Garage Heating Ideas

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Forum topic by Brad posted 01-17-2009 12:43 PM 9871 views 0 times favorited 30 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Brad's profile


129 posts in 3772 days

01-17-2009 12:43 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I recently moved to Washington state from Southern California and geez my garage is FREEZING. It’s a 3 car garage so i was wondering if there are some folks out there with some suggestions about how to get the space cozy enough to work in… not hovering in the 20’s and 30’s. I can’t spend alot maybe $100-$150.


-- Brad --

30 replies so far

View FlWoodRat's profile


732 posts in 3907 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 3772 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 3813 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 3524 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 3776 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 3873 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

4024 posts in 4062 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 3712 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 3759 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 3751 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 3767 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 3712 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 3772 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 3797 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 3448 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

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