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portable heat for winter woodworking in the garage

by one19
posted 10-27-2015 06:14 PM


34 replies so far

View bobasaurus's profile

bobasaurus

3531 posts in 3325 days


#1 posted 10-27-2015 06:47 PM

I have a radiant infrared heater and it kind of works in a small area over the workbench. The plus is there are no open flames to cause a fire with all the wood dust.

I also just installed new lighting with T5HO bulbs. They’re bright as heck and put out a lot of heat on their own, making them a pretty good heater for the winter.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

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one19

65 posts in 1443 days


#2 posted 10-27-2015 06:54 PM

Allen, can you provide the name/model of your heater? Thanks!

View Notw's profile

Notw

667 posts in 1894 days


#3 posted 10-27-2015 07:00 PM

I use a Mr. Buddy in my single car garage shop, the shop is uninsulated and the Mr. buddy does well if you are standing still but it will by no means heat the entire garage.

View one19's profile

one19

65 posts in 1443 days


#4 posted 10-27-2015 07:04 PM

Thanks, Notw. Is yours the small model that uses a single propane canister or does it use two?

View conifur's profile

conifur

955 posts in 1292 days


#5 posted 10-27-2015 07:44 PM

First off propane puts out about a gallon of H20 per 100K BTUs, 2nd they suck the O2 out of the air. I would not recommend them and they state not for use in an enclosed space.

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

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one19

65 posts in 1443 days


#6 posted 10-27-2015 07:51 PM

Thanks conifur, but the Mr. Heater Buddy models are in fact approved for indoor use. That’s why I was looking at them…

http://www.mrheater.com/faqs/general/Why-can-the-Buddy-heaters-be-used-indoors-safely/

View JayT's profile

JayT

5861 posts in 2352 days


#7 posted 10-27-2015 07:54 PM

I use a 1500W infrared tower heater in my moderately insulated 110 sq ft shop in Kansas. One of these:

Turn it on an hour or so before I go out and it’ll be warm enough to work unless the temps are very low outside. I’ve used it when outside temps are in the 20’s & 30’s and can keep the shop warm enough to work in short sleeves. Lower temps, like single digits and teens takes a while longer to warm up and I’ll have to wear a long sleeve flannel shirt.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

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one19

65 posts in 1443 days


#8 posted 10-27-2015 08:03 PM

Thanks, JayT! My space is about twice your size… do you think that unit can still be effective? And what’s the electrical usage like for something like that? Thanks!

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JayT

5861 posts in 2352 days


#9 posted 10-27-2015 08:16 PM


Thanks, JayT! My space is about twice your size… do you think that unit can still be effective?

- one19

It’ll warm things up, just not quite as quickly. I think my heater states it’s for rooms up to 400 sq ft and we use a similar one in the house on these cool fall days when a room needs a little boost, but aren’t ready to turn on the furnace, yet.

A lot probably depends on your insulation. I only have R-13 in the roof and three walls, plus an uninsulated wall that abuts the uninsulated garage. So “moderately insulated” in my case is probably generous. On weekends, when the heater runs most of the day, I’ve had it shut off because it hits the 65 degree temp setting.

Being electric, it’s not as efficient as a natural gas furnace, but we’ve not seen any kind of big jump in our electric bill when I’ve used it quite a bit. Adds a few dollars to the bill, but less than buying propane cylinders. My wife probably thinks it’s worth it to get me in the shop and out of her hair. :-)

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

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one19

65 posts in 1443 days


#10 posted 10-27-2015 08:24 PM

Right on, JayT. Appreciate your comments. And my wife has expressed similar sentiments about me staying out of her “hair.” :)

View TinWhiskers's profile

TinWhiskers

179 posts in 1093 days


#11 posted 10-27-2015 08:38 PM

Be wary of cheap or old propane heaters that throw out a ton of heat. Recommend a carbon monoxide monitor.

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

6237 posts in 1279 days


#12 posted 10-27-2015 08:58 PM

I use one like this guy (but I don’t recall if that’s the exact model) in my 20 X 30 two-car garage and it’ll run you out after a while. Garage is fully insulated except for the wall where the bay doors are. I only filled it up twice all last winter. On average when temps are <40 degrees, I probably run it about 5-10 minutes out of every hour.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

2880 posts in 2655 days


#13 posted 10-27-2015 09:01 PM

Although I live in SE Tennessee, I do get some very cold days. I have a 12×24 foot shop with low ceilings and a sunroom above. No insulation in the walls, but one wall is the main house, so that does not count.

