All Replies on Garage Heating Ideas

  • Advertise with us
View Brad's profile

Garage Heating Ideas

by Brad
posted 01-17-2009 12:43 PM

30 replies so far

View FlWoodRat's profile


732 posts in 3876 days

#1 posted 01-17-2009 12:52 PM

Have you considered moving back to So. Cal? Just kidding. If it’s that cold in your garage, you probably don’t have any insulation in the walls or ceiling. I’d start there, otherwise you are just loosing any BTU’s of heat you add. Good luck.

-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning....

View Brad's profile


129 posts in 3741 days

#2 posted 01-17-2009 01:16 PM

Yeah the walls don’t have insulation however since it’s a rental home i can’t start doing anything to improve something like that.


-- Brad --

View Catspaw's profile


236 posts in 3783 days

#3 posted 01-17-2009 02:17 PM

Well, you could try putting up false walls with insulation that aren’t hard attached to the structure with insulation. Break them down and take them with you when you leave. But, most heat loss is thru the ceiling. You could trade the landlord cost of insulation for some rent money.

-- arborial reconfiguration specialist

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3494 days

#4 posted 01-17-2009 05:01 PM

If a solution is found for that kind of money PLEASE let me know, I am freezing in socal (each night is in the 20’s).

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Paul M Cohen's profile

Paul M Cohen

86 posts in 3745 days

#5 posted 01-17-2009 07:18 PM

There is an extensive review of that topic here

The $150 limit is kind of tough, I would look at a small space heats form a big box store and just try to heat yourself. I still have not done anything major, but I use Halogen lights from Sears to get more light on my project and they throw off enough heat to keep the chill off. I also stand on a mat to keep my feet off the concrete. Long term I am looking at a portable air conditioner/heater they run ~$500 and fit in a window.

-- Paul, Beaverton OR,

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 3842 days

#6 posted 01-17-2009 07:54 PM

A little tough with that budget. Maybe build a small (one bay) free-standing room out of rigid foam insulation and heat with a space heater?

I usually keep my shop around 60F, which is a comfortable temp for most work if I’m moving around, but if I’m standing still (like at the lathe) for very long, I get cold. So to heat a small area (like at the lathe), I’ll hang up my heat gun a few feet away so it will blow right on my work area. Those things put out a lot of heat!

-- -- --

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4023 posts in 4031 days

#7 posted 01-17-2009 08:02 PM

I use a salamander – forced air propane, but I hate it. Stinks, adds humidity to the shop, sucks to breathe, etc.

I would go electric if you can do it and still use your tools w/o blowing fuses or tripping breakers.

I am with Paul above, hoping someday to find a second-hand motel room duel unit. Things (surprise!) aren’t especially favorable for that in the near term.
That given, I take heart in finding myself in good company. This quote from Bat Masterson sums it up pretty well:

“There are many in this old world of ours who hold that things break about even for all of us. I have observed for example that we all get about the same amount of ice. The rich get it in the summertime and the poor get it in the winter.”

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View SteveKorz's profile


2134 posts in 3681 days

#8 posted 01-17-2009 08:50 PM

It depends how big of a space you wanted for your shop, and what you intend to do in it. You can save a lot of heat with simple 6 mil bisqueen plastic and a staple gun. It wouldn’t be anything permanent, but if you enclosed one car’s space in your three car garage with plastic, including the rafters, you’d be surprised what a little space heater in there will do. I would duct tape the seams together, and either tape it to the floor or lay a 2×4 on it to keep the cold air out. For one space of that garage, the plastic would probably run you $50. That leaves you $50-100 to spend on the hottest little space heater you can find. If you hang a small fan with low rpm from the rafters to blow the heat from the ceiling around the shop, it’ll feel a little better also. That would be something that would not be permanent, and you would be able to restore it to the original condition quickly if you have to move.

Without the capacity for air exchange tho, make sure and put in a dust collection or air filter system… or wear a respirator. I would also beware of any finishing or painting that would accumulate a heavy flammable vapor.

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View jimp's profile


208 posts in 3728 days

#9 posted 01-17-2009 09:12 PM

Welcome to the state of Washington.

It will probably be hard to find something within that budget. I have the The Hot One by Cadet. It does a good job in my 2 car garage. It’s a 220V electric heater that runs between $250 and $300.

