Installing a garage heater - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 12-28-2012, 11:27 AM Thread Starter
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Installing a garage heater

So I'm installing an 80K BTU Mr. Heater Big Maxx heater in my garage. For any pros out there I have a few questions.

It'll be natural gas, the line is run and connected by a contractor. I'm doing the electrical. I'm going to hardwire it to its own circuit breaker in the panel in my garage. Do I need one of those fancy, $50+ dollar circuit breakers for this application in the garage? If yes, could I alternatively wire a 15 amp circuit to a GCFI outlet and then wire a plug to the machine?

Secondly, I'm going to roof vent the exhaust (have no choice, my eaves are like 2' wide). Any advice on this process? I watched this video. Does this seem about right? Seems easy enough. http://www.ronhazelton.com/projects/...r_for_a_garage

The B Vent goes through the roof and I can use single wall and a thimble through my garage ceiling right? Do I need to box in around the vertical pipe at the rafter? Clear all the insulation away from the pipe? Any advice on vertical venting is greatly appreciated.

Lastly, should I just swallow the pill and hire someone to do it?

Thanks,

Adam
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post #2 of 25 Old 12-28-2012, 12:09 PM
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Not a pro, so take this for what it's worth...I wouldn't bother putting GFCI on that if it's on a dedicated circuit, but then I don't live in a jurisdiction that requires inspection. But I've put in 2 and didn't bother with that. As for the venting, B vent isn't all that expensive, I would run it all the way. That way everything locks together very nicely. I didn't box in around the roof either. The vent sticks above the roof line by maybe 3', and is held up by the ceiling support, and laterally by the roof flashing piece. This isn't a tough job, the hardest part is getting the heater to the ceiling. I used a platform lift to get mine up up to the hangers. It wasn't early tall enough, so I put a steel drum on it, and sat the heater on the drum.

"I long for the days when coke was a cola and a joint was a bad place to be" (Merle Haggard)
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post #3 of 25 Old 12-28-2012, 12:41 PM Thread Starter
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I bought the vent kit for this heater and I think I'm going to return it. It was $100 for the kit and all it has is a 3' section of B, two 2' sections of single wall, a thimble, a roof flashing, a storm collar, a termination cap and a adjustable elbow. The instructions sucked too. I think it'll go back and I'll just buy B for the whole thing and the right lenght. This B is the exhaust and fresh air intake too, right? That's what I understood.
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post #4 of 25 Old 12-28-2012, 12:49 PM
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Mine uses a separate piece of single wall for the intake. I suppose you could use B vent for the intake, but that might be easier to do with single wall. I tried to find an online manual for that model and could not, so I'm not sure how it hooks up. I do agree with returning that kit, you can almost certainly get the parts for less at the box store,

"I long for the days when coke was a cola and a joint was a bad place to be" (Merle Haggard)
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post #5 of 25 Old 12-28-2012, 01:24 PM
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Adam please document your install for the rest of us. I have been waffling on buying one of these for a couple of years now. I currently use a 5000 watt (17K btu) electric which does a nice job but sure makes the electric meter spin! I think the smaller version of your Big Maxx would work well for my garage. Hiring someone to install it is not an option for me so I would be really interested in following your adventure.
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post #6 of 25 Old 12-28-2012, 10:45 PM
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John,
as long as you have gas available, check out one of these:
http://www.alpinehomeair.com/viewpro...ctID=453058942

Williams direct vent 62,000btu furnace. Sealed combustion chamber, very quiet, no problems, easy install. They vent right through the outside wall. I have three of them in my garages and workshop areas. I just put them in two of my buddies garages recently. My oldest one is 20 years old and still works fine. It's really the only safe furnace for a garage or shop. No open flame exposed to the inside air of the shop.
Mike Hawkins
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post #7 of 25 Old 12-29-2012, 08:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firehawkmph View Post
It's really the only safe furnace for a garage or shop. No open flame exposed to the inside air of the shop.
Mike Hawkins
Mike,
I agree with exposed flame part, but these heaters also have isolated combustion chambers. This is what I have and it draws combustion air in from the outside. All the working parts are actually sealed from the inside air. When I bought mine 3 years ago it was the only ceiling hung unit I could find like that...I'm told that other ceiling units are now made the same way.

"I long for the days when coke was a cola and a joint was a bad place to be" (Merle Haggard)
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post #8 of 25 Old 12-29-2012, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
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Update. It's hung, it's plumbed for gas, it's wired. I've got the initial hole in the ceiling cut, the thimble is in, and today I will venture on the roof and cut the hole and install the flashing. Wish me luck, if you never hear from me I fell off and am dead.

The vert. vent is a very short run since it's close to the edge. I returned the vent kit and bought all B-vent for the vent. I'm going to give it about 2.5' height. Should be ok. I'll take pics when done.
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post #9 of 25 Old 12-29-2012, 01:24 PM
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Sounds like it went very well...here's hoping the roof climbing ends well!

