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Thread: HF I.R. heater OK for shop?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Oceanside, So. Calif. 5 mi. to the ocean
    Posts
    4,944

    HF I.R. heater OK for shop?

    Hi All,

    I have a Rain Check for a HF infrared LP gas heater. The heater was $60 on sale for $38. It is 15,000 BTU. Is this adequate to use in mild winter weather in a 24 x 30 shop? The roof is on a slope from roughly 10' to 17' with no insulation. It has 2 one-car garage doors.

    The garage is built in true So. Calif. style---or to put it another way, you could throw out the cat through the gaps by and under the garage doors. I am also built in the true So. Calif. style. I don't like hot weather but I do work in it. However when it gets cold I become totally useless.

    I do work in the shop in cold weather wearing thermal underwear and it is almost OK. I hate the thermals. I feel like I am a bull-fighter spending an hour robing up for the big event. I would prefer heat and warm clothes.

    I could run ducts off from the forced air unit that supplies the house (actually we use it about 10 minutes per year. We heat with efficient wood stoves). I have removed the fresh air input from the garage, but I hesitate to let the shop have any interaction with the house air, even on the exhaust side.

    I assume that it would not be a great idea to do finishing with the IR heat. I am sure it would not be a good idea with blown air.

    Enjoy,

    Jim
    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.
    VOTING MEMBER

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim C Bradley View Post
    I have a Rain Check for a HF infrared LP gas heater. The heater was $60 on sale for $38. It is 15,000 BTU. Is this adequate to use in mild winter weather in a 24 x 30 shop? The roof is on a slope from roughly 10' to 17' with no insulation. It has 2 one-car garage doors.
    In a word...no.

    I have one in my shop as well, one that installed after my bigger propane furnance died. I think you will be sorely disappointed, beyond that you are going to waste a lot of propane and not get much heat out of it.

    I say this not to trump your good fortunate and inexpensive heater, but because it's just not big enough. My shop is only 12 x 24 and is well insulated. When I say well I mean the bottom is banked with haybales outside, the walls have R-19 insulation, the ceiling has an R-38 factor, and every possible draft is blocked with "Great Stuff" to keep the cold Maine winters at bay. Even as tight as my shop is, that heater won't keep up with anything below 25. Even if I run the thing the night before to "build the heat up", anything below 25 and its just to cold to work in there.

    Adding insult to injury is the amount of fuel this thing consumes. Even at 25 outside temps, the thing burns 7-10% of fuel a weekend. Since I am trying to heat my shop, the things burns the same fuel if its 40 outside or if its -40 outside, it just means the heater has no way to recover the heat that is lost at that temp. Now imagine a bigger space, unheated. Granted most peoples shops are located in more fair weather climates than Maine, but still 20 is 20, and twice a big of a space at 40 uninsulated means just about the same thing. I doubt this heater would do much for you.

    The final insult of this heater is the fact that it produces an amazing amount of moisture. Not only does this heater NOT heat my shop, all it does is pump in moisture when it is running. Its a double whammy because when the temps dip to 20, and my heater has no way to keep up, my tools really begin to rust. Firing up the heater only makes my shop tools rust that much quicker.

    I will say however, I do plan on keeping the heater. I want to replace my shop heater with a bigger heater then use the smaller one for my snowmobile shed. That is only 8 x 12 so the heater should keep up with that small space.

    Sorry to be the one to deliver the bad news.

    If I was you, and you already are allowed to use wood heat in an outbuilding (my insurance company says no way), then I would consider adding a woodstove to your shop. I can't say for sure because woodstoves really depend on a ton of factors based on a case by case basis.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    The Heart of Dixie
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    4,268
    I am not disputing Travis cause I have never seen one. But there is a lot of difference in Maine and SoCal. There are online heat loss calculators and you can figure out the heat load (amount of BTU's) for your garage.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.


    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Inside the Beltway
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    2,666
    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    Let us now take a moment to pity poor Jim! He lives in Oceanside, of all places, where the cold Japan Current sweeps along the Pacific coast and makes winter an absolute misery! Why, the average high temperature in January goes all the way down to 68 degrees! It's a recipe for a nightmare of shivering! And the average low! Horrors! It can get down to 40 degrees! Unfit for human habitation, it's so frigid!

    If you don't believe me, look at this chart, it tells a terrifying tale of ice age like conditions:

    http://www.weather.com/weather/wxcli...nav_undeclared

    There are places nearby that have Never, in recorded history, Never experienced even a light frost!

    But it gets worse: Jim cannot have a woodstove. Fuel is too expensive, too polluting, it makes a mess, and leads to yucky things, like, say, fires. He doesn't need to worry about moisture: if humidity hits 20% there, residents start complaining about the oppressive misery. Kerosene would do. Or propane. My father worked for SDG&E, so I need to recuse myself on the subject of electric.

    What Jim needs is a little radiant heat, for a little while in the morning, while he sips his coffee and wonders what a man should build when he has a workshop in paradise...

    Thanks,

    Bill

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Lantry View Post
    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    Let us now take a moment to pity poor Jim! He lives in Oceanside, of all places, where the cold Japan Current sweeps along the Pacific coast and makes winter an absolute misery! Why, the average high temperature in January goes all the way down to 68 degrees! It's a recipe for a nightmare of shivering! And the average low! Horrors! It can get down to 40 degrees! Unfit for human habitation, it's so frigid!

    If you don't believe me, look at this chart, it tells a terrifying tale of ice age like conditions:

    http://www.weather.com/weather/wxcli...nav_undeclared

    There are places nearby that have Never, in recorded history, Never experienced even a light frost!

    But it gets worse: Jim cannot have a woodstove. Fuel is too expensive, too polluting, it makes a mess, and leads to yucky things, like, say, fires. He doesn't need to worry about moisture: if humidity hits 20% there, residents start complaining about the oppressive misery. Kerosene would do. Or propane. My father worked for SDG&E, so I need to recuse myself on the subject of electric.

    What Jim needs is a little radiant heat, for a little while in the morning, while he sips his coffee and wonders what a man should build when he has a workshop in paradise...

    Thanks,

    Bill
    I am confused...

    If Jim does not need much heat where he lives, then why does he have a wood stove in his house and forced hot air? I realize he lives in Southern California but he asked if the heater would heat his shop...

    I have one of these heaters, it won't. His shop cubic footage is to big even if it does not get very cold, and its not insulated at all.

    The simple rule of thumb for heating is pretty simple. If a certain sized heater is sufficient for a insulated area, double it if it is uninsulated. My shop is half his size and insulated and the heater won't keep up. If his shop is double my shop size, AND uninsulated, that means he would need a heater four times as big as mine. Now subtract some for his warm climate he lives in and you still end up with a too small heater. By the time this heater would heat such a big uninsulated space, the clock would say 2 PM and he would be better off opening the garage doors and letting the warm air outside come inside.

    The long and short of it is, to heat such a big, uninsulated space fast, you need BTU's and 15,000 btus just isn't going to do it. Now if he ran his propane heater all night, that might keep things in check, but this model loves its propane. I think there are more efficient heaters out there and he will be happier with those.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Trinity County - 160 miles north of San Francisco. Redwood forest.
    Posts
    159
    I have a home in Southern Calif w/ no shop, and a newly built home in Northern California. I studied heating/air condition issues to design the new house.

    For your size garage (with no insulation) 15,000 btu's is fine for So. Cal.
    My shop up north -where we get two weeks of snow -- for 600 feet I have a 14,000 btu electric heater (220 volts). Cost $130 at Ace Hardware. The heater achieves a temperature rise from --say --- 45 degrees to 60 degrees within 10 minutes. It is insulated to the newer California energy standards.

    The magic formula for houses that are insulated is: 25btu's/ft-sq. For an uninsulated structure in a mild climate, bump that up 50%. For a colder cllmate, increase it 250%.

    My neighbor has a new 900sq feet shop heated only with one large infrared propane heater. The kind used in aircraft hangars. I think it is about 25,000 btu's. Positively toasty.

    Caution. With either my electric, or your propane, blow out the heating elements with a blast of air after every work session. Fire is a real hazard. And you must have ventilation in the workspace.

