View Full Version : Garage Heater

Prashun Patel
01-06-2016, 6:34 PM
Last year my pipes burst in my bathroom which is right over my garage.
I would like to purchase a garage heater that keeps the temp above freezing. But all the electric ones seem to run on 220v. I don't have 220v service to my garage.

Is it safe to run a propane heater there? Instinct says no but "propane garage heaters" brings back a lot of search results.

Help appreciated. I don't need it to be hot in there; I won't be working when it's on; I just need it above freezing.

Ken Fitzgerald
01-06-2016, 7:03 PM

Is your garage insulated?

I ran a couple 120VAC heaters in my unheated shed before I built my shop and it was expensive!

You can buy 120 vac heaters that have a built in thermostat and multi-speed fans. They plug into a regular outlet and most actually have safety circuits that shut off power should the heater be tipped over.

Scott DelPorte
01-06-2016, 7:19 PM
I dont know if this is a viable option for you, but since I just replaced one yesterday, its fresh in my mind. If you have easy access to your pipes, you can wrap heating ropes on them. They run off 110 and work well. They also use less electricity because they heat the pipes directly.

roger wiegand
01-07-2016, 9:46 AM
It will be cheaper and better to figure out how to get the pipes inside the heated envelope of your house. Some combination of insulation on the cold side and access to conditioned air on the inside. Perhaps box them in 2-4" of rigid foam, seal all the gaps with spray foam and then create an opening to the warm space above. Even heating tape will eat up a noticeable amount of electricity and your pipes will still freeze when you forget to turn it on.

Jerome Stanek
01-07-2016, 12:11 PM
What type of heat do you have in your house. If it is forced air you could put a small duct branch off with a controlled damper that would only open when the temp in the garage got to low

Lee Schierer
01-07-2016, 12:20 PM
The best long term solution is to properly insulate the ceiling of the garage, which does not include adding heat to that space. Holmes on Homes, deals with this problem often on his shows. Usually they add spray foam from the garage side and locate the pipes close to the underside of the floor of the heated space. Add insulation board and then drywall over the foam and you should have no more worries for your location. The trick is to stop any air infiltration near the pipes. This method is a one time cost and for your location in New Jersey should work just fine.

Kev Williams
01-07-2016, 3:18 PM
Best thing I ever did, TWICE, was buy ventless gas heaters...

First one is actually a gas-log fireplace, we bought it 8 years ago and use it in our 50' houseboat...


it's 33,000 btu, 99% efficient, thermostatically controlled, will automatically shut down if 02 levels get low- All the heat exits some louvers above the flame, the top of thing never gets above 'fairly warm'. That 32" TV's been on top since day one.

Second one is a wall heater in my garage shop. It's a similar unit, same BTU ratings- NOTE that the burner normally fires at a 22,000 BTU pace, it only runs at 33,000 if you crank up the dial, so you can warm up a cold area fast. Once acclimated, it only fires at 22,000...

This one works off either propane or natural gas, mine is connected to the house NG. It keeps the garage around 65į for about $1 a day during cold months. It just mounts to the wall via a hanger. Second pic shows the 22,000 flame, third pic shows the 33,000 flame. Note I have a small fan hanging in the corner in the first pic, it's always on, moves the heat around nicely...


There is an issue with these types of heaters, which is when they burn, the water that was in the air used is left over, making for high humidity. I don't have an issue with this because my garage (and houseboat) are far from 'airtight' so it's not a problem. However, in a tight area, you can get condensation on windows or any other cold surfaces. They also come in less BTU versions, and 'plaque' style if you don't like open flame. I paid $219 to my door from ebay for this one, pretty cheap furnace!

John Goodin
01-08-2016, 1:33 AM
I think running a duct into the garage is a code violation because it allows potential fumes from the garage into the main living area.

Maurice Hood
01-08-2016, 7:29 AM
Kev, that sounds like a nice setup in your garage how large is the garage. I have been trying to read up on different options for heating my shop. I have read a number of threads over on the Garage Journal Forum and other forums as well discussing propane heaters and most do not recommend the non-vented units do to the excessive amounts of moisture left in the room. I am concerned about the effects of all that moisture in the room on my tools. My shop, as you mentioned about yours, is not close to being air tight so I already have some rust issues from time to time and have been hesitant to do anything that might add to that situation. I would be interested in your thoughts and experiences so far with that type of heat in regards to the moisture situation. Thanks,

Ole Anderson
01-08-2016, 10:38 AM
A small ceiling hung unit heater is the cat's meow if you have a way to vent it and you have enough ceiling height. I keep mine at the minimum thermostat setting of 42 degrees until I need to work out there (shop is in the basement), then it is so nice to have the garage warmed up to 65 in just a half hour.

Kev Williams
01-08-2016, 3:25 PM
Maurice, I have no issues at all with moisture. Partly, I'm sure, because the garage is connected to the house and leaving the door open, the house heat and garage heat equalize, so the heater doesn't run all that often. During the night when the door is closed, the garage may lose 2 degrees. I usually keep it 62 to 65 degrees regardless, and I've simply never noticed any excess humidity or moisture. It's the ultimate in simplicity, it's nothing more than burner with a metal box around it...

My neighbor gave me a 40k btu shop furnace, which would've required roof venting, a thermostat and it's wiring, electric hookup for the blower fan, and some sort of bracket or fixture built on or near the ceiling to hold the thing-- and all that for 80% or less efficient heat--

This thing, you remove it from the box, screw a metal bracket to the wall, pick propane or NG, hang it on the wall, connect the gas, and the install is done, 10 minutes or so...

It has a 'snapper' pilot lighter, you need to wait a couple of minutes for gas to displace the air, and finally the pilot will light. After that, turn the knob about halfway up- when the room is the temp you want, turn the knob back till the flame shuts off, and you're done. After that a little fine tuning is all that may be necessary to find your sweet spot.

If you want 'decorative' heat, get one of the gas log fireplaces- they work exactly the same! :)


Maurice Hood
01-08-2016, 5:09 PM
Kev, Thanks for the reply. Thatís all very interesting. I wasonly stating what I had read about non-vented propane heaters dumping a lot ofmoisture in the room and for obvious reasons I really didnít need any moremoisture around my tools than I already have. What you are saying soundspromising I may just have to check into one of them. Thanks for posting aboutyour experiences with the heaters.

Fred Belknap
01-08-2016, 8:23 PM
I have the same type of heater in my shop, it is a stand alone shop and pretty well insulated. I have never had a problem with the heater producing excess moisture. The small heater will keep my shop 65 degrees. When it gets below zero it will maintain 55 degrees but I usually abandon the shop if it is that cold. I think mine is rated 30k btu, it will cut off if the oxygen gets depleted, it never has. No smell and I use well head natural gas.