Winter Prep: Heating a Workshop for Four-Season Productivity
There’s no question that heating a workshop makes it that much more likely you’ll get your projects done during the colder months. No one likes holding tools and lying on bare concrete in the cold, and no matter how important the job might already be, a warmer garage provides strong motivation to follow through until the end, rather than waiting until the spring thaw.
Check out these popular workshop heating methods to see which one is the best fit for your project space.
Normally, forced air systems might make you think of larger, permanently installed systems, but there are actually a host of smaller, portable forced air heaters available on the market. These designs make use of a small blower that passes air over an infrared heating panel, sending warmth out into the room without requiring a connection to a central system.
There are several different types of infrared heaters out there, each with benefits and drawbacks. The simplest designs are electric, which you just need to plug into the wall, but these typically aren’t very efficient and can use a significant amount of juice to heat a larger room. Propane is also a popular fuel source for infrared heaters, and generally consumes less energy than a comparably sized electric heater. Modern propane heaters also include sensors to monitor gas levels in a room.
The simplest of the home-heating solutions — electric baseboards — can also be used in almost any garage space when heating a workshop. These units connect where the floor meets the wall and use electricity to send waves of heat wafting upward. Since they don’t have a fan to move air, however, they typically rely on convection to spread the warmth, which may not make them a good choice if your workspace doesn’t have any windows.
If you’re not keen on connecting your workshop to your home’s central-heating system — or if it’s a freestanding structure — then you may want to consider a heat pump. These devices are able to extract heat even from chilly outside air and move it into your workspace without the need for anything other than a mounting point, a ducting hole in the wall or ceiling and access to electricity. In the summertime, a heat pump can function in reverse to cool down your garage, giving you the best of both worlds.
Whichever method you choose — propane, electric or a four-season heat pump — remember not to overdo it regarding size. Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to heaters, especially in enclosed spaces, so make sure to consider how many BTUs make the most sense for your workshop.
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Photo courtesy of pxhere.
Benjamin Hunting View All
Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States. Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time. I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.
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