-- - Jim, Carroll, OH

View Steve's profile


16 posts in 3720 days

#10 posted 01-18-2009 04:14 AM

I purchased a 5000 watt electric heater from Northern Tools for alittle over 200 bucks. Im in michigan and its freezing here. Would do an great job if my shop was properly insulated. Without proper insulation, you just might be tossing money (heat) away. Good Luck

View matter's profile


210 posts in 3736 days

#11 posted 01-18-2009 04:57 AM

Go for an infrared heater- like the ones in hockey arenas. They sort of heat up an object in front of them, but not the air. I got a 1500 watt today for 60 bucks. It was -16 celcius today, and I had it beside my mitre saw on the job site. Kept me relatively toasty while I was coping crown moulding.

-- The only easy wood project is a fire

View SteveKorz's profile


2134 posts in 3681 days

#12 posted 01-18-2009 07:38 AM

Jarrod Zion Murphree posted a good idea in the middle of one of my forum topics about an old dorm fridge that he converted to keep his glues, stains, etc from freezing. It looks like it could be an easy way to keep your stuff from freezing on a budget. You might find it interesting.


-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View Brad's profile


129 posts in 3741 days

#13 posted 01-19-2009 10:03 AM

Well my neighbor let me borrow his “torpedo heater” and i went and got a propane tank to power it. It heats my garage to the high 60’s in minutes but as most of you mentioned since there is not any insulation it’s cold again in 30 minutes.


-- Brad --

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 3766 days

#14 posted 01-19-2009 11:17 AM

radiant heat.. do a search and you will see that this topic had been passed around many times.

-- making sawdust....

View bob101's profile


321 posts in 3417 days

#15 posted 01-22-2009 04:17 AM

I live in an area with sub freezing weather 5 months of the year, without insulating and if ice build up on the structure is not an issue you could try wood heat. I heat my shop(24×30) with a combination of forced air natural gas and a wood stove( the wood stove is great for all your cut-offs and scrap.I have of course insulated howevere cause if i didnt id have three feet of ice on my roof.

-- rob, ont,canada

View DaveH's profile


400 posts in 3746 days

#16 posted 01-22-2009 04:46 AM

Find a heater that looks similar to the attached. A tank and the heater should run about $100 and will easily heat a your space. I recommend you fire it up about 10-15 minutes before you head out to work and then shut it off. Should keep the chill off in Seattle. I use this method to get my shop (1000 sf) up to temp in a hurry and then maintain the heat with a couple of electric heaters. Be careful if you are running it while spray painting or creating a lot of dust.

Propane Heater

-- DaveH - Boise, Idaho - “How hard can it be? It's only wood!”

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3528 days

#17 posted 01-22-2009 04:48 AM

When I lived in Nebraska I used a 15000 BTU hanging electric space heater (220v) in a double car garage. If it was real cold it would take hours to warm up so I bought a used kerosene fueled torpedo heater (95,000 BTU) which would bring it up to temp in about 10 minutes after which the electric could maintain it. Using the kerosene for more than a few minutes would result in headaches plus the forementioned moisture problem.

-- Joe

View uutank's profile


76 posts in 3578 days

#18 posted 01-22-2009 05:57 PM

Hi, I have a 12×30 shop and I use one of the round kerosene heaters. Picked it up at home depot several years ago and it works great. I also have a small electric space heater that has a fan only option which helps move the heat around. Just keep the wick clean or replaced every few years (depending on use of course) and you will not have that start up fuel smell

-- Ray,VA

View 8iowa's profile


1580 posts in 3728 days

#19 posted 01-23-2009 03:59 AM

We are now into our second night of “hard freeze” here in Gainesville Florida.

Before I had my garage completely enclosed (it used to be a carport) I put plastic over the openings and used a 20,000 BTU Kerosene heater. It worked, but we really hated the smell.

Now with insulation, I have kept the garage between 55 and 60 degrees with a single 5100 BTU ceramic electric heater. Insulation is not very expensive and is the #1 thing that you can do to make the garage comfortable to work in.

For my Upper Peninsula “Workshop in the Woods” I have installed a 35000 BTU Reznor ceiling mount propane heater. It features the “separated combustion” feature, thus I do not have an open flame.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4067 days

#20 posted 01-23-2009 04:31 AM

Any heater that burns fuel and does not have the exhaust vented to the outside will dump a lot of moisture into your space. This is seen as moisture vapor coming out of your furnace exhaust or the water that drips out of an auto exhaust pipe – same deal.

I used a propane space heater in my shop at first but after scrubbing the rust off of my tools for the 3rd time I bought a ceiling mounted HotDawg furnace. The exhaust is vented outside and hence, no more rusty tools.

