Garage heater for wedding
October 11, 2017 8:04 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to figure out the best way to heat a garage in November in Seattle with the door open. At my upcoming wedding we are having a food truck in alley behind our venue. The alley adjoins a garage so we are planning to open the garage door and park the food truck right outside. I'm trying to figure out the best heating option for the garage area so people can hang out there if they want.

Most of the action will be taking place in the main (indoor, heated) space of the venue but we're hoping to set up a lounge space in the garage for people to hang out. The food truck itself is a wood fired pizza oven so hopefully that will throw some heat into the garage. But it will be chilly and drafty with cold air coming in the door.

Propane patio heaters like this are widely available from rental companies, but are they safe in enclosed spaces like a garage? The door will be open the entire time so I think that would be sufficient ventilation. That said, I would like to avoid killing our wedding guests with CO poisoning.

Some rental places also have electric patio heaters like this. From what I can tell they seem less powerful than the propane ones? But maybe safer for an indoor event.

There is also this heater which I can rent from Home Depot. Seems like it would do the job but might be too loud. Anyone have experience using something like this?

I am willing to buy something (and hopefully resell it after the event) if it's not available for rental, so I'd love any suggestions for the best heating option for this scenario.

The garage is about 800 square feet.
posted by bokinney to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
First, ask the party rental folks. They will have solved this problem more than once and will be happy to rent that solution to you.

A couple years back we hosted a Christmas dinner on our Southern California backyard deck. There was a pergola with slats and the deck was open on two sides. The rental company suggested laying tent sides on the top of the pergola (for a roof), and draping more tent sides for walls around the deck area.

For heat they provided a propane fueled heater/blower contraption. That left the fire and combustion out in the clear air, with the blower piece directing hot air into our tented in space. Worked a treat.

So, maybe partially block the garage door opening with a tarp or a rented tent side and provide heat with a blower type tent heater?
posted by notyou at 8:14 AM on October 11

The patio heater will be fine if you have the car door open. It's what I'd use. Just make sure you have sufficient vertical clearance.

Construction heaters are very loud.
posted by Mitheral at 8:15 AM on October 11

If you need a propane heater for some other reason, or want to give it as a thank-you gift to one of your buds, you can buy a one similar to what you linked for not much more than that rental fee. They start at about $110 but you can find them for less. I paid about $135 for this one including delivery and it's terrific. Assembly is simple.
posted by carmicha at 8:45 AM on October 11 [2 favorites]

Carbon monoxide rises. It will collect at possibly lethal concentrations in enclosed or covered spaces. Heaters placed outside will heat interior of the garage by radiating into it, without the possibility of sickening people. And yes, a propane heater is way more powerful. They run at 40,000 BTU/hr, which is 12,000 watts. As in more power than your entire house could draw at once even if you plugged a space heater into every circuit.
posted by wnissen at 8:55 AM on October 11

The idea is lovely. Have you checked that the garage is and the use you're trying to put it to is covered by the venue's insurance? Otherwise you could be in a situation where the venue itself is covered and the food truck is covered by its own insurance but you're creating a space that is not covered by anybody. Once you've confirmed that the policy may well contain provisions on what may/may not be used to heat the space.
posted by koahiatamadl at 10:53 AM on October 11

You don't want that rocket torch rental from Home Depot. We used this kind of thing to keep a barn warm in winter when I was growing up and they sound like a jet engine.

You probably want one or two (silent) electric/infrared heaters. Here in the Bay Area, these things are very common for outdoor restaurant seating and warehouse spaces, and they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and types.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 6:05 PM on October 11

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