I heat very efficiently with a large kerosene heater, and have no problems reaching 70’, even on the coldest days. I did put that foam insulation board in the sections of my garage door, which made a world of difference. I think I used 1/2”.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

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one19

65 posts in 1443 days


#14 posted 10-27-2015 09:14 PM

-I just added that same insulation to my garage door, Tennessee. I’m glad to hear it makes a noticeable difference.

-Thanks HokieKen for the recommendation… doesn’t that thing make a lot of noise though?

View patcollins's profile

patcollins

1687 posts in 3006 days


#15 posted 10-27-2015 09:38 PM

I use this http://www.acehardware.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3706565
kerosene heater, warm up the garage then turn it off. Since I insulated my walls and put up an insulated door it stays warm for a while.

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one19

65 posts in 1443 days


#16 posted 10-27-2015 10:17 PM

I’ve wondered about those kerosene units, patcollins… do they smell badly? I hate the smell of diesel exhaust and some people have told me kerosene heaters are similar. Do you notice a stink?

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

2789 posts in 2437 days


#17 posted 10-27-2015 10:24 PM

DON’T GO KEROSENE! They recommend you leave a window open during operation for fresh air. Defeats the purpose. I had one used in a bedroom of an old house and you would get dizzy and nauseous. DON’T DO KEROSENE!

View patcollins's profile

patcollins

1687 posts in 3006 days


#18 posted 10-27-2015 10:25 PM



I ve wondered about those kerosene units, patcollins… do they smell badly? I hate the smell of diesel exhaust and some people have told me kerosene heaters are similar. Do you notice a stink?

- one19

Not bad at all, the only times it makes much soot and smell is when starting up before it is warmed up completely and when you shut it off it makes a small poof of soot. It doesn’t bother me, but I have to deal with diesel exhaust and jet engine exhaust at work on a regular basis. I don’t care for the diesel exhaust or the jet exhaust and I don’t even notice the kerosene smell in my garage.

I usually open my garage door start the heater and close the door a couple minutes later and go back into the house for a half hr then out into the garage and shut the heater off. I do make sure I have a working smoke/CO2 detector in the garage.

I also bought this for emergency heat as the electric company here doesn’t understand that a tree that can fall into a line should also be trimmed, they only trim trees that are in the electric lines. Some people in the area have been out of power for over a week after a tropical storm or ice storm.

View Gixxerjoe04's profile

Gixxerjoe04

850 posts in 1717 days


#19 posted 10-27-2015 10:44 PM

I have one of the top of the propane unit you get at tractor supply and I assume other places. There’s one with one head and another with two heads, I have the two head unit. It’ll heat up my garage pretty quickly, 20×20 with probably 11 foot ceiling I’d guess. I keep a co2 detector going when I use it and make sure I clean up any dust before turning it on. I try not to keep it running the whole time I’m in there or if I’m using something to create dust. My garage isn’t insulated which really sucks, I was actually looking today at insulated garage doors because I need a new one anyways but dang they’re expensive, and since we’re hoping to be gone by next winter, not going to blow my money.

View clin's profile

clin

927 posts in 1137 days


#20 posted 10-27-2015 10:46 PM

Apologies in advance for long response.

Your space is small enough that a typical 120 V electric space heater might work just fine. I think the largest you’ll find is 1,500 W (that way it works from standard 120 V, 15 A circuit).

All of these 1,500 W heaters put out exactly the same amount of heat. Which is 1,500 W (5,100 BTU/hr).

All will be 100% efficient at converting electricity to heat. Radiant, as most know, can focus the heat and is most often used to aim the heat at the person. Convection (warm air) are better at heating the whole space evenly.

In any case, with the exception of radiate vs convection, any differences are just features or quality. 1,500 W is the same amount of heat for all these electric heaters (NO MATTER WHAT). Things like ceramic won’t give you more heat than plain old filament wires.

As to whether this will work, it depends heavily on how well insulated and sealed the area is. There is no rule of thumb that can be used since insulation can vary widely.

Another big issue is how quickly you want it to heat. While a 1,500 W space heater might do fine, it may take a awhile to warm up the room (like hours) if it has been allowed to get very cold.

