Garage heaters are versatile heating units with a wide range of practical applications in and out of your home. Though they’re an excellent way to warm up your garage, there are other places where you can also hang garage heaters in order to provide fast and efficient heating: farmhouses, workshops, homes, “man caves,” and construction sites. With a little creativity, there’s hardly anywhere they can’t be used.
Different Places to Use Garage Heaters
Because of their compact design and powerful technology, garage heaters are very adaptable. They can be installed in almost any environment to provide adequate heat, or used to supplement existing heating systems during winter. Besides your garage, here are five of the most popular places to hang garage heaters.
Farmhouses can get very cold during winter. Their solid walls, large rooms, and irregular windows and doors makes it hard to heat them effectively. Wood or pellet stoves are inefficient and inconvenient, and relying on a traditional oil furnace can be expensive. Garage heaters provide a reliable, durable, and inexpensive alternative. Installation is simple, which means they can be quickly mounted in any rooms with inadequate heating.
Installing a garage heater in your workshop means you don’t have to give up any of your special projects or hobbies when the weather turns cold. Garage heaters come equipped with powerful fans and stainless steel heating elements that make them the perfect portable heating solution. If you’re not interested in heating the whole space, you can attach a small one to the wall and use the swivel feature to direct heat right onto you and your workbench.
Even though garage heaters aren’t specifically designed for home use, they can be used for supplemental heating in rooms with poor insulation or high ceilings. Keep in mind that if you’re not using a propane garage heater or natural gas garage heater, you’ll need to make sure to install some additional piping in order to vent the waste fumes they generate.
4. Man Caves
The stereotypical “man cave” is normally set up in a garage, basement, media room, or pool houses, places away from the normal ebb and flow of family life. These areas can get pretty chilly during winter. Because they’re capable of delivering large amounts of heat very quickly, at a low cost, garage heaters are the perfect heating solution for these spaces. Because “man caves” aren’t built to a standard size, you’ll need to make sure your garage heater is properly sized before installation or you may end up overheating or under heating the room. Measure the length, width, and height of the room and multiply them together to get the room’s volume. Then calculate the difference between the outside temperature and your desired inside temperature (desired indoor temperature minus outdoor temperature). Multiply the two numbers together and divide by 1.6 to calculate the amount of BTUs the garage heater needs to generate (V*T/1.6=BTU). Once you’ve done that, you’ll know how many BTUs the garage heater will have to generate to warm up your “man cave.”
5. Construction Sites
Performing construction work in winter can be incredibly tough. Garage heaters help ensure you can keep performing your job without becoming fatigued by the wind or cold. They’re powerful enough to provide continuous warmth even when temperatures drop precipitously. If you’re working in an area exposed to the elements, make sure you choose a unit with an above average heating capacity to compensate for the harsh environment.
Despite the restrictions implied by their name, garage heaters can be hung in several different environments to keep you warm and augment existing heating systems. They’re particularly effective for places with little to no insulation, or areas your normal heating apparatus can’t supply.
What Makes Garage Heaters So Effective?
The best thing about garage heaters is their variety. They come in all shapes and sizes, with a multitude of features that provide you with enough heating options to customize your environment precisely to your liking. Consider just a few of their benefits.
Garage heaters used forced fan heating. Rather than relying on natural convection to distribute heat, garage heaters use high-powered fans to circulate air over the heating coils and throughout the room. This allows them to reach a larger area (up to 500 sq. ft.) in a very short amount of time.
Modern garage heaters have built in safety features that automatically shut the unit down whenever it begins to overheat. They also include grating that shields the heating elements from direct contact, reducing the risk of burns or accidental fires, which means they can be used safely with little supervision or worry.
Old garage heaters in the past were large, clunky machines, but technological advances have allowed manufacturers to create smaller, more compact units without sacrificing the power that made the old units so effective. Their low profile makes them easier to mount and more convenient to use, but just as capable of warming large areas.
For optimum results, the garage heaters should be installed as close to the floor as possible. In smaller rooms, garage heaters should be mounted eighteen inches off the floor. In larger rooms, garage heaters should be mounted at least seven feet above the floor and a minimum of four inches below the ceiling. It’s best to mount these heaters on interior walls, far away from any doors or windows. They should also be placed away from picture frames and light switches. They can be mounted on any wall surface, from wood paneling to plaster, just so long as you’ve done so according to the manufacturer’s instructions and used the materials provided with the unit.
To guarantee effective heating, garage heaters should always be placed in the coldest corner of the space where it’s installed, but angled towards the center of the room. For safety reasons, make sure there are at least 4 inches between the heater and the closest wall, and place any combustible materials at least three feet away from the unit.
Choosing the Right Heater
There are three main types of garage heaters, distinguishable by their fuel source. They are electrical, propane, and natural gas. Deciding which one is right for you depends on the amount of money you’re willing to spend on ventilation and the amount of insulation present in the place you want to heat. Areas with poor ventilation require you to install additional piping and vents, while areas with poor insulation require heaters with more power. The following is a breakdown of all three heater types.
Propane Garage Heater
Propane garage heaters are self-contained heaters that burn propane to create heat. Equipped with corrosion-resistant casings and baked-on, high solid paint that make them very durable. Produces fumes that have to be adequately vented to avoid harm. Uses an open flame, so there is a higher risk of fire than with other units.
Electrical Garage Heater
Electrical garage heaters are the preferred heater for residential use. They use electricity to warm coils and generate heat. Compact, lightweight, and reliable. Fan blades are the only moving part, so maintenance is minimal. These units also don’t use open flames and don’t generate any dangerous fumes, which makes them safe in small spaces and a low fire risk. Safe to use in areas with combustible materials, though they can’t be used if flammable gas particles are in the air. Requires a dedicated circuit for power and the noise from the fan may be bothersome.
Natural Gas Garage Heater
Natural gas garage heaters connect directly to the natural gas lines in your house. Highly durable, very efficient, and extremely powerful. Connected to your gas line, so fuel does not have to be resupplied, so the heater is always ready for use. Produces fumes and gases that have to be adequately vented to prevent harm and gas fired heating requires more maintenance than standard heaters.
Garage heaters can be vented using gravity or through powered venting. Each method requires some additional piping and construction work for each unit. Gravity vented heaters release gas vertically through your roof using the principle of natural convection. Hot air rises up from the unit and up through a specialized, waterproof vent in the ceiling. If you decide to install a gravity vent, make you maintain either positive or neutral air pressure in the room. If the air pressure in the room becomes negative, it will draw air in and prevent gravity vents from releasing fumes as intended.
Powered venting is more effective. It uses a booster fan to force the fumes up through the pipe and out the vent, which not only guarantees adequate ventilation at all times, but also increases the venting options available to you.
You should now have a better understanding of garage heaters, their benefits, and the places you can hang them. They’re immensely practical devices with robust construction and low operating costs that can be used to provide durable and sustained heat wherever you need it.