I am near the gulf coast in Alabama and keep the garage 74 to 76 deg year round. The ceiling is insulated but not the walls. You need to check if a heat pump will work, I understand they don't work in very cold climates.

    Larry
     
  21. Artvonne

    Artvonne F1 Veteran

    Oct 29, 2004
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    Up in my neck of the woods a heat pump runs out of oomph at about 20 F. Colder than that and they just dont work. If I were going to stay in this house, I would vent the exhaust from the air to air heat exchanger into the garage instead of dumping it outside, to further improve efficiency by taking load off the garage furnace. Extra insulation wouldnt hurt either.
     
  22. UConn Husky

    UConn Husky F1 Rookie

    Nov 11, 2006
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    I've been taking the wife's Outback out for spirited drives to get it nice and warm, pull it in and close the door quick. :D Also I heat our house with a pellet stove which is in the room adjacent to the garage, so I crank that and open the door to the garage. This has made working in there ok this week, around 50-55F.
     
  23. mgtr1990

    mgtr1990 Formula 3

    Mar 30, 2005
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    +1 I even tried a couple of them when I was in Chicago but it is as you say it takes the edge off I eventually insulated the garage walls and put a seal under the door it was great till you opened it to get the other car out and then all was lost.
     
  24. KKRace

    KKRace Formula 3

    Aug 6, 2007
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    This is generally referred to as a "Unit Heater". Almost the same as I put in. Reznor is one of the most popular and you can get parts and service anywhere. Others have mentioned heatpumps. Heatpumps are great if you keep the heat on all the time but if you want to keep the heat low most of the time and just crank it on a little while before you go out to work they are not good at raising the temp fast. Most likely go into emergency heat mode and cost a fortune in elec. Unit heater is nice since it takes no floor space and is mounted high. Most of the explosive fumes etc sit low. One reason you see them in most automotive shops etc.
     
  25. Dr.T348

    Dr.T348 Formula 3

    Jan 8, 2004
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    Same here. I'm in Chicago. Only 2 car garage, but insulated walls, ceiling, and door. With protable electric oil filled heater, garage will stay around 50 degrees until you open the door.
     
  26. Verell

    Verell F1 Veteran
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    May 5, 2001
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    BillyD,
    Those are just about optimal operating conditions for a heat pump. Heat pumps are most efficient with a 30 F or less temp differential between the air at the evaporator(inside) & condensor(outside) coils. Also, that's a VERY attractive electricity cost!!!

    Heat pumps become increasing inefficient as the inside - outside heat difference increases above 40F. At a 50F temp. differential they just about break even, ie: heat delivered is about equal to electricity running the pump.

    I have a Mitsubishi Mr Slim ductless mini split air-air heat pump system that I use to both air condition & heat 3 upstairs rooms to 68F. It's great until the outside temp goes down around freezing. ie: at 32F, the temp differential is 36F which is getting pretty far down the efficiency curve.

    I'd estimate that a 18,000 BTU heating capacity unit $800 - $900 + installation would easily handle a 2 car garage as you propose, and possibly a 10,000 or 12,000 ($500 - $600) + installation would be adequate.

    Heat pump sizing is important. Too small a unit & it'll run all the time & won't handle the load. Too large a unit & it'll be inefficient, coming on maybe 10% or less of the time. I'd talk to a professional HVAC shop in the area. This time of year should be pretty quiet for most shops. They're past the rush of getting heat turned on for the winter, & it's a long time before getting A/C systems up for late spring.
     
  27. KKRace

    KKRace Formula 3

    Aug 6, 2007
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    The heat pump is probably the most efficent if you are going to keep the same temp all the time. I wanted to keep the garage at around 50F when I'm not out there and be able to crank the thermostat to 65 or 70 and have it warm up in 10 minutes or so. Heat pumps are not good for that. Heat pump may be safer too but on the other hand my 75,000 BTU Reznor UDAP unit heater w/propane kit was $700 delivered. All I needed to do was get some "B vent" and run 1/2 inch copper to the tank behind the garage. The other problem you need to address with a heat pump is getting electric to the heat pump. You may have to do a Heavy up depending on how much you have available to the garage. Propane company usually will lend you and install the tank for free if you commit to buy propane from them.
     
  28. racerboy9

    racerboy9 Formula 3
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    I put a Reznor in my 1300 SF garage and have been happy ever since. Quick to heat up the place with my insulated block walls it doesn't have to come on all that often.
     

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