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Old 11-12-2004, 07:38 AM
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Question Need help deciding on garage heater

I have a 960 sq foot garage in Wisconsin with R19 insulation in the walls and above ceiling and 9 foot ceilings. I just finished running natural gas from the house to the garage, and now need to decide on a heater. I have a large cabinet full of paint and chemicals that I don't want to freeze, and I need to decide on a heater quick (it was 22 degrees F last night - but the garage being insulated kept it above 32 so far.) I want something as efficient as possible as I want to leave it running all winter with a thermostat set at about 40.
So, I'm looking for a natural gas heater that is very efficient with a thermostat that I can set down to about 40 or so. I have two in mind, one radiant and one forced air; the radiant sounds like a good idea, but i'd likely need two for my space which drives the price up - which is the last requirement; I'd like to stay under $300. (I already have over 200 invested in the CSST and pvc that I used to run the natural gas out to the garage.)

So, my questions are; has anyone used this radiant heater, or one like it? I like the idea of an efficient heater that heats surfaces (I also will be opening the garage door every day as my daily drivers will be in here and heated surfaces like the floor won't loose as much heat as heated air would - plus laying on a warm floor is nicer.) The large heater in a 45,000 or 60,000 btu would probably fit the bill nicer, but I'm guessing I'll loose more heat when the door opens and isn't as efficient so the monthly cost would go up. Does anyone with some experience in this area have any advice? Could I possibly get away with one radiant heater?

Here is the link the the radiant heater I was considering. It comes with a thermostat etc.:
http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/w...=25606&R=25606

Here is the forced air type I was thinking of; it would also require a thermostat and piping and I may need a little higher rated one (60,000 or so based on what reasearch I've been doing):
http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/w...59&R=200307959

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Old 11-12-2004, 12:03 PM
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I wouldn't worry about the lost heat when you open the doors. The thermal mass will retain enough heat so it will recover fast enough. If you only want to keep it at 40, just about anything would work, as you are only trying to bring up the temps 40 MAX. (Very few times below zero, right?) Now if you were trying to maintain 70, I would go towards 80,000 btu.
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Old 11-12-2004, 12:26 PM
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If it is any indication

Our shop heaters..(forced air style) were replaced with radiant heaters..was much nicer believe me..

Have you thought of putting a lite buld in your shop closets..a 110 watt bulb puts out a lot of heat and we used that trick to keep our welding rod dry in an old reefer..could work to keep your materials from freezing..just a thought anyway..

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Old 11-12-2004, 04:50 PM
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Go with the forced air heater of about 45000 btu's. If that garage was kept closed and you wanted to maintain 40, you could heat it with a cup of Sterno and a roll of toilet paper for week at 22 degrees outside temp.

Your thermostat won't go down to 40 degrees in most cases, so therefore you have lean it over (read, MOUNT IT CROOKED ) on the wall and keep a stick thermometer next to it. The reason being is so that the mercury contained in the thermostat won't make contact as readily, and will delay the heater from lighting until it gets to the temperature that you selected ( by adjusting the crookedness of the base of the thermostat ). If you move the adjusting lever a way to the left it will go OFF and the burner won't light and then you will have multicoloured popsicles instead. As someone else suggested, put a 100 watt light bulb in the cabinet for insurance or move the paint into the house where you have more control of it. If the power goes out the gas ain't going to light anyhow and you will have to find an alterate way to protect it from freezing.

A divider wall between parking area and shop comes to mind or even a roll down curtain will work too. Try and keep the two areas separated if you want to retain the heat where you need it.

I had a neighbour who left on a skiing trip with his family early one morning and thought he clicked the door down on the shop when he left. Came back three days later and found the heater just roaring and the snow on the drive melted 10 feet out from the shop. His biggest surprise was the $400 gas bill he received from Gas and Power the next month. Something to think about.
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Old 11-12-2004, 05:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Beenaway2long
(Very few times below zero, right?)
Ha. Ha ha. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.....

