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Thread: Garage heater

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Garage heater

    Hi, i recently completed my garage except for heat. Its 20' x 28'. Im looking for some opinions on what to install. I like the idea of a ceiling mount propane but looking at all options. Thanks for the input.

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    Propane is good, natural gas is about the best & cheapest if its available.
    Some places have open flame regulations if you're doing stuff with flameable liquids or paint.

    I'd check with the local HVAC folks before I bought a new unit.
    They do pull outs to replace entire units where the burner rack and blower are still good or easily fixed.
    Stand it in the corner, strip out the AC coil, and run a duct or two along the ceiling.
    They'd either be cheap, or free for the asking. If it needed a new fan motor, they're not too expensive.

    Something that's a favorite around here is waste oil furnaces.
    They're kind of expensive, but people are happy to bring or give you old oil to fuel it for free.
    Last edited by Winger Ed.; 01-13-2022 at 07:38 PM.
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  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    I have a ceiling mount natural gas heater in my garage, about 24X30 in size. I don't remember if mine could be changed to propane but there are several models that can be changed from natural gas to propane fairly easily.

    I used to heat my 50X70 shop at work with a waste oil heater. *IF* you can get good oil that people haven't dumped antifreeze or who knows what in before bringing it to you, and *IF* you clean and maintain it on a regular basis they work good. Be prepared for a mess if you go used oil heater route. In case you haven't noticed, used oil is a mess. I burned about 15 gallons of oil a day to heat my shop.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
    rockrat's Avatar
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    I have one of the propane wall heaters with 3 different levels of heat. Usually only use the lowest setting

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    We sell 99% gas unit heaters for garages. Electric heat would break the bank around here. Some of the big garages we put 95% house furnaces either installed vertical or horizonal. Unit heaters are about 80% efficient. Keep in mind 95% furnace produce water as a by product.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master Nobade's Avatar
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    For something different, I'm planning on building a rocket mass heater in my new shop. Cheap to build, but a lot of labor. Weighs about 6,000 pounds so you need to be on a good slab. It runs on wood which I have in abundance in WV, and it should make for a nice warm space to inhabit. Another fun DIY project.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    the best shop heater is an infloor hydronic heat system, but if your already done building the shop I guess that ship has sailed.
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  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by rancher1913 View Post
    the best shop heater is an infloor hydronic heat system, but if your already done building the shop I guess that ship has sailed.
    You can do slab on slab and there are spacer boards the thickness of the tube with slots already cut but ya, in the slab is better. In floor Hydronic is my favorite.
    Mal

    Mal Paso means Bad Pass, just so you know.

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
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    Ceiling compact propane or natural gas unit heater. Works great in my garage

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    Get a Modine Hotdawg HD45.
    Propane or natural. Average propane usage in your climate 150 gallons a year.
    I have one in a similar sized shop.
    I have sold them in the past for my day job. Excellent way to go.
    Reznor sells a unit like the Hotdawg that is just as good.
    Vented units are best . The cost more but are nice in a shop.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    I would think in that size, a ceiling mount 220 electric would work nice. It is all I use in a 30x42 (over double the size), well insulated garage. Set low it keeps it above freezing in any weather. Not sure how much time you intend to be out there in the winter. When I want to work in the winter, I just turn it up an hour before and it will be 50ish. Not t-shirt temps but fine for working/reloading in a sweatshirt. No cutting a hole in the roof or propanes tanks to deal with. I couldn't real notice much difference in my electric bill when I put mine in...it is using juice, but not a ton. Now that pheasant season is over, it will be getting turned-up, I will be reloading for our June prairie dog shoot. Oh, and they are cheap at the farm supply stores.
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  12. #12
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nobade View Post
    For something different, I'm planning on building a rocket mass heater in my new shop. Cheap to build, but a lot of labor. Weighs about 6,000 pounds so you need to be on a good slab. It runs on wood which I have in abundance in WV, and it should make for a nice warm space to inhabit. Another fun DIY project.
    Dad told about trying to sleep in a farmhouse in Korea during the war. There was a small fireplace outside at one end of the house. The flue ran under the floor to a chimney at the other end. It was bitter cold out so they built a large fire and slept on the floor. They had just gotten to sleep when the floor got too hot and they had to move outside and set up their tents.
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  13. #13
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    Have you considered an infa-red heater for the area where you work most?

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregLaROCHE View Post
    Have you considered an infa-red heater for the area where you work most?
    ^^^^x2. You'll likely (hopefully!!) Find that your garage floor space is taken up by the vehicle (s) it was intended for and you will be working outside of that footprint. The electric overhead heaters are incredible for felt heat production and more efficient than running something in the floor all the live long day. I work in semi enclosed areas at negative double digits quite frequently and the overhead models are the best by leaps and bounds!
    Unfortunately, I don't have time to wait for the wood stove, when I have the time and I would like to get something done in my garage or shop - I would like to warm it up as soon as possible.

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    Last edited by cwtebay; 01-14-2022 at 01:21 AM.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    I have a wood stove in my shop. Put an oscillating fan above & behind the stove and use that to direct heat into the far reaches of the place as needed. I also rigged a 1/4 copper line into the burn box (just drilled a hole and stuck the pipe in) to drip used motor oil over the burning wood. Petcock valve to regulate flow rate. An old barrel, of a reasonable size, wall mounted away from the stove to contain the oil. It's just pure amazing how much heat come from dripping a little oil over the firewood as they burn.

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by 725 View Post
    I also rigged a 1/4 copper line into the burn box (just drilled a hole and stuck the pipe in) to drip used motor oil over the burning wood. .
    A buddy had a similar set up.
    He cut the top off a old water heater, filled it with junk car parts- cylinder heads, brake drums, springs, whatever.
    Then welded the top back on and chimneyed it outside.

    He'd drip used oil into it at the bottom and let it burn off.
    It quit smoking when it got hot and you could run it hot enough to glow.
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  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    The shop I worked for had a propane fired ceiling mounted infra-red heater the 100' length of the building. Nice heat and pretty efficient.

    If coal is available in your area, it's a great source of heat. I have a self feeding coal stove that burns rice coal. It does need 110V power tho, to run the blower & feed motor. Other stoves that burn chestnut coal don't require any power, which is nice if there's a power outage. Stoke em twice a day and you're good to go.

    I used to burn a lot of wood. Dragging out downed trees, cutting, splitting, stacking wood was getting way to much for me. I was a slave to the wood pile. Only handle coal once, and the ashes take care of the ice on the driveway. Way safer too, burns clean, no chimney fires, no getting up on the roof to clean the chimney. And coal prices are much more stable than oil and propane. Really worked out well for me.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master


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    I wish I could buy coal where I am. I’ve used it in the past. Amazing how much heat you can get out of a little bit of coal.

  19. #19
    Boolit Grand Master Nobade's Avatar
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    From what I read, coal for residential heat was outlawed at the federal level just a few years ago. Since I'll be living on the edge of coal country it looked like a good option until I discovered that.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by Nobade View Post
    From what I read, coal for residential heat was outlawed at the federal level just a few years ago. Since I'll be living on the edge of coal country it looked like a good option until I discovered that.
    That's odd. There is an Amishman nearby who sells coal stoves and in the other direction a business my son used to work at that sells both stoves and coal. fyi I am located an hour south of Rochester, NY.
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