Garage Heater Advice - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 08:12 AM Thread Starter
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Garage Heater Advice

Not wanting to wash my car in the cold like some, I am seriously considering heating my 2 1/2 car attached garage. I like the ease of installation with an electric heater, but will cost more to run. Gas is cheaper to run but I'll have to run gas and electric to it as well as vent to the outside. I can't decide - any suggestions from those in the know? I'm thinking 20 - 30,000 btu would be plenty. You can see some of the garage here:
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 08:45 AM
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I've been giving some thought to a passive solar heating system, just enough to take the edge off and bump it up to 50 or so in there. I can't tell from your picture whether the rear wall of your garage is south or north facing, but if it's south-facing it could work. It's a simple approach, use the sun to heat up a large flat air space, have vents going from that space into the garage top and bottom. Hot air rises and goes into the garage, cold air is then sucked in through the bottom vents. Add lightly spring-loaded flaps to close off the vents when there's not enough heat on the outside panels to create convection. Here's a picture of one sample installation:
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 09:05 AM Thread Starter
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Side of the garage faces north
Front of the house west.
Really leaning towards electric - natural gas around here has sky rocketed the last few years and it's not like I'll use it every day.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 09:41 AM
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Have you considered propane or one of the smaller forced air kerosene heaters?

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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 09:46 AM
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I have been using a ceiling mounted Modine heater for years. It requires a good chimney, natural gas hookup, a thermostat and electricity, but it is never in the way, can heat the entire garage (24 X 27 with 13ft ceiling) from freezing to 70 degrees in a couple of minutes and has never needed any repairs. The only downside is they use a lot of gas so they can be expensive to run if left on all the time, but I only use mine when I am working in the garage and the rest of the time is either off or keeping the garage just above freezing. It sure is nice having somewhere warm to work on or wash your car or just to thaw things out when the outside temp. has dropped down below 0.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 10:01 AM Thread Starter
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I have a bullet type propane heater and don't like it. I have to cover up the smoke detector and it makes your eyes burn after a while. Filling the propane tank ain't cheap either. Can't stand kerosene either.

I initially wanted to go the deluxe route like Dan, but after considering all things - initial cost, installation and it won't be used every day I went with a 5,000 watt electric. With electric at .09769/kW HR it will cost about $.48 an hour to run at full blast. It's a Fahrenheat Model FUH5-4. It had a ton of good reviews at NorthernTool.com and it was only $275 shipped.
Thanks guys!
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 10:07 AM
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i use a super-sized 155K BTU kero salamander.
lift one of the garage doors about a foot and a half. stick the heater outside and point the business end of it into the garage. don't stand in the bay where it's blowing. takes maybe five minutes to turn the garage tropical. odor is minimal IMO. i usually need to refire it after about thirty minutes, and then maybe every couple of hours after that. i'm not in the great white north and my garage is very, very well insulated. when i build my unattached workshop, it will have propane heaters and will be framed in 2X6's with mondo insulation.

good luck up there.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 10:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tesprit View Post
I have been using a ceiling mounted Modine heater for years. It requires a good chimney, natural gas hookup, a thermostat and electricity, but it is never in the way, can heat the entire garage (24 X 27 with 13ft ceiling) from freezing to 70 degrees in a couple of minutes and has never needed any repairs. The only downside is they use a lot of gas so they can be expensive to run if left on all the time, but I only use mine when I am working in the garage and the rest of the time is either off or keeping the garage just above freezing. It sure is nice having somewhere warm to work on or wash your car or just to thaw things out when the outside temp. has dropped down below 0.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 10:09 AM
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I've got a forced air overhead furnace in the garage. It's going to get replaced soon with a natural gas radiant unit. Mine will run for 4-5-months a year, not enough sun for solar, propane isn't a option for me and electricity is far too expensive to run all winter.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 10:23 AM
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i use a super-sized 155K BTU kero salamander.
lift one of the garage doors about a foot and a half. stick the heater outside and point the business end of it into the garage. don't stand in the bay where it's blowing. takes maybe five minutes to turn the garage tropical. odor is minimal IMO. i usually need to refire it after about thirty minutes, and then maybe every couple of hours after that. i'm not in the great white north and my garage is very, very well insulated. when i build my unattached workshop, it will have propane heaters and will be framed in 2X6's with mondo insulation.

