We all know garage heaters are a great way to keep your garage warm during winter, but they have more uses beyond that. Garage heaters are versatile heating units that can be used to warm a wide range of spaces around your home or worksite. The infrared heat they provide is absorbed by your body instead of the air, which enable them to work well in areas that are drafty, uninsulated, or otherwise difficult to heat, such as farmhouses, workshops, homes, "man caves," and construction sites.
Where You Can Hand Your Garage Heater
Garage heaters can be used as primary heat sources, or supplemental heat sources. Below are five of the most popular places for garage heaters outside garages.
Farmhouses. Old farmhouses often have large rooms, irregular windows, solid walls, tall ceilings, and long hallways, features that aren't conducive to central heating. Many were designed to use wood or pellet stoves as their primary source and their heating capacity is limited. Garage heaters made a reliable, durable, and inexpensive alternative. They're easy to install, set up, and move. To warm rooms with inadequate heating, some just need to be plugged in and switched on.
Workshops. Installing a garage heater in your workshop means you don't have to give up your hobbies and projects when it gets cold. Most can be mounted to the ceiling or walls to save space and let you work unobstructed. Look for one with a fan and swivel feature that lets you direct warm air onto wherever you're working.
Homes. Even though garage heaters aren't designed for home use, they make great spot heaters in rooms that can't be heated reliably with central heating, rooms with high ceilings, drafts, or leaky ducts. Electric garage heaters like the NewAir G56 Garage Heater work best in closed rooms because they don't produce waste gases and don't require ventilation. They're also portable, which makes them easy to move and heat rooms as their needed.
Man Caves. Secluded dens of masculinity are often built in basements, pool houses, media rooms, attics, or garages - spaces away from the normal ebb and flow that are often uninsulated and hard to reach with central heating. Garage heaters are the perfect way to keep them warm. None of the heat they produce gets absorbed by the air, which makes them extremely efficient in these areas. Because man caves aren't built to standard size, make sure you measure the room carefully so you don't overheat it. Measure the length, width, and height, multiply them together, and divide by 200. Them multiply that number by 9,000 if the space is uninsulated, or by 6,000 if the space is insulated. That tells you how many BTUs you'll need to heat the room. If you're using an electric heater instead of a gas heater, you can convert BTUs into watts by dividing by 3.1412.
Construction Sites. Construction work can be difficult during winter. Prolonged exposure to cold air can lead to a condition known as cold stress. Symptoms include fatigue, shivering, dehydration, loss of coordination, and disorientation. Because they rely principally on infrared heat, which is absorbed directly by your body, similar to what you'd feel from a campfire, garage heaters are effective outdoor heaters. Always choose an oversized heater when you're working outdoors. The larger the area it has to heat, the more heat it needs to generate.
Why Garage Heaters Are so Effective
Their power and compact size make garage heaters ideal in a wide set of spaces. Here are just a few of their benefits.
Garage heaters like the NewAir G56 provide forced fan, infrared heating. Unlike space heaters, which rely on natural convection to distribute heat, garage heaters circulate the air, which allows them to warm large areas very quickly. Some gas powered garage heaters can actually heat areas up to 4500 square feet, making them an excellent choice for warehouses and jobsites.
Garage heater come with a series of built in safety features to prevent fires and accidental burns, such as fireproof grating over the intake and exhaust ports that prevent direct contact with the heating coil, automatic temperature shut offs that prevent overheating, and tip-over switches that shut the heater down if it ever falls over.
Garage heaters started as large, clunky, stationary devices, but recent advances in heating technology have allowed manufacturers to create smaller, mobile heaters with the same heating capacity that can be carried, moved, and repositioned with minimal effort.
Installing Garage Heaters
Garage heaters in small spaces should be positioned as close to the floor as possible. Portable heaters like the NewAir G56 should be placed flat on the floor, away from your feet or anything that might knock them over. Mounted units should be installed eighteen inches off the floor, someplace you won't bump into them. In large spaces, garage heaters like the NewAir G73 should be mounted at least seven feet above the floor and at least four inches below the ceiling. When mounting heaters, place them on interior walls, away from doors, windows, picture frames, and electric circuits. They're safe to mount on wood or plaster, as long as you follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding minimum safe placement (approximately 4 inches from the wall) and use the equipment they've provided.
To be most effective, garage heaters should be placed in the coldest corner of the room and directed towards the center. For safety, never place a garage heater directly against the wall and keep combustible materials such as furniture, bedding, pillows, papers, clothing, and curtains at least three feet away from the heater at all times.
Choosing a Garage Heater
There are three types of garage heaters: electrical, propane, and natural gas. The type you need depends on the size of the area you want to heat, how well insulated it is, and the amount of money you're willing to spend on ventilation. Spaces with poor ventilation require additional piping and vents. Spaces with poor insulation require units with greater power.
|Electrical||The most popular heater for home use. Electrical heaters don't use open flames and don't create waste fumes, so they're safe to use in small spaces. Compact, lightweight, and reliable, with few moving parts, so maintenance is minimal. Requires a dedicated circuit for use and should never be used when flammable particles are in the air. Normally used to heat areas between 500-600 sq. ft.|
|Propane||Self-contained heaters connected to propane tanks. Warm heating coils by burning propane gas. Come with corrosion resistant casings and baked-on, high-solid paint that make them very durable. Uses an open flame, so poses a higher fire risk. Less efficient than electrical heaters. Some of the gas is burned off as waste fumes and must be vented to prevent harm. Gas burning increases maintenance requirements, but generates more heat than electrical heaters. Heats areas up to 4500 sq. ft.|
|Natural Gas||Fixed heaters connected to gas lines, so fuel is always ready to use. Highly durable and extremely powerful, but some gas is burned off as waste. Need to be ventilated to avoid harm from fumes and requires more maintenance, but more powerful than electrical heaters. Heats areas up to 4500 sq. ft.|
If you decide to buy a gas heater, ventilation is crucial. Additional piping and vents may need to be installed in the space. How many depends on the type of venting you choose. Gravity venting uses natural convection to release gas through waterproof vents in the ceiling, same as a chimney. Gravity vents are inexpensive but require you to carefully monitor air flow and room pressure. Negative room pressure will draw fumes back into the room and cause a potential health hazard. To avoid this, many people turn to powered venting systems, which use a booster fan to force waste fumes through the ventilation system. It not only guarantees safe venting, but increases the venting configurations available to you.
Garage Heaters are immensely practical devices with robust construction and low operating costs. There are few areas where they can't be used to provide durable and sustained heat, so don't be afraid to be creative.