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Old 01-23-2015, 05:17 AM   #1
chuppie OP
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Heating the Garage..How to decide on which Fuel to use

This might be helpful if you are contemplating the best way to heat the garage.

www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/heatcalc.xls

Note: You must fill in your local fuel costs to get the exact numbers. Use the "Fuel cost per million BTUs" to determine the best fuel for your garage.

When you do the math, you will see that kerosene and propane are just as expensive as resistance electricity in many cases and far less convenient. If you are using 20 lb cylinders, you are most like paying over $5 a gallon which makes it even less attractive.

In my case......
I have natural gas at my house. I have a well insulated garage (650 sq ft) and currently have electric heat and AC in it (5000 watts). I plan to run a gas line and install a 50k BTU ceiling garage style gas furnace at some point. I don't need 50K btus but I keep the garage at 42 degrees and want it to come up to temp quickly when needed. I have a convection propane heater that I use now to supplement my electric heat on really cold days or when I open and close the garage door a lot. Until a few years ago, I had a kerosene 175K BTU heater but kerosene is a PIA to get around here and my wife threw a fit any time I used it because of the smell. I tried #1 diesel one time and ended up draining the tank and giving it away because it stunk so bad, even I could not stand the smell.
After using the spreadsheet, I realized just how expensive propane and kerosene are and how aggravating to go get. I have since decided that electricity isn't so bad for now. No flame, easy to control, quiet and no spouse complaints. That alone makes it all worth while.

chuppie screwed with this post 01-23-2015 at 05:27 AM
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Old 01-23-2015, 05:30 AM   #2
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Thanks for the link.
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Old 01-23-2015, 06:54 AM   #3
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Someone sent me that spreadsheet a little while ago. I am in then construction process of my garage and after going over the numbers, I am leaning pretty hard toward an outdoor coal/wood boiler. In floor radiant heat. I may even put a few heat lines into the house. The house is heated with forced air powered by heating fuel. Natural gas is not available. Well, it is but they have to bring it 300 yards down the street and want to charge me 30,000 to bring the gas line to the edge of my property.
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Old 01-23-2015, 07:33 AM   #4
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I don't think a simple spreadsheet can ever fully tell the whole picture. Up front initial costs are one item, running costs (mainly fuel, filters for forced air) another. But how a Btu is put in is another. In-floor radiant is going to heat in a different way than hot air or a wood stove will. For a house the game is usually maintain temperature. For a garage it is often a game of rapid heating when you will be in there. There are people who use them daily, and thus treat it more like heating a house. Most of us who have a little garage hobby shop will go out there to work/play once in a while, maybe every other weekend. Packaging is another. I don't have room for something as bulky as a wood stove, but my forced air system is all tucked up in the attic.

Actually my forced air system is mainly for the A/C as the Arizona garage rarely needs heat.
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Old 01-23-2015, 07:42 AM   #5
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Great link........

Depending on where you live the mini split heat pumps have real merit.
There are systems that are sold for about $500. The real question is how well they would perform at low temps like below 25* F.......for us guys in north......and the quality of a cheap unit is unknown ?????

Its hard to beat NAT GAS when available, propane in large tanks can be alternative but last winter the north saw prices reach $5.00 per gallon if you could get it. (rationing ) Rural areas propane is the only real choice.

Wood boiler are a good choice but can have a high initial cost and many insurance companies raise rates even when it's outside........and you got to be home to stoke it.

If I was building a home and staying a long time .......ground to air heat pump would be the choice but getting past that high install price is tough.

I have nat gas and super insulated shop and turn it down to 40* when it is not used.
Gas and electric for house (2800 sqft) and shop ( 800 sqft) last month was $263. All in all fees taxes etc. We are at .12 per kW delivered.
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Old 01-23-2015, 07:43 AM   #6
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IR tube heaters work better than large ceiling mounted forced air heaters IMO, radiant floor heat is the best to work in.
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Old 01-23-2015, 10:09 PM   #7
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In my shop i use propane on a Mr. Heater 80,000btu unit and a on demand hot water heater simply because natural gas was going to be too much of a pain in the ass when it came to the nazi state inspector to get it turned on. So i decided to go with propane for now and in a couple of years switch over to natural gas as the requirements change when the system has been in use for a while. I wish i would have done radiant floor heat in my shop when i built it and if i move and build another shop, it will have radiant floor heat next time.
Just filled up my tank this week and it was 3.29 a gallon here.

