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Old 11-18-2010, 12:08 AM   #1
ozpilot
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Default Garage Heater

Living in Vermont I know winter is coming and I'm looking for ideas for heating my garage. I've done a search and most suggestions talk about using propane, natural gas, kerosene or electricity.

I recently asked a contractor for his ideas. He suggested that since my house uses baseboards warmed by hot water from my oil burning furnace, the best thing to do would be to install a hot water based space heater in the garage.

This would involve running hot water from my basement out to the heater in the garage and back again. The advantage is that I don't have to introduce a new source of heat into my house such as a propane tank.

My garage is a 3 car and he is quoting me a little less than $3K for the complete installation. My garage is insulated and I want to keep it heated continually through our long winters to a temp of about 40F (10C).

Has anyone else completed such an installation? Does $3K sound like a reasonable estimate?
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Old 11-18-2010, 03:16 AM   #2
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My garage has the plumbing to do this, but I never gotten around to setting it up. However, i have done a fair amount of H/W heating in my contracting business.

This would work fine, you are just looking for nominal heat to make sure the garage does not freeze. If you wire up the garage, it all depends on what service you already have there, which will set the cost. if you have a good service, electric baseboards will cost much less than $3000, and will keep the garage easily at the temp you want.

I am not sure about the efficiency of H/W vs Electric when the water has to run under the ground to the garage and back...it sounds like electric might be better in this case.

Perhaps you should get another quotation for electric, and get a second quotation from a heating guy for the H/wW solution. There are also propane/natural gas solutions that you can investigate, and its hard to tell what is best for you since there are lots of variables.

Geeze, that was a bit rambley....!

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Old 11-18-2010, 03:23 AM   #3
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If you have fuel oil available in your area look into an oil-drip heater, such as the Toyo.
Highly efficient, reasonable cost, low maintenance.

Gordo

Last edited by 993/907; 11-18-2010 at 01:26 PM. Reason: revised suggested manufacturer
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Old 11-18-2010, 10:23 AM   #4
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If faced with a similar situation, I'd consider getting the garage wired with receptacles at bench working height and consider using a heated oil electric radiator heater for each bay. They're rated at about 1500 watts apiece I believe. We've got a cabin and, in the Winter, to keep pipes from freezing, use one in the kitchen, one in the bathroom and one in the cellar. They're each controlled by a thermostat that plugs into the receptacle. It turns on at around 35F and off around 45F. The thermostats are normally used to control electric pipe wrap. We've yet to have pipes freeze (knock on wood!). But, then again we're in NC, not VT.
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Old 11-18-2010, 11:21 AM   #5
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I would check out garagejournal.com for ideas. I know one guy there compared running NG lines vs putting in a large propane tank and the latter was cheaper (for him). I use a Modine Hot Dawg NG heater and I believe they are available for propane. Nobody uses heating oil up here so I have no idea on the economics.
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Old 11-18-2010, 11:32 AM   #6
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hot water heat...especially from an existing boiler-will be the most cost effective solution for your needs...IMHO

Simply adding another zone to your boiler would be nothing-probably wouldn't need an additional circulation pump either-depending on distance to the garage.
Small ceiling mounted unit heaters(120 volt fan driven)would circulate the air nicely too, or simple baseboard convection units.

You would certainly have the ability to set the heat at whatever temp you desired-as you should install an additional thermostat in the garage space.

Utilizing the existing boiler will certainly be cheaper than adding additional electricity/natural gas/propane/oil costs. Installation/equiptment costs might be similar for a stand alone elec/NG/propane/etc system.

Here in the North East, electricity is expensive per KW, propane the next cheapest, and Natural gas the cheaper yet-don't know where oil fits in there though. I recently ran an underground NG line to an out building, and installed a unit heater for the space. Doing all the work myself certainly saved money, but it still wasn't cheap. Operating cost, over the lifetime of the space, drove my decision to install the NG line.

Since you intend to operate the system daily to heat the space, even to a modest "above freezing" level, it'll be expensive. Get additional quotes for other type systems if you desire. But...never loose site of the future operating costs. Your existing hot water system will be the most cost effective over the long haul IMHO

Good Luck
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Old 11-18-2010, 12:04 PM   #7
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I still can't get over that you want HEAT your garage to 40F..

It's a low of 43F and a high of 67 here in Houston today, and we are all freezing our asses off!!
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Old 11-18-2010, 12:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magdaddy View Post
... I recently ran an underground NG line to an out building, and installed a unit heater for the space. Doing all the work myself certainly saved money, but it still wasn't cheap. ...
That is certainly true. My gas line fitting cost $900 and I did the trenching, bought the line, supplied and installed the heater and exhaust venting!
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Old 11-18-2010, 12:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaa1 View Post
I still can't get over that you want HEAT your garage to 40F..