Xenocide is from WISCONSIN. We have windchills from 50 to 70 Below. And if it isn't below zero on a winter day up here...we break out the bathing suits and beach umbrellas.

BTW Xenocide, I have a 45,000 Modine Hot Dawg in my shop (670 sq ft). I don't heat it overnight but when I flick in on in the morning it only takes about 5-10 minutes to heat it up (I run it at 57 while I'm working out there - which I find comfortable enough).

I don't know how that radiant heater works but be aware that if it is not vented it might result in some moisture problems. I have LP and my gas man warned me VERY strongly against any type of ventless heater (the gas co. sells all types of heaters so they have no vested interest one way or the other) based on a number of his customers who installed them and then quickly tore them out because of huge moisture and condensation problems.
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Old 11-12-2004, 06:45 PM
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The radiant heaters work the best for shops. Keep in mind that the radiant heater you are looking at are 100% efficient and the forced air is about 85%+ due to the fact that it is vented. So your 45,000 btu is actually about a 35,000 btu. I prefer the radiant type heaters myself.

Since you are on a budget you might want to consider getting a wall mounted "blue flame" heater. They have a built in thermostat and are around $199.00 for a 30,000 btu. Northern number 173954-2501. You can get a blower for them for another $34.99.

Hope this helps

John

Just saw another one for $149.99 #173962-2501, not sure if this one has a thermostat though.

Last edited by propaniac; 11-12-2004 at 06:51 PM.
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Old 11-14-2004, 03:51 PM
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I had a ventless propane in my garage the last few years and never had a problem with moisture. For some reason I never have had a problem with moisture in any type of weather. But now I have a 65.000 BTU furnace hooked up thet used to be in the house. I told the wife I needed it worse than she did so I pulled it out of the house Not really...we installed a new furnace last year. Works like a charm. What you can do is check around places where they sell Mobile Homes and see if they have trade in older mobile homes that are due to be scrapped out and look into the wall furnaces for them. Sometimes you can get these for a few bucks. I had one last year I only paid $50 for but ended up selling it because I was going to use our house furnace.

Kevin
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Old 11-14-2004, 09:52 PM
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That style of heater is okay, but the tube style radiant heaters are way better, and don't burn as much fuel. I agree with One MoreTime, the radiant is by far the way to go, as radiant heat heats the objects, not the air so much. So when you open the door, the air will change out, but he stuff in your shop has soaked up the infrared heat, and retains it. I also have had both style of heater, and in a shop I find the radiant heat far superior.

Just on a side note, I am currently running hot water radiant heat. It is powered by a coal fired boiler, and I run a 50/50 ethylene glycol/water mix in it. Perimiter radiators (like big baseboard heaters) and a thermostaticly controlled make up heater. This thing will heat me right out of the shop if someone moves the thermostat, and the best part is.... coal is really cheap! To heat the shop to 60* 24/7, costs like $450.00 CAD for the whole year! And I get alot of days where the temp. drops around -25 or -30 in the winter.
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Old 11-15-2004, 12:12 AM
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Radiant heat does indeed heat just objects, not the air. It also follows straight lines and does not turn corners. With radant heat, if you can't see the heater from the object, it will not get warm. Many applications use radiant heat where it is not practical to heat the air. One example around here is Discount Tire where the doors are open a lot. They would go broke trying to keep the air warm so they have the tube type radiant heater that runs the entire lenght of the building. Cars and workers are in the direct path where they stay warm even if the air is 20 degrees.
For a well-insulated garage, Iwould opt for forced air. The one from Northern is the very one I've been looking at. You can heat an uninsulated garage (like mine is at the moment) with forced air but you will go broke. I needed to keep mine warm last winter with electric forced air and it cost me several hundred dollars a month. This fall's project is to insulate and finish the inside.
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Old 11-15-2004, 06:36 PM
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Last year, and several before, I heated my garage with one of those kerosene torpedo heaters. I use one of the plug in thermostats to control the temp. It also saves money on the fuel. I usually go out and turn it on about 1 hour before I plan on doing anything. It will be about 70 deg when I am ready to work. If I am going to paint anything in the colder months, I use it to keep the garage and contents warm for a couple of days before painting. I noticed yesterday that it will work set to as low as 40 deg. and control anything that plugs into a 110 outlet. If you have an insulated garage, and only want to keep things from freezing when you are not in there, it would control the heater just fine.
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Old 11-19-2004, 05:14 PM
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Xenocide,

