Need help deciding on heat for my new shop _Please !!

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Forum topic by 1yeldud1 posted 06-13-2012 09:44 PM 2030 views 0 times favorited 34 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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301 posts in 3035 days

06-13-2012 09:44 PM

Just finished my new wood shop / garage – 26 feet by 26 feet with 8 foot ceilings in Northern Missouri. I have 4 inches of insulation in the walls and have 6 inches in the ceilings with double pain windows, insulated doors and an insulated walk thru door. I have a new 200 hundred amp electrical service and have the option of installing a natural gas line later this fall. What I’m wondering is that at this point I will have to pay only a electrical bill . If I will install the natural gas line I will be paying the minimum charge for the gas line ALL spring, summer, and part of the fall. I was pondering the use of a forced air ELECTRIC hanging heater so I will not have the gas bill in the off season. Can some of you experienced lumberjocks help me with this decision. Ive never used electric heat – only natural gas furnaces in my house. Thank you guys and gals for your wisdom !!

34 replies so far

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2797 days

#1 posted 06-13-2012 10:00 PM

You may want to try something like this: It will heat up to 600sq. feet. You may get a better price on it somewhere else. I was shocked when I went to Northern to find a link for you because it’s been quite a few years ago when I bought mine. I paid 229 or 249 I think, but, it’s only a 5000 watt.
I have the 5000 watt model & it heats my shop just fine. My shop is a 16×30 with 9’ ceilings. Just my 2-cents. Good luck with whatever you choose.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View a1Jim's profile


117085 posts in 3570 days

#2 posted 06-13-2012 10:00 PM

I don’t know what your minimum charges for gas are but usually natural gas is far less expensive than electric.
In Oregon code for insulating a roof is R-38 and most of Oregon has a much milder winter that you do, So I would consider adding more insulation to your roof .6” of insulation is only about R-19.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10473 posts in 3422 days

#3 posted 06-13-2012 10:22 PM

I agree with A1Jim about the need for more insulation and gas vs. electric heat.
Check out Procomm gas heaters. They are ventless and most models have a flameless version. I have one and it heats a 36X24 shop with 10’ and 7’ ceilings. Does an excellent job.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2279 days

#4 posted 06-13-2012 10:25 PM

Take a look at radiant cove heating.
MUCH more comfortable than heated air blowing around. It heats objects rather than the air. Basically everything in your shop becomes a heat sink. You can work comfortably at lower temperatures. Kinda like being out in the sun on a 65 degree day. Operating costs aren’t bad. You can figure out what it would cost to run if you know what you’re charged per KWhr of electricity. (It’s on your bill somewhere)

If you burn gas, you introduce moisture. It’s a product of combustion. With the radiant heaters, you have no glowing element, no pilot light, no open flame, so you don’t have to worry about dust ignition or vapors from finishing.

View AandCstyle's profile


3050 posts in 2250 days

#5 posted 06-14-2012 12:04 AM

I agree with Charlie about radiant heat. Another feature is that since the objects are heated (think cast iron surfaces) and the air isn’t, you won’t get rust causing condensation on your tools. :)

-- Art

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3473 days

#6 posted 06-14-2012 12:59 AM

I am a bit confused about the miinimum gas charge that you mentioned. Is your house heated with gas? Why not just run a line off the house to the shop…wouldnt that avoid a separate feed and a minimum gas charge? I use a Modine Hot Dawg gas heater in my shop and it works great. My shop is attached to the house so it was easy to just run a gas line from the house out to the shop. I have about 450 sq ft.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10473 posts in 3422 days

#7 posted 06-14-2012 01:20 AM

We use propane. To avoid tapping of the tank that serves the house, I just bought a 50 gal. tank and set it out side the shop to run the Procomm heater. I go through less than two tanks per winter. I’m in the shop 5-6 hrs, 7 days a week. Of course, winter here is short and hardly ever gets below 20 deg. during the day. Being AZ high desert, rust from the gas heat is not a biggie.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2656 posts in 2915 days

#8 posted 06-14-2012 01:29 AM

Gas heat will not add moisture to the air in your shop. The moisture generated goes out the flue. Gas heat is cheaper than electric most everywhere. Even propane is cheaper than elect is.

