How-to

The Best Way to Heat a Garage in Winter

You go out to your garage to do some work. Stepping inside you find it to be very cold. Damn winter. Well, there are some things you can do to heat up your garage and today we will be talking about that.

Best Way to Heat a Garage Workshop

Mr. Heater F260560 Forced Air Garage Heater

If you need to heat a larger workshop up to 2,000 sq. ft. this unit will do the job. This is a natural gas burning unit with an 80,000 BTU per hour rating. The F260560 comes with a natural gas to propane conversion if you have a propane supply. Includes a 3-year warranty.

Mr. Heater 40,000 BTU Natural Gas Infrared Heater

This infrared heater requires no electricity to operate and no noisy fan. It is powered by natural gas and can heat up an area up to 750 sq. ft.

Clearances required to operate: 36″ from the top, 30″ from the sides and back. Includes a thermostat.

Dyna Glo 18,000 BTU Propane Heater

If you are looking to heat a smaller area in the garage this propane heater will do the job. It has a built-in oxygen depletion shutoff so you can safely use it indoors. There are four locking casters so you can move it around the shop.

240V Infrared Heater 4800/5600W

This infrared heater is rated to heat up areas up to 600 sq. ft. and has an overheat cut-off safety switch. Since this heater runs on 240 volts, you will need a heavy-duty outlet in the garage.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Garage Heater

Now before you go out and buy a heater for your garage you should check some things first:

Inspect all weather seals

The rubber seals around the garage door help keep out drafts and the warm air in. If the cold air is getting in then your heater won’t work as efficiently. You want to make sure your garage is sealed or you waste energy trying to heat it.

Check the weatherstripping on the door for any cracks or breaks. Don’t forget to inspect the rubber seal on the bottom of the door as well. The bottom rubber takes the most abuse and tends to get damaged.

Garage door threshold

Installing a rubber threshold on the floor under the garage door can help keep the cold air outside. These are installed with a silicone adhesive.

If your garage has windows don’t forget to check the seals.  There are shrink film kits available to help seal windows in the winter.

Insulate the garage door

If your garage door isn’t insulated the heat will escape. Consider insulating it with a DIY kit.

Insulated garage door

Measure the square footage of your garage

Calculating the square footage will determine what kind of heater you need. You don’t want a heater too small to heat the size of garage right?

Getting the square footage of your garage is easy:

  1. Measure the length and width of the inside walls
  2. Multiply these two numbers

Example: A 22 ft by 22 ft garage has 484 square feet of space.

Using this number we can determine how many watts of heating power we need. A good guideline is 10 watts for every square foot of space.¹

So our 484 sq ft garage would need a 48,400-watt heater.

Types of Garage Heaters

There are a few options when it comes to heaters, each with their own pros and cons.

Forced Air Gas Heaters

These heaters burn either natural gas or propane and blow the warm air around the room. They can be wall-mounted or overhead units and need a gas supply to operate.

Pros: 

  • Forced air units can heat up a room quickly and efficiently.

Cons:

  • These are expensive units to buy and install. You will need gas or propane to fuel the heater.
  • You have to consider the cost of installing the heater such as an electrician and gas fitter.
  • Since these blow air around the shop dust can be a concern.

Radiant Heaters

Radiant heaters work a bit different than forced air heaters. The heat is not blown with a fan. This is more efficient because the heater warms up objects and people rather than the air.² Radiant heaters can be either gas or electric.

Pros:

  • No fan to blow around dust and quieter operation.
  • More efficient than forced air units.

Cons:

  • Radiant heaters are generally more expensive than other units.
  • Requires tapping into existing gas lines to fuel the heater.

Portable Electric Heaters

Portable heaters are good for heating up a small area and they can be moved around easily. Electric heaters can be either 120 or 220-volts. The 220-volt models will need their own dedicated plug to operate.

Pros:

  • Portable and easy to move around.
  • Not as expensive as other heating systems.

Cons:

  • Not as good as larger heaters for heating up the garage.
  • Some heaters need their own dedicated power outlet.

Source:

¹ http://www.newair.com/articles/how-to-size-garage-heater/

² https://indeeco.com/news/2014/11/05/how-does-radiant-heat-work

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