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Choosing Heaters for Garage Spaces

More home owners are taking advantage of the extra space garages offer for everyday activities. Garages become workshops, laundry rooms and play spaces for kids. But most garages were built to keep our cars comfortable - not the people who drive them! When the weather turns cold, garages can become cold, drafty, and too unpleasant to spend much time in. That's why you might want to consider installing space heaters for garage activities.

There are many types of heaters for garage use available on the market. How do you decide what type of garage heater is the best choice for you? Below, we will summarize the major differences in heaters for garage use, along with the various advantages and disadvantages.

Electric Heaters for Garage Activities

Electric heaters are one of the most popular choices among heaters for garage use. Generally inexpensive, easy to set up, and practically maintenance free, just plug them in and get warm.

The advantages of using electric heaters for garage warming include:

  • Convenience - Electric heaters can be placed wherever you need them most and installation is minimal. There are no fuel tanks that need to be refilled or replaced.
  • Safety - Electric heaters for garage work have no fuel to worry about and don't produce toxic fumes that can make people sick. Plus, there's no open flame. To protect against fire, most electric garage heaters feature automatic shut-off controls in case of overheating or tip-over.
  • Efficiency - 100% of the electricity used by an electric heater is turned into heat. An electric heater for garage use can warm up enclosed areas from 150 to 560 square feet, depending on the wattage.
  • Low Maintenance- Most electric heaters for garage use require little maintenance. The cases are built of sturdy materials and have been treated to resist wear. Just keep the vents clear of dust and check the cord and plug for wear to ensure optimal heat output.

Gas Heaters for Garage Use

For those who seek an extra punch of heat in their garage, gas heaters for garage spaces might be the preferable choice. There are two types of fuel used for today's heaters for garage work, kerosene and propane, which can be purchased in tanks from local suppliers. The extra work of refilling or replacing gas tanks might be a fair trade for the more efficient heating operation gas heaters provide.

Here are the advantages of gas heaters for garages:

  • Cost - You'll spend a little more to purchase a gas garage heater, but it costs up to 50% less to operate than electric heaters of comparable heating capacity.
  • Effectiveness - Gas heaters for garage spaces heat up faster than comparable electric models, too, which means you'll spend less time waiting for your garage to get warm.
  • Portability - Gas heaters go where electric heaters can't. If you need heat where there's no electrical outlet, then you will want to consider a gas heater. Not to mention your gas garage heater will keep working even in the event of a power outage!

The most important thing to keep in mind when selecting gas-fueled heaters for garage applications is the need for proper ventilation. Gas heaters used in garages require installed vents to prevent the spread of carbon monoxide, the toxic byproduct of gas-burning heaters.

Using Forced-Air Heaters for Garage Warmth

Aside from fuel source, the major distinction in types of heaters is forced air versus infrared heat.

Forced air heaters use natural convection to warm air which is then distributed through the garage by a fan. Forced air heaters are great for warming up enclosed spaces quickly.

The advantages of forced air heating include:

  • Effectiveness - Forced air heating raises the ambient temperature in the whole room. If you are going to be moving around or more than one person will be using the area at a time, this is the best choice to make everyone comfortable.
  • Convenience - Many forced air heaters for garage use feature thermostats that monitor the temperature. When it reaches the desired temperature, it cycles automatically to maintain it.

The disadvantages of forced air heaters for garage applications are that the warm air will dissipate quickly if a door is opened - say, to move a car in or out. The fan also stirs up dust and debris.

Radiant Heaters for Garage Spaces

Infrared or radiant heaters work on a different principle than convection heaters. Like the sun shining out of the sky, radiant heaters for garage use warm people or objects in a space, instead of the air. Because they radiate rays of heat, they are best for heating a specific spot, rather than a whole room.

The biggest advantages of a radiant heater are:

  • Immediate Warmth - Radiant heaters start heating the objects they're pointed at almost immediately. There's no need to wait for the air in the whole room to warm up before you start to feel its effects.
  • Fan-free heating - Radiant heaters make little noise, and don't blow around dust and debris. If you are doing something like woodwork, painting or staining, you don't want things blowing around in the air while you work.

Among the disadvantages of radiant heaters for garages are that they only warm objects in the direct path of the infrared rays. Also, the further you are from the heater, the less potent its effects.

Other Considerations When Purchasing Heaters for Garage Use

No matter which type of heater you choose to purchase - electric or gas, convection or radiant - there are few general considerations to keep in mind.

Make sure you are buying a heater that's of an appropriate size for your space. A 1500 watt electric heater will effectively warm a room of about 150 square feet - if your garage is larger, you may not be able to eat if effectively.

Also, don't buy a heater that's too powerful. 5,000 watt electric garage heaters can warm rooms up to 500 square feet - but most single car garages are half that size. Too powerful a heater will use unnecessary energy and can leave you feeling overheated!

Be sure to look over all the features the heaters for garage use you are considering. Do you want one that is permanently installed, or do you prefer a portable unit you can carry around? What are the safety features that are included? What about thermostat controls?

Once you've considered all the options available, head on over to review our heaters for garage spaces to find the perfect heater for your garage!

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