Now, some space heater have thermostats. So you could set it to keep the space at some moderate level; like 50 F so at least you don’t have to bring the garage up from freezing temps. But of course that will use electricity and cost money. How much depends, again, on how well insulated the garage is.

For example, if a 1,500 W heater ran 33% of the time (~500 W average), that’s 500 W (0.5 kW) * 24 hr or 12 kWh per day. If your electric rate were $0.10 per kWh that’s $1.20 per day or $36 a month.

Again, well insulated it could run a lot less than that, but could run more. And of course depends on just how cold it is outside and how warm you want it inside.

Obviously gas heaters are going to be much less expensive to run, but cost more up front. Given the unknowns, I’d give a cheap 1,500 W heater a try. You can get an inexpensive 1,500 W heater for less than $25.

Of course if you know that you want to heat a frozen garage up fast, a gas powered heater is what you’ll need. They put out huge amounts of heat.

Again, DO NOT use ANY sort of gas or fuel heater indoors unless it is specifically designed for that, AND still throw a CO detector in the room.

One last thing. If your space is a dedicated workshop, you could consider adding a mini-split heat pump/AC unit. This is not cheap to buy (~$3k installed), but is very efficient to operate plus you get cooling in the summer. This is what I did recently to part of my garage I walled it off and it is now a dedicated workshop.

Obviously, for that kind of money you could run an electric space heater all the time for several winters and not spend that much. But if you plan to be in the place for years, it can be cost effective.

However, since you said running 240 V wasn’t an option, I’m assuming installing some permanent heat/AC system is out of the question as well. But thought I’d throw it out there just the same.

-- Clin

View patcollins's profile

patcollins

1687 posts in 3006 days


#21 posted 10-27-2015 10:58 PM


DON T GO KEROSENE! They recommend you leave a window open during operation for fresh air. Defeats the purpose. I had one used in a bedroom of an old house and you would get dizzy and nauseous. DON T DO KEROSENE!

- dhazelton

Any type of heater that burns fuel recommends that because they vent the combustion products into the room. A properly operating kerosene heater should have very little smell and the combustion products will be very similar to a propane heater. In Japan many homes use one as their primary heat source.

View Tugboater78's profile

Tugboater78

2755 posts in 2333 days


#22 posted 10-27-2015 11:29 PM

I have no real idea what i heat my Shop with and is probably not even an option.

Its a 6ft 120v portable version of an electric baseboard heater i got from a neighbor, while i am leary of using it for long or having it plugged in unattended. It heats my 12×20 uninsulated shed very well. I was in tshirt and short last winter when temps dropped below 0…

Havent looked but i would guess they dont make them anymore.

-- "....put that handsaw to work and make it earn its keep. - summerfi" <==< JuStiN >==>=->

View ZiggyZ's profile

ZiggyZ

65 posts in 2526 days


#23 posted 10-27-2015 11:45 PM

I also lived in Colorado and had a one car garage (10’ x 20’) built in the 50’s. I insulated the ceiling, but that was it. There were gaps by the garage door and man door. I originally bought the 9K BTU Mr. Buddy heater but immediately returned it after trying and finding out that it did not produce enough heat to make it comfortable in my shop. So, I bought the Big Buddy instead (18K BTU) and it worked great. It has a built in fan that I bought the power adapter for that really helped to circulate air throughout the shop. I mounted the unit on the wall and connected it to my 20lb propane tank. It easily heated my space and I think it offers great bang for the buck. I also had tried a small electric heater but that wouldnt raise the temp inside at all. Without forking out 500-1000 dollars for a vented forced air heater like a reznor or modine, the Mr. Buddy line is pretty good IMO.

View fuigb's profile

fuigb

511 posts in 3098 days


#24 posted 10-28-2015 12:01 AM

Big Buddy heater in a two-car attached garage in icy mid-Michigan. The trick is to use the little internal fan to circulate the heat. I’m never hot, but it is warm enough to work comfortably.

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

View one19's profile

one19

65 posts in 1443 days


#25 posted 10-28-2015 01:24 AM

Right on and thanks much for the great comments. I appreciate you guys taking the time to share! And keep it coming because you’ve all given me food for thought…

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

6237 posts in 1279 days


#26 posted 10-28-2015 01:10 PM


-I just added that same insulation to my garage door, Tennessee. I m glad to hear it makes a noticeable difference.

