Adding a heater is essential if you use your garage all year round for work projects. But knowing where to place the heater can make a real difference in the temperature.
For maximum efficiency, a heater should be situated 24 inches from the back wall of the coldest corner of a garage. Pointing the heater downward at a 45-degree angle provides the greatest heat distribution. Always keep the bottom of the heater at least 72 inches away from any combustible items.
This article is going to show you:
- An in-depth look at heater placement
- What size heater is needed need for your space
- Which type of heater is best for you
What is the most efficient way to heat a garage?
The best place for your heater in a garage depends on the kind of heater you have. If you are using a gas garage heater, experts suggest that it should be vented. It’s therefore preferable if these heaters are mounted to the ceiling.
It’s a condition precedent that you already have cut a hole in your roof where the fumes venting tube will be placed. After hanging your heater from the ceiling joists and inserting the vent tube through your roof, waterproof it using a weather ring and sealant.
On the other hand, if you’re using an electric heater, your best bet is to install them on the wall or the roof. As you install them, remember to keep a floor-to-heater distance of six to seven feet. To determine the proper floor-to-heater distance, check your heater’s user manual.
Remember that every 100 square feet of space needs 1,000 watts of energy. This means that if you have a 500 square feet garage, it will need a 5,000-watt heater to have the room adequately warmed up. It’s a different story if you have a space heater. There are two things you need to remember in choosing the right spot.
First, ensure that the space you intend to heat up is confined because space heaters are not designed to heat an entire space. Secondly, you need to position them in an area where moisture won’t reach them. Moisture and dampness can permanently damage your heater.
Once these two prerequisites are satisfied, the next thing to remember is to place your heater at least two feet away from the wall. Place the exhaust and intake vents in front of your heater. Make sure that no flammable objects are positioned nearby. Lastly, keep at least a 3-feet buffer zone to avoid injuries to your kids or pets. You can also complement this by clearing the room entryway.
Garage heater size guide
To get the most out of your heaters, you first need to know what heater size to get. You can compute the appropriate heater size requirement by BTU or wattage. Go for measurement per wattage if you want an easy way of computation. Just multiply the total room square footage by ten.
For example, you need to heat a 500 square feet garage. In that case, simply multiply 500 square feet by ten, and you get 5,000 watts of heater power. This means for a 500 square feet room; you need a 5,000 watts heater.
If you want a challenge, try computing your garage’s heating needs by BTU. To recap, gas heaters are rated by the BTU they generate. So, if you want to convert watts to heater BTU, you need to multiply the heater wattage by 3.41 (1 watt = 3.41 BTU). In the example above, a 5,000 watts heater is a heater that has 17,050 BTUs.
Aside from identifying the wattage requirement of the room and the corresponding heater BTU, there’s a more precise method to identify the ideal heater for any room space. This method requires you to input your desired temperature rise in the room you intend to warm up.
The first step is to identify the desired temperature rise. After which, you need to measure the space volume you intend to heat up. For example, a 26 ft. by 26 ft. garage with a 10-foot ceiling has 6,760 cubic feet of air space.
Once this is established, the next step is to identify the insulation degree in the room, which is a factor that varies per region. If you live in hot regions, the required thermal resistance (R-value) is 13 to 15. However, if you live in frigid regions, the required R-value rises from 23 to 30.
The insulation degree is rated depending on how far above or below it is from the ideal and recommended average mark. If you have inadequate insulation, the correct user rating to use is 1.5.
If you have average insulation, it should be 1, 0.5 for spaces with solid insulation and 5 for those with no insulation at all. Once all the numbers are ready, use this formula to identify the BTU required.
(Insulation degree × space volume to be warmed up × desired temperature rise) ÷ 1.6 = BTU
The example above: (1 × 6,760 sq. ft. × 25 degrees Fahrenheit) ÷ 1.6 = 105,625 BTU
Now, if you want to convert BTU to watts, simply divide it by 3.41
105,625 BTU ÷ 3.41 = 30,975 Watts
Since it’s nearly impossible to get a 30,975-watt heater, your best option is to increase the insulation degree to reduce the energy needed to heat it significantly.
Best types of garage heaters
There are three main types of garage heaters: radiant, convection, and forced air heaters. Radiant heaters direct heat outward through their polished reflectors. Because of this, it generates spot heat. This type of heater warms things, and objects found adjacent to them. To visualize the process and level of heat, think of sitting next to a bonfire.
If you are fond of woodworking, this is for you because of the steady warmth they offer without blowing air. They don’t stir settled dust and fine particles, so they’re best for rooms with coated woodwork. They are run by electricity, propane, or natural gas.
Oil and water-filled radiators are examples of convection heaters. They bank on heating elements or enclosed flame to warm up the room without the help of a fan. This type of heater is best for people looking for units that can heat an entire room and those searching for affordable heating options.
The two downsides of this option are that they don’t offer as much warmth as other heaters, and it takes time before they can finally heat a room.
Forced air heaters work by cycling hot air into open spaces. Since they are powered by gas, they are typically hooked to the house’s gas line. They may cost more upfront, but operating them is less costly because they are operated by propane and natural gas.