good luck up there.
I use one of these in my aircraft hangar with kerosene or light diesel fuel, and it is great for fast heat, but the fumes can be overwhelming if you spend a lot of time with it running and they are very noisy. Only use these in a well ventilated space and for short bursts only. We were doing some work on the plane one winter and a quick job turned into an all afternoon affair. By late afternoon we were getting nauseated, light headed and tired. After stepping outside we felt better, but not great--I will never do that again.
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 12:19 PM Thread Starter
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Whoa! You have a lift in your garage and an aircraft hanger?!
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 12:40 PM
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I just used a space heater. It didn't make it warm in there, but it made it warm enough to wash. Now I have no garage.

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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 03:37 PM
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Whoa! You have a lift in your garage and an aircraft hanger?!
Actually, I have two garages at home and the aircraft hangar. The Modine and lift are in the 27' X 24' attached garage and the other 24' X 24' detached garage is cold storage. The hangar is 40' wide by 60' long so I have a lot of space behind our airplane to store things and JWA (from this site) is actually renting a spot behind a wing to store his Miata over the winter!
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-02-2008, 10:34 AM Thread Starter
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Finally got the heater installed! It's quiet and does the job. It was about 20 degrees outside and nice and toasty in the garage. In fact, it was warmer in the garage than my walk in basement! Installation was fairly easy except working with 10 gauge wire is a real bitch. Money well spent.
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-02-2008, 01:48 PM
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Which model did you go with? How many cubic feet? How many BTUs?

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post #16 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-02-2008, 01:58 PM Thread Starter
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From what I've read it's under powered at 17,000 BTU but it works for me. I suppose a higher BTU unit will heat it up faster but I think I would have to go to gas for that. Nope, this one's just fine for me. It's a Fahrenheat Model FUH54B. 5,000 watts, 17,064 BTU/hr.

I'll have to measure my garage in a bit for cubic feet.

I'm back - it's 4,226 cubic feet.

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post #17 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-14-2010, 06:38 AM
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Still like the Fahrenheat electric heater? It doesn't get as bad as Racine, but still can drop into the -10 to -20 deg F in the winter for a few weeks here in mid-IL, so it'd be nice to have the option to be able to get in the garage without wearing a ski suit.

Any other good options out there besides adding in a gas line?
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post #18 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-14-2010, 11:15 AM
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Hmmmmm, I am looking to A/C to garage, it was 105' the other day.
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post #19 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-14-2010, 11:32 AM
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I was looking at heaters yesterday..... my detatched garage (3-4car insulated etc) has a electric heater in there which gets it toasty warm but dam do my electric bils get expensive when it's on thus I am removing it.

I like some of the oil burning heaters & I hope to get one of those. I think it's about $2500 for a 150,000 BTU unit (I could probably use a smaller one, just started looking) that burns used motor oil. I figure that's the cheapest way to heat the garage, just use the oil from one of my cars to keep it going......
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post #20 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-14-2010, 12:04 PM
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I was looking at heaters yesterday..... my detatched garage (3-4car insulated etc) has a electric heater in there which gets it toasty warm but dam do my electric bils get expensive when it's on thus I am removing it.

I like some of the oil burning heaters & I hope to get one of those. I think it's about $2500 for a 150,000 BTU unit (I could probably use a smaller one, just started looking) that burns used motor oil. I figure that's the cheapest way to heat the garage, just use the oil from one of my cars to keep it going......
The maintenance hangar at the local airport uses one of these waste oil heaters and it works well burning all the waste oil from the airplanes, however there is a fair amount of maintenance involved with cleaning it (the dirt/sludge in the waste oil gets trapped in a filter system that needs to be routinely cleaned) and you had better be sure you don't have any close neighbors because the smoke coming from the heater is acrid and full of soot (think of the last time you followed a nasty running dump truck spewing clouds of black sooty exhaust). On the other hand, it is free heat for the owner and the hangar is always nice and toasty on cold winter days.
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