"I long for the days when coke was a cola and a joint was a bad place to be" (Merle Haggard)
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post #10 of 25 Old 12-29-2012, 02:47 PM
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Mike thanks for the tip on the Williams furnace. I've looked at these types before and have considered them. Unfortunately in my situation I honestly don't have any unobstructed wall space for one. I need something that hangs from the ceiling and even then there are only a couple of places that I can mount one. I guess it's a case of too much stuff in too little workspace. I need a bigger garage!
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post #11 of 25 Old 12-29-2012, 06:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Hargis View Post
Mike,
I agree with exposed flame part, but these heaters also have isolated combustion chambers. This is what I have and it draws combustion air in from the outside. All the working parts are actually sealed from the inside air. When I bought mine 3 years ago it was the only ceiling hung unit I could find like that...I'm told that other ceiling units are now made the same way.
Fred,
thanks for the link. First hanging unit I've seen that would be safe.
Mike Hawkins
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post #12 of 25 Old 12-29-2012, 09:58 PM Thread Starter
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I LIVE!! For now. Till the house burns down....knock on wood.

Well the SOB is all done. It works well so far as I can tell. The first run stunk to high heaven as it burned off the factory smell and created a little haze. The book said it would do that but it doesn't do wonders to an amateurs confidence level that's for sure. I ran it for about 20 minutes with a CO2 detector in the garage with it. No issues. I checked the B pipe and it was hot to the touch. Not warm, hot, but I suppose that's to be expected all things considered. I checked the thimble in the ceiling on bottom and crawled up to the top side of the thimble and checked it too. Cool to the touch. The stack appeared to be venting from the outside normally with a steady stream of white smoke. I then shut it down and opened up the garage and cleared out the stink and haze and let it sit. I returned after supper and fired it up for about 1 1/2 hours while I cleaned up my mess. It kicked on three times in that period and warmed the 3 stall garage to 50 in a very short time each run before shutting down. No vibration and very quiet in my opinion. No haze and no stink this time. No CO2 alarm either.

So....all apears normal. I am going to get it inspected though and hopefully they'll say all is well. If not then UH OH, hope the fix isn't more then the original job LOL.

I do plan to, out of paranoia, shut off the gas line at the unit and turn off the breaker after each work period. Just an added precaution that is really no work at all. Why not right? I'll post some pics when my wife gets back with the IPAD so I have a camera. I think all in all I have about 650 in the heater and vent materials etc and I paid the plumber 150 for the gas line hookup. Now I can work year round though so I think it's a good investment.
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post #13 of 25 Old 12-29-2012, 10:51 PM
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Way To Go !!! Now can scoff at those South Dakota Winters!
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post #14 of 25 Old 01-03-2013, 11:03 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, a few pics. The furnace is in, the plumber set the gas pressure and it's past the plumbing inspection. Mechanical inspector is coming today. Venting was easy but also a PITA. I'm so messy with caulk. The red devil high temp caulk is RED!!! Come spring I'll go back up and prime and paint it with some high temp Krylon to spruce it up a bit and cover the ugly red. The thermostat works good and I think the angle it's set at works well. Doesn't roast me out at my bench but circulates the air well. Been out a few times and didn't need a coat. It warms up from 35 to 55 in about 15 minutes. Not too bad in my book. Overall investment was more than I'd like but it'll get it's use for sure.
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post #15 of 25 Old 01-03-2013, 11:04 AM Thread Starter
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Here's the guts behind it. All the pipe is B-Vent. 14 gauge wire, I decided to wire a plug on the machine itself so I could be more versatile with my outlet location. Tried to avoid the vent pipe and gas pipe.
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post #16 of 25 Old 01-03-2013, 11:06 AM Thread Starter
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Pipe out the roof. You can see the ugly red. I probably went overboard with it. Oh well. I'll paint over it in spring.
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post #17 of 25 Old 01-03-2013, 11:08 AM Thread Starter
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Last thing is the thermostat by the door. Reach out, set temp, wait 15 and it's ready to serve. This was the easiest part. I didn't wire it so I had fan control too, only for heat/fan combo. Still would have been simple. It's just a 24V appliance and I used 18 ga wire.
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post #18 of 25 Old 01-03-2013, 04:03 PM
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Wow, that looks GREAT. I've been toying with the idea of doing this as well. Built a new house last summer but didn't have them run the wiring or anything for me...kicking myself.

P.S. Where abouts do you live in Sioux Falls? I grew up there on the East side of town by Harvey Dunn Elementary.
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post #19 of 25 Old 01-03-2013, 04:36 PM
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Looks great Adam. Glad you got it taken care of.
Putting one of those in my shop space was the best thing I've done.
Now go out there and makes some furniture.

When it's rustic......it's rustic
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post #20 of 25 Old 01-03-2013, 06:04 PM
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One question (I have a lot more, but will just ask this one).

In my "research" I was reading that a natural gas heater in the garage causes humidity issues and can/will rust out tools. How accurate is this? This would be one thing to make me nervous and not want to invest in it.
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