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Thread: Shop Heater ?

  1. #1
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    Default Shop Heater ?

    Anyone have a suggestion for a portable shop heater. I am working out in my uninsulated / unheated garage. I was thinking a small portable heater (electric or catalytic) would be enough to take the chill out of the air.

    I won't be insulating anytime soon and there is no gas running to the garage anyway.

    Thanks
    RC

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Shop Heater ?

    In your case I would look at a quartz radiant heater (or two) like the ones from Lee valley. They warm the objects (including you), not the air.....and in an uninsulated space that's definitely the way to go, as trying to bring that space up to temp by heating the air (traditional heaters) would be a losing proposition.

    Ryan

    http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/pag...=1,43456,43465

    Last edited by Ryan Shervill; 11-20-2011 at 03:55 PM.
    I dream of a better world, one where chickens can cross roads without having their motives questioned.

  3. #3
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    Default

    If your dead set on it a construction heater is cheap. Are you sure you want electric? How about a wood stove?

    Really though you should insulate. A friend of mine tries to work by only heating on the weekends he works out their and things end up twisting and warping.

  4. #4
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    Default

    Actually come to think of it he had a wood stove and it warmed up quickly and the tools stayed cold resulting in condensation on them. I only mentioned wood because it puts out a lot of heat.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Shop Heater ?

    Saskatoon, Winter, No Insulation, Heat!! One word in there doesn't fit.
    "Do it Right!"

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Shop Heater ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
    Saskatoon, Winter, No Insulation, Heat!! One word in there doesn't fit.
    Hehe. Yeah it's pushing the envelope. All I want is to take the edge off so I don't have to wear a balaclava and snowmobile mitts

    Thanks for the suggestions guys.

    RC

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Shop Heater ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Shervill View Post
    In your case I would look at a quartz radiant heater (or two) like the ones from Lee valley. They warm the objects (including you), not the air.....and in an uninsulated space that's definitely the way to go, as trying to bring that space up to temp by heating the air (traditional heaters) would be a losing proposition.

    Ryan
    I am in that same boat as RC. The cost of running natural gas to the shop is prohibitively expensive. There are some major changes that I have to make to my garage to make it into a workable shop, and I know that it will take next summer to get them done. Insulating and then ripping it all out to make the changes doesn't make any sense.

    From my calculations, each one of those heaters uses 1.5kw/h to run on full. in Ontario, it would cost you $2.95 just for electrical portion. You're still on the hook for distribution charges, debt retirement etc... so we'll say $4.50 each for a day. So lets say you need 3 months of heating, then the cost of this one unit is around $420 in hydro.

    I have one of those units inside my shop, and ran it for most of the day, and unless you are standing in direct line with the unit, it still felt pretty cold in the shop. For a double car garage, how many of these units would it take to warm up the contents to make it feel comfortable, and would you need to keep them running all the time so as to not let the fall back down to being cold again? You'd need to figure out how much it costs to heat the same area with other sources.

    For example, I can put on a propaine heater onto a 20lbs tank and get get 10,000 BTU for about 40 hours. At $20 to fill the tank, it's about 25% more expensive than going with electricity. I don't know how much it would cost to heat the garage with natural gas.

    Needless to say, it's going to cost a pretty penny this year to work in comfort.

    Matt.

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    Default Re: Shop Heater ?

    Quote Originally Posted by matt.mackinnon View Post
    From my calculations, each one of those heaters uses 1.5kw/h to run on full. in Ontario, it would cost you $2.95 just for electrical portion. You're still on the hook for distribution charges, debt retirement etc... so we'll say $4.50 each for a day. So lets say you need 3 months of heating, then the cost of this one unit is around $420 in hydro.

    I have one of those units inside my shop, and ran it for most of the day, and unless you are standing in direct line with the unit, it still felt pretty cold in the shop. For a double car garage, how many of these units would it take to warm up the contents to make it feel comfortable, and would you need to keep them running all the time so as to not let the fall back down to being cold again? You'd need to figure out how much it costs to heat the same area with other sources.

    .
    The secret is to only turn it (them) on when you are actually working, and adjust them to keep them focused on the area you are working. Because the heat is instant, there is no "warm up" time required....so leaving them on is counterproductive. remember, you arenet heating the "space", you are heating you/your tools.....case in point: I changed out a wheel bearing on my truck outside last december at -10, and took one of mine down off the wall and set it up so it was facing me outside. As long as I was in the field of IR it worked great, but yes...if you step outside of that zone the heat is pretty much zero.

