Cold weather shop heat - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 16 Old 11-13-2014, 04:21 PM Thread Starter
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Cold weather shop heat

Now that It's winter here in Wisconsin, with high temps at 25 now days what would the best way to heat a shop be. I have 110 and 240 power in my shop. Is there an electric unit capable of heating my detached one car garage? Or upgrade to natural gas heat?
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post #2 of 16 Old 11-13-2014, 04:36 PM
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insulated?

If the garage is well insulated including foam panels in the door and limited to the rafter height 8ft., you can probably do OK with an electric heater.

That's what I use in 900 sq ft shop upstairs. It is well insulated and drywall on the 6" thick insulated walls. I sometimes use a Mr Heater to stand near for warming up my hands and legs, but if I'll be out there a long while I just crank up the dial.

However, a concrete garage floor will have a great thermal mass and you will not be able to change the temperature rapidly, so it's best to leave it set on the minimum temp you are willing to survive in....50 degrees? 45? My 1000 sq ft. downstairs shop is on a concrete slab, and I keep it at 50 degrees. That's OK if you can keep moving.

The main consideration is BTUs per dollar cost, electric vs natural gas or propane. My electric bill goes skyhigh in the winter because oi the electric heaters.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #3 of 16 Old 11-14-2014, 09:38 AM
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Unless the garage is over-insulated I doubt if you will be able to raise the temperature inside 25 or more degrees with electric heat. It might be a forbidding expense to have natural gas run. Because of the danger I wouldn't recommend running it yourself, I would have a licensed plumber do it. I think you would be better off with propane. Just be sure to keep the bottle outside.
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post #4 of 16 Old 11-16-2014, 12:39 PM
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I had my first cold winter here, I have a garage shop that is uninsulated. A good friend (local) suggested that I dry wall the ceiling, which I did, then we laid down 50mm solid foam on the floor covered it with flake board. I cant say the shop was warm but it was tolerable. At least once I got moving around in it. This year I picked up a small space heater (got it for free from a gyu who was moving back to the states). It has a fan to help circulate the heat.
Will it be any warmer??

Heck I dunno
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post #5 of 16 Old 11-16-2014, 12:52 PM
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I used a Fahrenheat 240v 5,000 watt electric heater in my 440 sq ft two-car garage for several years. Bought it at Blain's farm N Fleet for a little over $200. It puts out a fuzz over 17,000 BTUs. Before buying it though I insulated walls and ceiling and covered the walls in OSB. Insulation is critical! The heater did well in my garage but don't expect it to turn the place into a mid-August day. It takes a while to warm things up. While your shop is warming up you can entertain yourself by watching your electric meter spin like turbine! Depending on electric rates in your area, electric heat is expensive to run. On the plus side it was quiet, clean, and pretty easy to install.

I switched over to a natural gas unit last year that puts out more BTUs and is cheaper to run. It warms the place up faster but was much more work to install, more expensive to buy, and may not be an option for you if gas isn't available or you don't want to bother with propane bottles.

I think a 5,000 watt electric heater like I had would work in your shop as long as you tackle the insulation first and seal up any air leaks (windows and especially the garage door).

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post #6 of 16 Old 11-16-2014, 02:41 PM
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I have an electric 5,000 watt in my machine shop (14 x 20) its ok and can make it 70 degrees if I wish, but electricity around here is very expensive. Soon it will be going up to .16 per KWH. I use wood stoves in my wood shop (22 x 22) and car/welding shop (30 x 30). Another option might be a pellet stove. They put out lots of heat at a reasonable cost.

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post #7 of 16 Old 11-16-2014, 04:36 PM
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Never said how big the shop is. My 'shop' (attached two car garage) which is insulated and finished and a little over 500sf will stay at 70-75* all day long with a $40 1,500w elect heater as long as the doors stay shut. If anything gets opened for more than a couple minutes the heater takes several hours to get back up to temp. This is in the dead of winter where temps are usually in the 30's tops. My little heater is rated for 400sf. This year thinking about the $100 infrared faux electric stoves at HD that are rated for 1000sf.

