Looking for a temporary heating solution for workshop/garage.
November 16, 2011 2:55 PM   Subscribe

Looking for a temporary heating solution for workshop/garage.

And here's the gory details:

I've got an 1100 square foot garage/shop that I need to heat through the Canadian winter. I plan to use wood heating, but am still insulating and it could be a month or two before I get the stove I want.

In the meantime, I need a temporary heating solution to keep the place above freezing. Any recommendations? Most of the electric heaters max at about 50,000 BTU and about 1000 square feet, that doesn't sound like it would work well for me.
posted by Stagger Lee to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
Just wondering why you need to keep it above freezing? Are there pipes, is there something you are working on that require a certain temperature to set or cure, or is it just that its unpleasant to work in a cold shop? Just asking because it affects what solution is best.
I have a shop in an attached garage, I use a 120v quartz radiant heater (cost about $60 from Lee Valley Tools) mounted to the ceiling. It doesn't heat the shop itself, its basically just like the heat lamps at a burger joint. Heats up what its pointed at. It keeps me warm enough to get some work done. The nice thing is, because its not heating the air it doesn't matter if the shop is insulated or not, it will warm you up regardless. Fairly cheap to run too.
posted by Pink Fuzzy Bunny at 3:19 PM on November 16, 2011

This may not be of value but for what its worth ... we heated an office in southern Ontario with Oil-filled electric space heaters. One per room and it was toasty enough for us programmer types to work. I think they are about 1500watts (no idea about the BTUs). However, it was an isulated structure. I choose the oil-filled radiators because they were quieter and I felt less of a fire hazard (zero evidence to back that up).
Sorry I know this answer is thin :)
posted by njk at 3:56 PM on November 16, 2011

Try a kerosene forced air heater. There are propane forced air heaters, but not sure how long they'd last on a bottle.

I have a kerosene heater like this that I use for heat in an uninsulated 1400 square foot shop, but I only use it to spot heat the area that I'm working in. The fuel is nice since I can get it at a hardware store (more expensive per gallon) or a bulk fuel supplier. I have a few around me, and usually they're happy to sell me a few gallons at a time.

I have a 250 gallon propane tank and I prefer kerosene for the shop heaters. A large reason for that is the propane feeds my water heater, and I'd rather not run out of hot water.
posted by narcoleptic at 4:11 PM on November 16, 2011

I suggest against any sort of unvented combustion heater. They dump a bunch of moisture into the air that condenses on all your un-insulated surfaces and in your fiberglass insulation if you don't have a vapour barrier installed yet. And personally kerosene fumes make me retch.

If I had access to either NG or propane I'd look around for a used direct vent fireplace I could install temporarily (like say this one or maybe this one). It wouldn't take much to vent it out a window or even, depending on your building, through the wall. And Natural gas is pretty going to be the cheapest way to go. The Habitat Renew store near me always seems to have a few for sale.
posted by Mitheral at 7:12 PM on November 16, 2011

If you just literally want to keep your garage above freezing for a month or two, electric will be just fine (and very unlikely to kill you, unlike any cheap device that burns petroleum products). Sure, some heater may only heat 1000 sq ft or whatever, but if you only need to maintain 2C rather than 20C, it will be fine. Just buy a plug-in thermostat that you can set to 2C, attach a space heater (oil-filled is nice for safety), and don't worry about it too much. If you find that one space heater isn't enough for some reason (if your garage leaks like a sieve or something), then just add another.
posted by ssg at 10:48 PM on November 16, 2011

Response by poster: Yeah sorry, I'll clarify for a bit. Eventually I want to be able to work in the shop, doing car restoration and home jobs and stuff.

For now, I need to be able to work comfortably in there as I finish the renos, and keep the valves on my truck mounted water tank from freezing, as well as keeping my automotive/cleaning/paints at a reasonable storage temperature.
posted by Stagger Lee at 7:42 AM on November 17, 2011

« Older Books about the world of the Dream of the Red...   |   Can you help me (help a friend) ethically and... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.