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Thread: Fall is here. Time to think about how to heat the shop this winter

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Columbus Ohio
    Posts
    163

    Fall is here. Time to think about how to heat the shop this winter

    Well I was hoping to put this off another year, but I just hate the thought of not using the shop in the winter months because of no heat in the shop.

    So, I am looking for input on ways to do this.

    Here is the setup:
    1. 24'x32' fully insulated detached pole barn. ~10' ceilings (6 inches in walls. 12 inches overhead.
    2. 2 car overhead door. Single man door.
    3. Concregte slab floor.
    4. Elec and LP for sources.
    5. Hobby use. Really ony get to work on the weekends and a few nights. Won't be out there every day even if it is heated.
    At first I thought I would go with a LP forced air unit overhead. (Hot Dawg or the like.) Then I started reading more about the radient heat tubes and thought that would be the better way to go. What I liked about both of these was the fact that I could direct vent the combustion air from the outside.

    I liked the radient because of the fact that it heated the objects and I wouldn't be moving air when I didn't need to. Maybe I read too many threads on this stuff over time, but I thought that forced air introduced humidity to the equation which introduced rust to the tools. I am not looking forward to having to topcoat all my wrenches etc. just to keep them from rusting.

    Has anyone got a radient tube heater in a setup similar to this? If so, do you like it, would you do it again? Was it worth the cost?

    To make matters even more difficult I have a family member in the HVAC business that said they can get me a used home forced air furnace for nothing when the replace one at a home. I may need to replace a few parts and it won't be new and won't be as efficient but it is free.

    That has me wondering is a forced air unit really going to cause enough of an issue to cause rusting on the equipment? Another upside to this is that it can handle AC in the summer as well.


    I figure if I go with the free forced air I won't run it until I plan on being in the shop. So far in the 3 years that I have had the shop it has never gotten below 38F without any heat source.

    I figure I go out early and turn on the furnace, go back to the house for breakfast and it should be pretty warm in no time. However with the radient I figure I would leave the thermostat set for 50F when not in use and maybe turn it up the night before I want to work so that it has time to warm up.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lewiston, Idaho
    Posts
    27,725
    Jeff..........The one concern you might run into with radiant tubes is the safe distance they can be from any flammable object. I considered those when I was designing my shop. My shop has 10' ceilings. I'm over 6' tall. I really didn't realize how thin my hair was getting on top until late one night at a hospital.....I went to the outside smoking area that was heated with radiant tubes. I soon noticed the hot spot on my head and looked a little closer in the mirror the next morning. Yup......the snow on the mountain top is getting a little thinner..........Must be caused by global warming...........or genetics.....
    Ken

  3. #3
    I am seriously looking at one of the split heat/AC heat pump deals for my shop. Having the compressor stuff outside and just the heat exchanger inside is very attractive. It's pricey (so far anyway) in the $3000 range but it would handle all of the heating/cooling problems without worry about transfering dust and fumes to the living part of the house. I also see there are some stand-alone heat/ac units and am looking at them somewhat. I need to make up my mind soon though.
    "Because There Is Always More To Learn"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Central NY State
    Posts
    899
    Jeff, my shop is consideraly smaller than yours [16 x 24] but I heat it with a wall mounted Empire furnace. This draws air in from outside, combusts and exhausts it all through the wall. No fan, the heat circulates passively. It runs on LP, and has no electric requirements. During the winter [cold here in central NY] I leave it set at about 50, and turn it up when working. I couldn't be happier with it. Heating costs about $100/mo during the really cold weather. I'm an amateur, not out there full time. I got my unit used. I'd suggest looking into a similar unit, if the BTUs are adequate for the space you have.
    Ken

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Sterling CT
    Posts
    2,457
    Jeff
    my shop is somewhat larger than yours and located in NE CT. I use a Kerr forced hot air furnace and like it. If I had it to do over, I would consider radiant heat. I use about 500 gal per heating season and keep my shop warm all winter long ~ 68 to 70 degree F

