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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After 45 minutes searching history in the forum, I realize that my question may actually be different...

Please help me improve on my bad compromise solution to heating a garage shop that I don't own...

Constraints, and what I'm working with:

If I own the shop then it makes sense to insulate against Montana's winter, but I don't own it and the lease ends this spring. Will I stay or will I go... don't know. Of course it's worth talking to the landlord, perhaps offering my expertise and labor if they buy materials, etc. But this post is about discussing options if that conversation doesn't go anywhere satisfactory...

In Dec/Jan, average low temperatures are 16 and average highs are 30. It's a detached 2 car garage with a one two-car-wide metal uninsulated door. The structure is stick framed, OSB sheathing covered with siding. There's two sheets of drywall on the ceiling with a few fiberglass bats laying across the bottom chord of the trusses... probably leftovers from the house. There's 3 sheets of drywall on one wall with others open and uninsulated. I hope they had leftover insulation behind those 3 sheets but I haven't checked. Point is... this is essentially a modern framed structure with no insulation and sheetrock.

So, how to make the space somewhat workable in the cold weather...

Best case: cooperative landlord, full insulation job - perhaps spray foam, insulate garage door, run gas to the garage and install a gas radiant tube heater, run a couple more circuits to the garage including 220V. Short of that...

It makes no sense for me to pay the cost of insulation when I'm very possibly out in the spring.
It makes no sense to run electric heaters when I don't have a separate circuit to isolate them from shop tools.
It makes no sense to burn anything that requires me to install a vent to outside.
(I'd love to be wrong if you can show me inexpensive ways to do any of the above.)
It makes no sense to heat air when I'm in an uninsulated structure... so I conclude that the least evil option is a job-site type radiant heater (to heat people rather than air). The easiest option is propane fueled (easily available heater and fuel), but I understand kerosene may be significantly cheaper per BTU... if I can find a reasonably priced unit and a source of fuel in my area.

My default choice is a dual head propane tank top radiant heater - the kind with two curved reflectors side by side - that produces about 30,000 BTU.

Finishing and gluing probably won't be an option since this will put out tons of water vapor.
Heater operation will likely require opening both the main garage door and the back (people) door a bit for ventilation.
This should heat *me* enough to make progress tolerable, though gluing will have to move inside to the small basement laundry room, and finishing will probably wait for warmer weather.

Any suggestions to improve on this default path are much appreciated!
 

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My shop is in a 30 X 30 uninsulated barn. I use the single head tank-top propane heaters, two in each room. They will get the interior temp about 25F above ambient, so 50F in the shop when it was 35F outside this AM. I seldom heat both rooms simultaneously.

Yes, I cannot paint or lacquer, but most of what I do gets finished with Watco Oil finish which just dries a little slower at 50F.

I find that a single-heat IR heater runs about 10 hours on a 5 gallon tank (BBQ tank) of propane, which costs $2 per gallon here, so about 0.50/hr to heat one room or the other.

They do produce a lot of water vapor, so keeping a good coat of wax on your cast iron surfaces is a necessity. And my barn is so drafty (you can see through the walls in places) that I have no worries about oxygen depletion.

YMMV
 

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Stick,

She said that she couldn't vent the heater to outside in the third "It makes no sense" line.

My shop heat pump is giving me trouble and I'm king of in the same position. Right now I'm heating the shop with kerosene, but not happy with this arrangement. The fire danger is high, and Have You Seen The Kerosene Prices Lately? I had to pay $4/gallon today. I might as well go with electric radiant heat at this price. It would be automatic and thermostatically controlled too.

Sorry Ashley, I don't have any good suggestions for you right now. Without good electric power in your shop, you will likely be faced with propane or a fuel like kerosene for a heat source, and it won't be very efficient if you can't use a sealed unit and vent like the one that Stick suggested.

A wood burning stove is another option, but it would need a high temperature chimney and considerable clearance around it for safety, and now isn't the right time to be looking for firewood.

Charley
 

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Stick,

She said that she couldn't vent the heater to outside in the third "It makes no sense" line.

Charley
I know she did...
w/o a vent she has moisture/humidity problems..
CO² issues...
wasted heat because the door is open...
etc...
if she can't cut a hole in the wall she may be able to remove a window sash, close it w/ a piece of ply and vent to the outside that way...
 

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????...not that it matters relative to the issue, but why have you guys decided Ashley is a woman? Did I miss something?
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashley_MacIsaac)

But yeh, Ashley you've done a great job of defining the problem(s). If you were able to vent through the wall, a small self contained furnace oil heater would work. Probably safer than propane, and no CO2 or CO indoors...or water vapour for that matter.
With no Natural Gas piped to the garage that eliminates some other possibilities. The conversation with the Landlord seems like the best first step. Do a friendly but businesslike agreement in writing of the terms! 'A verbal agreement isn't worth the paper it's written on.'
 

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Stick's solution sounds best, especially if Ashley continues to live in that cold winter climate. Without insulation, no heater is going to really keep it warm without running continuously. 30K BTU is going to be fairly costly to run no matter what.

I had our garage ceiling and walls insulated this summer. Getting the R38 in the ceiling was a 3 hour project for an experienced crew, maybe one day for a duffer. Used 12 ft long drywall in the ceiling on a lift, which required about a dozen sheets of 5/8ths drywall. I insulated our metal garage door myself, using a layer of aluminized bubble radiant barrier, then a layer of 1.5 inch insulating foam, with an additional radiant barrier facing into the garage. The dry wall guys also lined the roof sheeting with the radiant barrier, which really reduced the heat and cold transfer significantly. They cut holes in the wall drywall and blew in insulation. But putting insulation in walls is really easy, and drywalling the walls is not difficult at all. The net effect is that as long as I don't let the outside air in, it never gets below about 50 degrees. A decent size electric heater warms the place up just fine. The whole project cost about $2.3K, about half of that was labor.