My suggestion based on my personal experience would be with the radiant heater. My shop is 60' x 50' with 15' cielings. We installed a 45' Reverber Ray radiant tube heater spaced about 20' from the south wall. The entire space is comfortable with this arrangement.

The heat is left at 55 degrees at all times and I turn it up to 65 when I'm in there - usually week ends and holidays. The heating bill on propane for the entire heating season last year was $450. Previously using a forced hot air heater we spent that much per month.

The shop is not real well insulated but I couldn't be happier with the performance.
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Old 11-19-2004, 10:34 PM
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No no...not that way...

Don't EVEN use those torpedo heaters. Wow...I used one of those ONE time about 10 years ago...and yes, it did a super job of heating the garage.
BUT...it heated ONLY the air...and heated it so fast that everything in it was still cold and instandly was totally covered with water. What a nightmare.
I spent a long time wiping and oiling tools after that. Never again. If you're going to heat the air, either vent it, or heat it slowly enough that it won't matter.
Topedo heaters are for construction sites...



Quote:
Originally posted by adtkart
Last year, and several before, I heated my garage with one of those kerosene torpedo heaters. I use one of the plug in thermostats to control the temp. It also saves money on the fuel. I usually go out and turn it on about 1 hour before I plan on doing anything. It will be about 70 deg when I am ready to work. If I am going to paint anything in the colder months, I use it to keep the garage and contents warm for a couple of days before painting. I noticed yesterday that it will work set to as low as 40 deg. and control anything that plugs into a 110 outlet. If you have an insulated garage, and only want to keep things from freezing when you are not in there, it would control the heater just fine.
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Old 11-20-2004, 08:25 AM
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Rick....I have been using a torpedo heater for many years and had no problems doing that. You must have some type of moisture problem. I have a 50000 btu heater in a 24x32 garage and don't have that problem at all. The garage is not completely insulated right now, but the last one that I had was. Maybe if you get one of those huge ones, in a small shop, it will heat it too fast.

The only time I had corrosion problems with my tools is when my son was younger and he would leave them outside. LOL
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Old 11-20-2004, 09:47 AM
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Move to California. The forecast this week is a frigid mid-60s but I think I can survive in my flannel plaid wind-breaker.
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Old 11-20-2004, 09:57 AM
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I would use a forced air heat, with a variable speed fan control. Keep the fan at a lower speed after the shop is warmed, a higher speed to process warming if the shop is cold. Radiant heat is great when you have a heavier mass that is being heated, such as a cast iron or heavy steel plated stove, most gas units are a light gauge metal and don't hold the heat that long. As far as getting radiant heat from objects in the shop, forced air will heat them as well as a radiant heat unit. Check on units that have heat exchange tubes. Efficiency in a furnace/stove can be misleading, fuel burned to heat output, location is important. Floor level will keep a better comfort zone than ceiling level. Ceiling level, you may want to consider a ceiling fan run in reverse at a low speed to keep the trapped warm air moving. B-vent as opposed to direct vent, direct vent will pull outside air for combustion, b-vent uses inside air for combustion. Direct vent is usually a little more efficient. I would never reccomend a ventless unit, read the fine print, most are recommended for only a few hours use in an enclosed building, spent gasses have to go somewhere. As far as keeping the thermostat at 40 degrees, there is a trade-off there, low settings may lead to longer run times as radiant warmth from objects in the shop are lost. Perhaps a timer? Some experimenting may be called for. Good luck, Dan
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