Efficiently Heating a Shop - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 Old 12-29-2014, 09:57 AM Thread Starter
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Efficiently Heating a Shop

So when I bought my house it came with a nice 200sqft shop that is entirely made of wood and for the most part insulated quite well. However, no matter how much insulation there is the shop does eventually start to get cold in the winter.

I am very energy conscious at our home because 1) we are a young couple who are very tight on money, 2) delivery charges in Cannington make up almost 33% of my bill so the less I use the less of those ridiculous charges I have to pay and 3) I am Dutch so I don't like to pay more for what I could pay less :P

Question is this. What is a good, energy efficient heating source for a 200sqft shop? I don't think I should be using propane because I am indoors. Salamanders are out because the shop is made all out of wood.

Any ideas on what I could use?
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post #2 of 15 Old 12-29-2014, 10:15 AM
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Well insulated?

Are you on a concrete slab? That will make it colder than anything, once the temperature drops and the slab cools down for the winter. Consider adding a subfloor of plywood over foam panels.

Have you stopped all the air infiltration around windows, doors and the base of the walls? Are the wondows double pane, if not that's a source of heat loss. You can place foam panels in them for the winter, especially during the evening when no solar energy from sunshine will enter. Windows have a R value of around 2 where the walsl are R19 with 6" of Fiberglas... a huge difference. They are a large source of heat loss.

Is there a vapor barrier or air infiltration barrier like Visqueen or Tyvek in the walls? This is about heat loss and much as it is about adding heat from an external source. I heat with electricity not because it's cheap but because it's the easiest way I have at the moment.

I wouldn't worry too much about an open flame for dust explosions, not a realistic possibility in a small shop.
I don't like salamanders, too noisey and they burn all the oxygen in the room. A smaller infrared type heater will help, like a Mister Heater.

If you let the temperature drop significantly overnight, you will not catch back up easily in the morning. I keep my shops around 50 degrees when I'm not using them and then heat to 55 to 60 to work in them.

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 15 Old 12-29-2014, 01:15 PM
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Propane heaters like Mister Heater give off moist heat, be prepared for rust on any bare steel.

“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 #4 of 15 Old 12-29-2014, 03:01 PM
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Propane heaters like Mister Heater give off moist heat, be prepared for rust on any bare steel.
I have never heard of "moist heat."

Would you please explain?

George
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post #5 of 15 Old 12-29-2014, 03:15 PM
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They don't remove humidity like a forced air furnace does, and a byproduct of the propane burning is moisture.

The tools don't make the craftsman....
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post #6 of 15 Old 12-29-2014, 03:28 PM
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Have you looked at electric infrared heaters? The neat thing about infrared is that it heats solid objects and not the air, but the solid objects then radiate the heat to the room. Ultimately the air warms up, as well. But you can walk out to a shop that has had an infrared cycling through the night and find your tools warm to the touch. I'm not talking about a little one plugged in and set on the floor, but one mounted on or hanging from the ceiling.

I just grabbed a photo off Amazon but they make plenty with thermostats. I've used these before and they're pretty nice.
Name:  Infrared heater.jpg
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post #7 of 15 Old 12-30-2014, 09:10 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions guys!

As some of you mentioned, heating the floors would be ideal BUT I don't have concrete floors so that won't work. From my research and what other's have said on this and other forums, I think I am going to go with infrared shop heater.

I also am going to have a look at making a can heater and see if that will work. If you haven't heard of them, have a look and let me know what you think :)

Thanks all!
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post #8 of 15 Old 12-30-2014, 09:19 AM
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The concept looks like it would work....Id be interested to see if it really does.

The tools don't make the craftsman....
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post #9 of 15 Old 12-30-2014, 10:35 PM Thread Starter
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Me too. It looks simple enough to build and from my estimation, shouldn't cost more than $100 depending on what parts you had to buy and what you had on hand or for free.

