We moved about 1.5 years ago. Been busy working on the house. I'm almost ready to start on the garage. The main garage is a detached 3 stall, 2 story. It has an open stairwell to the second level. The second level is my main work shop. The whole garage is fully insulated, and sheetrocked. Last winter keeping the lights on for a few hours a day and parking our one car in it, at the end of the day with a warm engine, the Temps only dropped below freezing for a few weeks last winter.
I would like to heat the garage, so I can work in there all year, a little more comfortably. I guess my foundation size is about 750 ft^2. Have 90 amp service.
Long range, I would like to locate a direct vent house furnace for the long term solution, but I do not have a gas line to the garage yet.
Woodstove is not permitted by our city, so that is not an option.
Kerosene around here is very expensive, and tends to create soot, not a big fan of that idea.
I am thinking propane vent free, or electric.
I tried my small Buddy heater, it is the smallest one made, I do not recall the btu, it did not seam to make a dent in the temp. If I find something the right size I'll expect it'll use a lot of propane.
So maybe electric? Not sure of a size maybe 5000 watts.
What do you guys recommend for a few years until I get a gas line out to the garage?
I have one of these hanging from the ceiling in my 3-car, one story garage, it works great. Uses 220V.
I can't imagine electric being a viable option. Certainly not where I live any way. It'd be propane for me but I'd sure check out what a gas line would cost because that's my #1.
Your safest bet is propane externally vented. Depending on how much you use the heater, the combustion gases from an unvented heater are certain to condense, particularly on the underbody. Also external venting allows you a larger amount of BTU output and minimal chances of combusting fuel or paint fumes.
I agree with Charlie. I think what I'd do is find a propane fired furnace that can inexpensive be converted to natural gas. I'd install it and use propane until I can get the natural gas line installed.
Such a unit should not be hard to find. Ask around, maybe you have a contractor friend who could steer you to the right vendor in your area.
Mark, I have glanced at that electric heater, I also saw a simular one that plugs into a 240 outlet.
As for vent free I have read about the condensation issues.
Gas line will be work, I have to due directional bore to get it to the garage as I have a lot of concrete between the house and garage, with underground utilities, that have to cross. My goal, is to bring someone in and bore also to the unpowered garage, but I will need to bring water also back there, along with low voltage lines. I would like to have my plan together before, bringing them in.
My garage is 1700 square feet, with 12 foot ceilings. It is insulated well, with sheet rock inside and outside, R18 in between, Hardy board over the outside, and the 2X12 joists are full of insulation upstairs where the attic is also floored with 3/4" plywood.
I use an LG combination heat / cool 220V / 18,000 BTU unit mounted through a hole in the wall about the center of the garage. It keeps the place cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Very impressed with how well it works and how inexpensive this was.
Get a Rinnia RHF 1004 it is a sealed combustion furnace with a fan, it has a variable input burner so it is not using max btu if not necessary, it has a built in thermostat and comes with a conversion kit packed inside. look at their website, Rinnai.com and check them out. It takes a 3" hole in the wall for the vent.
I have the same heater that Mark Strange has in my 600 sq ft insulated garage. It has been getting down in the teens at night and barely above freezing during the day here in Santa Fe, NM (elevation 7000 ft.) It gets the garage up to 80 deg in no time. I like it.
I agree with Rick and offer a differing opinion to Royce.
Here in Michigan there has been mixed success with heat pumps. Some have resorted to a brine well in order to exchange heat with the earth instead of trying to get heat out of the cold ambient air. Other systems rely on a back-up electric heating element to supplement.
My kids in Tennessee rely on heat pumps and are delighted with them. My money is on combusting fossil fuels here in the north and I'm guessing St. Paul gets colder than Detroit.
How long a gas line do you need to reach the shop? That would be my #1 choice too.
A few years ago I rented a Ditch Witch and dug a trench to my shop, and had the gas company install a new line.