-Thanks HokieKen for the recommendation… doesn t that thing make a lot of noise though?

- one19


Oh yeah. Makes a hell of a racket. That’s how you know it’s working:) Like I said, I only need to run it a small portion of the time I’m in the garage so it doesn’t bother me in the least.


I ve wondered about those kerosene units, patcollins… do they smell badly? I hate the smell of diesel exhaust and some people have told me kerosene heaters are similar. Do you notice a stink?

- one19


I don’t notice any odor at all with mine when it’s running or when it’s not. There is an odor when you fire it up after it hasn’t ran for a while where it burns stuff off the cone but that’s it.

Regarding all the comments about combustion exhaust, any and all gas heaters produce CO. If your garage was air tight, you might need to crack a window or a door but in my space, just the unsealed areas around the bay doors are enough. It’s not so much that you need to get CO out as it is making sure there’s enough fresh air supply. I have a CO detector in my garage, and would advise using one with any gas heater regardless of the gas type, but it’s never been an issue for me.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View bearkatwood's profile

bearkatwood

1640 posts in 1152 days


#27 posted 10-28-2015 01:36 PM

I use an overhead electric heater that works well, I have a two car garage shop and it does a good job of keeping it warm.
http://www.globalindustrial.com/p/hvac/heaters/electric-unit/multi-watt-horizontal-downflow-unit-heater-with-thermostat-208-240v?infoParam.campaignId=T9F&gclid=Cj0KEQjw5MGxBRDiuZm2icXX2-sBEiQA619bq_m1ZsZZVLN_JrF46ooBcrLhQrdEEgETtsZx2B36TAIaAq028P8HAQ
When it gets really cold I pile up some paper and start a small fire in the back corner….. in my wood stove ;)

-- Brian Noel

View Notw's profile

Notw

667 posts in 1894 days


#28 posted 10-28-2015 01:42 PM

I use this one, although I got tired of messing with the small bottles so i got the hose to connect it to a standard 20lb bottle. http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200395499_200395499

View one19's profile

one19

65 posts in 1443 days


#29 posted 10-28-2015 01:46 PM

Thanks bearkatwood, but I really can’t do a 220/240 volt installation. My wife is thinking she wants to move in a couple years and I don’t have anything but 110 in my garage. Even though I could do the actual heater installation and wire up myself, I’d have to pay an electrician to add a 220 circuit to our panel and the missus isn’t keen on spending the money.

Thanks to you too, HokieKen. Unless I opt for electric, I will include a CO2 detector in my plans.

Right now, I’m leaning toward the Big Buddy because it’s quiet, indoor-rated, and probably a good fit for my space. Still, I’m researching and considering all options until I’ve made up my mind for sure.

View one19's profile

one19

65 posts in 1443 days


#30 posted 10-28-2015 01:48 PM

Notw, does that size really do the job for your space? How big a space are you heating with that?

View Eric Johnson's profile

Eric Johnson

1 post in 1082 days


#31 posted 10-28-2015 02:29 PM

I have the same problem. I tried to buy a heater like my neighbor recommended and it works very well.

-- Johnson, NewYork, http://mybestbandsaw.com/

View DrDirt's profile

DrDirt

4462 posts in 3883 days


#32 posted 10-28-2015 03:06 PM

I use an electric heater I got from Northern tool… 8 years later it is still in the top sellers
5000BTU, needs a 240 outlet.

Shop is 14X21 with 10 foot celings. (1 car garage) with 3 exposed walls.
I stay at ~70F with it set at about 30% when it is really howling cold

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View Notw's profile

Notw

667 posts in 1894 days


#33 posted 10-28-2015 08:40 PM



Notw, does that size really do the job for your space? How big a space are you heating with that?

- one19

Not even close, it does good for heating the space right where you are at but if you start moving around the shop it gets cold, I am starting to insulate my garage now and will then upgrade to a larger heater.

View Notw's profile

Notw

667 posts in 1894 days


#34 posted 10-28-2015 08:45 PM



I use an electric heater I got from Northern tool… 8 years later it is still in the top sellers
5000BTU, needs a 240 outlet.

Shop is 14X21 with 10 foot celings. (1 car garage) with 3 exposed walls.
I stay at ~70F with it set at about 30% when it is really howling cold

- DrDirt

I think you have a typo on that unit, I believe it is 5,000 watt 17,065BTU

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