-- Website is No PHD just a DD214 and a GED

View 1yeldud1's profile


301 posts in 3035 days

#9 posted 06-14-2012 03:24 AM

My shop has a attic – I have 2 by 8 rafters that I have filled with insulation between the attic floor and the ceiling of the garage. Im basically stuck with that amount of insulation unless I rip up the floor of my attic and “raise the floor. My garage sits in a lot adjacent to my original lot. I kept the title and all utilities separate in case I sell my house – that way my married kids and myself will still have a shop. Gas will cost me a minimum of $25.00 every month even if I dont use it. That is why I was looking into possibly just using electric heat.

View AlbertaJim's profile


47 posts in 2422 days

#10 posted 06-14-2012 03:32 AM

When it was going to cost me $2,000 to install a natural gas line and furnace in my 24’ x 24’ garage I nearly fainted. I went to Princess Auto (the Canadian equivalent of Harbor Freight) I picked up a 220v space heater, cord, and the equipment to run a 30 amp from a welding plug. All this for $250. When I wanted heat in my shop for gluing & finishing I use it without busting my electrical bill.

-- My Boss was a carpenter

View a1Jim's profile


117085 posts in 3570 days

#11 posted 06-14-2012 04:49 AM

sounds like you already had decided on electric . Maybe it would be best to ask what electric heater you should get.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View 1yeldud1's profile


301 posts in 3035 days

#12 posted 06-14-2012 09:51 AM

oh no sir – i’ve still got several months before heat will be needed in Missouri. Im just checking out the wisdom of the lumberjock community to see what I should do. Electric would be easy but if gas is that much cheaper then it would be a no brainer to continue getting it installed. My furnace installer is leaning toward gas with a price in the range of 1500 to 1800 installed. I really do value ever ones opinion on this matter and would like to have everyone’s input as far as what type or model to look at. Thanks !

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4980 posts in 2486 days

#13 posted 06-14-2012 11:40 AM

That installation cost strikes me as fairly high, but in 2 cases I did my own install, and it depends on which heater/furnace you get. IMHO, there is no reason not to get the gas put in…..even with the charges you mentioned it will be a lot cheaper than anything that runs on electric. My first shop was a detached 24×28 x 9, and insulated much like yours (did have 2 overhead doors, one 12’ and one 9’). I heated it with a direct vent 45K BTU wall furnace. This was LP, and since everything else in our house was on the same tank, I have no way of knowing how much I burned for the shop. The new shop which is 24×32 x 8 is also heated by a 45K direct vent, but it’s a ceiling type (like a Modine). Last year I burned 100 gallons of LP (put a meter on this shop) though that was an extremely mild winter.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2257 days

#14 posted 06-14-2012 03:57 PM

I’m just going to add this as an option as I’m not really that experienced in heating in really cold climates. Have you considered an efficient wood burning stove?

I know it takes up floor space and needs clearance, but you could run it off of scraps and some firewood and they can heat fairly large spaces vs the size they take up. Of course their’s always a concern of burning down your shop, but I think that’s realistically a fear with just about any heater if they malfunction.

It’s something I was considering for the shop I’m going to build so I figured I’d mention it here.

Something like:


-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View benchbuilder's profile


284 posts in 2443 days

#15 posted 06-14-2012 04:16 PM

First, get more insulation in the attic, it will make your shop easier to heat. Then go to lowes and get two wall heaters, electric, 10,000watt I believe for $84 each and run 220vac to them and your set. The heaters have thermostates and with one in the wall on two sides of the shop you will have more than enough heat and at a good price. I did this and the increase to the electric bill was about $15 more per mo. during the winter. Then when spring comes, turn them off.

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