We all dream of owning a home with a big garden, a long drive and a big garage, and we all have a plan in our heads of what our home is going to look like, and the big plans we have for it.
When it comes to your garage space, whether you use it a home gym, a workshop, a games den or maybe just a standard car garage, we all know how cold it can get in there. Especially with no source of heating.
The garage spaces often lack insulation and heating systems, so they are not ideal for extreme weather conditions without making specific changes. We have put together a guide on how to heat your garage using different types of heating units.
Install Better Insulation
Installing better insulation in your garage will inevitably help to retain any heat inside the room. It is also the cheapest option when it comes to heating your garage and it’s also not too complicated to install yourself.
During the spring and summer months, where the weather is slightly warmer, you may be able to get away with simple insulation in your garage, you can do this by weather-stripping any exterior entrances to your garage. However, as it reaches the colder winter months, if you are likely to spend some time in your garage, you may want to consider spending a little more money on getting more insulation.
Insulation is reliable, easy to source and simple to install. You won’t be able to control the exact temperature in your garage, but it will keep things nice and warm in the winter.
What are the pros to better insulations?
- Insulation and weather stripping are typically very affordable
- No ongoing costs once installed
- Installation is simple and straightforward
Here are the cons:
- Not a good choice for areas where temperatures regularly dip below freezing.
- You won’t have control over the exact temperature in your garage.
According to Lena Crocker of Cadet Heat, “Adding insulation is an easy project for most DIYers that will help limit heat loss and keep your garage warmer.”
Some may go that step further and decide to replace their garage door with a higher-quality, more insulated door. There are plenty of options to choose from if you decide to do this.
Investing in an electric heater is probably the simplest way to heat your garage. Electric heaters are ideal for garages that have limited space. Wall-mountable or ceiling electric heaters are also an option for those who want to make the most of their floor space.
With an electric heater, you can simply switch it on when you are using the garage and turn it off when you’re leaving.
However, there are a few issues when it comes to electric heaters, being that if you are using the garage for a long period of time, you might find that there is an increase in your energy bills. With this said, modern models tend to be more energy-efficient, hopefully not having such an effect on your energy costs.
Depending on the size of your garage space, you may find that it takes a while to heat the area with an electric heater. Another downside is that if your garage is not well insulated, then you do run the risk of the heat escaping the room, meaning that the electric heater will be working over time. However, if you’re garage is well insulated, then this won’t be an issue.
What are the pros to getting an electric heater?
- Current energy-efficient models typically won’t raise your electric bill by much
- Can also be used inside the house if needed
- No ventilation is required
And here are the cons:
- Can take longer to heat up a garage than other options
- Might be difficult to use in garages with few outlets
- Will be less effective in an uninsulated garage
Combustion Space Heater
If you want a fast way to heat up your garage, then a combustion space heater is probably your best bet. Combustion space heaters use a fuel source such as kerosene or propane to create heat. Most need to be run on a specific fuel type.
However, there are models available that can run on multiple types of fuel, giving you the flexibility to buy whichever is currently cheapest.
The only concern we have with combustion space heaters is that they produce carbon monoxide. They should never be used without cracking your garage door several inches and/or opening windows to create ventilation. We do not advise them to be used inside your home and even in well-ventilated garages, you should install a carbon monoxide detector for added safety.
On the other hand, they produce a lot of heat, quickly, meaning that you would only need to have it on for a while and then you can turn it off.
What are the pros of buying a combustion space heater?
- Most models will heat an average-sized garage fairly quickly.
- Can continue heating the garage even during power outages.
- Often cheaper upfront than an electric space heater.
What are the cons of buying a combustion space heater?
- They can be noisy. Many people equate it to the sound of a jet engine
- Produces a petrol smell, which some don’t like
- You will have to pay for the fuel needed when needed
- Combustion introduces moisture into the air, so there’s a risk of rusting your tools or vehicles if you frequently use your heater for long periods
Ductless Mini-Split System
Many of us wouldn’t have heard about these. What is a ductless mini-split system?
A ductless mini-split system is made up of an air-handling unit, which is installed inside a room, and a compressor that is located outside. These two components are connected by a conduit. A mini-split air conditioner is an excellent choice for heating and cooling a garage. Mini-splits are very efficient and they operate incredibly quiet. They are also great space savers because they don’t require ducts and they are mounted up high on the wall. If you install it by yourself, a mini-split is a very cost-effective heating and cooling solution for your garage.
Be warned, these are not the prettiest of heaters and they are not easy to install unless you have extensive electrical knowledge and experience.
The pros of installing a ductless mini-split system?
- Lots of flexibility for placement. Can be installed along the floor, mounted on a wall or suspended from the ceiling
- Many models come with a remote for easy control
- A great choice for heating a garage you want to use as an additional room
- Some units can also provide cooling in hotter months
The cons of installing a ductless mini-split system?
- Upfront costs are much steeper than for most other garage heating options
- The filter must be cleaned monthly since debris can build up in a ductless system
- Not the strongest option for cranking up the heat. In very cold climates, you may need supplemental heat
Radiant heating is a newer, more efficient way of heating a garage. Radiant heating systems are installed under a floor or as panels in the walls or ceiling.
The system uses infrared radiation to heat a surface itself rather than the air of the room. There are several different types of both floor and wall/ceiling radiant heat systems, we recommend that you do your research into what kind of system works best for your home.
Types of radiant heating:
Electric Radiant Floor Heating
Electric radiant floor heating (underfloor heating) needs electric heating cables built into your floor. Systems that feature electrical matting mounted on the subfloor below a floor covering such as a tile are also available.
Electric radiant floor heating is only usually cost-effective if they include a significant thermal mass, such as a thick concrete floor and you are using an energy supplier that allows ‘time-of-use’ rates. Radiant heating should only be installed by a qualified professional.
Hydronic Radiant Floors
Hydronic radiant floor systems pump heated water from a boiler through tubing laid in a pattern under the floor. In some systems, controlling the flow of hot water through each tubing loop by using zoning valves or pumps and thermostats regulates room temperatures.
The cost of installing a hydronic radiant floor varies by location and depends on the size of the home, the type of installation, the floor covering, remoteness of the site, and the cost of labour.
Wall- and ceiling-mounted radiant panels are usually made of aluminium and can be heated with either electricity or with tubing that carries hot water, although the latter creates concerns about leakage in wall- or ceiling-mounted systems.
Most commercially available radiant panels for homes are electrically heated.
What are the pros of installing radiant floor heating?
- Very low operating costs once installed
- Extremely quiet
- Floor installations heat a space more evenly than other options. This avoids creating spots that are significantly warmer or cooler than the rest of the garage
What are the cons of installing radiant floor heating?
- Expensive upfront to install
- Installation is an involved process, especially for floor systems
- Moisture may build up on the surface where the system is installed
To sum up, before you heat a garage, firstly, you should look into insulating your garage by filling in any major holes or gaps in the brickwork or around a window and weather-stripping any exterior entrances to your garage.
If you have a couple of thousand pounds to spare, consider getting a gas heater installed and connecting it to your mains gas supply for long-term cost-saving benefits.
Other equally cost-efficient heating systems, however, come with a large initial payout for the materials and installation, which are radiant underfloor or wall panel heating.
If you spend a lot of time in your garage and would prefer for it to be heated at all times but you can’t afford to spend a lot of money on a fancy heater, then opting for an electric heater is probably your best bet.