A garage without insulation can provide basic shelter for your vehicles and your belongings, but sometimes you need to work in your uninsulated garage in the wintertime. What can you do to heat this unprotected space? In this article, we provide smart tips and effective ideas to help you heat your uninsulated garage. Read on to learn more.
What You'll Learn Today
- Choose An Effective Heater For Your Uninsulated Garage
- What Is The Best Electric Heater For An Uninsulated Garage?
- What Are Some Non-Electric Heating Options For An Uninsulated Garage?
- Insulation Is The Very Best Way To Heat An Uninsulated Garage
- Should You Try To Heat An Uninsulated Garage?
Choose An Effective Heater For Your Uninsulated Garage
Follow these four steps to choose the right heater for your space:
- Get accurate measurements of the cubic footage of the garage. You’ll need to measure the height, width and length of the space. Once you have these measurements, multiply length X width. Multiply the resulting number by height. These calculations will give you the number of cubic feet you’ll need to heat.
- Armed with this number, perform an online or in-person search for heaters intended to heat the amount of space you have or slightly more. Since your space in uninsulated, you may want a heater that is a bit more powerful than the bare minimum required to heat the space.
- Decide whether you want to use electricity or some other fuel source. Once you’ve narrowed your selections down, be sure that the heater you have chosen (if electric) will work with your electrical system in your garage. If your wiring is older, it may be very easy to trip a breaker. If that’s the case, you’ll need to rewire or go with another fuel source.
- Consider how much installation you are willing/capable of doing. Decide whether you just want a standard space heater that requires no more installation than plugging it in, a wall or ceiling heater that needs to be installed or a wood, pellet, propane or kerosene burning heater that requires special setup.
What Is The Best Electric Heater For An Uninsulated Garage?
One type of ceiling mounted electric heater is an overhead tube heater or infrared/radiant heater. This type of heater works like the heat of the sun to heat objects rather than blowing hot air around.
In an uninsulated space, this can be very useful as a garage without insulation allows a lot of cold air in and will not prevent warm air from going out.
Even so, lack of insulation will cause you to lose heat, and running an infrared heater for any significant period of time under these circumstances can be costly. Additionally, purchase of a good quality infrared/radiant heater can be a significant expense.
Also, notably, a ceiling mounted radiant heater in an uninsulated garage can cause a hot spot on the roof. In snowy climates, this can cause snow melt causing an ice dam and resulting in roof damage and leaks.
What Are Some Non-Electric Heating Options For An Uninsulated Garage?
If you find that your electrical system in your garage is insufficient for the electric heater you would need, or you simply don’t want to spend that much on electricity, there are other options, such as:
Heating with a woodstove is a good way to heat an uninsulated space quickly and thoroughly. If you only want to heat your garage during times when you are right there working and keeping an eye on it, a wood stove can be a good non-electric option.
A second hand wood stove can be inexpensive to purchase, and depending on where you live, fuel can be cheap or free. On the other hand, a woodstove can be messy and dangerous.
You’ll need to clean the ash out regularly, and you must make sure the stove is properly installed to prevent ventilation problems and fire hazards.
If you are chopping your own wood, that’s a job you’ll need to take care of in advance during the warm months, or another chore you’ll need to add to your wintertime tasks. Remember that firewood has to be stored, so you’ll need to set up storage for it or have it take up space in your garage.
Before you install a wood stove in your uninsulated garage, be sure to check local ordinances and your homeowners’ insurance policy. Use of a woodstove may not be legal in your area, and you may find that your insurance premiums will go up so much that using a woodstove is not practical.
Another non-electric option for an uninsulated garage is a pellet stove. It is comparable to a wood stove in performance and in safety considerations, but it doesn’t involve chopping and storing wood. It will involve purchasing and storing pellets, and this can get costly.
Pellet stove installation in a uninsulated garage
This type of heater burns kerosene or propane to produce massive amounts of heat. This is an inexpensive forced air heat solution.
As long as you are right there monitoring it, a torpedo heater is a good choice for fast, affordable, effective heat. You should never leave it unattended, though. This sort of heater can present a real fire hazard.
For this reason, it shouldn’t be used in a woodworking shop or around woodworking projects because the sawdust involved could easily ignite. It’s also important that you not place this sort of heater near yourself or whatever you are working on because fire safety is a very real concern in general.
In fact, be sure to place your torpedo heater on a slip free surface because the force of the heat it blasts can cause it to travel on a slick surface.
Standard Propane Heat
If you want a safer (albeit not as powerful) alternative to the torpedo heater, you can go for a standard propane heater. This sort of heater makes very efficient use of propane as a fuel.
This is not a forced air heater, so it doesn’t heat as quickly and thoroughly as a forced air torpedo heater, but it is a lot safer and a lot more affordable both to purchase and to run.
Insulation Is The Very Best Way To Heat An Uninsulated Garage
Good insulation will save you a great deal of money and make your work space more comfortable year round. Remember that insulation doesn’t just keep heat in during the winter. It also keeps heat out during the summer.
Aside from heating benefits, garage insulation:
- Reduces problems with bugs, dust and pollen getting in
- Prevents ice dams forming on the roof
- Helps control humidity levels
- Reduces noise transmission
- Increases your home value
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) insulation will save about fifteen percent on heating costs in your home. In your uninsulated garage, that percentage will naturally go up.
When you are attempting to heat a large space that has no insulation, you will lose a tremendous amount of that heat into the rafters and then into the outdoors.
Should You Try To Heat An Uninsulated Garage?
In the long run, heating an uninsulated garage is a losing proposition. If you simply cannot get your garage insulated this winter, your best bet is probably to set yourself up with a standard propane heater or an appropriate electric heater for now.
Use it judiciously, and set aside money for a garage insulation project in time for next winter. The right size heater will probably heat the space where you are working pretty well this winter, and it is likely to be all you need once you get your garage insulated.
You’ll find that your investment in insulation will more than pay for itself in lowered fuel bills, likely in the first winter.