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Garage/workshop heater

Carlos's picture

Fellow woodworkers:

I will soon finish my new two car garage/workshop which measures 24X28X8.  With winter coming I need to think about heating the space.  Most of the time I'll leave my car outside.  Two walls are insulated with R19, 3rd wall is common wall and 4th wall are the two doors.  The floor is a concrete slab with  plastic vapor barrier.  Ceiling is R32. I have a dedicated 220v line for my table saw and a second dedicated 220v line for my 80 gal. compressor.  I prefer not to use gas and welcome all ideas on space heating.

I also welcome any suggestions for a smoke alarm that can used in a workshop with a lot of sawdust.  Thanks,


(post #111355, reply #1 of 12)

I have had a wood stove in all of my shops...great for floor sweepings, and cutoffs.

Now b4 some henny penny starts out about saftey...I NEVER even had a close call as far as a problem, use common sense and all is hunky dory.


Spheramid Enterprises Architectural Woodworks

Repairs, Remodeling, Restorations.   

(post #111355, reply #2 of 12)

The simplest thing, since you have the electricity available, would be an electric unit heater hung up in the corner of the room, or maybe two smaller ones in opposite corners.  Berko and QMark are a couple of the top brands, they're both sold by Marley at

(post #111355, reply #3 of 12)

I bought a wood furnance. Like a stove but a blower blows air around the fire box. I always have wood scraps to start a fire. My garage is 26 X 32 it keeps it fairly toasty. A wood furnance is nice if you generate lots of scraps.

(post #111355, reply #4 of 12)

I believe you can buy a heat detector (probably IR detector) instead of a smoke detector.  My guess is that is reacts slightly later than a smoke detector, but that may be your only option.



(post #111355, reply #5 of 12)

You did not indicare the climate.

In some areas a heat pump will work and also will give you summer cooling.

. William the Geezer, the sequel to Billy the Kid - Shoe

(post #111355, reply #6 of 12)

Thanks for the idea.  I live in MD where heat pumps can work most of the year but the expense of one seems high.   But it's certainly worth thinking about.


(post #111355, reply #7 of 12)


 You did not mention where in Maryland you are, or if this is an attached or detached garage but .... I am in Waldorf and have been heating my 22 X 22 attached garage with one of these heaters for quite a few years. My garage has fiberglass insulation in the walls, but none in the ceiling, only drywall. The door is a nice insulated steel 16 ft "two car" door. On even the coldest nights, if I come home from work and turn the heater on, within 20 minutes it is very comfortable, around 65 degrees. I dont work in the garage for hours on end, but spend a fair amount of  time out there doing old radio repairand I really do not notice it in the electric bill.

Here is a nice little btu calculator that might help you out:

Hope this helps,

Bill Koustenis

Advanced Automotive Machine

Waldorf Md

Edited 10/2/2004 9:58 pm ET by MrBill

Bill Koustenis Advanced Automotive Machine Waldorf Md

(post #111355, reply #9 of 12)

Thanks Bill. I live in Derwood and will check out the information you sent.  Much appreciated.


(post #111355, reply #12 of 12)

Thanks for those links.  That BTU converter is handy.




Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.
-- Carl Sandburg

(post #111355, reply #8 of 12)

On the topic of heat pumps, I installed ductless heat pumps in a rental property and they are super-somehow they work even on the coldest days here in PA.  Paid around $500 per 9000btu Hitachi unit.  Much more efficient than resistance heater plus ac.

If you wanted super simple installation, there are even through the wall heat pumps available(look like a window ac).

Either will be fine since a garage is open space and duct work isn't really needed.




(post #111355, reply #10 of 12)

Better snoop around about insurance coverage and a wood heater.

My last three house insurance policy changes have mandated a u/l listing and mfg. specs on the wood heaters that I have.... before they would issue a policy. 

The original heater in my basement was a defiant and did not meet the U/L specs so it was taken out and replaced $1800 (ouch!)....the lined masonary flue was okay. 

The original cast iron Warm Morning Coal & wood heater from the 70's was not permited in my shop.  Likewise the flue had to be upgraded to the insurance's specs.

Way too much money there, so i converted to a "modine" style gas heater and "B" vent.   I actually like it better than the constant management of the wood burner.

I feel safer about walking away from the shop...the wood burner often was still quite hot.   I can see the insurer's point of view....Wood Stove in a Wood Shop in an unattended Wooden Building.

..............Iron Helix

.......Iron Helix

(post #111355, reply #11 of 12)

Very good points that I hope other woodworkers pay attention to.  In addition to safety I also don't like the idea of a wood heater because of warm up time.  I'm investigating other ideas submitted such as electric ceiling heaters and small heat pumps. 

Still looking for an inexpensive fire detector for a garage/workshop.  Past experience has taught me that most smoke detectors can be set off with fine sawdust.  If anyone has experience with a low cost fire (heat?) detector I would appreciate hearing about it.