I installed this ceiling mounted heater, safely away from any gasoline fumes. We don't get the long term arctic entertainment you enjoy up there in the frozen tundra, but we do get a taste of it for a few days each winter, and this unit does fine. It keeps the 22 x 40 shop at 68º, and heat going up the stairs keeps my office, also 22 x 40, at 62º. I did insulate the place.
I used heaters like the one Rick Strange posted for years. They worked great. The expense wasn't overwhelming. I was always comfortable in a 900 sq ft shop. However once I was able to switch over to propane the difference was noticeable. I seemed to be able to regulate the temperature in the shop very well with one of the Modine Hot Dawg propane heaters that I found at Home Depot or Mennards.
OOooops! Didn't see the post about all the obstacles you have to bypass. That argues for something temporary until you can get the gas line in.
Although I have no problems keeping my hangar warm all year long in Texas, I would think the cheapest option would be to run the natural gas line. I don't expect the price of natural gas to increase any time soon.
Yeah, get some one with knowledge about running a gas line. These guys know all the in's & out's about routing & burying. They usually have a solution you haven't thought of. Call your gas company. The service (to look & plan) might just be free.
-From 'The Frozen Tundra'-
The 35K BTU Hot Dawg (nat. gas) does a superb job for my 26X24' insulated/sheeted shop with insulated 8X16' OH door. ('No problem height' for T's or TT's!) The OH door also has the spring-loaded panel hinges to help provide an effective seal. Thermostat turned all the way down to 42 degrees keeps everything above freezing, then up to 60 degrees within minutes when working allows for shirtsleeves comfort, with a dehumidifier used for summer humidity. The economics aren't bad either! (Just wish I'd built the shop larger!!)
Marv, that's the same setup as what I have now here in Central Minnesota.
Once I got the insulation in the walls and got them and the ceiling sheet rocked I blew a couple feet of fiberglass in the attic, being careful to keep the vents open in the soffits.
Now I set the thermostat at 60 degrees and work in a t-shirt. I ran my own natural gas line in, had the line inspected before covering it and never looked back.
My biggest problem now is having to schedule time for my friends and neighbors when they need to use it. I'm actually thinking seriously of building another 2-stall shop for myself. Well maybe not a shop but at least somewhere to get my toys out of the elements.
Why not go with a propane tank situated near the garage so you don't have to bury any gas lines that would interfere with existing buried utilities? Propane is your best option.
Propane is a darn good option. The reasons I went with natural gas is because the meter was less than fifty feet from my garage. It's a constant supply. I don't have to look at an ugly propane tank. I don't have to concern myself when the truck is going to come in to fill the tank and I don't have to worry about hooking and unhooking and hauling a 100 lb tank around to get it filled. There's nothing colder in January than messing with a propane tank at -25 degrees. Once that gas line is in for the natural gas, other than doing a quick inspection from time to time, it's been great. It also helps that my house uses natural gas for the fireplace and the furnace. The bill comes in on one invoice so it only takes one check to cover it and the cost has never been an issue. The initial investment, for me, was still well worth it.
royce,I have a 120 Frigidaire version of that unit in a 12x24 building and gosh knows it cost a mint to run that thing! 1 january it ran constantly for a month and cost a 100 bucks on the power bill and I was NOT comfortable in there at all,it was still cold. 220 must be cheaper.
The best heater I found for the job was by accident and a freebie!,a Monitor 40 kerosene furnace that is vented to the outside. It cost me about 10 bucks a week if I use the building alot to keep it tolerable. But I turn it down at night and only put it at 68-72 when I am in it.
I wanted to put something like this in my big shop as well because I will get to a point I can't cut wood and will have to go another route.
I don't know if you are on a Rural Electric grid or one in a metro area. The rates are very different. I have a shop 30 X 40 with a 10 ft ceiling. I use electric radiant heat which heats the surface of what is in the shop and not just the air. The floor is warm and the tools on the bench are warm as well. It works very well and is cost effective. I have had if for over 10 years and love it.
Jason, Check on the Minneapolis Craigslist website. Someone up i Elk River has a LP Modine heater for sale for $150. Usually converting those to natural gas is pretty easy as well.
