At first, you might wonder why someone would need a garage heater at all. After all, a car can’t feel the cold; in fact, it can’t feel much of anything! However, look at the issue a little closer and many homeowners then begin to see the logic. If they had a garage heater their garages would not be stone cold all winter long and that morning trip out to the car would be a lot nicer and less of a horrible, freezing shock. It would also probably mean that the days of trying for five minutes (in the cold) to get the car to start (because the engine is so cold) are gone as well. And for some who have larger garages having a heater allows them to actually use the space in the winter months.
If a garage heater sounds like something that might be a good idea for your home then there are lots of different types, makes and models out there for you to choose from. So many in fact it can all get rather confusing. Here is some information though that should help you make the best choice for heating your home’s garage space:
What is the Best Garage Heater? Figuring Out Your Needs
Before you even start looking for a garage heater you should determine exactly how you are going to need to use it. Do you want a small unit that can just provide the occasional warming blast when the temperatures drop or do you want to keep your garage nice and warm all the time because you use it a lot for things other than storing your car, as many people do? Do you prefer electric, gas or propane? Which will be easier to install in your unique garage space and which will be cheaper to run in the long term?
You do not need to make all of these decisions before you shop but having a good idea about the kind of garage heater you want before you head out shopping can help simplify the selection process a lot.
What is the Best Garage Heater? Choosing Your Fuel Source
When it comes to garage heaters of all shapes, sizes and heat sources there are three basic options available to homeowners when it comes to the type of fuel they use to power them – electric, natural gas and propane.
One of the things you will need to give some thought to is how much each type of fuel will actually cost you in the long run in order for you to be able to use the garage heater in the way that you want to. Most suppliers that sell garage heaters both on and offline will be able to supply you with a “garage heater energy calculator” but it will be up to you to discover what the actual pricing in your area is beforehand so that using it actually gives you a fairly good estimate of the eventual running costs you might face.
When choosing a fuel type you should also keep convenience in mind. Will you have to have new gas lines run in order to install a natural gas heater or maybe change the way the space is ventilated? If you opt for electric will that involves installing extra wiring or extra outlets? and if you opt for propane do you know how you can get a regular supply so that you do not suddenly “get left out in the cold” if you run out?
What is the Best Garage Heater? Common Wisdom
Although every garage is different, the following “common wisdom” may help you make the right garage heater choice as well:
Pros and Cons of Electric Garage Heaters: On the plus side electric garage heaters are clean burning and usually fairly straightforward to install. Their temperature can be tightly monitored which can help you save money and they can be purchased in radiant, infrared and blower fan form, offering a lot of flexibility. On the downside if the power goes out (which in many areas it does tend to do in winter) the heat goes out as well and if used a lot the cost of an electric heater can get a bit high.
Pros and Cons of Natural Gas Garage Heaters – Natural gas heaters tend to warm up quickly making them a good choice for intermittent use and they are often the most economical option in terms of running costs although installation is often more complicated than it might be for other types of heater. For safety’s sake, you also need to make sure that your garage is well ventilated.
Pros and Cons of Propane Garage Heaters – Propane garage heaters tend to be the fastest to heat up of all and they are easy to install. They also offer a bonus in the summer months as the fan can be reversed to blow cool air into a warm space. On the downside keeping an extra supply of propane on hand can be inconvenient.
Is it Safe to Use Garage Heaters?
The answer to this question is usually yes, though, as long as you keep the following simple safety tips in mind:
Garage Use – Different types of garage heaters are safer to use than others if you generally intend to make use of the space yourself. For example, if you are a handy type of person and intend to use some of your garage space for woodworking and other DIY type projects a lower intensity tube gas heater may be the safest option.
If you choose an electric model there is a danger that wood chips, dust, and debris may come into contact with its workings and cause them to stop working or even worse catch fire. A propane heater may not be the best choice either as its fans can swirl sawdust around making working comfortably, with having sawdust flying in your face can be hard. On the other hand, if you just intend to use your extra garage space as an office then a compact wall mounted electric garage heater free of too many wires and cables would be a great, safe choice.
Ventilation – If you are going to use a gas garage heater it is crucial that the space is well ventilated and that may mean making some adjustments to the basic setup of your garage before installing one – an extra cost. Failing to make these adjustments can be far more costly though in human terms as a gas heater used in a poorly ventilated space is a serious health hazard.
Placement – Where you place your garage heater can have safety implications as well. A ceiling mounted unit might sound very convenient but the combination of a low garage ceiling and a tall person can make them rather dangerous as well! If you use space in your garage to work in any way you may not want to have the heater placed too close to your work area either, in order to avoid bumping into it and burning yourself by mistake.
Free standing garage heater options can be convenient if you only intend to heat the space on an occasional basis but they are rarely ever suitable for use in a garage that sees a lot of action and traffic because the risk that they will accidentally be knocked over is just a little too high.
On the whole, modern garage heaters of all types are designed to be very safe to use and if you do have concerns about the suitability of a certain model in your home then the supplier you are working with should be able to help you address them before you buy a garage heater at all.