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Shop Recommendations for warming up cold garage in winter

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Xyphota

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
I am currently working out of an attached, but poorly insulated garage, and am trying to plan ahead for this winter to continue working in there. I'm sure other Canadians have similar experience trying to get the most out of a freezing garage. Are there any recommendations on space heaters or garage doors that are better insulated people have immediate experience with? I'd really just like to warm the garage up to near zero atleast, it does not need to be a sauna lol.
 

David_R8

Scrapper of metal
Moderator
Premium Member
When you say poorly insulated do you mean not fully insulated or not enough insulation?
Either way my suggestion is to get as much insulation as you can or the heat will just dissipate.
One of the challenges is bringing all of the machines up to temp. Once there their mass tends to stabilize temps but several tons of cast iron is a lot of mass to heat up.
 

YYCHM

(Craig)
Premium Member
 

phaxtris

(Ryan)
Premium Member
Premium Member
If you have gas a used house furnace is cheap as dirt, quiet, and considerably more efficient than one of those "shop heaters", that is what I run and several of my friends, they are reliable and use readily available parts

Spend the time and money on insulation/vapour barrier and you can keep a garage just above freezing with one of those 220v space heaters pretty easily/cheaply if you don't have gas

In all of the garages I have had I've used wood, electric, diesel, shop heater and home furnace, types of heaters and by far the home furnace is my favorite
 

garageguy

Active Member
Premium Member
I would second a used house furnace. Keep in mind the condensation on cold machines . Especially if you are bringing cold wet vehicles in and out of the garage.
 

SomeGuy

Hobbyist
My old attached garage was not insulated except adjoining walls and the door was a plain steel one. I put radiant bubble foil in the door and used a couple 120v heaters to warm it up when I was out there doing something in the winter. It was not pleasant.

New garage is fully insulated, R14 walls and an R12 door, R22 to the house, R32 ceiling and I have a 45k BTU Mr Heater unit hanging from the ceiling that will bring it up to comfy in around a half hour. Even without heating it never goes below 3-5c above freezing, so nothing freezes.
 

thestelster

Ultra Member
Premium Member
My garage was 2x4 wall construction. I screwed 2x2's onto them, installed R22 insulation, vapor barrier, then 3/4" t&g plywood all around. Ceiling was vapor barrier, 5/8" drywall, and several feet of insulation! I then mounted all the electrical right onto the plywood.

I originally used a 220v heater for the 1st year. Electric bill was not good. The following year installed gas ceiling heater. Huge difference. I use a dehumidifier in the summer which works quite well, unless it gets really hot for a couple days in a row.
 

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gerritv

Gerrit
If I were to add heat to my garage it would be gas radiant. Basically a large diameter pipe that runs the length of the ceiling. The radiant hear provides warmth without having to heat the mass of everythgin in the shop. A big plus is that it is dry heat. The Ferrari restoration shop that I spent time in had several of these hanging from the ceiling. Condensation was never an issue, it wouldn't have been tolerated.
e.g.: https://www.schwankgroup.com/products/tube-heaters/

OTOH The gas/propane space heaters will put so much water in the air that it will drip from the ceiling (ask me how I know :))
 

mickeyf

Member
Two things. 1) The leakage around the garage door is the first thing to deal with - maybe even more important than insulation.* 2) Since the garage is attached, is it practical to add a vent from your home furnace? If an adjacent room has duct work, it may be more straightforward and less costly than putting a separate heater in the garage.

Mostly you don't want it cold enough that there is rust causing condensation on your machines. I currently have a detached shop with a gas wall furnace (externaly vented, no condensation issues) and have found that 50c is plenty comfortable for both myself and the machinery.

*(I assume you are not one of those heretics who actually uses a garage as a garage, which means you could not seal up the door.)
 

Tom Kitta

Ultra Member
For attached garage I would extend house heat into it, no need for separate heater. Can be small duct, single spot. Cheap. Add insulation as much as you can.

House furnaces are large and take floor space. Certainly more work then just extending duct work.

No matter what you do, add insulation as much as possible.
 

phaxtris

(Ryan)
Premium Member
Premium Member
Extending a duct from your house to the garage for sure 100% violates fire codes and building codes for good reason

Would not recommend

If you ever have a fire or any kind of insurance claim on the house your going to be in for trouble
 

Degen

Ultra Member
Premium Member
I use a propane heater, if you go this route ensure you have several CO and CO2 detectors, but a little caution sure beats pushing daisys.
 

Tom Kitta

Ultra Member
Extending a duct from your house to the garage for sure 100% violates fire codes and building codes for good reason

Would not recommend

If you ever have a fire or any kind of insurance claim on the house your going to be in for trouble

To make it code they would need to change it from "garage" to a "workshop" so its no different then basement shop. For forced air.

What about using hot water from hot water heater? Many have "dual purpose" and you simply run some pipes - this does not feel like any violation of code even if its still "garage". You can use fire code sealer to go through fire rated drywall for the pipes.

Insulated attached garage in the winter should still be well above freezing so honestly maybe insulating it would be enough?
 
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Tom Kitta

Ultra Member
I use a propane heater, if you go this route ensure you have several CO and CO2 detectors, but a little caution sure beats pushing daisys.

But propane heater that is not ventilated would add a lot of moisture into the air... not ideal for tools.
 

SomeGuy

Hobbyist
To make it code they would need to change it from "garage" to a "workshop" so its no different then basement shop. For forced air.

What about using hot water from hot water heater? Many have "dual purpose" and you simply run some pipes - this does not feel like any violation of code even if its still "garage". You can use fire code sealer to go through fire rated drywall for the pipes.

Insulated attached garage in the winter should still be well above freezing so honestly maybe insulating it would be enough?

As long as there is the potential for a vehicle to be in that space, carbon monoxide is a concern and the vent from the house presents an entry point for it.

Plain and simple, unless you seal off the garage from the outside world and make it fully into habital space (which means meeting all other code requirements for indoor conditioned space), it is a major code violation. In other words, JUST DO NOT DO IT.


Also, a separate note about vapour barrier...you should only do this in a garage if it will be always heated. If you only plan to heat it when you're out there working, you do not want to install vapour barrier as it will trap condensation on the inside when it's unheated.
 
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