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Shop Recommendations for warming up cold garage in winter

Shop

Dusty

(Bill)
Premium Member
Extending a duct from the house to the garage is almost certainly a code violation.

True, that's how the code reads for Saskatchewan for our attached garage/shop. Gas inspector made me blank ours off and seal it.

Most likely it will also void you're insurance package.
 
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Degen

Ultra Member
Premium Member
But propane heater that is not ventilated would add a lot of moisture into the air... not ideal for tools.
Been doing it for years, use a cloth drop sheet, it acts a moisture catch during those condensation moments. Almost eliminates the rusting concern. Worst is when the machinery has a chance to cold soak. Thats when they become moisture magnets.
 

Tom Kitta

Ultra Member
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.

There cannot be a vehicle there if its changed to a workshop. At that point you do not even care about fire - as main concern for a fire is from a vehicle which cannot be in a workshop.

Of course this still leaves all pluses and minuses of a basement workshop - except maybe not having to deal with stairs.
 

David_R8

Scrapper of metal
Moderator
Premium Member
Changing to a workshop requires removing the overhead door, filling in the space so a vehicle cannot be put in the space.
 

gerritv

Gerrit
A 6 bay ++ concrete block garage can be heated using 3 long radiant tubes , without sealing doors, adding insulation or vapour barrier. In the moring in the winter it was cozy within 45 minutes of turning the heaters on. All the metal was not icy to the touch, which is enough to work on the vehicles, engines, etc. With radiant heat the insulation factor is not as important, other than preventing obvious drafts.

There are no safe short cuts IMO. And certainly no used furnace from Marketplace (how do you know it wasn't red tagged?). I'm as frugal as they come but some things can't be done on the cheap. A reputable gas installer can tell you if a 40k btu gas tube is enough, it very likely is. Pay the money, enjoy the ambience in the shop when you need it and sleep soudly at night.

For my garage I use a Lee Valley electric radiant heater hung on the ceiling. It points to either my workbench or the table saw depending on where I will be working. I turn it on, come back in 30 minutes, do my work and turn it off. Everything I touch is no longer freezing. The garage is attached to the house, and has no inslation in the walls, ceiling or 2 opening doors.

DSC02787.JPG
 

phaxtris

(Ryan)
Premium Member
Premium Member
Im not a fan of radiant tueb heaters, you need big ceiling height, and they cook you out if your working anywhere near them ( yes i have worked in several locations with radiant tubes installed).....i also dont buy the efficiency claims, but they are quiet....thats a big bonus

I still dont think if the op was some how able to have his garage classified as a "workshop" that it would be a good idea to duct air from the house to the "workshop", even if thats ok there are smells, sounds and pollutants that will make its way into the house......plus the massive fire risk (assuming no fire dampener), if a fire breaks out and makes it way into the duct......thats not a "sh!t grab the extinguisher!" kinda situation its a hope you make it out alive type of situation

A workshop is definitely a bigger fire risk than a garage, grease, oil, aerosol cans, propane torches, welding.......and the dreaded oily rag that spontaneously combusts 6 hours later while your sleeping.....and lets be honest here, a person is going to treat and attached garage workshop differently than a basement workshop

we should probably ask where the op lives ? heating a garage in southern ontario is different story than heating a garage in Manitoba...what @gerritv does in his garage wouldnt cut it in any of the garages i had in winnipeg, but might be ok in a Calgary during a chinook, so location is important
 

gerritv

Gerrit
Seems he is in Calgary so yes, my method won't work. Things are usually somewhat warmer here in St Catharines during the winter.
 

Tom Kitta

Ultra Member
Jelous! although calgary was a big step up from winnipeg for me

Yeah I have no idea how people live in Winnipeg in the winter - apparently going to below -40C is normal...

Back to garage heating, of course if money is not an issue you can go with Mr. Heater, brand new - I got either 40 or 50 forgot which one. Garage is 800ft detached. Insulated no windows but doors are a pita. From 40F (4.5C) to say 50F (10C) it takes like maybe 20min or so. Nothing major. You do not notice major up in heating costs during the winter. My house is smaller then my parents but touch less insulated (20% difference) I like it cool at 18C they have 20C. No garage for them. My bills are lower. Garage set at 40F 24x7 - thermostat is from US. For some reason I could not change units. I usually do not heat more then around 56F, i.e. 13C or 14C in the winter.

But that means gas installer and new appliance. New gas line etc.

Works great through!

In Ontario (South) I would not even bother with ANY heat in the garage that is attached. Just insulate. I had garage under the house (Mississauga) and I never bothered to "heat it" it never went below freezing!
 

phaxtris

(Ryan)
Premium Member
Premium Member
Yeah I have no idea how people live in Winnipeg in the winter - apparently going to below -40C is normal...

