Garage Heaters

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Garage heaters add value, comfort and utility to your garage. Buying the correct heater makes using your garage as a workroom, study, workshop, craft room or some other purpose easier when you are comfortable.

Picture yourself in a 35 degree unheated garage trying to work on your car, get some exercise or finish a craft project. Imagine instead what it would be like doing the same three things in a climate-controlled environment. If you like 65 or 70 degrees, turn on your heater and make it so. The usable space in your home just expandeddramatically.

Choosing from so many garage heating options can be a challenge. Cost, purpose and the size of your garage are all important considerations. Garage insulation, insulated garage doors and proper garage door seals will also add to your comfort. Following are the most popular garage heating options available.

Types of Garage Heaters

Electric Garage Heaters

Perhaps the most popular option, electric heaters will provide enough heat for most residential garages. Electric heaters can be thermostatically controlled, offer energy saving features and automatic shut-off in case of overheating.

Propane Garage HeaterUsing a propane heater is somewhat less expensive than using an electric heater. Propane heaters can be permanently installed or portable, allowing them to be moved from one place to another with ease. If you use a propane model, also known as an LP heater, adequate ventilation is a must.

Natural Gas HeatersThese heaters essentially act as small furnaces and can be installed wherever you need them. Because natural gas heaters are not portable, you should be certain about their location prior to installation.

Natural gas heaters have excellent heating capacity and are highly energy efficient. If you have natural gas in your home, you also have the advantage of a constant fuel supply that is not affected by power outages.

Infrared Heaters and Radiant HeatersThis type of heater directs infrared rays toward the object or area to be heated. They are typically LP / propane fired and easily attach to a common propane tank like you would use on a BBQ.

Natural gas and permanently installed models are also available. Proper ventilation is very important when using this type of heater. Using infrared heaters inside your home or in an enclosed room can be very dangerous.

Salamander HeaterThis portable, forced-air heater is often used on construction sites, but can be used in well ventilated garage and shop spaces. Also known as a convection heater, a salamander heater will heat larger spaces in a relatively short period of time.

Salamander heaters are typically kerosene or propane fired and are not suitable for enclosed, unventilated spaces. They are the type of heater that looks tubular and a bit like a jet engine.

Waste Oil Heater(link opens new window to
Depending on the model of waste oil heater you use, suitable fuels may include motor oil (crankcase oil), transmission fluid, hydraulic fluid, vegetable oil, cutting oil and on the list goes. Unless you build your own, waste oil heaters are typically more expensive than other options, but the fuel can cost next to nothing.

The EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) and other local regulatory agencies also have guidelines and laws regarding this type of heater. Do your homework before choosing this option.

Portable Garage Heaters vs. Fixed Heaters

Portable heaters do not require installation. Most portable heaters are electric and can simply be plugged in wherever you need heat. Many radiant heaters also fall into the “portable” category and be placed where you need them most.

Fixed heaters, on the other hand, are generally larger and must be attached to the wall or to the ceiling. If you are planning to spend long hours in the garage, you might do well to avoid using a portable heater and go with a more practical, permanent installation. Ceiling mounted natural gas and propane fired models are very popular and very effective at heating your garage or shop.

Finally, remember to regularly clean and maintain your heater to ensure that it works safely, efficiently and provides the maximum heat and value for your money.

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