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garage heater

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by kdiman, Dec 13, 2007.

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  1. kdiman

    kdiman New Member

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    I was wondering what you guys recommend for a garage heater that would be cheap to run. I was going to go natural gas but it is to expensive. It cost me $50 a month just to run a hot water heater. Any ideas would be appreciated.

    Kelly

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  2. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    What do you have for your home heat? If it's forced hot water, you can get a Modine heater, which uses hot water to heat the air. Smith's Environmental is actually my preferred brand, since their PSH (http://smithsenvironmental.com/html/psh.html) heaters look a lot less "industrial" than the Modine heaters, deliver enough heat for most garages, are quiet, and cost essentially the same as the Modine.

    If you don't have forced hot water, the Rinnai gas space heaters are some of the most efficient ones out there. The direct venting system draws air from outside to burn, so you don't have to worry about fumes that can be present in garages.

    Joe
  3. kdiman

    kdiman New Member

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    In the house i have central heat and air. I just didn't know if there would be anything cheaper than natural gas to heat my garage.
  4. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    You'd probably just have to look at your bill and see what your local rate is for the various options. My gas / electric bounce around from year to year - electricity seems to be winning out in the past few years, though. Possibly thanks to the local nuclear plant quietly pumping out about 2GW into the local grid.

    So find out what you are paying per therm (ccf) of natural gas and per KWh of electricity, then figure a therm is 100,000btu and a KWh is 3413 btu, and get a rough estimate of your gas heater efficiency, electric will be about 100%, then just plug in the numbers, normalize for 100,000 btu -


    $ per therm / efficiency = cost per 100K btu heat of gas

    $ per kw * (100,000 / 3413 btu) = cost per 100k btu electricity

    In my case:

    $1.42/therm / .78 = $1.82 per 100K btu delivered

    $0.06/kwh * (29.30) = $1.76 per 100K btu delivered

    Also take into account what you will be doing in the garage - working on cars/gasoline, painting, solvents, etc would not be a good match if you had to add a gas heater in the garage - the fumes might not like the electric spark of the thermostat in an electric heater, either. If you try to run a duct off of the central furnace, ideally, you would use a air return as well - or you'll be pumping quite a volume of air outside the 'envelope' of the main house. But then do you want the garage fumes to be sucked back into the house?

    There are many solutions, you'll just have to decide what is best for you.
  5. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    You didn't say why you wanted to heat the garage, or for how long. I heat my detached garage only when I plan to be in there working on a project AND it is really cold. Otherwise it can just stay cold!
  6. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    When doing this analysis it becomes apparent that the difference in efficiency might be a major factor. Any freestanding electrical heater device will be 100% efficient at getting those btus to your garage. A gas heater with a chimney will be sending some percentage of the heat out with the exhaust and so being less than 100% efficient, say 80% efficient which is what new central NG furnaces are allowed to be.

    I use a propane tank mounted Mr. Buddy to take the chill off when working outside. I also need to ventilate the room to prevent waking up dead. If that was unacceptable then I would roll out the big kerosene heater and heat the garage.
  7. kdiman

    kdiman New Member

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    right now i use one of them blowers when i am out there that run on propane, but it is a pain in the ass to fill up propane tanks. I would like to keep it above freezing all of the time so chemicals and paint are ok. So say like 40 when i am not out there. I work on cars in there mainly.

    Kelly
  8. saichele

    saichele Minister of Fire

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    I've gone to a Kero setup. I have NG running to the Garage, but the way it goes for me is this:

    1) I'm in the garage maybe a couple 3 or 4 hr stints on the weekend, and maybe a couple hrs one night a week (10-12 hrs/week tops). So I just can''t bring myself to heat it all the time. Got a broken 100K BTU kero torpedo heater, which brings the garage up from natural (10-20F a lot of the time) to 45 or 50 in about 20 minutes. Then I have a 30K BTU radiant Kero that can maintain, but I figure I'd either need to burn 30K all the time to keep it warm, or have a shop heater capable of 70 or 80K minimum to bring it up to temp.

    On the upside, you don't have to fill the kero heaters as often, you can burn biodiesel in the kero torpedos (apparently not in the wick type), and they're more efficient. I actually run the new ULS Diesel in mine, and they're damn near odorless too.

    Steve
  9. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    The condensation can be a drag.
  10. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Don't burn diesel in your wick style kero heater because diesel is #2 fuel oil where kerosene is #1 fuel oil and much thinner. The thick #2 oil won't wick as well, like sucking concrete through a straw. Don't try thinning your #2 into #1 with gasoline either, for some reason it doesn't work.

    Many places sell bulk kerosene at lower prices than the 5 gallon pails from HD. My convection style kero heater is 26000 btus I believe.
  11. saichele

    saichele Minister of Fire

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    I burned the ULSD in all the heaters all last season, no worries. But I only use 'winter' diesel, which in this part of the world is pretty thin. (winter temps well below 0F). I've been told biodiesel will leave a waxy film on wick heaters.

    Steve
  12. Czech

    Czech Minister of Fire

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    Although absolutely not code and I'm not suggesting this, but I burn a wall mounted unvented propane heater. Yes, it does have an low O2 shut off, so at least I'm a little bit safer. It is hooked to a 30 gallon tank, the fittings get the soap water soak everytime I plan to use it. I don't use it often, usaully only when I need to twist a wrench during the winter months. By the way, the Little Buddy heaters also have low O2 shut downs (at least mine does and it is old), anything with a low O2 should save your rear from waking up dead.
  13. pegdot

    pegdot New Member

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    If it's just a matter of having a place to store paint so that it doesn't freeze Pook has the right idea. Building an insulated cabinet and heating it with a light bulb is pretty easy. I have one that's nothing more than one of those gigantic coolers that serious beer drinkers and fishermen use. I just cut a hole in one end, for the cord, and then mounted the light fixture to the inside wall. I used a piece of hardware cloth to section off the bulb so nothing could be stacked right up against it. I DO NOT store solvents in it though!

    I also insulated an old metal wall locker and did pretty much the same thing but since the bulb is in the bottom of the cabinet it seems to heat a little more evenly. It just takes a little tweaking to figure out what size bulb to use to keep it above freezing. If you wanted to get really fancy you could probably put a thermostat on it.

    If you want to keep the whole garage above freezing how about oil filled radiators? At least there's little danger of a spark with those.
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