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Heating garage workshop

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  • Heating garage workshop

    I've just purchased a house and will be moving my shop from a basement to an attached garage. The garage is fairly small 25' x 11', but its still larger than my existing space. Although its bit narrower, I think It will workout fine. The garage is at basement level so there is a room above it. The house has a gas furnace and presumably I could tie into in fairly easily. My question is, is this a good Idea? What would I do about cold air return and dust? I would prefer not to have a separate heating unit because I don't want to use valuable shop space.

    Thanks, Jeff

  • #2
    if you tie into the house heating plant you'll need a cold air return ( old physics law about blowing air into a popbottle ) and yes dust will be a problem you could possibly put a filter over the return air being VERY consious about cleaning it, I'm not worried about affecting the efficency in heating the garage more about the furnace and damage from dust. is the furnace a sealed combustion or open flame what type fuel? I would be tempted to look into electric panles on the wall or ceiling but others may have opines


    • #3
      Its an older Gas furnace, don't really know the details of it, all I know is that it is past its life expectancy already and I will also be replacing that sometime this year. I was hoping to insulate and heat the workshop first though.


      • #4

        If you have a gas line in the area I'd go with the direct vent gas heaters. They have sealed burners, and vent directly out the side of the garage. They are also in propane, and since it's sealed and vented water vapor isn't a problem.

        You could also go with 220V electric baseboard heat......
        Support Our Troops!


        • #5
          I'm in a similiar situation: I want to convert an attached garage, of slightly larger dimensions -- especially the height, close to 10' -- with a room above (both later additions to an older home) into a permanent shop. Beyond the need for an electrical supply into this basement level garage, heat is a primary concern because the winters in upstate NY can be cold enough to deter me from spending major time time in the shop. (And I don't own a winter coat, and often wear shorts in the dead of winter.)

          I've looked into radiant floor heating, however, besides the up-front costs, when I sell the house the next buyer might only want the space for his psuedo-status car. Living in a college town, I doubt the next owner would even appreciate that he could do his own car work in a pleasant environment.

          I've got a relatively new, efficient boiler, but with the general expense of home heating oil and an older under-insulated house, I don't want to tax the system with a separate zone that mightn't be used daily. Especially as I only woodwork as a secondary source of income, though more satisfying.

          I've ruled out electric heating as altogether cost prohibitive.

          So, besides insulating enough to warm the off-teat of a witch, I'm choosing between several propane systems available. Even the lowest cost/least efficient would produce a workable temperature within half an hour, and with my machines in the new shop, I would have the space and ability to keep my wood stock humidity/ temperature stable in the basement. And more than likely, I'll go with a mid-to-higher end system, thermastatically controlled, so I can convert the basement into a play room for the kids.

          I'm not a computer guy, but I know there is a propane industry website that gives greater detail than I can, but unfortunately I couldn't find it now.

          Whatever you choose -- good luck,


          • #6
            I am in the similar situation also. Although, luckily my garage is slightly larger, 23x25.
            I am having 2 blowers( hot water) set up off the present gas furnace,with a seperate circulator,so as not to interfere with the house heat. The furnace is fairly new and more then capable of handeling the extra load.Plus, I have insulated enuf to keep the state of Rhode Island warm. Electric power on the other hand, is a problem. The house has only 100 amp service.

            I believe a garage shop has advantages and disadvantages, but when all is said and done, it's worth it.Gotta love openin the doors and bringin sheet stock straight in.Getting finished furniture out is a breeze. Plus, in the spring and summer the open air feeling is great

            Good luck, and stay warm
            <a href=\"\" target=\"_blank\"></a><br /><br />I can fix anything......where\'s the duct tape ?? :-)


            • #7
              I've ruled out electric heating as altogether cost prohibitive.
              I agree that electric heat is hard to justify in a home that is heated full time, but the advantage of electric heat is that it is easily controlled, whether it is the guest bedroom that is normally kept at 50 degrees and occasionally raised to normal temperatures, or the workshop that is used for a half day each on Saturday and Sunday. So I sure wouldn't rule out electric in the garage shop. (I was raised in upstate New York, but now live in Texas, so I know, but no longer live with, the winters.)

              Hooking a garage to the home heating system may violate fire codes - in many areas there are funky regulations to isolate the attached garage from the home. Of course, if you fix it so it can no longer be a garage....

              I didn't believe that the dust could be controlled in the shop until I got a big dust collector. Now I don't worry about leaving the door open between house and garage workshop. I was convinced to make the investment by the argument... look at the walls and shelves. The same kind of dust is inside your lungs. Maybe more in the lungs because of the constant breathing of more dirty air.


              • #8
                I installed a ventless propane 30,000 btu heater on the steel entry door not used in the winter time for $120 bucks in my shop. My shop is set up for it's own natural gas furnace, but ran out of funds, and still no funds this year for one.

                I can keep it 80 degrees with no problem (24x24x8.5 area). Last year I left it running 100% of the time. When I wasn't working in there I kept it between 50 and 60 degrees with just above pilot flame (I did not install cold weather ballast light fixtures). Takes less than an hour to get above 80 degrees. I use the AFU for heat circulation and it works great.

                The problem with heating envolves 4 major factors. One being if you can keep everything inside the area at 50 degrees or above, it takes little to get it to working temp.

                Second is the floor type. I have a wood floor, insulated with R-11 with vapor barrier to raw dirt. With concrete, it constantly draws the cold from the ground, radiating cold constantly no mater how warm you make the air and objects inside. (Option here would be hot water tubes run in the concrete for your heating system, and the floor becomes the radiant heat)

                Third is the insulation factor. I have R-10 in the walls, and R-20 in the ceiling (pole type structure). Ridgid PolyISO board between perlins and truss's.

                Forth is wind penitration. I have no windows in my shop, and will remain that way for several reasons other than heating. The more air tight the building it is, the less costly to maintain your heat. This is for both interior walls as well as exterior walls. If the cold can penetrate the exterior, your constantly heating the interior walls.

                I heated 5 months last season at a cost of $500, around $100 bucks a month. My electrical has an average of $25 per month for one year.

                The only problem with the ventless heater is when you get a tank of sour propane, you have to put up with the "STINK" of it, and have to open the doors for a few minutes couple times a day.
                John E. Adams<br /><a href=\"\" target=\"_blank\"></a>


                • #9
                  This topic is perfect for me, as I am looking at a property now, 5 acres, century home, 70X30 pole barn (workshop for all my new ridgid tools?), and 3 other out buildings all approx 20X30 and was wondering about heating too. Has own gas well so no gas fuel cost, but even free it still uses up gas and thinking r19 wall and r30 ceiling. However, i couldn't spend a day in a building without windows, so i am looking into the highest effecient windows now. Doing same to drying room on 2nd floor. any suggestions?

                  happy woodworking guys


                  • #10
                    Jeff and everyone else. You can run a duct from your house furnace into the garage for heat and just put in an exhaust vent on the opposite side of the garage for circulation. The furnace will get enough return air from the house and you wont have to install any additional ductwork or filters.
                    info for all: --- "I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me."


                    • #11
                      hammerman: your from ohio so i dont know how bad the winters are but northers wis gets damn cold so my ceiling is r50 blown in fiberglass and the wall are 6" glass with 1" pinkboard on the outside then i put 2" of pinkboard under the concrete and footers and installed infloor heat tied into my woodboiler in the back yard shop is 24x30x10high and i keep it about 70 all winter god is it nice in there bill