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suggestions for garage heater
I've got a 800 sq ft uninstalled garage.  I'd like to add a electric heater to use when working in garage. I'm in Kentucky so in the winters it can get pretty cold.  I have a 60 amp service to my garage.  I've seen 5000 watt electric heaters (220 volt) that claim they can heat approx 800 sq ft.  
Please let me know what you have and how well it works.  I Have a propane torpedo heater that I'm using now, it warms garage pretty quickly but goes through a 20 tank of gas pretty quickly.

thanks for your suggestions.
[+] 1 user Likes rjpohl's post
MOst of us are in "colder areas" where "electric" would be a new truck payment per month! I have gas fired inferred style and an in floor radiant system (but that is more for the rubber and wood).

PERSONALLY TODAY (if I was in an area like that) I would look at a MINI SPLIT system - more for the comfort of AC (800 sq feet is pretty small) and the fact that a smallest system (remember these are ductless so you don't have to run ducts) would be a heat pump (the 12 days you need it AND AC the 69 days you want it.


Heating a garage can be tricky.

I think solid fuel is prohibited by building code in a garage, so a wood stove is out of the picture.

Do you have natural gas available?

If you have to go electric it will be the most costly to heat with, unless you go with a heat pump. The heat pump is only going to do you good if the outside air is near or above freezing. I have no idea how cold it gets where you are at but a mini split HVAC system might be worth a look.

If you have to go with a plain old resistive type heater I would get a permant mount one with a blower, and maybe consider going larger than 5,000 watts (20 amps 240).
Mark is spot on with his suggestion given your climate. The mini-split heat pump would be the way to go. Some manufacturers claim they can generate heat down to -15 or so (Daikin I think has the best unit out there but $$$$). Samsung and Mitsubishi are also good units. You can also increase the heating efficiency if you mount the outdoor unit where it is protected from the wind. Also, I assume you meant "uninsulated" garage? If you can insulate it! It will make a huge difference. Being considerably farther north I have an actual 96% furnace ducted with spiral duct and a traditional A/C system for heat and cool my garage (about 1,600 SF). It is also well insulated and I could keep it as warm/cool as my house if I wanted, I don't of course as I am on LP gas and it would cost me a fortune.

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I am running a regular forced air furnace from a mobile home (trailer). You do have to run duct work but its pretty easy to do. Mine runs off heating oil. Just have a 55 gallon drum out back for it. Works great. I don't keep it heated all the time, just when I'm out there. I also have a wall mounted ventless propane heater just for shits and giggles to sit by while watching tv and drinking beer! lol.


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If you haven't already done so, don't forget to throw in some insulation to help whatever solution you come up with run just that much more efficiently, thereby reducing operating costs.   whistling


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If it is uninsulated then a kerosene fired torpedo heater is probably the most economical option. I would not use an electric resistance heater in an uninsulated space unless you have really cheap electric rates in your area.

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One bad thing about any unvented fuel burning heater is that it raises the humidity of the space. That may or may not be an issue depending on climate and what you have in the garage. For people that have machine tools and with bare metal sweating can add to the rust battle, brake rotors etc.:.
++ on the insulation. My garage is 4,000 sq. ft. so I built a room to work in that is 26' X 16' with 105" ceiling height. I also angled the corners overhead to reduce the volume and it has 12" of insulation overhead, 12" in one wall and 10" in the other outside wall and 6" in the inside wall. I have not been down today to check temp but was in the 20 deg. F. range last couple nights and about 33 right now. I bet it will be around 50 deg. in the main part of the garage and I only have a 1600 watt electric oil heater and that is it. If I close off the room it gets too hot. I also have a propane space heater if I am going to work on something on the lift. The main part of the garage has 6" of insulation all around and foam core panel garage doors, foam filled personal entry doors and all the windows are the best double pane with insulated foam filled frames. I bought a big wall mounted propane heater but have never needed it.
I was going to put an outside wood heater that used hot water to heat but decided not worth the effort now. If you were going to paint that would be ideal. Clean and would not be expensive. The outside heaters can be several thousand but wood is pretty cheap here.
In the old one car garage it has had a wood heater in there since the 60's. I use to wash my car in winter and pull in to melt the ice off so I could dry it.
The only heat I have in my home is wood except for one window type heat pump which might also be a good one for the garage. Heats and cools. Frigidaire brand and has a three year service plan. I put one in a friends dog kennel and it has ran continuous for almost three years now either heating or cooling. Got it at Lowe's.
Lots of insulation is a great investment. BTW if you have someone in the area that puts up metal buildings. Check with them and see if they will let you clean up the scraps from sites. The guy that did mine gave me enough to insulate my work room and says he has to pay to take to the dump could get all I wanted for free.
The spray on foam is a good way to go with existing building.

When a man is in the woods and talks and no women are there is he still wrong??
I have a forced air natural gas furnace in my garage. I really love it. Used to use electricity for heat, and it was pretty expensive. I would for sure insulate too. Guess it depends on how much you plan on using your garage too. But I do use mine for work also, so I’m in there just about every day. The electric heaters took to long to heat back up if it was really cold.

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