The latest thing around our area is a floor heated with a water coil. Of course since, your garage is already built, it would be an expensive option. The folks that have it like the fact it keeps their feet warm and heat rises, so it is fairly efficient. The source is a hot water tank.
Your cheapest heating option is waste oil - it's free. You just need to build a furnace and heat exchanger.
Verne, over the summer I gutted our basement, including the old concrete floor and installed 4 loops for radiant floor heat, unfortunately I have not made the final connections to the boiler yet. The basement is being tried out right now. Once it's done, I get to setup the garage/shop, which has been a mess since moving in.
Kevin, I'll check out Craigs list shortly.
Royce, heat pumps don't work good in Minnesota, as we get to cold in the winter.
I bought a Mr Heater 35K BTU forced air heater an hour ago, to try. On sale at Menards, last one on the shelf, and they have a good return policy on it. Ran it for about a 1/2 hour, brought the garage up to 50 degrees from 30 degrees. Only bad thing was the odor. Might just be the machining oils, but my throat did not like it. Might try it again tomorrow. What I don't like about it, you have a choice of it being on or off, no thermostat at all.
I would heat/cool your second floor with a unit like Royce showed above in 220. Only run it when you are working or to maintain some low temperature limit for the shop like Mack says. Also, you may be able to use one of the "walk through" clear vinyl door closures at the top of your stairs if you can't close off the second floor with a door. That way, the bottom floor would become a "dead air space" insulator for the second floor. When you get gas out to your shop I would look at an overhead like Steve pictured for heat. It's really cold where you are.
My garage in Houston is built on a concrete slab with 2,000 sq. ft. on the first floor and 800 sq. ft. on the second. Ten foot ceiling, 5/8" sheetrock, insulated. All exterior doors and overheads are insulated. I'm in a subdivision so it had to fit architecturally to be permitted.
I use a 2 ton Carrier version of what Royce uses on the second floor and a split system 3 ton AC on the first floor. Both units are 220 volts and have electric heat banks. The water heater is electric 220 too. I like electric for safety even though I have natural gas available. We are in the tropics and it's not nearly so cold here.
Ken in Texas
I tried one of those unvented gas heaters in my shop for a while. It did provide warmth, but also too much water vapor in the air. The water condensed on things around the shop. So I had to take the heater back out to stop the rust on my project, tools, etc.
As an aside, heat pumps work great in moderate climates. But as the outside temperature goes down, so falls the efficiency. At somewhere around 35 - 40F the heat pump can't work and the resistance strips kick in. At that point you might as well have a straight electric heater. Texas and the Middle Atlantic states are perfect for heat pumps. Minnesota ? Not good.
The former owner set the second floor up for electric heat. It was never installed, nor a door isolate the upstairs from the main garage.
They also installed a high efficiency split unit with a heat pump in our bedroom. In the summer it does a great job cooling the house, if you turn down the temp a bit. It cost almost nothing to run.
I checked out the modine in Elk River, 170K btu is to much power. Coworker had one about that size and had a lot of issues as it would continue to short cycle. He finally had to replace it.
I heat my 5000 sq ft car barn plus my 1000 sq ft machine shop with a Lanair used motor oil furnace. It is ducted to all rooms including my spray booth.
I am fortunate to have an nearly unlimited supply of used motor oil from my wife's Subaru service centers.
Its free and during the colder weather I leave it on at 60 degrees and then up to 70 when working. I suggest you check out local repair shops for the possibility of their used motor oil. Since the reduced oil prices, recyclers are now charging to pick up the used oil plus a truck charge from $75 -$150 per pick up.
The best part is the fire box is sealed and there is no possibility of external explosion. As a side bar the system is nearly 97% emissions free.
Why not go with solar unless you live in a valley or where you don't get any sunlight? I have 3 solar panels on my garage and they provide all the hot water I need for the household and in the winter (well on the few days a year here where it actually goes below freezing) I open a valve to divert some of the hot water to two small radiators during the day and the garage stays warm all night. The cost of running the pump is negligible. Unlike solar-voltaic solar water heating systems are affordable and easy to maintain,but you do need a large water tank or a backup heat source for times when you have 2 or 3 days of cloudy weather.
