All Replies on heat for garage/shop?

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View trsnider's profile

heat for garage/shop?

by trsnider
posted 11-13-2018 02:40 AM

33 replies so far

View lumbering_on's profile


578 posts in 1090 days

#1 posted 11-13-2018 02:45 AM

I use a kerosene heater, and it’s pretty good. You can get a bit of an odour when you start it up or shut it down, but it’s no worse than mineral spirits and goes away pretty quick.

View trsnider's profile


168 posts in 2610 days

#2 posted 11-13-2018 02:49 AM

The propane smell isn’t bad it’s just that it’s in an enclosed space. I suspect that kerosene may have the same problem. Opening the garage door a crack sometimes defeats the purpose on cold days.

View rickinbeachcrest's profile


16 posts in 2083 days

#3 posted 11-13-2018 03:08 AM

View lumbering_on's profile


578 posts in 1090 days

#4 posted 11-13-2018 03:10 AM

The propane heater you linked to isn’t for enclosed spaces, in fact I don’t think I’d ever use that in my garage as I’d be worried about CO. A Kerosene heater needs much less air flow to burn safely. However, I do keep a CO detector in my garage with a digital readout. You can safely stay in your garage for up to 8 hours with a ppm of 50 or less, I rarely see anything close to that as mine is a 23K BTU which warms up my insulated 200 sqft garage very quickly.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16317 posts in 3219 days

#5 posted 11-13-2018 03:17 AM

I have an older model of this, works great.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View CWWoodworking's profile


541 posts in 779 days

#6 posted 11-13-2018 03:18 AM

I assuming your shop is connected to your house?

Can you get a 220 plug put in? Or have duct work added from house?

Initial cost will be more but in the long run, cheaper if your out there a lot.

Personally I would opt for a 220 if you can. I run a hotel unit. Both air and heat work great.

All the money I spent on space heaters and such over the years would have more than paid for the unit. Plus it’s safer.

View Tony1212's profile


375 posts in 2335 days

#7 posted 11-13-2018 02:33 PM

Have you tried a simple electric oil heater? I converted our old single car garage to a rec room and only the ceiling is insulated (the walls are concrete). One of these will heat the room up pretty quickly and it only uses 110v.

It’s fairly cheap and can be used in other places around the house, too.

-- Tony, SW Chicago Suburbs

View PPBart's profile


87 posts in 431 days

#8 posted 11-13-2018 03:07 PM

I second Tony1212’s idea: electric oil heater. I’ve used one of those in my shop at times. Its’ quiet and safe (no open flame).

-- PPBart

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5241 posts in 4561 days

#9 posted 11-13-2018 03:14 PM

Oil heater(s) here as well. No smells, open flames, stupid cheap, and runs on 120v.

-- [email protected]

View CaptainKlutz's profile


2203 posts in 2095 days

#10 posted 11-13-2018 03:17 PM

+1 ricrickinbeachcrest, and others:

Best to use a VENTED heater inside an ENCLOSED garage, when using gas/propane.
There are many different private label units like the Mr. Heater posted above from Northern Tool. Modine is most common brand installed commercially for garages, as they have been in business for many decades.

If you have an extra ceiling height, can install a conventional apartment sized 20-40K BTU gas heater horizontally, hung from the ceiling. Small conventional unit cost is less than $400, but professional installation will double that.

With supply line of only 15 amp 120 VAC, will be limited to ~1800W electric unit. Considering a 30K BTU heater is almost 9000W, you would notice the difference. Would likely mean you need to run the electric unit almost 100% of time to keep space warm, as you do not have any extra power to raise temp quickly when cold? (especially warming up large cold concrete floor) If you go electric, the radiant oil heaters are cheap/easy, and little safer than fan based unit in dusty garage.

