heat for garage/shop?

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Forum topic by trsnider posted 11-13-2018 02:40 AM 1712 views 0 times favorited 33 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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214 posts in 2820 days

11-13-2018 02:40 AM

Topic tags/keywords: garage heat heat

I have a double burner propane heater (like this that I’ve been using to heat the garage/shop for quite some time. I’ve grown tired of the smell and noise (just annoying). A wood stove isn’t an option since there’s no space left and vehicles are in there at night. The other restriction is that I only have 120 volts. The walls are insulated but there’s a double car garage door on the south and a 10’ window on the west. There’s blown in insulation in the ceiling but joists above that. The natural gas line doesn’t run to that side of the house either. :(
Of course the ultimate answer would be to have a dedicated shop, but…
Does anyone have other heat recommendations?

33 replies so far

View lumbering_on's profile


578 posts in 1300 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


214 posts in 2820 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 2292 days

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

View lumbering_on's profile


578 posts in 1300 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


16814 posts in 3428 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


890 posts in 989 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


439 posts in 2544 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 640 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

5296 posts in 4770 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


3377 posts in 2304 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.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View trsnider's profile


214 posts in 2820 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


1099 posts in 721 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


107 posts in 883 days

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

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

-- You are not told the truth, you have to learn the truth.

View Bill Berklich's profile

Bill Berklich

1138 posts in 1198 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


894 posts in 2768 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.

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