Whatever you do it requires a capital investment.
Figure out how much time you actually have to spend in the garage - minimum.
Get ideas from licensed local heating contractors about your options.
You may just decide to stay out of the garage during Winter.
Jason, I stuck one of these on a friends torpedo heater since it didn't have a thermostat either. Worked well...and still does.
We just wired it right to the power line and attached it to the unit. Pretty simple. Good luck!
Jason, I have a three room shop that Strip and refinish furniture,and also reupholster furniture in.
I use a VENTED propane heater in each room. I also use a EDEN-PURE electric heater in each room.
When I need heat in each room, I turn the propane heater on to get the chill off and turn the EDEN-PURE electric on low. Heat rises and the EDEN-PURE heater has a fan that comes on and circulates the air from the ceiling. It works very well for me. It is also very clean and economical.
I have a room that I spray paint in. I do not have a heater in there, but the exhaust fan draws heat from an a joining room so it works well.
G.R., unfortunately for Jason I imagine he too doesn't get enough sunlight to justify the expense of solar. We're all too high of a lattitude for one thing, and I suspect he also gets a lot of cloud cover in the winter like we do. His best bet is to either tap into natural gas, then next best would be LP. The waste oil furnace would be OK, but now you're eating up floor space for both the furnace and the tank to store the oil. Oil burners are also a maintenance headache. He's up too cold in winter for a heat pump to be effective also, it'd always be calling for the "backup" electric heat strips in the air handler. And by now with all the opinions, the poor guy probably really doesn't know what to do!! Eventually I'm putting in radiant LP in my 3 car garage. Was gonna last year, just didn't get around to it. Don't need it so far this year, it's been so mild.
He lives in Minnesota. Gas is it. 'Nough said.
I don't know about the regulations where Jason is but trying to get heat into my garage in New York has been an ongoing disaster for me. I have gas in the street and wanted to get the public utility to run a a line and put in a meter so I could hang a gas hot air unit. They tell me it will take months to get around to it and that I first need a permit from the town I live in. They also have a minimum monthly charge that is not cheap regardless of how much gas you use which means that you are paying all year long even if you use no gas. When I went to town to get the permit they have so many rules and regulation that it quickly became apparent that they would be snooping around and raising issues about the use of my garage that would open a whole can of worms. So, I decided that going with LP would be a better choice. Wrong! You still need all the permits from the town and the requirements for locating a propane tank would wind up with it in the middle of my back yard! On top of that the propane suppliers make you buy the tank unless you guaranty a minimum monthly usage. Bottom line, I bundle up and use a small electric space heater where I am working.
Val's got some valid concerns. Where I'm at all that stuff didn't apply but it might in the Twin Cities area.
Torpedo (or Salamander type) heaters in an enclosed space is a no-no if you want to live a fairly long and healthy life.
Yes, they put out a tremendous amount of heat in a relatively short time, but the products of combustion are rather tiny, and although unseen by the naked eye, they are what causes the smell and throat irritation....and when they reach your lungs they cannot be beneficial.
Hot water heat in the floor is a great solution for the reasons mentioned. Unfortunately for me, when I installed the copper lines before the floor was poured, I was ignorant about how fast the concrete deteriorates the copper....and at the time, the high temp plastic tubing was unknown to me (maybe not even made).
A warm floor is a joy on a cold winter day! (A friend has one - with some sort of plastic hi-temp tubing).
Freighter Jim, I am fairly sure I will spend a fair amount of time in the garage once I get my DW’s honey do list completed from our move. At the old place, we had a single car unheated, unfinished garage, I tried to stay out of it in the winter, sometimes successfully. However, I had a large shop in the basement, and you would find me putzing down there all the time. I really have no use for sitting in front of the TV, and in Minnesota unless you like to do a lot of outdoor cold weather activities (Cross Country skiing for me) your inside a lot. With buying this place, the plan was to heat the garage, and it would be my man cave. Her cave was done last summer.
