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Garage Shop (in winter).

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  • Garage Shop (in winter).

    I am just about to get the roof of our 3-car garage done, and wish to convert it into a wood shop (right now, my shop is in a small basement room of our home). I live in Amherst, NY, where the winters can be very cold - and, even, sometimes BRUTAL.

    Our garage is brick-walled, and I am prepared to make the required steps for insulating. But I need some advice when it comes to 'heating' concerns. What would be the most economical for a heat generating stove...wood, kerosene or pellets?


  • #2
    Re: Garage Shop (in winter).

    I would consider wood or pellets, pellets would probably be more automatic, and could more easly keep heat over night wood may be cheaper if you can locate enough free to burn,
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    • #3
      Re: Garage Shop (in winter).

      Depending your local supply, I'd say "wood" might be your cheapest, given the selections you asked about. But, I think you'd have to check locally to see what a "cord" would cost you, delivered and also what your resources are with regard to disposing of the ash. If you're really suburban, you might be able to go out and gather your own, but I'm thinking your area is pretty well populated and therefore you may not have that "free" resource.

      The other consideration of having relatively open heat source like wood or pellet would be my concern for producing a lot of saw dust or using flamable finishes during the winter.

      What do you have in the way of natural gas, and how expensive is that going to be when compared to the labor and costs required of wood? I'm down here in the Corning and Binghamton areas. In my Painted Post (Corning area), I converted my attached garage over to a family room a couple of decades ago and at the time installed an "Empire" gas fired "direct vent" wall furnace. The little thing has a totally enclosed heat exchanger/burner, vents through the outer wall and is totally care free with it's non-electric thermostat. After 20 years, it has proved to work flawlessly and be quite economical. (Here's a link to their web site (I presently use their DV-200 millivolt direct-vent 10,000 btu wall unit)

      At some time in the near future, I plan on expanding my garage (separate building) down here in Binghamton and when I do, I'm going to put the same kind of furnace in there. I've spokend to the technical service department and to the installer about this particular heater for use in a wood shop and both agree that it would be idea and provide no risks because of either dust or chemicals because the pilot and the burner are enclosed within the heat exchanger and not subject to the circulating air. The wall furnace that I have costs about $1,200 with installation. Certainly much more than a wood stove, but in consideration of the longevity, cleaner air, and carefree 24/7 operation, I think it would be well worth the expense, IMHO.

      In any case, natural gas would be cheaper than anything else I would imagine, both now and into the future (especially in consideration of all the NG drilling going on in NY and PA).

      Oh yeah, I should mention that I have absolutely no connection of any kind to this company and went through my local gas company (Corning Natural Gas) for thier advice and installation.

      I hope this helps,



      • #4
        Re: Garage Shop (in winter).

        One thing that you'll have to keep in mind is that whatever you chose as a heat source, you will have to deal with a condensation problem, unless you intend on keeping the shop heated all of the time and being that you are in a rather cold area. When you heat the shop for use, even at a somewhat slow pace, everything made of metal is going to sweat causing the potential of many problems of rust and corrosion. Even with insulating, if the inside temperature needs to rise 20º or more, things are going to sweat.

        Just something to keep in mind and my 2¢ worth of thinking.


        • #5
          Re: Garage Shop (in winter).

          I'll toss in a couple things. In my area, pellets would be cheaper than wood, but I am not familiar with your area. I can buy a ton for under $200 and that will last me most of a winter (used on weekends and maybe a couple nights a week). I also have a Lennox gas unit hanging from my ceiling that I picked up from an old grocery store that went out of business for $100. It runs very efficiently and I normally heat my shop to around 50~55 degrees with it when used. Depending on your finances and what you have available to you in your new shop (i.e. gas, power, etc) another great option to consider is radiant heat. It will feel warmer and won't cause any metals in the shop to sweat as bad. I would have gone that route, but was too expensive for me at the time.

          One last thing I will mention is in regards to your ceiling height. I have 14 foot ceilings in my shop. I hung two cheap ceiling fans which does a great job of moving the warm air around and making things a bit more efficient all around. If you have the space and height to allow for something like that I recommend it. I can then reverse them in the summer time to keep things cooler and have some air movement so it doesn't get too stuffy in there.
          Still enjoying all 10 fingers!


          • #6
            Re: Garage Shop (in winter).

            If this is an attached garage you will also need to check local codes pertaining to open flames heat sources etc. I our codes here will not allow me to install wood or pellet stoves and a NG furnace has to be at least 3ft off the floor.