Will my frustration ever end? Heating and cooling question.

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Forum topic by americanwoodworker posted 07-03-2012 02:55 PM 1904 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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185 posts in 2372 days

07-03-2012 02:55 PM

I am just now really getting into woodworking. I saved up for many years to build a dedicated shop for woodworking. Shopped around for a building and decided on a metal building. Since I would be doing all the work myself. I settled on a building from American Steel Span due to the price and construction method. Big mistake. I get the building in and find out I need special shaped rebar pieces and Special grade rebar. I talked to the manufacturer and they say well you can avoid that and just buy so and so for an additional few thousand dollars. I opted for ingenuity and shape the bars myself.

Then I decide it’s time to insulate and what do you know. For an additional thousand dollars I can get the special pins to attach insulation. I thought it would only be a hundred bucks or so. So after months of research I finally found something that is not as good but will work. Then I realize I cannot attach nothing to walls like shelving or the ceiling so all shelving has to be built free standing. Which adds up. So all in all I should have stuck with a stick built shop where everything you buy is based on that type of construction. Lesson Learned.

Now I get to the heating side of things. After speaking with my insurance company they say it would be better for an exterior type stove do too flammable finishes and wood dust. I spent hours on building an extremely safe outdoor wood burning stove only to be told they would rather it inside because what if the door blows open and I don’t know it. So I move it inside. They then say well it’s not UL approved so they can’t allow it. So I trade with a buddy of mine for a smaller “UL approved” stove. They then say well I can’t have any flammables inside the building and that they changed their mind and won’t allow a wood burning stove at all in a building.

Now I am shopping for new insurance and the best I can come up with is $500 more per year. The Ins. I have is a good company. They were very pleasant to work with during our tornado damage. So the extra cost doesn’t necessarily mean I will get a better ins. comp. to deal with. Now I am debating on just going natural gas heating since my purpose of a wood stove was to save money on heating bills. But why go through the extra labor to cut firewood when I won’t be saving really any money?

So now what? Do I go natural gas or just continue on the path of wood? What are your thoughts? What do you use?

Also, do any of you cool your shop, or just stay out of it when it gets hot? Right now outside temp is around 115 and inside the shop is around 95 to 100.

Thanks for reading my rant. Just very frustrated. I want to really start working wood, not a big empty shop to look at all day because I can’t use it.

-- Your freedom to be you, includes my freedom to be free from you.

20 replies so far

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3584 days

#1 posted 07-03-2012 02:59 PM

I just bought a new metal shed 20 foot by ten foot but I just want it for storing wood so no probs with insulation heating etc but guess what yesteday I broke my foot so cant get it built yet. Alistair

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

View knotheadswoodshed's profile


219 posts in 2171 days

#2 posted 07-03-2012 03:09 PM

It would seem that unless you have an abundance of free, cut wood, it would make more sense to go with Natural gas and avoid all the hassles you have been experiencing

-- Randy - "I dont make mistakes, I make design change opportunities"

View dbhost's profile


5711 posts in 3230 days

#3 posted 07-03-2012 03:31 PM

For starters, get their recommendations down on paper before you plop down a single penny, obviously too late to prevent what you have been through, but not too late for future reference.

I am no expert on this, but I believe there are UL approved / listed wood fired boilers on the market that you can use to drive an in floor radiant heat system. No combustion takes place in the shop building itself, so no fire danger there, good solid constant heat top to bottom. But then again, it sounds like you already laid down the slab, so a little bit late for that one…

IF I were to start with a metal building, with no HVAC, the approach would depend on what is available, how big of a building you are talking about etc… But there are some key items to consider…

#1. First things first, make sure the building itself isn’t dumping heat out through every single seam. Control your air flow through caulk, gaskets and any other means at your disposal. #2. Radiant barriers, not just for keeping the hot sun out, but during the winter, good for keeping your warm air in. At least radiant wise. #3. Think you have enough insulation? Double it and you might be getting close. #4. It won’t help if it’s not there yet, at least for a few years while they grow, but plant some shade trees to shade the south, and west sides of the building and roof. This will help reduce your heat gain during the summer months. #5. If combustion in the shop, of any sort is a fire concern for your insurance company, and your safety sake, sealed electrical heat, or remote fired radiant systems are just about your only real choices. Talk with your insurance company in depth about what they recommend, and get it in writing! #6. Yes I cool my shop. It’s the only way I can work out there in the summer. I have an attached garage workshop, and use a simple portable unit air conditioner plumbed through 5” dryer vents in the wall. Been that way for years and the HOA hasn’t made a peep about it yet. If you are under say about 500 square feet, a large window combo heat / air conditioning units. My portable unit was selected due to lack of windows and HOA restrictions, but I don’t get the impression you are limited thusly…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

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Mainiac Matt

8046 posts in 2327 days

#4 posted 07-03-2012 03:59 PM

wow….. thanks for reminding me why I live in a rural area.