G.R. I have been thinking solar. Water is out of the question, it gets too cold here (-10F or colder). A glycol system is possible. My Aunt had on their old house (Racine WI) a solar warm air collector, they stated it did a good job in the winter keeping half of the house warm. Only thing is; the DW is talking about covering the entire south side of the garage roof with solar panels for electric. I’m not sure about the reality of option as it has huge upfront costs and terribly long payback. If I thought this had a strong chance to go, electric heat would make the most sense. We also get a lot of snow cover and clouds during the winter.
Used oil is an interesting idea, I have heard of it in the past, but forgot about it. Issue is how do I get enough oil? Currently I only change the oil in the T, the other two cars I bring in, I put so few miles on my cars that I only change the oil twice a year, so that is 4 gallons, plus the T. Looked online, most of the Lanair systems are 200K BTU or greater, and the price is insanely high. Did find a home made one using a 55 gal drum (80K BTU), and the price is still high ($600 for a homemade unit, and who knows how safe it is??). The Lanair units stated you can use vegetable oil, interesting? I have two brother-in-law’s that are chefs, one has a restaurant a few miles north of me. Could be a way to get oil. The neighborhood might just smell of French fries. Wonder what the efficiency is on such a unit, and how many gallons/hr it would burn, even at a low setting to keep the oils from gelling in the storage tank. Still did not see a quality unit under 100K BTU.
Val, I already have a gas at the house, for heat and water. Permits are in St. Paul are a pain in the @#$. The city has a required permit for everything. I spent almost $2K on permits just to remodel my basement. The worst permit was the required warm air permit for the new bathroom exhaust fan. The permit cost as much as the fancy fan. That irritated me a lot. On top of that I needed the electrical inspector too, luckily I already had an electrical permit. I should not post this, but often I do not get permits for things the city will not see, or others cannot prove when it was installed. Installing a gas furnace, I can just say we replaced aging equipment and connected to existing utilities. The other one that seemed weird to me in the basement remodel, none of my inspectors inspected the gas lines that were relocated. The boiler inspector (hot water heat) did not care about that pipe, nor did the plumbing inspector. I was clear with all the inspectors that the piping was all replaced, and I brought a branch to the back corner of the house for the garage. So when I finish running the line to the garage, I will claim it was done during the basement remodel.
This morning when I went to work the garage was 37 degrees, I think outside got down to about 12 degrees last night. The thermometer in the garage last night when I turned off the Torpedo heater said 50 degrees, and had only ran for about 30 minutes. Everything in the garage was cold (30 deg), as we’ve been gone on vacation the last few weeks so no engine heat nor lights being on for 15 days, and there is a lot of thermal mass in the garage.
The Mr. Heater documentation states that I need something around 45K-65K BTU unit for my volume of garage. Lots of good thoughts. NG is the long term plan, ideally with a used high efficient condensing furnace. I have a coworker who’s Father is a furnace man, and she stated that he replaces a lot of furnaces in the summer for people who just want to ensure they do not have any issues during the winter. A while back I did ask her to ask him to keep an eye out for one.
OK Jason, here's yet another thought! I guess for some reason I didn't see/understand you have gas in the house, and more favorably, a line close to your garage. Apparently you still need to run it underground from the house. How far? Can't you do it yourself? Reason I say, you might want to consider either 1. a ventless/vented wall mount radiant heater or 2. weird as it sounds, a vented/ventless fireplace. I know of a couple being used in their homes, even built the "doghouse" for my neighbor's to fit into, and that one runs 'em out of the place. (He bought too large of BTU model). Something to think about. Heat and ambience at the same time!
A lot of Mfg, have charts to show what size unit, most of them are double what you need, it's not always -10 so the amount of heat loss changes with the outdoor temp.
I heat my four car garage with 18,000 Btuh vent free radiant heater with a fan it will keep it 70 at 10 degrees outside which doesn't happen often here.
1 divided by R =Btuh X temp difference X sq ft will tell you what the heat loss is, I heat our 2500 sq ft home ranch over a basement with a 60,000 btuh 95% furnace with a two stage burner.