Be safe, regardless of whether heavily loading electric power with heater units, or burning fossil fuel to create CO in your garage. :)

Best Luck.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View trsnider's profile


168 posts in 2610 days

#11 posted 11-13-2018 03:47 PM

I may try the oil heater. Don’t have access to natural gas on that side of the house. Running ducts might work but there’s currently a lot of wood stuff and a work bench cluttering up floor space next to the walll. I also don’t want/need to heat the area when I’m not in there. Thanks for all ther responses.

View WoodenDreams's profile


878 posts in 511 days

#12 posted 11-13-2018 04:50 PM

Your local hardware stores, target, kmart, and Walmart has a large variety of inexpensive electric radiant heaters. I don’t know how many electrical circuit breakers is feeding your garage. Is your wiring 15 or 20 amp line. For a one man shop your usually only using one power tool, plus the air filtration unit, and dust collector at time, plus lighting. I had a electrician install a separate 220v line and a control thermostat for my radiant cove heater hanging on the wall. similar to

View bmerrill's profile


73 posts in 674 days

#13 posted 11-13-2018 04:56 PM

I went the Mini Split route for a 2 car attached garage.

-- "Do. Or do not. There is no try". Yoda

View Bill Berklich's profile

Bill Berklich

977 posts in 989 days

#14 posted 11-13-2018 05:01 PM

+2 on CaptianKlutz – The one you show is for spot heating on open air job sites not for indoor use. Propane and Kerosene both create Carbon Monoxide (CO) in copious quantities. We have at least 20-30 deaths here in Detroit every year because of one or the other – though kerosene is the leader. Go with the 120v Electric/Oil space heater. depending on your garage one 1500w unit (~5,000 BTU) should break the chill if you are south of Minnesota.

-- Bill - Rochester MI

View BroncoBrian's profile


875 posts in 2559 days

#15 posted 11-13-2018 05:38 PM

Here is what I used:

This heater has been terrific. Very efficient and you can wire it for 120v. It would take a few minutes and there is a chart inside so that you can move the jumpers to limit the voltage that the heater uses. I am in an extended 3-car and have never turned this heater past Low for more than a couple hours, it is quiet, no smell, easy install.

Highly recommend it!

-- A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

View hairy's profile


3004 posts in 4133 days

#16 posted 11-13-2018 06:34 PM

Incandescent lights put out more heat than light. I have some quartz halogen shop lights in my garage. I don’t see them for sale anymore. You can find 2 on a stand.

-- Genghis Khan and his brother Don, couldn't keep on keeping on...

View Woodmaster1's profile


1296 posts in 3188 days

#17 posted 11-13-2018 07:09 PM

I have a 50k bigmaxx gas heater to heat my 33×30 detached garage. It cost me $120 a year to keep it at 68 in the northern Indiana winters. It would almost pay to run a gas to that side of the house. I had to run a gas line 50’. Thanks to my son in law it only cost me the unions and valves the pipe was at no cost.

View CWWoodworking's profile


541 posts in 779 days

#18 posted 11-13-2018 07:29 PM

You guys must be able to tolerate the cold more than me. Lol. I used to work in a 16×24 garage that was insulated pretty well. Any type of 120 heater was pretty useless when it was snowy cold. Maybe in the 40s.

Or maybe I’m just a weenie.

If you just want heat, get one of those heaters that hang from ceiling and run it off of propane tank you can put anywhere. No 220 needed, no natural gas needed. Pretty darn effective.

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 3831 days

#19 posted 11-13-2018 08:34 PM

I went the Mini Split route for a 2 car attached garage.

- bmerrill

Me too. Six years ago. Still working good.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Furnone's profile


5 posts in 736 days

#20 posted 11-15-2018 03:21 PM

I use this vent free garage heater, with the optional blower, from Northern Tool:

I installed it in my 20×24 garage and it keeps the garage at 52 degrees on the lowest setting. Available for natural gas or propane.

-- We will not lower our quality standards, so up yours!

View MrRon's profile


5807 posts in 3844 days

#21 posted 11-15-2018 04:59 PM

Ventless heater will add unwanted humidity to the space. Electric heaters are the way to go.