Back to garage heating, of course if money is not an issue you can go with Mr. Heater, brand new - I got either 40 or 50 forgot which one. Garage is 800ft detached. Insulated no windows but doors are a pita. From 40F (4.5C) to say 50F (10C) it takes like maybe 20min or so. Nothing major. You do not notice major up in heating costs during the winter. My house is smaller then my parents but touch less insulated (20% difference) I like it cool at 18C they have 20C. No garage for them. My bills are lower. Garage set at 40F 24x7 - thermostat is from US. For some reason I could not change units. I usually do not heat more then around 56F, i.e. 13C or 14C in the winter.

But that means gas installer and new appliance. New gas line etc.

Works great through!

In Ontario (South) I would not even bother with ANY heat in the garage that is attached. Just insulate. I had garage under the house (Mississauga) and I never bothered to "heat it" it never went below freezing!

lots and lots of layers, i lived i the pas manitoba for a winter, that was worse, -52c for a week straight when i was there (thats without the windchill), went ice fishing....melted my socks trying to warm me feet up

anyways, i agree, southern ontario, i probabaly wouldnt spend any money, might just throw a 110 forced air heater on to make it comfortable when i was in there and it was......."cold"......


i heat my garage full time as well (approx 1000sq ft, 550 down 450 up) with an 80% eff house furnace, around 10-12c, the one year it wasn't heated to the next year the difference was about 40$ a month...if i crank it up the bill cranks up just as fast.....but well worth it IMO, nothing beats a heated garage
 

PeterT

Ultra Member
Premium Member
I have a 40 Mbtu radiant heater tucked up in the corner of my 8-ft ceiling wall somewhat similar to these internet pictures. Unless I wanted to use that corridor space for skinny storage, it really is dead space utility wise. So a great space for a heater IMO. My drill press & scroll saw are pretty close distance wise, maybe 6 feet diagonally. I don't really notice any temperature discomfort (kidding with the picture). My lathe & mill are on the opposite side of shop & its maybe a degree cooler. Everything with mass absorbs the heat. Overall I'm very happy with the unit. +20 years.
 

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Xyphota

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
I am in Calgary! I am working out of my parents garage until I can afford to buy my own place. The garage does have vehicles parked in it overnight, so it will remain a garage lol. Anytime I start working in the garage, I will need to open the door to remove atleast 1 vehicle before I can use the space. On the plus side, my Dad was very open to installing a gas heater so I think we are going to go that route. Our garage door is a bit dented and doesn't seal very well, so I wonder if it would be worth replacing the door all together with one that's actually insulated as opposed to just trying to seal all the holes alone.

There is virutally zero floor space so a used furnace is not an option, it will have to be a wall/ceiling mounted one.
 

Degen

Ultra Member
Premium Member
Yeah I have no idea how people live in Winnipeg in the winter - apparently going to below -40C is normal...

Back to garage heating, of course if money is not an issue you can go with Mr. Heater, brand new - I got either 40 or 50 forgot which one. Garage is 800ft detached. Insulated no windows but doors are a pita. From 40F (4.5C) to say 50F (10C) it takes like maybe 20min or so. Nothing major. You do not notice major up in heating costs during the winter. My house is smaller then my parents but touch less insulated (20% difference) I like it cool at 18C they have 20C. No garage for them. My bills are lower. Garage set at 40F 24x7 - thermostat is from US. For some reason I could not change units. I usually do not heat more then around 56F, i.e. 13C or 14C in the winter.

But that means gas installer and new appliance. New gas line etc.

Works great through!

In Ontario (South) I would not even bother with ANY heat in the garage that is attached. Just insulate. I had garage under the house (Mississauga) and I never bothered to "heat it" it never went below freezing!
You are lucky because your garage is protected by at least two sides from the house and is passively heated by those same walls, I'm just north of you only one wall is attached (and yes there is touch of passive heating), because of house design, location and wind the garage get cold soaked on occasion far beyond what the passive radiant common wall mitigates.

If you are trying to optimize performance of the garage, venting (not air tight) is not a bad thing. A little air leakage is good. Keeps your air fresh if you use gas/propane.

Insulating a garage door (even just sticking in foam panels, yes makes a world of difference. Another cheap solution is IR reflective paint on walls and ceiling. Keeps heat in and cold out. Opposite is true in the summer. Insulating the garage, final and most expensive option, definitely helps but cost is the issue.

Find the balance that works for you.
 

Susquatch

Ultra Member
Moderator
Premium Member
My shop is huge - 40x80 x 20 high with two 16x16 doors and a regular car door.... Ya, I know....

You-Suck~2.PNG

In my defense, I do have farm machinery like tractors and sprayers and a few Impliments in there too.

My shop has two full width (36ft) overhead radiant gas heaters.

I keep them set at 40F degrees normally. I do this to stop water based products from freezing and to keep winter humidity above the dew point.

I use a regular two stage thermostat to do this. It does not have a setting below 55F. So I simply turn the thermostat on an angle and used a separate thermometer to calibrate it to maintain the 40F.

My shop is extremely well insulated. The combination of a low temp setting and insulation keeps my heating bills low.