Don't over do it let the unit run longer for best effiency.
How about this - Pat date is 1904:
It is now too cold in MN to run the gas line. The ground is rock solid, pretty much like bedrock this time of year. My guess the frost line is only down 30” right now, and by end of February it is commonly down 70-80 inches (below grade). My issue getting from the house to the garage, is I have to go under an existing concrete patio (that is in great shape). All the utilities for the house also runs under that patio perpendicular to the direction I’ll be running the gas line, so I have to cross them. Then the next obstacle. The former owner loved concrete. The entire garage has a 4 foot cement sidewalk all the way around it, so dirt would not splash up onto the stucco. So I have to remove a section of sidewalk, or bore a hole so that a directional boring machine can pierce the ground, bypass the utilities (no clue how deep they are) and come up through the hole on target. I have seen directional boring machines do such and be on target. Not sure of the cost to hire them. But while I have them at the house, I want them to run utilities to my second garage (no power there today) which requires having to go under 40 feet of cement driveway to get there. If I am going back there I want to bring water and low voltage power cable back there too. As I want to make a finished landscaped yard back there, for summer use.
As for cold, unless you live in the great north, you guys don’t have a clue what cold is, and the twin cities does not get extremely cold compared to the northern part of the state. Last winter we had in the twin cities over 30 consecutive days where it never got above 0 deg F for the day time high. If I recall near Bemidji last winter it hit -57 deg F, which is about 225 miles north of here.
Jason, Spent 2 years 4 months in Fairbanks Alaska.. fun while I was there but I am not partial to frozen toes so I moved back to my native state of Florida. I know cold NO THANKS!
Jason, getting waste oil is not the problem. Storing all the oil you will get is the problem. There are numerous sources of waste oil, and it doesn't just have to be motor oil. Used cooking oil heats just as good as anything else. You could burn transmission oil too ... the list really is long. You can buy a commercial unit or you can build your own. Search waste oil furnace on YouTube and then sit back and learn. A basic furnace is nothing more than a pot in the bottom of a shell. A heat exchanger is obviously required to keep the heat in, and combustion gases out. Once the unit is up to running temperature the exhaust out the chimney is basically clear. Nothing else can produce the heat like oil ... not gas ... not propane. And if you're into metalcasting - run yer melt furnace off oil too.
If you turn down the heat when not working in the shop and then turn it up when you are going to work in there the change in temp. can cause moisture to form on metal surfaces. I have a non-vented LP heater and don't have a significant rust problem unless I alternate the temp. by several degrees.
Jason, what is St Paul's feelings regarding corn or pellet burners. I know they throw a lot of heat, vent very easily and burn extremely clean. I've got a farmer friend that burns one in his machine shed and I was very impressed with it. His Shed was 40 X 50 with 14 ft walls and a very small heater kept it very comfortable. It's something to use for this Winter until you can put your gas line in. I've heard a lot of good about the used motor oil burners. However, like kerosene or any other oil heaters you still have to store it and deal with it.
I had a pellet stove and hated it. Daily maintenance required, and handling/storing the bags of pellets got old real fast. Buying a pallet at a time wouldn't be too bad if you had access to a forklift to unload it.
Had not thought about a pellet stove. I would assume you have to vertically mount the flue, which I would prefer not to do as I would have to go up and through the 2nd floor shop.
My former boss has one. He likes it, he burns a whole corn trailer full a year, to heat basement of his house. I'll have to corner him this week and ask what he thinks about them. Not sure what the city would say!
I know a wood burning boiler in the yard is not allowed.
With my NG-vented Hot Dawg, I've never had a problem of rusting by using the thermostat up/down....In fact the opposite! Perhaps because I utilize a dehumidifier as well? Since doing that and set at 40% humidity, no re-rusting showing at all. Fluorescent lights work better, too. Concrete floors will 'store' humidity unless you get rid of it first.