If you have a detached garage, insulated or not, I would in a second put in a wood stove. Free to run and will get hotter than you can stand.
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post #8 of 16 Old 11-17-2014, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys for the inputs. My shop is about 250 sf. nothing huge but works great. Mainly the reason I was wanting the inputs was so I would choose the right way to heat it with out it blowing up from the dust and have a cheap option. But if something doesn't work I have no problem shelling out more cash to make it great. So was wondering how everyone heats so I can get the best option for me.
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post #9 of 16 Old 11-19-2014, 06:39 PM
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Is it attached or detached, insulated or not?
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post #10 of 16 Old 11-22-2014, 12:45 AM
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One thing to be aware of is that a Mr. Heater will rust any metal tools in your shop as there is a lot of moisture in the heated air.

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”
― Marcus Aurelius
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post #11 of 16 Old 11-22-2014, 10:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
If the garage is well insulated including foam panels in the door and limited to the rafter height 8ft., you can probably do OK with an electric heater.

That's what I use in 900 sq ft shop upstairs. It is well insulated and drywall on the 6" thick insulated walls. I sometimes use a Mr Heater to stand near for warming up my hands and legs, but if I'll be out there a long while I just crank up the dial.

However, a concrete garage floor will have a great thermal mass and you will not be able to change the temperature rapidly, so it's best to leave it set on the minimum temp you are willing to survive in....50 degrees? 45? My 1000 sq ft. downstairs shop is on a concrete slab, and I keep it at 50 degrees. That's OK if you can keep moving.

The main consideration is BTUs per dollar cost, electric vs natural gas or propane. My electric bill goes skyhigh in the winter because oi the electric heaters.
Great advice and you pretty much pegged my 'minimum' temp for being able to work without suffering.

I got several places around the shop where I tossed down some 'insulation' material for the girls so they could have a place to lay down that is NOT freezing cold.
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post #12 of 16 Old 12-23-2014, 12:34 PM
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One side of my shop has good insulation in ceiling and walls. I use a wood heater on the other side with a fan set high on the wall dividing the two areas to get some heat to the side with all my cutting and dust making equip. I use the scraps I accumulate over a year to heat the shop, along with some firewood I have stored outside.
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post #13 of 16 Old 12-23-2014, 10:34 PM
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I have a 100'000 btu gas heater in my 30 by 40 feet garage. It takes about five minutes to heat it from 35 to 65. I have a 5000 watt electric heater in my 20 by 30 basement it takes about an hour to heat from 35 to 65. If you can run gas I would.
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post #14 of 16 Old 12-24-2014, 05:31 AM
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I keep my insulated 25'x30' stand alone shop heated to around 65 all the time with a 5000w electric heater without any trouble, but I'm in north central Kentucky. While we hit 0 degrees a few times, it rarely lasts for long. Big difference from Wisconsin. Electric is relatively cheap here, too. Last I read, we were the 8th cheapest state for electric. My heater is ceiling mounted, a 220v unit. The big plus for me being it doesn't take up any floor space like every other heater (propane, wood, & kerosene) that I've used before. It also requires almost no attention & presents no fire hazard.

IMO, it is key to keep my shop constantly heated. I spent years warming my shop up in the evenings & some of my tools really regretted it. They would stay cold, moisture beaded on them & rust attacked. Iron power tool tables are especially vulnerable, but inside other tools, like planer blades with a bit of sawdust on them, also suffered greatly. Dragging in finishes or anything else that can't take freezing is a hassle & I always missed something. Since we're 30 minutes from town, that's an additional pain I don't need.

When we moved here & I built my shop, I planned to keep it heated all year & insulated accordingly. The biggest loss was the top of the insulated garage door. There was a gap across the top I could put my hand into. I bent up some coil stock & attached it to the top to close that up. Worked great. I have no idea what it costs me to heat my shop nor do I really care. I spend a lot of my free time in there, so it's worth it.
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post #15 of 16 Old 12-24-2014, 06:16 AM
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I use a little kerosene heater to heat my shop. works pretty good.
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post #16 of 16 Old 01-01-2015, 10:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaldEagle2012 View Post
One side of my shop has good insulation in ceiling and walls. I use a wood heater on the other side with a fan set high on the wall dividing the two areas to get some heat to the side with all my cutting and dust making equip. I use the scraps I accumulate over a year to heat the shop, along with some firewood I have stored outside.
The pic is of my old heater, the newer one, bought off Craigs list for $125; looks the same but one size smaller.

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