After sitting on the board for a condo assoc. years ago…. I’ll never have anything to do with condos or HOAs again. Having neigbors is way over rated :^)

Put your money into good insulation, then slap some electric baseboards in there and call it done.

-- It’s the knowledge in your head, skill in your hands and motivation to create in you heart that makes you a woodworker. - Mainiac Matt

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3584 days

#5 posted 07-03-2012 04:03 PM

modern wood burning stoves are not what they used to be they are miraculous nowadays.Ask away you will be pleasently surprised with the new stuff for sale good luck and best wishes. Alistair

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

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

8046 posts in 2327 days

#6 posted 07-03-2012 04:57 PM

Modern wood stoves are indeed awesome….but insurance companies hate them anyways….

if they let you go with the UL listed wood stove… be prepared to provide them with a certificate from the state licensed installer that installed it for you…

You were, of course, going to have it installed by a licensed installer, weren’t you?

It is not going to end….

-- It’s the knowledge in your head, skill in your hands and motivation to create in you heart that makes you a woodworker. - Mainiac Matt

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2969 days

#7 posted 07-03-2012 06:01 PM

I can’t imagine any reason why a wood fired boiler, outdoors, could ever be a problem with insurance on the shop. The only connection between the boiler and the shop is a set of water pipes and a thermostat. You need to get insurance from someone else. You can’t fix stupid.

In my area I have found Farm Bureau of Tennessee to be extremely easy to deal with and very competetive. Perhaps there is a comparable provider in your area.

View americanwoodworker's profile


185 posts in 2372 days

#8 posted 07-04-2012 01:11 PM

Actually it wasn’t a boiler I built. It was a forced air heater with an 8 inch heat exchanger that would run into the shop from the outside. Not to keen on building something with high pressures. My buddy that I traded with has a larger shop then I that is uninsulated. He had to open his doors the first time he used it because it got way to hot inside for him.

What really ticked me off was that they would not allow a home built stove with 1/2inch thick walls. But they had no problem with a “UL” approved stove made from 12 gauge steel (7/64)!

Just don’t know what to do.

-- Your freedom to be you, includes my freedom to be free from you.

View dhazelton's profile


2767 posts in 2295 days

#9 posted 07-04-2012 01:23 PM

I have a Miracle steel building. When I put it up I thought ‘oh, I’ll insulate later.’ Now that it’s full of crap and shelving I can’t stand being out there if it’s over 90. It has a 14 ft ceiling so adding insulation when I was building it would have been far easier as I could have rented a rolling scaffold. Now I just kick myself.

View americanwoodworker's profile


185 posts in 2372 days

#10 posted 07-04-2012 02:02 PM

I did that same thing! I had to move all my crap to the middle and insulate perimeter walls, then move it all out to the edge and insulate the middle. That sucked but I got it done. To think, I was gona wait till later to pour the floor.

-- Your freedom to be you, includes my freedom to be free from you.

View kizerpea's profile


774 posts in 2366 days

#11 posted 07-04-2012 02:27 PM

Yes u need a certified state licensed installer to do this for you…...regulations…....naoh had a licensed boat builder build his ARK …he just took the credit for the job…next u will need a engineer to approve your method for using a hammer an nail..yep thats right…with out a certificate from the new yankee thay will canel your heath ins. because u mite hit a finger an need a few stiches i have ins on my shop an the agent has never seen it..took some pic of the outside an e-mailed to him an that was it…an i have a wood stove i installed it… thanks for leting me vent ….i feel better now


View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2674 days

#12 posted 07-04-2012 09:24 PM

I don’t know where you live but would an electric heat pump meet your needs? All you would need to do is keep the filter clean and set the thermostat where you are comfortable.

View americanwoodworker's profile


185 posts in 2372 days

#13 posted 07-05-2012 12:40 AM

From what I have researched, a heat pump won’t work for me. I do not know much about them but from what I can tell the temps here in Kansas wont be very compatible. In the winter our temp will get below freezing quite often, but it’s the wind that worries me. Many times we get 5 to 10 below wind chill. Makes your breath freeze instantly on your whiskers.

But, like I said, I am not real educated on heat pumps.

-- Your freedom to be you, includes my freedom to be free from you.

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3307 days

#14 posted 07-05-2012 01:02 AM

I would have spray foam insulation put in your shop. Most energy efficient move you could possibly make. My shop (24×40) is not metal but I have spray foam and when it is 95-100 degrees outside my shop is very comfortable inside. Never need heat. I have a window A/C unit that has a heat coild also and have never turned it on for the heat. Once in a very rare occasion I will turn the A/C on for a short period.

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2921 days

#15 posted 07-05-2012 01:26 AM

My shop is 12×30 metal building. I put radiant foil insulation on the ceiling and 1/2 foil faced foam in between the studs. Have a 12000btu a/c in one end and a 5600btu window unit in the other. Keeps it around 78 inside even when it 95 outside. Heating isn’t a problem since I live in Florida. In Ohio I used a propane forced air furnace out of a double wide house. Worked fine.

-- Life is good.

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