How to Heat a Garage: Most Practical Methods

Last updatedLast updated: September 06, 2021
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If you live in a cold climate, your garage is likely to be chilly on its own. The same can be said for all garages in warmer conditions. To begin utilizing the garage as a room, workshop, etc., the first consideration usually has to make it less chilly. There’s no better place to begin than heating your garage, but there are many ideas on how to heat your garage space, and sorting through all of them for the best option could prove stressful. We are here to help.

In selecting a method or methods of heating the garage, some factors should be considered to make the most efficient and cost-effective option. These factors would be touched upon after some of the various ways the garage can be heated have been considered and analyzed.

Best ways to heat a garage

How to Heat a Garage: Most Practical Methods

There are multitudes of ways to go about heating a garage. Many of these have their pros and cons, and, as such, the conditions of the areas and other factors should come into play when selecting a suitable heating method.

Some of these methods are:

  1. By insulating the garage space
  2. By using electric space heaters
  3. By using combustion space heaters
  4. Utilizing ductless heating
  5. By using radiant heaters, a recommended brand of which is the AirNmore Comfort Deluxe Infrared Space Heater with Remote.
  6. Propane heaters

Insulation

The first step that should be considered when planning on heating a garage is the insulation of the garage space. The very fact that the garage is not insulated against heat loss could lead to a higher electricity bill when you start using heaters. Rather than accruing this increased bill, why not just insulate the garage from the beginning.

Just like the other rooms of your home, the insulation would need to be complete for it to have the desired effect. This would mean insulation of the floors, walls, doors, ceilings, etc… You could even take it a step further, using plastic shrink film to cover the windows in cold climates as a means of reducing heat loss.

In the case of the floors, cold air could be infiltrating your space through cracks in the floor, and the best way to provide floor insulation that would prevent that is to use a mat or floor covering. Before doing this, though, you can seal whatever cracks are present with expanding foam insulation for better protection.

The garage walls can be insulated with Cotton-fiberglass batt insulation, Cellulose blown-in insulation, or injection foam insulation.

Electric space heater

Electric space heaters generate heat within the room by using an in-built electrical source. All you have to do is purchase one and plug it in. some of the pros of using an electric space heater are:

  • It is energy efficient
  • It is relatively affordable
  • It doesn’t require ventilation to function

Some of its cons are:

  • The heat produced might not be dispersed evenly, and some parts of the garage might not be well heated.
  • It may take relatively longer to heat up and function
  • If left unsupervised, it could result in fire outbreaks

Some of the cons of an electric space heater are covered if a mounted electric heater is used instead. These heaters are suitable for large rooms and should heat the whole garage. They are also affordable and have an auto-off function that confers more safety from fire hazards

Combustion space heater

How to Heat a Garage: Most Practical Methods

The combustion space heater generates heat for the room using a separate fuel source such as kerosene and propane. Some of the pros of a combustion space heater are:

  • It isn’t electrical and can be used even during power outages
  • It is more affordable than electric space heaters
  • It heats an average-sized garage more quickly than the electric space heater

Some of its cons are:

  • It could lead to the odor of the fuel used being dispersed in the garage
  • It requires constant fueling, which is an extra expense in itself
  • It is noisy

Alternatives to the combustion space heater that operates on similar principles are the sealed combustion heaters. These heaters require ventilation or a venting connection because they vent exhaust outside the garage, making them more suitable for a workspace. They are also energy efficient but are also not ideal for a large garage as they possess limited space heating capabilities.

Ductless mini-split system

This method is relatively more aesthetically pleasing than the others on this list, and it most resembles a central heating system. However, unlike a central heating system, it doesn’t require a connection to an existing duct system or the installing of ducts.

Instead, the system generates its heat using both an outdoor compressor and an indoor air-handling unit working in concert. Some of the pros of the ductless heating system are:

  • It is versatile and energy-efficient
  • It is environmentally friendly
  • It allows for more flexibility in designing the garage space when compared to central heating systems
  • It is relatively easy to install

Some of its cons are:

  • Its filter must be cleaned up regularly to prevent a buildup of debris
  • The ductless heater is more expensive upfront compared to other heaters.

Radiant heating

How to Heat a Garage: Most Practical Methods

This is one of the most efficient ways to heat a garage, and a radiant heater generates heat and, unlike other heaters on this list, heats a surface rather than the surrounding air. Some of the pros of the radiant heaters are:

  • It is a versatile heating option
  • It provides a more even dispersal of heat compared to other heaters
  • It is quiet

Some of its cons are:

  • The installation is quite expensive
  • The installation is also lengthy, especially with floor systems
  • It can lead to a buildup of moisture on the surface within which the system is installed

A highly recommended radiant heater is the Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy Portable Propane Radiant Heater.

What to have in mind

In selecting a heating method to be used in the garage, a few factors should be considered. These factors affect not just the effectiveness of the heating system but also its efficacy and cost-efficiency. Such factors are:

  • The size of the garage
  • The materials of the walls
  • The presence or absence of floor heating
  • Potential sources of drafts

Size of your garage

The type of heater used in heating the garage must be suitable for its size; otherwise, the heater might struggle to meet the needs of the entire garage, and its function might be limited to just a small area around it. Also, getting a heater more suitable for a large garage would not be financially sound when purchasing a small garage.

Wall’s material

Many garage walls are constructed with very little consideration for heat-trapping and insulation. They are usually just covered on the outside with sheathing or siding. To help with the heating process, you could insulate the walls using any suitable method and finish up the job by installing drywall panels or plywood sheets.

Sources of drafts

Even after insulating the garage walls, door, floors, and windows, there might still be several gaps to the outside that allow cold drafts to blow into the garage. The most likely sources of these drafts are:

  1. The garage door frames. When the garage doors don’t fit into their frames, they will leave gaps for the drafts to get in. these gaps can be covered using seals and self-adhesive strips. If the gaps are caused by a failure of the garage door to close correctly, it should be replaced, and if the garage door opener is faulty, that should also be replaced.
  2. The gaskets. These are designed to block such drafts beneath the door, but when they fail to function due to old age, they should be replaced accordingly.
  3. Windows. The same shrink film that was suggested for potential use in the insulation of the windows could be used in the blocking of potential drafts.

Floor heating

The best method for floor heating is radiant heating. One of the biggest disadvantages to using these radian heaters on floors is the difficulty of having them installed. Still, if the garage is just being built, it should be considered and even giving priority.

Final thoughts

I have covered some of the heaters used within a garage space and the factors to be considered in choosing a suitable heater. Above are also some other considerations that could be made to prevent heat loss in the garage better.

However, that isn’t all there is to this. There also exist other heaters such as infra-red heaters, convection heaters, and the likes that could be utilized as well. They also possess the individual pros and cons regarding use in a garage space, but they can be effective if used correctly.

As is obvious, there is a lot to consider when considering how to heat a garage, and expert advice would go a long way in helping to sort through the muck.

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