View ArtMann's profile


1462 posts in 1417 days

#22 posted 11-16-2018 12:21 AM

Have you tried just using the propane to warm up the area fast and then a 1500 watt electric to hold the temperature? I used to have a 24 by 28 shop and used a 5000 watt 240VAC heater. I used a propane catalytic heater like yours to get the room up to temperature and then shut it off while working. For me, 1500 watts wasn’t enough.

If 1500 watts isn’t enough for you, you are going to have to spend some money to either bring in gas (natural or propane) or you are going to have to bring in 240VAC electrical service. There is no magic heater that will heat a large space with 120VAC.

View fuigb's profile


568 posts in 3558 days

#23 posted 11-16-2018 11:40 AM

Big Buddy propane heater: mine is on a little roller cart and goes with me in the garage and out into the driveway. Not nearly as toasty as a wood stove or suspended natural gas furnace, but it suits my space limitations.

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

View jimintx's profile


933 posts in 2185 days

#24 posted 11-16-2018 02:53 PM

Preheating with a big propane fired device and maintaining with small electric(s) makes sense to this former student of thermodynamics and heat transfer.

As for my own experience and methods: My climate is harsh, sometime I go in the shop and it is down to 55 deg F. I have to get out the fleece jackets when it plummets to under 70! (pardon a little Houston sarcasm here ;-D)

With fully insulated walls and ceilings, doors and windows, I am able to heat my 21’x22’ area to the mid-60s with a 1500W heater on 120v. When it gets really cold for a few days in a row, and we do get some days in the 30s, I add a second small electric across the room and keep it comfortable enough for even this warm weather lover.

I also run a separate small dehumidifier when needed to keep humidity at 60% or below. For my environment that helps a lot ,and I it has also eliminated rust issues.

I spent the money and effort on all that insulating and dehumidifying due to the other 9 months of the year when the AC is running and struggling to keep up.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

View jimintx's profile


933 posts in 2185 days

#25 posted 11-16-2018 03:01 PM

I have also been thinking about this one from Home Depot that also mounts atop a propane bottle:

I like its design and high heat output with an upper rating of 45,000 BTU. At about a hundred bucks, it isn’t too costly. It seems to be offered elsewhere for less, but shipping costs might be added, I did not fully investigate other sources.

Throwing heat in all directions, I think it could rapidly warm up an enclosed space. In my case, I could also use it under my carport which often serves as my outdoor work area when it is wet and rainy.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

View Holbs's profile


2257 posts in 2630 days

#26 posted 11-16-2018 04:25 PM

+1 Woodmaster comment.
Bite the bullet and hire heating/air contractor to extend gas line into shop (and while at it, a branch for BBQ) and go Reznor or equivalent. The contractor will find a way to run the gas line. They know magic tricks! All time #3 forum posts here on LJ next to what saw to buy and Stumpy’s yummy forum posts, is about heating the shop. After a couple years of a 60k kerosene torpedo heater, works great in a pinch if nothing else is available. But that smell and jet blast and the square footage it takes up…
I upgraded by luck to a Reznor 60k btu natural gas in my 2 car 20’x20’ garage and as Woodmaster claims, not too spendy to keep running all month long (I keep mine at 60). No smell, fast heating. But does come with a price tag. I do admit, I picked up my new Reznor at an auction for $100. Back then, I could not pay full price for such a luxury. Now, I would not give it a second thought.
I would go for a Reznor or BigMaxx & insulating the shop, long before considering a new cyclone dust collector or a new cabinet saw. That’s how important the heating & comfort means to me :)

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

View gtrboy77's profile


5 posts in 2955 days

#27 posted 11-17-2018 12:23 PM

I heard that mini-splits are only good down to about 20 or 30 degrees F. Is there any truth to that?

I went the Mini Split route for a 2 car attached garage.