Jayson,Close to the start of this thread someone suggested checking your building code which is/was good advise! You should also check with your insurance as to what they will allow/cover?? Wood pellets and corn might be considered solid fuel and they might not cover you if there is trouble?We burned wood for 25 years and the ins said stop. When i asked about a corn stove the ins said no but seeing as we still had a fireplace they were ok with a fireplace insert corn burner?? Go figger but this is our tenth year and i love it!! If in my lifetime i get a chanch for natural gas i will have it in a heartbeat!!!!! Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
I have been looking at a Suburban Park Model RV furnace. I only have a 20 amps to my two story insulated metal building. I think I will be able to run it on two manageable propane tanks. From PPL in Texas the sell them for around$750.00. I need to look at Rick Goelz suggestion for Rinnia.
I'm not talking about a stove that burns Pallets, I'm talking about a stove that burns pellets! There's a difference. There is no flue. As I recall its vented through the wall with a short piece of PVC.
They're set up to burn corn as well. The pellets are readily available and the only cleanup is a very small ash block that measure about 4"X4"X8". My neighbor would clean one small brick out of the stove each day and throw them in a metal 5 gallon bucket. Then once a week he'd dump the bucket into the trash and the trash truck would haul it out with the rest of the garbage.
I recall at the time they became popular there were two different manufacturers. According to the people who owned them you had to be careful because one manufacturer was good and the other was making some real junk. I don't know which was which.
The stove takes up less room than most electric heaters.
I'm not to familiar with the pellets but the corn burns very efficiently.
I also recall the initial cost was a bit high but, hey, nothing's cheap any more. Even a two bit cigar will cost you $5.00.
Now; I seriously think it would be interesting to see you try to get away with trying to keep several pallets piled outside your shop next to your outside boiler in St Paul.
Derek is saying that it is more economical to purchase pellets by the pallet load.....
rather than a bag at a time.
Dave, I got that. I was getting a giggle out of the pallet/pellet situation. The surprising thing is the number of people in Minnesota that have outside boilers that burn pallets. When Derik brought it up I immediately thought of a guy just west of St Cloud that burns pallets in his outside boiler and stacks them around it. Just the thought of Jason attempting to do that somewhere like St Paul tickled me.
As far as the quantity of pellets required, I'd be a poor judge. My neighbor kept a gravity wagon of corn in his machine shed and simply took a bucket full as he needed them. I was getting bucket loads of corn from him at the same time for my pheasant feeders.
I'm just offering it up as another alternative. I know how well his worked and thought it would give Jason an easy heating method until he's able to run a gas line. I'm just not sure what the expense would be.
Directional boring is the way to go for you. Around here they average about a $100 a foot to run something in. Also they can bring the line right into your garage. Give them a 12" x 12" opening in your shop floor below where your heater will go and they'll bring the line right into it. Also, I don't think it is too cold yet to do it now, Xcel did one yesterday just up the street from where I work.
Michael,I keep my corn in a covered gravity box in my pole barn but i also keep it in closed plastic garbage can's in the garage so i do not have to frog around with ice,snow,mud,and rain.pellets do not make as much heat as corn and i like to mix in a few cherry pit's Cull beans also burn well as long as they are screened. If i could get natural gas the corn stove would only be for a back up. Oil is far cheaper than it's been in a long time but there is as much heat in one bushel of corn as in 4.2 gallon of fuel oil!! We grow corn and anyone who tell's it takes more energy to grow corn than there is in it is full of ?? Once again,if i could get natural gas i would have it!! Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
I have LP radiant heaters mounted on ceiling which work very well and reasonable too. Heat pump will struggle below 40 degrees. Radiant heats objects unlike other heaters which use fans that blow all the dust, cold air, and dirt around. I leave temp at 40 till I want to work in shop, then up to 65 and you are warm at that time. It is like going from shaded area to out in the sun while outdoors. I had stove in middle of old shop, car was hot on one side cold on other. Impossible to paint in such conditions.
David, I'd thought of the radiant heaters but most I've seen require 12' ceilings. How high are yours?
