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Have been using the garage to apply finishes this year - been working pretty good. With the cold weather looming (Michigan) I've been wondering about heating it the couple days a week I need. Should I go with electric or propane. And it does have insulation under the drywall and on the overhead door.

HJ
 

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Have been using the garage to apply finishes this year - been working pretty good. With the cold weather looming (Michigan) I've been wondering about heating it the couple days a week I need. Should I go with electric or propane. And it does have insulation under the drywall and on the overhead door.

HJ
I would go with electricity as propane puts out a lot of moisture unless it's vented out side. Here in Tennessee propane is way more expensive.
 

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If the propane is unvented and draws its fresh air from in the shop would there be a fire hazard from the finishing fumes?
 

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Can you build a booth to finish instead heating the whole garage? I dislike propane in general (too many years with job site heaters) and the fumes are bothersome.
 

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Finishing fumes and flames don't mix. Electric heaters, preferably without an exposed heating element to ignite stray fumes. Just finished insulating my roll down garage door, but the garage ceiling needs heavy insulation and dry wall. Will hire someone to do that, too darn heavy for me anymore. I'm thinking I need a fan to vent air out of the attic space that will result. Without that insulated ceiling, a heater will never be able to keep up.

May also have a fresh 3-4 inches of blown in insulation put in the attic of the house itself. Had new ductwork installed last year and I think the existing blown in got trampled. Winter can get frosty here, but insulation is even more important during a Mojave Desert summer.
 

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Tom; re the attic venting...don't forget the make-up air required, no matter how it's vented, an often overlooked factor in venting.
If you have gable end walls, then installing vents in those walls may be the simplest way to increase the airflow through the attic space.
Roof top turbines work like a 'hot' damn for pulling the air out.
 

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My shop is heated with a Modine Hot Dawg propane heater. Sealed unit which draws outside air for combustion, exhausts fumes outside.

The 24x36’ shop is well insulated and when unoccupied, thermostat is at 45-48 degrees, occupied 68 degrees. It takes only a few minutes to warm up. No moisture or rust on tools.

Unit is going on 16 years old, with no problems. Each year before start up, I blow the unit off with compressed air and do a test run. That is the only maintenance I do.

Tank is 125 gallons and usually filled in August when demand and price are low. Propane company sends me a reminder each year about their fill-up sale.

Here in Washington, propane is way cheaper than electric. Propane is far more efficient. From what I read and have been told by installers, electric is not that efficient for heat and depending upon your utility rates, costly. Our house has electric heat, supplemented by a heat pump which keeps the cost down.

Prior to installing the Modine unit, I ran a 220 volt Grainger “milk house” heater. Not very efficient and shop was always cold as it just did not generate enough heat and have a powerful enough fan to move the air.

Do some informational shopping at the local utility company and heating shops about both, then decide.

Some links that maybe helpful:
Modine HD Hot Dawg Gas Garage Heater Information

Hot Dawg® Power Vented (HD) | HVAC
 

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I would go with electricity as propane puts out a lot of moisture unless it's vented out side. Here in Tennessee propane is way more expensive.
ditto...
 

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If the propane is unvented and draws its fresh air from in the shop would there be a fire hazard from the finishing fumes?
yes...
 

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John..
listen to Bill...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Then what's a good plug in electric 110 - -- - or should I get 2 smaller ones. Will probably only need it a couple days a week at most ....... unless I get real busy. Who knows what this holiday season will bring and how many days I go hunting.

HJ
 

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Either you're talking the District of Columbia or west of the mountains, because electric is FAR cheaper than gas or propane in Eastern Washington. I run my shop with three horse collectors, a three horse saw and twenty four foot lights, heat or cooling and it all runs on the same meter as my house for sixty to one twenty a month.

When I was in Olympia, Washington, my normal bills ran three to five a month.
 

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Then what's a good plug in electric 110 - -- - or should I get 2 smaller ones. Will probably only need it a couple days a week at most ....... unless I get real busy. Who knows what this holiday season will bring and how many days I go hunting.

HJ
John I use a small electric heater that sets on one of my work benches. When it gets cold I run it all the time and the shop never gets cold. My wife wants to keep the car inside so the garage doors get opened twice a day. If I shut the heater down when I am not in the shop I don't think it would keep up. When I go into the shop I want it cool in the summer and warm in the winter. As long as I can afford it, it will be that way. I consider the money spent like buying a new tool to enjoy.
 

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Dejure: I'm in Pierce Co. and Puget Sound Energy 'aint' economical.
That is why I advised doing some "shopping" at the utility company and heating shops about rates and cost, then decide.
 

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In my old shop (crying because we sold the house & shop) I tried the radiant tube type propane heaters. Even with using them just to heat the concrete floor & cutting them back the expense was out of sight. Installed a heat pump and that worked great. (not rich, just have a son in that business). A low end unit would handle heat & air for most shops. My unit was "used" from a site where they replaced it with a higher BTU unit (their out there, you just have to scrounge). CAUTION: you need to fabricate an extra filter box for the intake air, preferably multiple filters.
 

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...my vote for electricity...
 

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Here in BC propane and electric are about equal so as Ray suggested you should do some homework. I have a 30 foot radiant tube heater running on propane. I've had it for over 20 years and I've been very happy with it. When I'm not in the shop I keep it at 2 to 3C, just above freezing. When I'm in the shop working I turn it up to 10C/50F which with the radiant heat is very comfortable. If I'm finishing I turn it up to 20C/68F which becomes too hot while the heater is on. My propane bill is about $400 to 500 per winter which is from October to April here. That includes a gas cooktop inn my house btw.

I have the intake vent in my attic so no fumes going into the heater or risk of fire or explosion when it starts up. A plus for finishing and DC is that there is no air movement during its operation except natural heat convection. What Tom said about insulation is true. What keeps you warm will also keep you cool. I have 10" in my ceiling and that should be a minimum. It gets to around 40C/ 100+F on a few days a year but it still cools off at night and if I keep my shop closed up during the day it feels like I have an air conditioner on.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
How many watts would I need for a 2 car garage?

HJ
 

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radiant floor heat powered by an electric water heater...
 

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John; heating is calculated on a heat loss basis.
You're simply replacing heat lost to conduction and radiation to the cooler side of the walls (exterior in Winter and interior in Summer).
Dimplex - Customer Support » Heat Loss Calculator.

Anything that interferes with the transfer of heat is a good thing...stating the obvious here, less heat moving outward (Winter) means less (smaller) heater needed. In a really well insulated/isolated structure, an incandescent light-bulb would 'heat' the room. But then so would the motors from your shop equipment! The heat from the compressor alone would be overwhelming, in the theoretically perfectly insulated shop.
 
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