- bmerrill

Me too. Six years ago. Still working good.

- MT_Stringer

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

3098 posts in 4038 days

#28 posted 11-17-2018 01:08 PM

i have a dedicated shop 24’x24’ in Maine, so I’ve been wrestling with heat for awhile. I’ve had electric (expensive to run here), gas, and kerosene.

Electric is not practical here but the right size heater is maintenance free and they do heat good.

Gas (propane in this area) is a bit expensive to run but I got fed up with the ignitors for the pilot. Each fall, I’d have to wrestle with the dirty ignitors to get the pilot lit. The safety mechanisms are very finicky and when they are activated, nothing will let you ignite the pilot. These heaters do a good job of heating though.

Kerosene is fairly inexpensive and produces a lot of heat. I went with one of those round canister type heaters with the kerosene tank in the base. Inconvenient but produces a lot of heat. For the past couple of years I change out an older kerosene monitor heater in the house and moved it into the shop with modified 3 gallon fuel tank. It will heat 1200 sq/ft so my little shop is toasty enough for shirtsleeves in about 10 minutes at below freezing temps. And I use just a few gallons a year.

Note, my shop is insulated.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View PPBart's profile


87 posts in 431 days

#29 posted 11-17-2018 03:28 PM

I use halogen lamps to heat my 12×24’ shop. They are portable and effective.

-- PPBart

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 3831 days

#30 posted 11-17-2018 04:09 PM

I heard that mini-splits are only good down to about 20 or 30 degrees F. Is there any truth to that?

I went the Mini Split route for a 2 car attached garage.

- bmerrill

Me too. Six years ago. Still working good.

- MT_Stringer

- gtrboy77

It doesn’t get that cold too often. I haven’t had any problems keeping the shop in the high 60’s during the cold months.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View GT350's profile


377 posts in 2582 days

#31 posted 11-17-2018 05:30 PM

If it were me I would either install a mini split system or run a gas line to that end of the house. Gas lines aren’t that hard to run and it would heat the shop fast. I have a detached shop and run a ceiling mounted gas heater that works great and heats the shop up fast. One thing that concerned me was forgetting to turn it off and not going back in my shop for a few weeks which would be rather expensive. I solved that by splitting the power, the fan is powered on whenever the heat exchanger comes up to temperature so I give that power all the time. The gas valve comes on when the thermostat calls for heat so I ran that through my light switch so the only time the gas valve can possibly come on is when the lights in my shop are on. When I turn my lights off, if the furnace is on the gas valve goes off and the fan continues to run until the heat exchanger cools then when I turn the lights back on if the thermostat calls for heat I hear the gas valve click on so I know heat is on and if I don’t want it on I just click the switch on the thermostat off.

View bigJohninvegas's profile


721 posts in 2062 days

#32 posted 11-17-2018 06:32 PM

I have been using the same propane heater you have. Does not get that cold here in Vegas, so It has been ok. But I too have installed a mini split just this last summer. Been a bit on the warm side this fall, and I have not tried the heater side of it yet, However the A/C worked perfectly this last summer. I too had considered dumping the propane heater, and for the same reasons as you. I was going to buy one of these little heaters at costco. I am not sure if this is the brand I saw at Costco, It was cheaper there for sure, and really put out the heat. I looked at, but they did not have it on the web site. Must be a in store only item.
Now that I have the mini split, I’ll hold off to see how well the heater works. It really only gets cold enough here to use the heat in the shop for a month or two each year, and I really bought the mini split for the a/c.

-- John

View Cammy's profile


38 posts in 554 days

#33 posted 11-17-2018 06:50 PM

I recently bought this electric ceramic fan heater 2.5kw I have it on a thermostat plug set for 10 deg c
Instant heat so far it has not dropped below 15 degrees in the workshop but I turn the heater on just to make it a bit more cosy

-- Some people are like Slinkies, totally useless but great fun to watch when you push them down the stairs.

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