    I also found that by focusing one on a large machine (like the tablesaw), the tool will absorb the heat and release it into the air.

    Is it a perfect heat set up? Nope...but when dealing with an un-heatable space, it's the only way that works.

    A side note: You mention propane...I can not stress enough how bad of an idea a conventional propane heater is in a workshop. A byproduct of propane combustion is water vapour...lots of it. (about 1.5 lbs of water for every lb of propane burned). Pumping that much heat and moisture into a room full of cold iron is a surefire way to turn all that shiny cast rust brown in short order.
    I dream of a better world, one where chickens can cross roads without having their motives questioned.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Shop Heater ?

    I picked up an electric 220v fan heater from Canadian Tire last winter, it was on offer for around $45.I leave it on almost 24/7 and it doesn't use masses of electric. My shop is 30' x 30' x 10' high and gets too hot with it on maximum (it is insulated).

    Only problems I've had with it are it had the wrong type of plug for my 220, so I had to cut the original off and fit a different one, and due to being on so much and because of the dust in the air it started to get a bit loud by the end of winter. It took about half an hour, I stripped it down and greased the fan shaft bearings and gave it a good clean out and now it's nice and quiet again.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Shop Heater ?

    what is the wattage of the unit Richardo? and when you say that the shop is insulated.. How much insulation do you have? Walls? Roof? Floor?

    For me, it will cost several thousand to run a gas line from the side of the house over to the garage. Then you have another thousand or so to get the heater and have it installed. I know that running the gas heater once installed is not going to be free. I am trying to get a feel for the cost break even point to getting NG installed or just sticking with electric. If for sake of argument, it works out to $200 savings a year but a capital outlay of $3500 for NG, then a 17 year ROI would not be worth it to go to NG. But if it's closer to a $500 savings, then 7 year ROI would make it a real consideration.

    What is a realistic cost of running a NG radiant heater inside a shop over the winter?

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Shop Heater ?

    Hi Matt
    Who is your gas supplier. Union gas only goes to the meter base. Why don't you dig your own gas line in. If you do dig it in make sure you put in a tracer wire for locating.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Shop Heater ?

    while we are talking heat i have a 2 car garage i would like to heat I us it as a shop I have gas available can anyone recommenda reasonably priced NG heater thanks Jeff

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Shop Heater ?

    The whole radiant heater experience has been pretty miserable for me. I got in contact with a bunch of people who claimed they had experience installed radiant heaters in the garage yadda yadda and then when I ask for quotes they never get back to me. They're just completely AWOL. I'm completely baffled at the fact that it seems I have to bend over backwards to give them business. Clearly, I'm in the wrong industry if business is so booming for them.

    Anyway, for this winter, I'm going to go with one of those construction heaters that Richardo uses (or Ken in Regina). My garage is insulated so we'll see how much the electricity bill turns out to be. Electric energy seems so expensive but I don't really understand how, in the long term, fossil fuels will remain cheaper than their electric counterparts---unless they keep finding deposits. :P

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Shop Heater ?

    i used a 4500 watt construction heater in my doublecar garage here in the banana belt for several years, it warmed the reasonably well insulated garage to 60 on the coldest days in about an hour. coldest days here are around minus 15C, one wall of the garage is house wall. when it reached 60F it would cycle off and on, running about half the time depending on outside temperature of course. i now have natural gas heat in there

    Insulate!! its cheap and easy. fiberglass batts are simple to install and will make a huge difference, cant do a perfect job for some reason? do what you can, it can always be removed and reinstalled properly later. at least do the ceiling area. no ceiling, just rafters? install strapping to hold insulation up there

    heating a garage sized area electrically thats uninsulated will never work in most of canada and the cost of trying will be prohibitive. the insulation will be paid for the first season

    if you cant, didnt, couldnt be bothered, whatever, now's the time to do it, before it gets really cold
    Last edited by stevem; 11-21-2011 at 05:31 AM.
    my shop is a beaver lodge
    steve, sarnia, ont

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    Default Re: Shop Heater ?

    I understand that you'd get the best bang for the buck in insulating the roof line. I also gather that you need to put in the foam air channels along the roof trusses to allow air flow from the gable air vents to the peek of the roof. My eventual plan was to get someone in to do this with foam.