I wish my shop had some sunlight around it but it is all covered in shade :( I do however have a mud room at the back of our house that our shower is in that is not hooked up to our central heating. If I can do a test with this and have it work, I may build a full sized one and use it to heat that room.
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post #10 of 15 Old 01-01-2015, 10:42 AM
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Depending on the regulations where you live, are there any restrictions concerning wood heaters? I have a wood heater in my shop that uses all the scraps I accumulate over a year, and a supply of firewood outside. I just replaced my old wood heater I had for 10 years; last Jan. Fortunately I was lucky to find one that was of the same design from the same manufacture on Craigs List. All though it was one size smaller then what I had, I didn't have to change the exhust, Just had to raise it 3 inches off the floor. New they go for $400-$500, I got it for $125. Wasn't used much, but I did have to replace the fire door seal.

The pic is of my old heater, the newer one looks the same except it is one size smaller. It also has a fan on the rear. Works good for my needs.


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post #11 of 15 Old 01-11-2015, 05:30 PM
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For many, many years shops were and still are heated with wood or coal stoves.
Most were uninsulated, single pane windows, leaky doors and likely on posts or blocks.
At that time dust was not an issue... boards were hand planed, any "saw dust" fell to the floor.
Today with routers, shapers, belt sanders etc. the dust that goes airborne seems to be an issue.
IMHO... For the general woodworker this will never be a problem because you need a serious amount of dust in the air to create an "explosive" environment... You will be choking LONG before you have an explosive issue.
I've built many projects for myself and many for customers. Heated with wood forever. Have never had any concerns about dust buildup.
All the swept up dust, crap, cutoffs & scrap serve to heat the shop in the winter.
I recycle all my waste thru the stove..
AND.... nothing beats backing yer arse up to a nice hot woodstove when it's freezing outside.
Here's a tip... Find a nice smooth fairly good sized rock you can balance on your horizontal stovepipe.
When you come in and your hands are cold... play hot potato with the rock... hands get warm!!!
...Jon...
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post #12 of 15 Old 01-11-2015, 06:07 PM
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Quote:
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For the general woodworker this will never be a problem because you need a serious amount of dust in the air to create an "explosive" environment... You will be choking LONG before you have an explosive issue.
I read in a book on this topic years ago, before the Internet so it has to be true, that it takes around 70% dust to 30% air to set the stage for an explosion. Your particular dust may not have read that same book and may act differently but I've actually heard/read that in many places through the years.

As hobbyists I doubt we ever really get to even 20% dust though it may seem like it sometimes. For a professional shop the dust level likely never gets anywhere near 10% or you'd have finishing problems and OSHA issues.

But that's just my $0.02

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post #13 of 15 Old 01-12-2015, 08:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by difalkner View Post
I read in a book on this topic years ago, before the Internet so it has to be true, that it takes around 70% dust to 30% air to set the stage for an explosion. Your particular dust may not have read that same book and may act differently but I've actually heard/read that in many places through the years.

As hobbyists I doubt we ever really get to even 20% dust though it may seem like it sometimes. For a professional shop the dust level likely never gets anywhere near 10% or you'd have finishing problems and OSHA issues.

But that's just my $0.02
The only time I've ever had a dust explosion was when I was a kid and threw a shovel of wood dust into a wood stove that was already burning.
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post #14 of 15 Old 01-12-2015, 06:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by difalkner View Post
Have you looked at electric infrared heaters? The neat thing about infrared is that it heats solid objects and not the air, but the solid objects then radiate the heat to the room. Ultimately the air warms up, as well. But you can walk out to a shop that has had an infrared cycling through the night and find your tools warm to the touch. I'm not talking about a little one plugged in and set on the floor, but one mounted on or hanging from the ceiling.

I just grabbed a photo off Amazon but they make plenty with thermostats. I've used these before and they're pretty nice.
Attachment 112641
Radiant heaters really aren't a good idea in a wood shop. You're correct they heat objects, not the ambient air. They only heat exposed surfaces, which can cause problems with wood. You'll be heating one side of the wood and not the other. I've seen it cause some pretty serious cupping. If you really want to use it in a shop, cover your wood so it doesn't get direct exposure.

The tools don't make the craftsman......a true statement often overused by individuals who haven't a clue about quality tools or true craftsmanship.
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post #15 of 15 Old 01-18-2015, 10:44 AM
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I use an older motel GE heating/cooling unit. The cooling unit didn't work so it was cheap (FREE). Not sure how efficient but heats fine. Haven't noticed much on the bill.

if this is of interest keep an eye out for one on Craigslist...

http://www.geappliances.com/products...ine/models.htm
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