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heating the garage
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Joined: 20 Aug 2008
Posts: 1198
Location: Netherlands

PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 7:43 pm    Post subject: heating the garage Reply with quote

MikeEdwards wrote:
Finally got back into the shed today after a couple of days shielding from the cold weather,

I know that feeling. Had it for years when I rented a garage.
When I built my garage next to my house, I was not sure what kind of heating to use. If some sort of central heating was implemented, I would need many and big wall mounted radiators. But in my book garage walls are for putting shelves against, or hanging stuff, or put a workbench against. Not radiators which would always be in the way of things.

In the first two years I did without a system. I had a portable gas heater and an electric heater. They worked, but could not warm up the whole space. Also they were very noisy. The gas bottle for the gas heater seem to empty every other weekend or so.
Central heating then? But those wall radiators again, with some very long pipes to the home central heating system. It would not be very effective.
Garage heating? Those huge things you see in commercial garages hanging from the ceiling. I looked and searched for months but never came across one which was affordable.
But I did find a big enclosed radiator with a huge fan on the back of it. This fan needed 380V but as I had this already in the garage for my car lift this would not be a problem. The heater was not expensive because it had a leak. I cut open the side of the housing and repaired the leak by soldering.

note the many pipe fittings! hot water coming in via the pipe on top en exiting through the lower pipe

Much more easy to find was a cheap (€60) old second hand boiler. The kind that is used for the main boiler for central heating units and runs on gas. These things usually get thrown away after 15 or 20 years when it is replaced to make place for newer and more gas efficient types (which costs around €1500 - €2500 new).
I branched off a line from the main gas supply line to boiler. The boiler was placed in the garage, high on a wall (2.5 meters from the ground) near to the big radiator.

I was given an old vintage cast iron floor standing radiator some years before when a friend cleared an old house. Now it was put into a small room off my garage where I keep all the car books and manuals. Water pipes were of course also plumbed to the Big Old Workshop Heater Radiator, located next to the boiler on the edge of the mezzanine floor where I keep my spares.
I do not have much plumbing experience but this was all pretty easy stuff. Most expensive things were the plumbing parts. A long copper pipe to the gas mains, the chimney parts going through the roof, and many pipe fittings, especially for the big bore radiator which I had to adapt to accept the small 22mm pipes from the boiler.

Now when I switch on (electrically) the boiler the internal water pump starts and the boiler starts heating up. Both radiators get hot and the fan on the big radiator makes sure the garage will get a bearable temperature. Because the fan is quite noisy and full speed not necessary I wanted to vary the speed of the fan. This was not as easy as it sounds because of the 380V.

Some searching made me buy a “variable frequency drive inverter”. This works well, I can now lower the speed until you just feel a slight wind. Or to the other extreme, to the point the fan cools off the radiator too much the boiler internal water pump cannot cope.

Usually the heating in the garage is left off. When it is cold outside for a few days the temp gets to 5 degrees or so, I have not seen it lower. I only switch on the boiler and the inverter when I plan to be in the garage for some time and when the temp is below 12 degrees. I have this system now for about 7 years and it still works perfectly. Usually an old home-system boiler would need maintenance every year or so but seeing I use it sparingly compared to daily house use it has not needed any maintenance at all.
a car stops being fun when it becomes an investment
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Site Admin

Joined: 27 Apr 2005
Posts: 21779
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a great setup you have. I make do with extra clothes!

Rick (OCC Admin)
Various 1920s-1960s - Austin, Morris, Commer, Dodge etc.
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Ray White

Joined: 02 Dec 2014
Posts: 4210
Location: Derby

PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My garage is a fair way from the house and that alone makes it unrealistic to have rads on the c.h. system. I have looked into space heaters but they would be too expensive to run.

One option would be a pot belly stove but (as my wife tells me) by the time I had got the garage warm enough it would be time to come in. Shocked

We also have enough trouble in keeping our log stove in the house fed with logs. Despite having a chain saw, the amount of energy expended in felling trees, sawing them into logs and splitting them - even with a hydraulic log splitter - seems equivalent to the amount of heat extracted. In other words, if you want to get warm; get working!
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Joined: 10 Apr 2009
Posts: 1443
Location: Le Mans

PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2021 5:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a 36 sq metre wooden garage 30 yds from the house, so before the winter I finally decided to properly insulate it. Aluminium foil insulation for the pented roof, rockwool and MDF on the walls, and rockwool and foil on the doors. I popped over there yesterday morning, and with the cold snap it was -5C but the garage was still at 5C. The humidity level was at 52% and the dehumidifier humming gently. I reset it at 55% to give it a break. A little fan heater would be enough now should I feel the need to go out there and tinker for an hour or two, but anno domini means I use my cars a lot less than before so I'll wait for the spring!
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peter scott

Joined: 18 Dec 2007
Posts: 6575
Location: Edinburgh

PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2021 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My garage at the house is quite small. I just have a working area about 10' x 10' in front on the space for the SS so a fan heater works fine. For many years previously when I was helping my friend with his extensive car collection in a cow barn with open slatted walls all round we used to use one of those very noisy "rocket motor" type things that burn diesel oil but it was a rather temperamental thing to get going at times.


That car looked a bit more respectable after we'd done some work on it.

1939 SS Jaguar 2˝ litre saloon
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Churchill Johnson

Joined: 11 Jan 2011
Posts: 356
Location: Rayleigh Essex

PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 12:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peter ref heater round type that sat on floor was a salamander dad used one [ lot of farms had them] on the farm supposed to use diesel but lot of people used waste oil certainly chucked out some heat, one had to light the surface of the fuel and remember once it blew the cap off after being put out, that was with waste oil !!.
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