I know this does not fit your budget but I would recommend the electric route and insulating the garage.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View hairy's profile


2656 posts in 3499 days

#21 posted 01-29-2009 12:40 AM

I have a natural gas unit heater for the real serious cold, pic is my workshop. Many $. What else I have is quartz halogen shop lights. I can warm my garage by turning on the lights,but I am well insulated. They put out as much heat as light. Catch them on sale for about $10 each. They suck you in with a low price, replacement bulbs are about $5 each. Go ahead and laugh, it works.

-- My reality check bounced...

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3552 days

#22 posted 01-29-2009 12:47 AM

I have a central heating taken as an extension from my house two large hot water filled radiators run from a gas boiler heating system and it keeps the shop cosy and keeps away rust etc I also have the shopw which I built from new with full insulation inc roof space I don’t think you could do much for that money either apart from buying a heater and having it close to you when you work surely it will brighten up in the summer.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View 8iowa's profile


1580 posts in 3728 days

#23 posted 02-04-2009 11:05 PM

Todd is absolutely correct about the moisture problem. A non vented heater will pour a lot of moisture into the room. Other hazards are the carbon monoxide potential and an open flame, which is not the best thing to have around in a woodworking shop.

I would spend the first of my budgeted dollars on insulation. With this in place a smaller ceramic electric heater might be able to take the chill off your garage. If the garage doors are not insulated, you can do this using 1” thick foam insulation from Lowes or HD, and cutting it to fit each panel in the door. Seal stop with the vinyl lip pressing against the gaps outside the door will also make a big difference.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View Al Killian's profile

Al Killian

273 posts in 3720 days

#24 posted 02-11-2009 02:08 AM

I rather have a good old mistake fixer(wood stove). It will heat any shop and can cost pennies to use if it is only used while you are out there.

-- Owner of custom millwork shop

View GFYS's profile


711 posts in 3438 days

#25 posted 02-11-2009 06:05 AM

I wouldnt go to any expense on a wood stove without approval from the owner. Insurance companies don’t like wood stoves….or renters. I would check with the owner to see if part of the rent could be used to insulate if you supplied the labor. It’s a win/win.

View Garys's profile


16 posts in 3358 days

#26 posted 05-20-2009 02:52 AM

i would maybe just go with a small wood stove… you dont even have to have it in the garage but you are definately going to be spending more then 150…only needs to be stoked several times a day if needed

View Jim's profile


150 posts in 3289 days

#27 posted 05-21-2009 03:48 AM

I know this is an old post, and hopefully you’re enjoying warmer weather by now, but as for next winter, I saw in a magazine once (sorry cant remember which of the 14 or so wood working magazines I read from time to time) and they created a saw dust burning stove where you packed it full of dust every day and let it smolder for heat. Of course the reason I couldn’t do it was the fact you have to arrange some sort of exhaust for the smoke. Other than that, the main cost was a 55-gallon barrel and a pvc pipe (went through the core to help get air in I believe?). Anyways, I know how you feel, I think we hit in the -30’s this last winter.

-- -- Jim - Kokomo, Indiana

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 3853 days

#28 posted 07-06-2009 01:01 AM

HotDawg by Modine as Todd Clippinger says above, I have one and I love it. Get the one that uses outside air for combustion.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3448 days

#29 posted 07-06-2009 10:33 PM

I use the HotDawg myself and it works great. It uses the outside air for combustion, and its hooked up to the natural gas the house furnace uses. I also put a remote thermostat on it which is mounted across the room. The only negative is it has a blower so if the shop is dusty, you dont want to do any finish work. Thats why infrared heat works good since it doesnt use a blower.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View rhybeka's profile


3910 posts in 3089 days

#30 posted 01-01-2010 11:07 PM

Late to the party as usual, but I just got here :) I’m in somewhat the same boat as Brad – except I own my home and can’t afford to insulate my garage right now. Along with that, unfortunately the time I will be spending in my shop will be minimal at best. I wanted to suggest foot and hand warmers even though they’ve got a short life. I’m not sure if you could just use the hand warmers with fingerless gloves or whatnot so that may be void. I’m trying to figure out a way to get into the shop long enough just to cut a few boards and router the pieces. I’m figuring if I can keep my body comfortable, hopefully my tools won’t complain too badly. fingers crossed I can’t complain as much since central OH is only at about ~30 degrees for the week :) It could be worse! So far from this thread it looks like I could do alright with a mat to stand on, and a decent electric heater set about six feet from my bench to keep me warm, and hopefully not add too much moisture to the air? So far I’m just resigned to painting the one piece I have to finish in my basement – at least it’s not too bad and I can crack a window. :)

-- Beka/Becky - aspiring jill of all trades, still learning to not read the directions.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics