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Thread: Shop Heat Questions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Kutztown PA
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    252

    Shop Heat Questions

    Greetings all

    Someone here might be surprised to see me asking this question, since I have been answering it for people for the past seven years. But a question has come up.

    I have been heating my shop (for the past seven years!) with radiant propane. It is a very nice way to heat, quick, warm, and efficient. However, with the advent of our outdoor wood furnace, the opportunity to heat the shop with hot water from that furnace is now available to me. I have the underground piping in from the furnace to the shop, but I have not yet settled on how to distribute the warmth.

    Today I acquired three cast iron radiators that heat via hot water (not steam) for the princely sum of $10.00 each. There are two more coming available tomorrow which I will pick up when I get the call. These things work great in the house, but I am wondering about how they would do in the shop. Wall space is at a premium, and I don't want to fork out a lot of money for installation and all the associated stuff if they are not going to work.

    Has anyone here used old fashioned hot water radiators in their shop? All three are roughly the same size, 48" long and 22" high. The other two are pretty much the same size as well. I'm just wondering how I would incorporate them into the shop without losing a lot of wall space or a lot of heat because they are blocked by something sitting in front of them.

    I will be keeping the radiant propane as a backup, plus as auxillary heating for the beginning and end of the heating season when the wood furnace will not be running.

    Thanks.

    Bill
    Bill Grumbine

    www.wonderfulwood.com

  2. #2
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    Having once lived in a 150 year old house with radiators, I know this about them:
    They take up lots of wall space.
    They need to not be blocked.
    They give off a very nice and even heat.
    Without generating air circulation, their heat, and the room air, is very dry. Adding humidty is a must.
    From your description, I'll give a long-distance opinion that this is not the best choice for your shop.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Arena, Wisconsin
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    Solid base for a lathe or workbench?

  4. #4
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    Bill, I have no idea of the lay out or configuration of your shop, but I imagine that heat, in the winter is fairly important to you. These radiators, if you put them up high, out of the way, and then have a fan circulating the air around the room, would that work?

    I honestly know next to nothing about these kinds of rads, how is the water circulated, only by the hot stuff going up and the cool stuff going down, or is there a pump?

    I know on cars, with a pump, I've seen rads put in strange places with fans on them to pull air past them, on bikes, I've seen them under the seat with a fan, the rads were just about horizontal.

    Would it be possible to suspend them from the ceiling, and lay them flat, then put a ceiling fan above them?

    Again, I do not know the set up of your shop, it you have 12' ceilings, this is possible, if you have 8' ceilings, it is not.

    So, if there is a pump in the system, you could put the rads anywhere, and at any angle, as the hot water would be forced to circulate, but if the water is circulated only by heating it, then you have way fewer options, I would think.

    For $10 each, sounds like something I'd want to look at hard, adding humidity to your shop should not be that hard, just make sure you turn some green stuff fairly often, and this will give you the perfect excuse to not sweep up the wet shavings, you are adding humidity

    Keep us posted!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the suggestions guys. Frank, I need to do something, and there is generally enough wet wood around that the humidity is not too bad. But, it gets real cold here sometimes. This winter has been real balmy so far - no snow, ice, or even long stretches of cold weather yet. But we have had weeks on end where the temp never gets about 10 deg!

    Stu, the contractor who is going to do the work when we get to it described seeing an installation where the radiators were hung from the ceiling. These babies weigh somewhere around 300 lbs each, and that is before they are filled with water! There is a circulator pump, so blowers would not be necessary. Of course, with them being radiant, they can be anywhere.

    Frank, I thought about something like you mention, perhaps with a bin behind for seldom used stuff. I'd need a hook to get it out though!

    I'll have to do some more thinking, but you guys have given me some ideas.

    Bill
    Bill Grumbine

    www.wonderfulwood.com

  6. #6
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    Bill, Iím not an HVAC guy, but I think that your radiators give both radiant heat and convective heat (they heat and circulate air too). Therefore, if they are placed high in your shop or clustered in a group, I think they need a fan to distribute the heated air.

  7. #7
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    Pulling heat down seems problematic. It might work in a shop, to an extent. I'll betcha, Bill might be able to work in shirtsleeves but will need fur lined boots.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Fusco View Post
    Pulling heat down seems problematic. It might work in a shop, to an extent. I'll betcha, Bill might be able to work in shirtsleeves but will need fur lined boots.
    This is very true, but give the options, well Bill might just have to do that.

    Then again, while you are doing all of this, Bill, why not get a bunch of pipe and do a radiant heat floor spot right where you stand at the lathe all day?

    Might be an idea?

    Just thinking outloud here.
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Portland, OR
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    Bill, in the shop I'm in now, I have a large box fan sized system that hangs in the corner of the shop. It is hooked into the old oil fired boiler system in another building.

    WHEN the owner would crank up the boiler, about 3 times a season!, I would just flip the light switch and the fan would blow nice warm heat around for the 6 hours he would run the system.

    To bad you are not a little closer, there are probably a dz of these between the two buildings, and it all gets tore down next year. It is one way to take advantage of a hot water system without taking up valuable floor or wall space.

    If you need a picture, let me know and I'll see if I can find the camera.

    Doug from Oregon

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Greater Toronto Area
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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't you be concerned that if there was a system failure, the lines could freeze, bust and spew water all over?

    Maybe I'm wrong and these these are filled with rad fluid of some kind and that's not an issue. I'm obviously no expert on this, but this is what crossed my mind.

    Especially in a location like a shop that you may not go into on a daily basis occasionally unlike in a residence, folks kinda get an inkling that there something amiss when they start gettin' cold.

    In case you decide against this for your shop, I've got a neighbour down the street that incorporated an old rad in her garden display. Looks funky if done right and unique as well. I'll never tell where, if you did this, you got the idea from.

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