    Gary Curtis

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    Posts
    9,076
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Lantry View Post
    If you don't believe me, look at this chart, it tells a terrifying tale of ice age like conditions:
    Now wait a minute, Bill. I live in SoCal too. I've got to tell you that for safety's sake I change out of my shorts and sandles on a blustery winter morning. The idea of heading into a shop that might be somewhere in the mid 50's without shoes and long pants on is just too traumatic to handle .

    Paradise it may be but take heart . . . some of you don't have to chew your air. There's just no free lunch dag-nab-it. Pity us poor multi-generational SoCal natives that are reaching for a sweatshirt when it gets below 60. We're handicapped by being raised with the notion that snow is something you visit for fun. When you're done you go home . . . or to the beach .

    P.s. One of my favorite things to do on Christmas morning is to call someone in Michigan and ask, "how's the weather?" I know, too cruel.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  8. #8
    Well.....there are a few myths about weather, temps and locality.

    Here in northcentral Idaho.......

    We get some cold weather. In some winters we actually get snow. Of course at an elevation of about 1100' above sea level, Lewiston often doesn't see it every winter. But at the same time, we experience about 3-4 weeks of 100+F each summer and we only get 12" of moisture annualy provided we are not in a drought which we are. This year we've had less than 5" of total moisture with May and June being our "wet" months.

    That being said, I insulated my new shop....R-19 in the walls and R-40 in the ceilings. It's often 18-24 F cooler in the hot weeks and the LOML bought and had installed a Lennox 75,000 BTU natural gas furnace 2 years ago. I set the thermostat at 60 most of the time and move it as necessary.

    Insulating just makes sense wherever you live IMHO.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Oceanside, So. Calif. 5 mi. to the ocean
    Posts
    4,944
    Hi Glenn,

    I like your new avatar...It's a real improvement.

    You forgot to tell everybody that you take the cold better than your old man. You worked for years in computer rooms at 65 degrees and you learned to do it in short sleeve cotton shirt and shorts. Well, dang it, as I have aged, cold has become more of a problem and it was a problem before I became old.

    Enjoy,

    Dad
    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.
    VOTING MEMBER

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Oceanside, So. Calif. 5 mi. to the ocean
    Posts
    4,944
    Hi Again,

    I hate to tell you all, but at 40 degrees I freeze my buns off. The furnace in this house is 21 years old and still on the original filter because we heat with wood. There are years that the furnace does not run at all.

    Yes we do have two efficient woodstoves. The stove that Myrna used to heat her office has not been used for several years because she is no longer in there when it is cold. The other stove knocks the chill off most mornings when it is cold. It is also used 2 or 3 hours in the evening on cold days. So far this year it has not been needed.

    HOWEVER, on the few occasions that it gets down to the 40s I just cannot function. There is no way I would run a power tool when it is that cold. I frequently gets down into the 50s in the winter. In the 50s I can work if I can keep my hands warm. I wear thermal underwear.

    There are evenings and maybe a couple days that I just won't go to the shop because it is too cold. I thought a radiant (IR) heater might do the job. I have never seen one except in a store so I just don't know. I have not looked at the price of putting in a ceiling and insulation. I seriously doubt that it would be cost effective for me.

    Normally I would just put in a ceiling and insulation. However, my body just does not go into a lot of positions that it used to. Myrna says I should act my age (82 on Dec 31, twenty minutes before January). I resent it but I am having to act a bit like an old man.

    Change of subject. I purchased firewood one time since 1978. People far and near know I heat with wood so I get a call something like, "We are cutting down two euclyptus trees. Do you want the wood?" I answer yes and say dump it on the driveway. I use a little over a chord each year.

    The wood is free if you don't count having to chainsaw it into lengths shorter than 18" and the having to split it. Until this year I split using wedges and sledge hammer. I purchased a log splitter from HF and it is a dream.

    This has become so wordy that I am going to sign off. I hope I answered all of the queries about wood, heat and me. I will look up the thermal formulaes and see what I can see. I may check out with a contractor about ceiling and insulation.

    Thanks all and Enjoy,

    Jim
    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.
    VOTING MEMBER

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