40 is plenty comfy for a Susquatch that was live trapped in Saskatchewan and transplanted against his will to Ontario. But if members of my tribe are joining me, I turn the heat up. With radiant heating, that's a VERY FAST process.

One of my buddies is a masonary contractor. He built a very similar shop. He installed an overhead forced air furnace - everything else is very similar.

My garage is attached to the house on two sides and shares an attic. It is heated parasitically and never goes below freezing. But I do keep an eye on it.

The biggest problem in Ontario is humidity. Windsor is the armpit of the world for humidity. Chatham is imperseptively better. Toronto area is marginally better but still horrible. I posted another thread on humidity control so I won't cover that here.

I agree with what others have said. Find what works for you and roll with it. But don't forget about humidity. Tools and machinery rust way too easily if you neglect to control humidity.

20210704_143754.jpg

This is what happened in my travel trailer 2 winters ago.....
 
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phaxtris

(Ryan)
Premium Member
Premium Member
I am in Calgary! I am working out of my parents garage until I can afford to buy my own place. The garage does have vehicles parked in it overnight, so it will remain a garage lol. Anytime I start working in the garage, I will need to open the door to remove atleast 1 vehicle before I can use the space. On the plus side, my Dad was very open to installing a gas heater so I think we are going to go that route. Our garage door is a bit dented and doesn't seal very well, so I wonder if it would be worth replacing the door all together with one that's actually insulated as opposed to just trying to seal all the holes alone.

There is virutally zero floor space so a used furnace is not an option, it will have to be a wall/ceiling mounted one.

If you have big air leaks I would definitely address those, small ones are ok to keep fresh air circulating, but big around the garage door ones make it tough to get things warmed up in a timely manner/expensive, and an insulated door wont hurt esp if you need to replace the one you have anyways

The thing to remember about heating a garage is unless you have an insulated slab (yes they do that) and don't park in there its always going to be an uphill battle. keep it at a reasonable temp (15-18) when your in there and cold (5-10) when your not and concentrate your efforts on the biggest heat loss offenders, the meat and potatoes....air leaks and the roof, everything else is just kind gravy

If you park in there and heat it....it's gonna cost
 

terry_g

Super User
I glued 1" Styrofoam to my wooden garage doors insulated the walls and ceiling with fiberglass pink.
I picked up a used pellet stove for not a lot of money and use that with a small 1500 watt electric heater.
The thermostat for the pellet stove is set at 5 degrees and the electric heater is set to low when I'm not
out there. I turn up the thermostat and wait a few minutes for the shop to warm up before going out there
to work/play. It got down to -28 here last winter and it was comfortably warm in the shop. A bag of pellets
lasts 2 or 3 days if I'm out there in the evening.
A2azPDJ.jpg


YUAI0Qe.jpg
 

6.5 Fan

Ultra Member
Premium Member
I use a NG Mr. Heater in my 30x30ft shop, chore tractor lives in the shop in winter as it is needed every day for feeding the girls. When Mr. Heater dies i will be installing a radiant type heater. Don't have much issue with rust on tools but the humidity is SK. is generally low. Shop has 6 inch walls with 2 man doors and 1 rollup door which is not insulated, temp is kept around 45-50F
 

Xyphota

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
So we decided we going to get a Reznor UDX-45k BTU heater for the garage. They are supposedly made in USA and well-regarded. Our contractor family friend is hooking us up with a unit for a good price, and is happy to let us do all the grunt work and then he'll come hook up the gas line. We have been dragging our feet on this project however so its probably 2 weeks away from being installed.

As there is a deep-freeze is coming to Calgary next week (several days of -20C), should I be spraying my machines with something until the heater is installed? I'm kicking myself for not dealing with the heater with more tenacity when I first made this post
 

Susquatch

Ultra Member
Moderator
Premium Member
As there is a deep-freeze is coming to Calgary next week (several days of -20C), should I be spraying my machines with something until the heater is installed? I'm kicking myself for not dealing with the heater with more tenacity when I first made this post

If I were you, until you get your system installed, I'd let a little outside air in to prevent moisture buildup inside, and I'd run a small electric heater inside to keep the relative humidity down. If you have enough lights in there you can just leave them on.

I know it sounds counter-productive to heat the area a bit and also let cold air in, but there is science to the method. You let the cold in to bring in drier air than is inside, and you heat the inside air to bring relative humidity down.

It NEVER hurts to spray a little oil on things - especially things in drawers and flat horizon surfaces. Canadian Tire sells WD40 Corrosion Inhibitor Oil. It's expensive but not nearly as expensive as replacing all your tools.
 
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Hruul

Lee - metalworking novice
I have a Reznor heater in my garage and it has been good except the power vent motor rear bushing crapped out a couple years ago (heater was about 5 years old). The motor still worked, but it made a heck of a noise till I figured out what the noise was coming from. Replaced the vent motor with a better motor and no issues since. I would recommend isolation pads between the heater and the ceiling if you have living space above the garage like I do.
 
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