    Lou

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Posts
    781
    Jeff,

    To combat rust, I recommend keeping the shop at around 55 degrees all winter long, and keeping the shop closed up as much as humanly possible. The danger is letting warm, moist air contact your cold machinery tables. The greater the delta T the worse the condensation.
    Kyle in K'zoo
    Screws are kinda like knots, if you can't use the right one, use lots of 'em.
    The greatest tragedy in life is the gruesome murder of a beautiful theory by a brutal gang of facts.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Monroe, MI
    Posts
    11,896
    Jeff, Your shop and climate are very similar to mine. I use the Hot Dawg style heater and am very happy with it. Mine is a 75K BTU model vented out the side wall. Last winter I kept the shop at 45 whenever I wasn't using it unless I had something being glued up or drying. When I was working I kept it about 62, except when using plastic resin glue or finishing with WB laquer, then I warmed it up to about 72. Keeping the shop at 45 allows it to heat up fast when you turn up the heat.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Meiser
    I use the Hot Dawg style heater and am very happy with it. Mine is a 75K BTU model vented out the side wall. Last winter I kept the shop at 45 whenever I wasn't using it unless I had something being glued up or drying. When I was working I kept it about 62, except when using plastic resin glue or finishing with WB laquer, then I warmed it up to about 72. Keeping the shop at 45 allows it to heat up fast when you turn up the heat.
    Hi Matt,

    Ditto on the Hot Dawg - great little unit. I keep my shop about 50-55 all winter. Our winters are not terribly harsh and the shop is well insulated. 55 Might seem high, but the LOML really likes not having to put on a coat to do the laundry (which occupies one corner of the garage/shop). I can bring the shop up to 65 very quickly when needed. What's really nice is I can bring it up to 72 and hold it there for a few hours, then shut it down (no open flames) open a door and window, and spray finish. I wait for the air to clear completely, close everything up, and allow the heat to come back on as the temp drops below 55.
    I have been black and blue in some spot, somewhere, almost all my life from too intimate contacts with my own furniture. - Frank Lloyd Wright

    I have been black and blue and bloody in some spot, somewhere, almost all my life from too intimate contacts while building my own furniture. - Rennie Heuer

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Brentwood & Altamont, TN
    Posts
    2,334
    Would a pellet stove be a possibility for you? They seem like a very viable solution for you kind of situation and are perfect for infrequent use.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Kutztown PA
    Posts
    1,255
    Jeff, I've been using a Reverberray radiant tube since the winter of 1999-2000 in my shop, which is just a little bit smaller than yours (20' x 30') and not very well insulated. I have 6" in the roof, which is peaked, and 3" in parts of the walls. I also have a half wall of concrete and three sets of double doors on one side, as it was a garage in its previous use.

    I like the tube, and it has done very well. Ken makes a good point about minimum clearances needed for combustibles. The top of my head is just about two inches or so above the minumum height. Alas, there are no combustible materials left there, so I just get a warm spot. It does make for some crimping in where I can put things, but overall I have been happy with it.

    I have plans to supplement it with radiant heat from our outdoor furnace, which we installed last year for our house, but I have yet to decide on what I am going to use for heat in the shop itself. I have the tubes installed underground to bring the hot water to the shop, but that is as far as I have gotten.

    Good luck with it, and if you have more questions on Reverberray I will be glad to try and answer them for you.

    Bill

  11. Anybody use a wood-burning stove to heat their shop?

  12. #12
    Yep. (I sure do, had to enter more characters, wouldn't take just yep!)

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Mpls, Minn
    Posts
    2,882
    Tried the wood stove years back, took to long to get the garage warm was my main problem, there's also the wood to get, cut, stack and then ash to get rid of.
    I put a home furnace in, now have better heat distribution and filtered air.

    I might see a small unit to burn scraps of wood in, wouldn't be as much heat but would be a way to get rid of scrap lumber.

    Al

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Kutztown PA
    Posts
    1,255
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Cothren
    Anybody use a wood-burning stove to heat their shop?
    Hi Mark

    I had a woodstove in my old shop, but it might not be the best example. The old shop was a rental building, concrete floors, walls, and roof, with no insulation at all. There was one door, a 9' garage door, and next to that a huge steel framed single pane window. The stove was an old one from the 1970s and while it looked pretty, it was as leaky and inefficient as could be.

    The shop was roasting hot near the stove, and freezing by the time I got on the other side. I never had any problems with dust or finishes, but I did not do any spraying. The biggest drawback was getting the fire going and getting the place warm enough to work. By the time I got it warm, it was almost time to go home again. I suppose a better stove in a better insulated building would perform much more efficiently.

    Bill

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Al Willits

    I might see a small unit to burn scraps of wood in, wouldn't be as much heat but would be a way to get rid of scrap lumber.

    Al
    I have a much better use for the small scrap. I bought a small 'fire-pit', one of those metal, roll-a-round jobs you can get at the big box.

    A crisp fall evening, laid back in an Adirondack chair with the LOML at my side, a glass of good wine in my hand, and a toasty warm fire at our feet.
    I have been black and blue in some spot, somewhere, almost all my life from too intimate contacts with my own furniture. - Frank Lloyd Wright

    I have been black and blue and bloody in some spot, somewhere, almost all my life from too intimate contacts while building my own furniture. - Rennie Heuer

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