I have 14' ceilings. They can be mounted on side walls also. I would sure look into them tho. If I was building a new shop, I would probably use the in floor type and install before pouring the floor.
I install radiant floors in farm repair shops and homes. It is by far the most comfortable and efficient heat you can get for a shop. We also install overhead radiant in existing shops. It is our second choice, but no one has been up to pouring a new floor just to heat their shop.
My grandkids run around my shop in their bare feet all winter. My utility bill for 5000 square feet(3500 shop and 1500 apartment/house) at 73 degrees runs about the same as someone with a 1500 square foot house.
In my opinion, forced air heaters, just blow the dust around, corn fired heaters have not been used since corn hit $3.00 a bushel, pellet stoves are a hobby for those that like to carry pellets in and ashes out, wood stoves are a false economy when you factor in the price of chain saws, wood splitters, and trucks to haul it.
Well after almost 10 years i need to start burning oil and stop burning corn! A expert has spoken!!
and hospital bills when you hurt yourself!! (not IF, when!)
That's odd because I've been in buildings heated with just about every kind of heat from barrel stoves to hot water boilers to geo thermal systems, electric heaters, wood and fuel oil heaters and solar heat. The one house had electric coils built into the floor. Out of all the places I've been with all those different kinds of heat, the worst was the house with the electric coils built into the floor. But once we quit using the in-floor electric heat coils and went to forced air propane the house was easy to heat.
I've been in shops with in-floor water heat from an outside boiler and it was wonderfully comfortable.
You can always tell a furnace salesman, he's the one who has the only legitimate source of heat. The rest are bad.
I've got a natural gas forced air furnace in the house I'm living in now. It has insulated 6" outside walls with good windows, doors and storm doors. I change the furnace filters every month, and I run humidifiers in the Winter. I have yet, in five years, had a problem with dust blowing around. And I live on the South end of a 200 acre field that gets turned over every fall, and the North wind blows the dirt from the field across my yard like a dust bowl. And yet my house has very little if any dust in it.
Oh, and the house where I put the geothermal system in, that system was put in during the month of January. We drilled 6-100 ft deep wells during the month of January through six feet of frost without any problems. We were going to drill horizontally out under our bean field but couldn't drill diagonally through a granite rock layer. We could get through drilling straight down but drilling through that rock layer diagonally was going to be too much of a pain in the ass. The reason I brought this up is because of the example Andy Loso mentioned. He's very much right, for a cost a good well driller can put a hole under your cement walk and shop floor while there's frost in the ground. But trust me, it'll be a lot less expensive using a trencher next June.
Spoke to my old boss about pellet stove. He did not recommend one unless I just happen to have one or had a good source of cheap fuel. He said it's about a wash in cost and there is a lot of work associated with them.
He recommended looking into a mobile home furnance. I think he called it a down draft furnance.
Jason, the furnace he is talking about is used in lots of applications, not just mobile homes. It is a vertical box, with a standard heating chamber, burner and flue. They can be vented up or out through a wall. They can be configured to draw their combustion (fresh air) from the outside. The difference is, they blow the hot air out the bottom of the appliance, rather than out the top. I have installed them in shops and they work really well. They draw air from the ceiling and blow the heated air across the floor. I usually try to position them in front of the overhead door, where most of the cold air comes from, and it will create a sort of warm air barrier and keep the rest of the shop nice and toasty.
Mr. Garrison, I apologize if I came across as trying to sell something. I certainly was not trying to be critical of the choices others have made with regards to their heating choices.
I was merely trying to share my experiences in the installation of many types of heating choices that I had seen.
The local Home Builders Association sponsored a shop tour several years ago, in the middle of winter here in Iowa. It was a pretty cold day. There were 10 shops on the tour, and because my shop was a little bigger than most, they asked if the tour could begin and end at my shop.
They shops were of every type and size. Some guys did wood working, some did auto restoration, some did metal, all kinds of shops. They all had different types of heating. Everything mentioned here, it seemed like.
The one unsolicited comment made by several on that cold day, was that my shop with the radiant floor was the warmest shop they had been in all day.
I took it as a compliment.