Even if you don’t plan to spend a lot of time in the garage this winter, it’s important to make sure it is well insulated to save money and energy. Any equipment that is in the garage, such as cars, washers, water heaters, and HVAC equipment can get damaged due to cold weather. Plumbing pipes are also at risk.
If you aren’t convinced yet, just take a look at this frightening picture of a burst pipe in the garage:
In addition to preventing expensive repairs, improving garage heating and insulation will also make it possible to work and tinker in your garage all year long. The weather might make it a little less comfortable, but there’s still work to be done and hobbies to explore.
HELP! I NEED MY GARAGE DURING THE HOLIDAYS!
For many people, the garage is a getaway, a place to store all of the tools and toys. The winter air can cause this less insulated space in your home to become frigid and uninhabitable. If the garage is a place you plan on spending time this winter, regardless of the temperature outdoors, here are some of the best garage heating solutions.
GARAGE HEATING TIPS
There are several options to keeping your garage comfortable and protected from the cold.
BEST HEAT SOURCES FOR YOUR GARAGE
Do not try installing a heating system by yourself. The work requires advanced knowledge of gas lines, venting, and electrical components. Often, permits and paperwork are needed. In the worst case, someone can die.
WORST HEAT SOURCES FOR YOUR GARAGE
- Extending ducts from your existing home system — Fumes from your garage will travel into your home, which can be harmful and smelly!
- Portable propane heaters — They work, and a lot of people will use them in the winter, but for health and safety reasons, invest in a better heating method. Propane and kerosene heaters require proper ventilation and create a lot of water vapor. Due to these complications and more, consider another form of heating.
- Wood stoves — These can be flammable and frustrating. Unless you really know how to install and operate one, there is quite a bit of local and government regulation on these, so check that out before going with this old-school solution.
- Portable electrical heaters — These are great for keeping a small space warm (prop it next to you when you’re at the work bench or chilling on the garage sofa), but in order to heat an entire garage you’re going to have to think about fixed placement and more long-term solutions.
LOOKING FOR NATURAL GAS SOLUTIONS?
If you’re interested in heating your garage with natural gas, there are two types of natural gas heaters to consider, forced air heaters or a low-intensity infrared tube heater. There are pros and cons to both, as outlined below.
- Less Expensive — Cost upfront is 50% less than an infrared heater. The fact that forced-air is a useful and less expensive heater option makes it a very popular heating solution.
- Covers Most Needs — Based on the size of your garage, the climate of your area and the temperature you want to achieve in your space, a less expensive heater may be all you need. It’s an all-purpose heater that’s used in many homes for a reason.
- Loud — Forced-air heaters are often considered “noisy.”
- Heat rises — The air will be warmer towards the ceiling and colder near the floor. If your garage is the normal 7-9 feet, this shouldn’t be something that is noticeable.
- Things can get dusty — If you use your garage for woodworking or painting, forced-air heaters might not be your best solution. They tend to blow air around, making it not the most ideal heating for certain types of projects. Strategic location planning can avoid this problem.
- Longer Recovery Time — If you do need to pull the car out of the driveway, opening the garage door will cause a rush of cold air to blow into the space. A forced air heater has no problem bouncing back and getting the garage warm again, you just may need to be patient. It’s still a lot faster than other heating methods.
INFRARED TUBE HEATER
- Quiet — They make less noise than their forced-air brother.
- Less air movement — For woodworkers and painters, this is a more ideal heating system do to the fact that dust will settle instead of circulate.
- Lower operating cost — This heater will cost more upfront, but the long-term operating cost is lower overall.
- No stratification — Stratification is when there is hotter air at the ceiling than on the floor. With an infrared heater, this does not happen.
- Shorter Recovery Time — When the garage is opened and cold air is let in, the infrared heater has the strength to warm things up quickly again because the floor and objects in the garage are able to retain the existing heat better. However, when simply turned off, warm air will leave the space more quickly than with a forced air alternative.
- Electrical — If gas-powered heat isn’t what you’re looking for, you can always get an electrical infrared heater instead. Check with your local electrical utility to confirm if this is a cost-effective solution for you, as electric heat will cost more to run.
- More Expensive — It will cost about 50% more upfront over the forced air heater.
- Picky Placement — This is a heater after all! You need to be very particular about the placement of this heater. Suggested installation is 7 feet from the floor and 3 feet from any objects in the space. You also don’t want it to be too close to your own body; you can overheat just like the room and objects can!
Before you install your new garage heating system, make sure you have inspected it for air leaks and sealed any that you find. Replace the weatherstripping around your garage door for an extra heat and savings boost. Click here for instructions on how to insulate a garage door.
Contact Pacific Air Systems for your garage heating consultation. We’ll provide custom recommendations for your home and give your straightforward pricing options that solve your comfort and budget needs.