Heater suggestions for small noninsulated garage

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Forum topic by jmoorewoodworks posted 11-14-2013 10:55 PM 1568 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 2432 days

11-14-2013 10:55 PM

Topic tags/keywords: garage heater finishing winter

Here is my issue. I have a project that took way to long to get to the finishing process over the summer. I need to complete the job during this winter, but with the lower temperatures, finishing in my garage would be impossible. I have a less than 400 sq foot uninsulated garage, three windows that are nailed shut, a pullup front wood panel garage door, an entrance door, and concrete poured floors. I also live in southern Illinois so the winters don’t get below 0. I would like to figure out the cheapest and most portable heater that I could purchase to heat my garage while I am putting on finish at the very least. I do know that I should place some types of gaskets in the cracks of the entrance door and the garage door to help keep the cold draft out, but for what type of heater I’m at a loss. I am open to fuel types and electrical types, but I lean more towards an electrical solution. I do not have 220VAC in the garage so I would prefer to use a 110v model. The type of finish I plan on using is a run of the mill Fast-drying Minwax poly. My plan would be to heat the garage for 2 days at the most running continuously for finishing. I’m virtually a weekend warrior so I wouldn’t imagine 2 days would put too much strain on the heater.

If any body has any suggestions, I would appreciate it!

5 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile


5791 posts in 3129 days

#1 posted 11-14-2013 11:07 PM

Insulate it first, especially the ceiling and you’ll be a lot happier w/ whatever heater you get. This is heater that I use, it works well on propane.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View MarkwithaK's profile


370 posts in 3956 days

#2 posted 11-14-2013 11:33 PM

Like I’ve said in the past there is no cookie cuter answer to your question and as an HVAC guy I am a big proponent of doing an instal correctly the first time and that almost always starts with a heat loss calculation.

You mention that your windows are nailed shut but that doesn’t actually have anything to do with it….the size and type of window does. How much of a temperature rise are you looking to get? By that I mean what is the ambient air temp and how what temp are you looking to achieve? 400 square foot isn’t as easy to heat as you may think, especially on a slab floor. With decent insulation you’re looking at, just off the top of my head, roughly 30,000-ish BTUs and if my estimate is even remotely close you’re up over 9000 watts. On a 110VAC circuit that’s a bit much.

-- If at first you don't succeed then maybe skydiving isn't for you.

View bigblockyeti's profile


6583 posts in 2498 days

#3 posted 11-14-2013 11:39 PM

A couple of inexpensive 1500W forced air electric heaters should be able to get the job done. Most have thermostats of some kind to keep the temperature close to what you need.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View Dwinkel5's profile


36 posts in 3154 days

#4 posted 11-14-2013 11:40 PM

The one thing I would tell you to watch out for is raising and lowering the temp past the dew point. If you let the garage get cold and you only heat it when you work out there, you will have major issues with rust on your tools.

I would also start with insulation, and use a heat source with a thermostat that will keep the temp above the dew point when you are not working.

View MarkwithaK's profile


370 posts in 3956 days

#5 posted 11-14-2013 11:44 PM

I should add that my numbers are base off of a 30* temperature rise.

-- If at first you don't succeed then maybe skydiving isn't for you.

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