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Old 12-06-2011, 09:08 AM   #1
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Default Garage Space Heaters

As the weather gets colder and I contemplate winter projects on the Miata, I start thinking about a space heater in the garage. It's a rental garage, and I don't know where I'll be after this place, so I don't want to spend a lot. I have also never heated a garage before, so I have no idea what I'm doing.

It's about 1400ft^2, uninsulated. I have been watching Craigslist, and there seem to be a few options. The basics seem to be Kerosene or Propane, and then either the kind that look like horizontal tubes, or the kind that sit more upright (those all seem to be kerosene).

The kind that sit upright are all ~25k btu, and can be bought for $25 all day on Craigslist. The torpedo kind are anywhere from 30k-100k btu, and range in price accordingly from ~$50-~$200, and are a little harder to find.

So, I guess what I am looking for is how many BTUs do I need, and is it feasible to just get 2 or 3 of the 25k btu heaters, since they are easier to find and the price would end up being about the same, or will the three heaters create more fumes than one large heater and cause me problems with ventilation? I'm not looking for t-shirt weather in the garage here, but mid-50s to low-60s would be nice when the temperature outside is in the 20s.
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Old 12-06-2011, 11:09 AM   #2
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the torpedo styles are badass.
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Old 12-06-2011, 11:22 AM   #3
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Get a 30-50k forced air and aim it in the general area you will be in. It will warm the area you will work in very well and give the rest a nice bump in temp.
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Old 12-06-2011, 11:30 AM   #4
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I posted this in my painting thread a week or so ago. The door needed 2 coats, the first one wasn't drying and as the sun went down the temperature dropped quickly into the mid 30's.

Closed the garage doors and fired up this beast. If I had to guess I'd say our shop is like 2000sqft. This had it around a constant 60 and it wasn't even on full blast.

Easy to use, works quickly and does the ****** jerb.

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EDIT: To add to this....

Pretty sure this is the one we have.

http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/...cStoreNum=6209

75k BTU

I've used everything from the garbage electric heaters to burning wood in an old oil drum and I can say without a doubt, this kerosene dyna glo beats all of them hands down. In every way possible.

The guys at the shop down from ours told me to be careful about the fumes. I could feel a little fucked up while I was doing the 2nd coat so I cracked the door a bit just to be safe.
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Old 12-06-2011, 11:32 AM   #5
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Yep, they work. Be careful about ventilation though. I put mine with the rear (intake) facing the large door, and I leave it cracked about 8 in. They make a hell of a racket though. This and some Carhart coveralls and you're set.
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Old 12-06-2011, 11:42 AM   #6
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It looks like there are a couple 100k propane units on craigslist about an hour from me for $50 each, I may see if I can pick one of those up this afternoon. Sounds like it might be a little overkill, but that just means one less layer of clothing.
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Old 12-06-2011, 11:56 AM   #7
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Another vote for the forced air torpedo style. Those little radiant tank-top 25K BTU units won't do **** in a 1400 sq ft uninsulated garage.

I went with propane instead of kerosene, since I already have a couple propane tanks for the Weber and I didn't want to have to keep another type of fuel around. I settled on a 50K BTU torpedo, was about $100 at HD, price was competitive with similar units and having to pay shipping from Northern Tool. The torpedo itself is just on/off with no adjustability, but you can dial it back some with the valve on the propane tank if you don't need it full blast. I fire it up about 15 min before I need to work, and that's usually enough to raise the temp from 20F up to 50-60F. I have a standard 2-car garage, about 600 sq ft with a trussed roof, attached but not insulated. If you have 1400 sq ft I'd definitely go for a 100K+ BTU model.

When I get the garage wired up for 230V I'll be getting a big ceiling mounted electric heater to eliminate the odor and the need to keep the garage door cracked, but the propane torpedo does an adequate job in the mean time.
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Old 12-06-2011, 11:58 AM   #8
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I use this in my slightly oversized two car garage.


30,000-55,000 btu. I was out in the uninsulated garage all day. Temps were in the 20's to 30's outside, carharts and a flannel, and was comfortable.
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Old 12-06-2011, 12:01 PM   #9
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The torpedos are indeed badass but I would never get one; the fumes are really strong.
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Old 12-06-2011, 12:31 PM   #10
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Are the fumes better with propane or kerosene? I would assume propane, but I have no idea.
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Old 12-06-2011, 12:37 PM   #11
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I usually just pay a guy to urinate on me when I'm cold.
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Old 12-06-2011, 12:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skidude View Post
Are the fumes better with propane or kerosene? I would assume propane, but I have no idea.
I'd rather use our propane heater if I have to be in the garage for long periods of time, whereas I'd rather use the kerosene heater if its just to quickly heat the place up for whatever reason.

Best bet for a home garage space heater would be propane IMO.
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Old 12-06-2011, 01:11 PM   #13
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stay away from kerosine if you EVER plan on doing any painting in your shop its oil based fuel and will wipe out paint work months after using it. i have a 3 row propane heater gets 1600 foot insulated shop to about 70 when i paint i have a torpedo tube propane heater gets it well over 100 degrees with no side effects
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Old 12-06-2011, 02:23 PM   #14
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What would you guys reccomend for a small 1 car garage. Havn't taken measurments but if I had to guess about ~300-350ish sq.ft. Preferrably something new from Lowes or such as
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Old 12-06-2011, 02:52 PM   #15
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Aren't there higher condensation concerns with Propane? by product is water vapor.. ups amount in garage space... condensates on everything?

Or am i thinking of another fuel source.

I love my borrowed Torpedo tube heater.
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Old 12-06-2011, 03:08 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Splitime View Post
Aren't there higher condensation concerns with Propane? by product is water vapor.. ups amount in garage space... condensates on everything?

Or am i thinking of another fuel source.
I don't know about the fuel source, but I am not concerned with this in my garage, as it is a pretty drafty garage and there will be ventilation while the heater is being used. Any water vapor will be gone and dried pretty quickly.
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Old 12-06-2011, 03:09 PM   #17
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Sure, any time you burn hydrocarbons you're creating water vapor. With the garage door cracked for ventilation it doesn't feel terribly humid (subjective I know) and I don't get any condensation on the car's paint or glass surfaces. Propane is probably not be the best choice to heat a warehouse full of bare steel though. If you have engine blocks sitting around then it might be good to give the bores & bearing surfaces a light coat of WD-40 or something else to protect against moisture, but that's a good idea anyway regardless of your heating method.
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Old 12-06-2011, 04:21 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bikersam717 View Post
What would you guys reccomend for a small 1 car garage. Havn't taken measurments but if I had to guess about ~300-350ish sq.ft. Preferrably something new from Lowes or such as
I'm looking for something like this as well since I have about the same size garage as you, probably smaller. I've been thinking of picking up a small kerosene heater off CL for maybe 40 bucks.
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Old 12-07-2011, 07:17 PM   #19
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I bought a 100,000 btu propane unit, and it looks like it will work really well. I have one barbecue-style propane tank, and it looks like it will only last 2-3 hours. I wish they weren't so expensive to buy so I could have a spare.
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