I have several Fujitsu inverter mini split systems as well on different buildings we own and they work awesome for me. They are much cheaper to run as A/C units over conventional units and they work great for heat as well. Mine have functioned just fine for heat when its 10 degrees outside. They are perfect for old buildings and that is what i have them in. Easy to run the line sets in and around where duct work is impossible. If i built a new house it would probably have them as well.
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Old 01-25-2015, 03:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trailer Rails View Post
Someone sent me that spreadsheet a little while ago. I am in then construction process of my garage and after going over the numbers, I am leaning pretty hard toward an outdoor coal/wood boiler. In floor radiant heat. I may even put a few heat lines into the house. The house is heated with forced air powered by heating fuel. Natural gas is not available. Well, it is but they have to bring it 300 yards down the street and want to charge me 30,000 to bring the gas line to the edge of my property.



For your information.


Cost per day on my Hydronic system is $8.00 per day to heat 1200Sq to 70 degrees for Pittsburgh Dec and Jan.

Using the temporary 50 gal hot water setup, 5500watts, West Penn power rates.
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Old 01-25-2015, 06:20 PM   #9
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Another factor

consider condensation when deciding how to heat.
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Old 01-26-2015, 04:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsweave View Post
For your information.


Cost per day on my Hydronic system is $8.00 per day to heat 1200Sq to 70 degrees for Pittsburgh Dec and Jan.

Using the temporary 50 gal hot water setup, 5500watts, West Penn power rates.
That is a lot warmer than I keep my house, can I move in? I figure my house heat costs about $2-3/day. I am looking to keep the garage heat costs below that. A truck load of coal costs about $50. I need to look into boilers a little more. I want something that I just need to stoke once a day at the most.
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Old 01-26-2015, 06:05 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Bump Stop View Post
IR tube heaters work better than large ceiling mounted forced air heaters IMO, radiant floor heat is the best to work in.
I'm interested in learning more about IR heaters. Anyone have some firsthand comments/data on using them in a residential garage ?
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Old 01-26-2015, 09:58 AM   #12
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I'm planning on eventually putting up studs and insulation in my concrete block garage and heating it. I hadn't yet decided on how to heat it, but this got me thinking that I have a whole bunch of electric baseboard heaters in my house that I'm removing soon and they might be best installed in my garage.
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Old 01-26-2015, 06:51 PM   #13
bmwcliff
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Garage sale

Rebuilt mine in 2005, 2x6 walls, ceiling, brick pavers floor. I use an electric heater I bought years ago at Oreck. Probably 16 in. square, very efficient, along with a dehumidifier, and ceiling fan. 450 sq. ft., doesn't add but 20 dollars to the electric bill in Dec. and Jan., a little less the rest of the time. Also, the sunny side has 3 ea. 2 ft x 6 ft tall glass block windows, which helps keep it at a steady 58-60 degrees.
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Old 01-27-2015, 10:42 PM   #14
gsweave
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trailer Rails View Post
That is a lot warmer than I keep my house, can I move in? I figure my house heat costs about $2-3/day. I am looking to keep the garage heat costs below that. A truck load of coal costs about $50. I need to look into boilers a little more. I want something that I just need to stoke once a day at the most.


This is why it is temporary...


Hot water tank is set at 120 no variation.

When full lectric service is hooked up... 3 gallon instant boiler will be thermostat controlled at 55 to 65 degrees.
Cost per day will drop substantially.

Gotta admit garage right now is warmer than the house and much more constant....


I got about 3 ton of coal...want to help take it off my hands in the spring?
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Old 01-28-2015, 04:35 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsweave View Post
This is why it is temporary...


Hot water tank is set at 120 no variation.

When full lectric service is hooked up... 3 gallon instant boiler will be thermostat controlled at 55 to 65 degrees.
Cost per day will drop substantially.

Gotta admit garage right now is warmer than the house and much more constant....


I got about 3 ton of coal...want to help take it off my hands in the spring?
I don't have a good way to move the coal at the moment. Why do you have it? Did you hit a coal seam during excavation?

Is the boiler going to be gas fired or electric?
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