    If going with fiberglas. How much would you put in? How is best to strap it up there. And do I then need to put a vapor barrier against the fiberglass. This is all something well beyond my means, and with the trouble just getting an electrician to come in and upgrade to 200amp, I don't look forward to getting someone to do this job.

    Matt.

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    Default Re: Shop Heater ?

    I use a 4.8Kw heater in my single car, insulated garage.

    Energy cost is about $0.50 per hour for the heater, so if I'm out there for 4 hours it probably runs 3 hours.

    It doesn't seem that expensive to me for the low number of hours I heat the garage................Regards, Rod.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Shop Heater ?

    Quote Originally Posted by matt.mackinnon View Post
    I understand that you'd get the best bang for the buck in insulating the roof line. I also gather that you need to put in the foam air channels along the roof trusses to allow air flow from the gable air vents to the peek of the roof. My eventual plan was to get someone in to do this with foam.

    If going with fiberglas. How much would you put in? How is best to strap it up there. And do I then need to put a vapor barrier against the fiberglass. This is all something well beyond my means, and with the trouble just getting an electrician to come in and upgrade to 200amp, I don't look forward to getting someone to do this job.

    Matt.
    Matt. Insulating is absolutely simple. You can do it real easy if you have a truss roof. The foam air channels are a snap to put in. Staple them to the roof sheathing. They do not have to run all the way to the peak They only need to get air above the line of the insulation.

    If I were doing it I'd put up the channels then staple up some poly on the ceiling, then drywall it complete with an attic hatch access and call a company to pump cellulose in to an R value of 30 or 40. If you want to use batts go ahead with R20 or better and then poly over it. The cost of drywall for 400 sq. ft. is around $150.00. Installing batts in the walls is easier and covered with poly you'll be amazed at the difference. This is a definite DIY job that gives a homeowner the absolute best bang for the buck and a tremendous sense of accomplishment.
    "Do it Right!"

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Shop Heater ?

    Quote Originally Posted by charlton View Post
    The whole radiant heater experience has been pretty miserable for me. I got in contact with a bunch of people who claimed they had experience installed radiant heaters in the garage yadda yadda and then when I ask for quotes they never get back to me. They're just completely AWOL. I'm completely baffled at the fact that it seems I have to bend over backwards to give them business. Clearly, I'm in the wrong industry if business is so booming for them.

    Anyway, for this winter, I'm going to go with one of those construction heaters that Richardo uses (or Ken in Regina). My garage is insulated so we'll see how much the electricity bill turns out to be. Electric energy seems so expensive but I don't really understand how, in the long term, fossil fuels will remain cheaper than their electric counterparts---unless they keep finding deposits. :P
    Gas is best and also easiest to find. It's a long argument and I don't mean to go there but just consider this possibility. If your power is produced at all by burning gas it will never be cheaper. I had an electrically heated house in Ontario. It was an Ontario Hydro test house [early 70's] and when the dust settled my heating costs were 4 times those of my BIL who had twice the square footage I had. He was on gas.

    The radiant heaters are so easy to instal.l I wish I was there. Once my gas line was in place, my heater went from box to running in less than 3 hours. All I can suggest is try a heating Contractor to vent it and run the gas line. Hang it yourself. You could pull the gasline too if you use the flexible yellow piping.
    "Do it Right!"

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Shop Heater ?

    I completely agree with the posted who suggest insulating. Very easy to do yourself, and it will save you lots of money if you heat very much. A vapour barrier is vital, and some kind of board on the walls and ceiling is nice but not absolutely necessary.

    I have been converted to being a bit fan of electrical heat. Cost for a complete installation of a ceiling mounted unit in my shop, as compared to a gas heater was at least $2,000. Plus, it is easier to do, and can be done with a home electrical permit. I had actually played with the costs of heating when I did it, but forget the exact numbers, but it would have taken me more than 20 years to pay back at the current electrical costs.

    I have tried working in spaces in the past that were unheated, and only using temp heat while I was working, and I can tell you that it was a real pain. All the tools were cold and did not warm up fast, and I had to work with light gloves which I hate doing at any time, and are a safety hazard to a small degree. I have to admit to never trying one of those electric radiant heaters, but that might help a bit.
    JIM
    Calgary, AB

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Shop Heater ?

    Thanks everyone for the suggestions.

    RC

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