It's a low of 43F and a high of 67 here in Houston today, and we are all freezing our asses off!!
Have to agree with you there! I was born in Australia and now I live in Vermont. Go figure ...

As I've told my wife (we moved here for her job) the only time I like to see snow is when its under my skis and the only time I like to see ice is when its in the bottom of my drink!
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Old 11-18-2010, 12:33 PM   #10
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Magdaddy

Thanks for your reply. That's exactly the system I'm looking at. Add another zone to my existing furnace, run the hot water out to the garage and run it through an electric fan. All controlled from a wall mounted thermostat.

I was just wondering if $3k was a reasonable quote for such a system.
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Old 11-18-2010, 01:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozpilot View Post
Magdaddy

Thanks for your reply. That's exactly the system I'm looking at. Add another zone to my existing furnace, run the hot water out to the garage and run it through an electric fan. All controlled from a wall mounted thermostat.

I was just wondering if $3k was a reasonable quote for such a system.
depends on many things...length of run(copper is VERY expensive), quantity of unit heaters, etc. Get a 2nd quote from another heating contractor and compare. But...if you trust or have been satisfied with the original contractors work before, saving a little money on a job you might be happy with isn't worth it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by matt777 View Post
That is certainly true. My gas line fitting cost $900 and I did the trenching, bought the line, supplied and installed the heater and exhaust venting!
I heat with NG in my home. I simply extended the line out the back of the basement-approx 70 trench(elec, cable, phone also in it)to the building, up and in. The underground gas line, and especially the 90 degree sweeps were quite expensive. All together, underground, black pipe, various fittings, heater(Hot dawg 30K)B vent, hangers etc...totalled damn near $1k. Considering that if I didn't intend on heating the space...I wouldn't have had to insulate-then completely finish the inside-probably another grand altogether there too.

I damn well better spend LOTS of time in there this winter tinkering with the car. Still gotta get the mid rise, or any winter work is off. Anyway, the plan was to remove bumper covers F&R for a respray-maybe front bumperette delete, clear corners, full undercarriage clean-NOT LIKE LARPY though, etc, etc, etc

Just finished the NG hookup this morning after my first post here. Fired the Hot Dawg up for the first time. It's a very mild 45 degrees here today, so the space warmed up fast. Very quiet unit, very nice, expensive...but nice.

anyway...back to tinkering
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Old 11-18-2010, 02:20 PM   #12
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Oz,

The other option, especially is you have a natural gas nearby, is to install a direct fired natural gas unit heater. All you need is a gas supply to the unit heater and electric for the fan and thermostat. The install cost would be considerably less IF you have a nat gas line anywhere in the vicinity of the garage.

You also don't have to worry about letting the garage go below freezing and bursting a pipe from the boiler - or going through the hassle of antifreezing the entire heating system

I use these units in my hangar and garage.
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Old 11-18-2010, 04:54 PM   #13
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Solar? Expensive up front and cheap in the long run.
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Old 11-18-2010, 06:47 PM   #14
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Wall or ceiling mounted propane or NG space heater (Modine, etc).

http://www.amazon.com/Mr-Heater-Prop.../dp/B000HEC2KU

http://www.amazon.com/Modine-Dawg-45...sr=1-2-catcorr

$600 for the heater, your propane/oil company will give you a 100 gallon bottle for free, quick and easy hookup...wall or ceiling vent, 2 wire thermostat, 120VAC for the blower motor.

I've had one for years, 45deg low temp thermostat on the wall, can run a season on about 100 gallons of propane. 45deg feels warm and melts everything off the cars.
Throw the thermostat up to 70 deg, wait 30 minutes, and it's Tshirt weather in the garage in the middle of winter.
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Old 11-18-2010, 07:18 PM   #15
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I just installed a gas fired ceiling hung heater in my garage. Hot water heat is very efficient BUT once installed it must be always on even at a low temp to prevent the pipes and rad from freezing and bursting. therefore I wouldn,t use it in a garage in Vermont because of subzero winter temps.
My garage is an attached 2 car about 500 Sq Ft with a 10 ft ceiling. The 45000 BTU heater I installed is made by Mr Heater and I bought it at Northern tool for about $500 with a thermostat and chimney vent. They also make a 75000 btu model for a 3 car garage. It vents through the roof with the same inexpensive code chimney as a gas fired water heater. You can also vent horizontally with a kit for about $150 extra.The gas line I ran cost me about $250 . Propane models are available if you are a long distance from gas or don,t already have it in the house. Propane is more expensive than NG but I believe less than oil. Electrical heat is very expensive around here. No one would heat a garage with electricity and won,t even buy an electrically heated house.
This gas heater will heat my garage up to a comfortable 65 deg in about 15 min. then it cycles on and off to maintain it. I could leave it on low if I wanted but don,t because I don,t feel the need except when working in there. My garage is insulated but not nearly as well as the house .
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Old 11-18-2010, 07:18 PM
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