Garage heaters are the ideal way to maintain comfortable temperatures in your garage, workshop, or jobsite. Unlike other heating systems that warm the air using convection, garage heaters rely principally on infrared heat, which is absorbed directly by your body and the objects around it, making them an efficient and effective way to stay warm outdoors or heat areas with poor insulation. If you’re interested in purchasing a garage heater, there are five key features to consider before buying.
- Heater Type. There are two main types of garage heaters: electric and gas. Electric heaters generate heat by running electricity through metal coils while gas heaters generate heat by burning propane or natural gas to warm coils and radiate that heat out into the surrounding area. Gas heaters have to be connected directly to a gas line or portable gas tank in order to function. Because some of the gas they burn is exhausted as waste fumes, they aren’t as efficient as electric heaters, but they are more powerful. Some can heat spaces up to nine times larger than what electric heaters are capable of.
- Heat Range. A unit’s heat range determines what size space it can heat. In electric heaters it’s measured in watts. In gas heaters, it’s measured in British Thermal Units (BTU). To calculate heater range, measure the square footage of the space you want to heat – length and width – multiply those numbers together and divide by 200. Then multiply the quotient by 9,000, if the space is uninsulated, or by 6,000, if the space is insulated. The product is how many BTUs your heater needs to generate. If you’re using an electric heater, divide the product by 3.1412. The heat range on NewAir garage heaters is always displayed on our website or the side of the box. Always make sure the heat range is as close to optimal as possible, otherwise you’ll end up wasting power when you run your heater.
- Safety. Garage heaters generate a lot of heat, which is why we recommend keeping all combustible materials such as furniture, bedding, pillows, papers, clothes, and curtains at least three feet away from them at all times. To prevent burns, make sure the heater you buy has fireproof intake and discharge grills, as well as an automatic shutoff to prevent overheating and a tip over switch that shuts down the heater when it falls over.
- Maintenance. Electric and gas heaters have different maintenance requirements. Electric have to be wiped down with a damp cloth and have any dust vacuumed out of the interior. Maintenance for gas heaters is more intense. The air intake and exhaust vents have to be checked for blockages, dirt has to be vacuumed from the fan motor, the burner has to be cleaned with a wire brush to ensure consistent gas flow, the gas lines have to be checked for leaks, and the ignition system has to be checked to make sure it sparks properly.
- Portability. Not all garage heaters are portable. Some have to be hardwired into your electrical system or connected directly to a gas line. Fixed heaters are normally used to heat large areas and they’re often mounted on walls or ceilings to save space. Portable heaters, like the NewAir G56 Electric Garage Heater, are small, compact, and should have carrying handles so they can be transported safely. They’re kept on the floor or a workbench and are used to heat small areas between 500 and 600 square feet.
Have any questions about garage heaters we didn’t answer? Leave them in the comments!