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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Central Iowa
    Posts
    19

    Default What sort of heat in shop?

    We're tossing around the idea of heat for my shop. Forget the in-floor heat as the floor is poured, the shop occupied, and ripping up concrete is not an option....... too costly, and ***. If I would have had the money then, I'd probably have done that, but it wasn't even close back then.

    Shop size - main level is 30' x 36' with 14' ceilings. 1 walk-in door, 2 overheads 12' x 12', and two 3'x3' windows on the west. Walls are 6" insulated, ceiling is insulated to something like R45 (very thick) vapor barrier throughout. I have 100 amps to the shop. There is no gas to the shop. We are on LP for the water heater, but that's 200' from the shop, and getting through the ground - it's gravel, rock and concrete to get there.
    No wood stove, either - danger, in the way, spotty heat, hassle with wood and all.
    the second story is my wood shop, 36' x 15' and I can close it off - it's also quite well insulated up there, although the steel ceiling isn't yet in place.

    The goal - keep the shop area about 35-40 all winter, but when I want to go out and work a couple of hours, turn it up and work, then turn it down and quit for the night. So I do need pretty quick warm-up times. I might go out for the day on a weekend, or a couple hours after work during the week.

    We were talking heat pump. but the initial cost is high. We love the cheap operating costs, our house heating and cooling costs have gone down considerably since we moved to a heat pump in the house. and we get a really cheap rate in the winter for being "all electric". Still the cost initially.....
    the HVAC person suggested an air handler, like would be used for a heat pump, with only the electric strips. The electrician said that's a huge cost and would really spin the meter.

    Last summer humidity was SO bad, all things vinyl got mildew and mold all over them, including CAR SEATS. Humidity is an issue most years actually, and I have to run a dehumidifier, but that's costly too - it's like running A/C in the building, and the heat stays inside! So we considered A/C also to keep the cars safe from Iowa mold and mildew in the summer (yes, things to drip with water and mildew here a lot with concrete floors, the quick change temperatures and tropical humidities, it costs a lot due to the damage each years from "rot".) So the other reason we considered heat pump was because, well, it reverses in the summer and becomes A/C. But a cheap one would be probably 4-5 grand - the house cost us nearly 6K if I recall. We LOVE our t..... heat pump, it's very nice but wasn't cheap! and again the really slow recovery..

    Lately I've heard a lot about infrared - mostly gas, but I see there's electric infrared heat tubes, too.

    From what I'm told, and it makes sense:
    They (infrared) recover quickly if you open an overhead door as the air isn't what's heated and lost, and infrared heats from the floor up, not from the top down like forced air, etc. Heat pumps recover VERY Slowly. So if I run the shop heat at 35-40 all winter, but want it up to 60 when I decide to go out for a couple of hours, it takes those two hours to get up to 60! Infrared would be very fast, gas is also very quick to recover.........
    So for a tall ceiling, you actually have the heat from the floor up where you are.... and the items you handle will be warm, not just the air. I've seen air at 60 in my other garage but the tools and benches are 30. Brr......

    So if you would please, keeping in mind there's 100 amp electric (I also have a welder and compressor, but neither run much) and no LP out there currently, and tearing up the floor isn't an option, what are the thoughts?
    What do you currently have, and what do you know of the options available today?

    ***, I've written a book! Thanks for reading this far, I guess I didn't want to leave out critical information that might lead to informed replies!
    My shop can be seen here, browse the folder, sorted newest to oldest, the old ones are of construction, the new ones are "now".
    http://theamcpages.com/images/garage/?M=D


    Bill
    Rural central Iowa......

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    8,063

    Default Re: What sort of heat in shop?

    What is it that you're doing in the shop? If it's combustible, then wood heat probably isn't the best choice, but if it's not, then wood is a very viable, cheap heat source that is perfectly safe for things such as a woodshop.

    Back on the ranch we had a shop of similar size to yours, heated with a wood stove. You could go out there with snow on the ground, fire up the stove and be getting toasty warm within half an hour. The only time that there was a fire hazard is when spraying lacquer, which we would do in another room away from the stove.

    Another thing to think about when you install heat of any type is that heat rises, and with 14' ceilings you're going to be heating a lot of wasted space. Rather than waste that heat, install several ceiling fans to push the heat back down to the floor.

    You could use a pellet stove, which would be easier to install than a wood stove (fewer fire code issues ) or you could install a forced heating system with an external wood fired stove/boiler, which would keep all combustibles away from the heat source.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Central Iowa
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: What sort of heat in shop?

    Ah, I guess I forgot that part! Auto repair, alternator repair, some use of paints, solvents.
    Upstairs, woodworking, saw dust, but I won't put any heat up there. If I want it heated, I'll open a door I plan on putting over the stairs... And it's a lot smaller so a couple space heaters to work pretty well there.

    The other part of the issue - floor space. It's really pretty full of cars, my tractor, etc. Anything I put in will need to be ceiling mounted, or wall mounted (high on a wall) or against the south wall.
    The floor really can't have anything on it that I can't move around with dollies or jacks. I guess I'd be really nervous draining a gas tank and pulling it out of a car with wood stove since gasoline fumes travel the floor.

    There are two ceiling fans in the shop - here's one of them:
    http://theamcpages.com/images/garage/shop-012a.jpg
    Last edited by BillD; 11-10-2010 at 02:41 PM. Reason: adding link to a photo....and mention ceiling fans

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    8,063

    Default Re: What sort of heat in shop?

    Are you the one with the gambrel roofed shop with the upstairs being in the web of the trusses, or am I thinking of someone else? Just curious, not pertinent to this thread.

    Well, since a good portion of auto shops in these parts use gas furnaces suspended from the ceiling, I would say that as long as you don't let fumes build up within the shop and you keep the heat source well above the floor where fumes usually congregate, that you could use just about anything you want as far as a heat source.

    In conjunction with the ceiling fans, you will probably need/want a box fan or two strategically placed and suspended from the ceiling for better air circulation.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    8,063

    Default Re: What sort of heat in shop?

    I meant to say earlier that it will probably be easier and cheaper to set a second LP tank than it will be to try to run a supply line from the existing tank - if you decide to go with gas heat.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

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