However, I wouldn't do this without at least a 3 year, written lease on the shop. Probably just as easy to buy a place with workshop space so your improvements enhance YOUR property value, not the landlord's. Or, move somewhere warmer. And no, I'm not being a smart @$$. Where I live, its cheaper to own a place than to rent one half the size.
 

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For gluing or finishing I would erect a tent out of poly vapour barrier and heat it with a small radiant electric heater. When I was logging and I needed to work on my skidder I used to throw a big tarp over the machine and heated it with one of those single head tank top propane heaters and at -40 I could handle my wrenches bare handed in 15 minutes. The electric heater won't have to work that hard to heat a small small and there won't be a problem with water vapour or noxious gases. BTW, kerosene has gotten very expensive in the last few years and to use it indoors it needs to be "scrubbed" pretty clean of sulfur or it will burn your eyes and nasal passages in an enclosed space.
 

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In the for what it's worth category, following Charles' comment about the tarp, I would consider stapling Tyvek or a similar vapor barrier (based on cost) to the walls and rafters to at least cut air flow. Dead air space does provide a modicum of insulation. In addition you could easily remove the wrap asn take it with you. Then add one of the heat sources described above.
 

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Ashley if it were me I would wait till I had a place of my own, or at least wait till you had a more stable place to live.

Sorry about my bad opinion.
I tend to agree. Given your constraints, you'll have to spend a lot of money and go to a lot of hassle for a solution that will always be less than optimal in a situation that may be very temporary. Woodworking was a seasonal hobby for me for many years (until I got insulation and A/C). Maybe it should be for you too.
 

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If you'll recall Ashley's introduction he said, "...my wife will appreciate me finishing the trim on the bed I built us two years ago", so now that that's out of the way, I would ask if the landlord will allow you to do some minor improvements, such as insulation, and take that dollar for dollar off the rent. It would be an improvement to his property and your out of pocket will be the same.

Short of that you might consider hanging an electric infrared heater or two above work areas. You can take those with you and they won't have the moisture issues. Something like these, maybe - Electric infrared heater. I didn't shop around, just picked one for example.

David
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you for the suggestions.
Let's close a few loose ends...

Dan and David were correct, I'm male. No stress though, I understand the confusion. My parents said they named me after the Ashley National Forest and the explorer William Ashley. At that time it was a rare name, given to only a few hundred boys and girls each year. Then in 1987, it skyrocketed to the 2nd most popular girls name, with 1 in 32 girls being named Ashley. (Amazing the things wolframalpha.com reveals)

To those who said buy a place... yes, that's the ultimate solution. Having recently sold my home of 20 years, this rental is a try-before-I-buy to determine whether to settle down here and a base of operations from which to locate property to eventually build on. There's many moving parts, and this process could easily take 6-8 years... or if all the stars line up, 18 months. If my landlord is amenable to a few key improvements, I could happily stay here until that process is complete. Adventures!

Thank you for all the suggestions. I hadn't considered either overhead electric infrared heaters or building a booth with tarps. Using electric heaters will probably require running an extension cord back to the house to employ another circuit, but both approaches could be options for gluing and finishing as well as basic comfort.

Although I'd previously rejected direct vent heaters, and I don't have a window to create a temporary vent solution, your replies made me consider it again. When I speak to the landlord I may raise this option, because a vent hole through a garage wall is not difficult or expensive, especially since the framing is still exposed.

My next step is digging a bit deeper into details for both direct vent heaters, and my preferred option - an overhead gas infrared solution. Once I know hole sizes, costs, and understand installation procedures, then I can make a good case to the landlord.

Thanks again for all the input!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
(Apologies if this message is a duplicate.. I think I lost the first reply attempt.)

Ok, closing some loops...

Yes, Dan and David are correct, I'm male. No stress though, I understand the confusion. My parents named me after the Ashley National Forest, and the explorer William Ashley. It used to be a rare name, given to only a few hundred boys and girls each year. Everyone connected my name to Gone with the Wind... which was seriously disappointing when I saw it. Then in 1987, it became the #2 girls name in the US with 1 in 32 girls so named... and now nobody thinks of Gone with the Wind when they hear my name.

Thank you for the suggestions...

I hadn't considered overhead electric infrared heaters. I also hadn't considered making a smaller booth. Both suggestions potentially solve both basic comfort and allow gluing and finishing.

I initially rejected direct vent heaters for the same reason I'd rejected overhead gas infrared heaters... because I don't own the structure. However, I'll raise the possibility when I talk with the landlord... as drilling a vent hole is neither difficult nor expensive when the structure still has exposed framing.

To those that said buy a place... I absolutely agree. We recently sold our home of two decades with plans to move out of the zoo that had grown up around us and build again. However, we're taking a detour to consider the possibility of moving back to the mountain states, and renting while we check out the area is part of that decision. Woodworking must go on though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I named my youngest son Jared Ashley. He named his daughter Ashley. Both my boys have androgynous names; but neither is named Sue! They occasionally remind that they owe me and that I'll get mine some day.
Roy, thanks for reminding me of that song. I haven't heard it forever. I think I'll play it for my kids today! I wonder whether they'll laugh or groan about old people music. :smile:
 

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SWMBOJr and SiL were going to name the latest grandson, 'Silas'. No offense intended to any Silas's out there but All the grandparents said "Maybe not...".
Why do parents saddle their offspring with names that'll invite teasing from other kids (maybe even bullying)?
As adults we seem to all shorten our names to the lowest common denominator, in my case, Dan, from my given Daniel.
 
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