If you have a garage, then you know how versatile the room. You can easily transform it into a gym, workshop, or storage. Heating your garage may seem unnecessary but with the fast-approaching winter, installing a garage heater is the best idea, especially if you plan to spend a lot of time there. A garage heater will definitely come in handy because the garage is one of the house’s coldest areas. Garage heaters come in different sizes and models; most of them are portable and heat your garage or workshop in a short time. There are many kinds of garage heaters powered by various power sources; some use electricity, natural gas, propane, and kerosene. Installing a garage heater is an easy task; the first thing to do is purchase the best model for you and the garage. Keep in mind that installing a garage heater depends on the power source and style of whichever heater you are buying. In this article, we’ll discuss the different ways to install a garage heater and the important things you need to know about it.
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Factors to Consider Before Purchasing Garage Heater
Before installing a garage heater, you have to purchase one. There are various sizes and models of heaters on the market; this makes it challenging to find the best one for your garage. Before buying a garage heater, you need to do a bit of research. The factors to consider include
Size of the Garage
The size of your garage determines the type and size of the garage heater you’ll purchase. The square-feet sizing technique is the preferred way to determine the size of your garage. You can determine the amount of energy needed per square foot of the room. For instance, if 10 watts of power can cover a square foot, you’ll need a 5000-watt heater to cover 500 square feet of the space. Other things to look out for in the garage are the height of the ceiling and the insulation system. If the room is not well insulated, you may need a larger sized heater.
Heat output refers to the amount of heat transferred by the heater; this depends on the size of the room. Heat output or capacity of heaters is measured in BTU (British thermal unit); it is used to measure energy, especially in heating industries. If your garage space is large, you’ll need a heater with a higher BTU and watts.
When dealing with heaters, safety is very essential. A good heater comes with safety features that reduce the risk of fire outbreaks and accidents. When looking for a garage heater, look out for safety features like
Overheat Protection: This automatically turns off the heater when it gets too hot. This reduces the risk of burning up flammable materials around the heater.
Tip-Over Protection: This shuts off the heating system when the heater is tipped over to reduce the risk of fire accidents.
Cool Touch Housing or Guards: Good heaters come with guards or safety covers that prevent the risk of accidental burns, especially when you touch the outer part of the heater.
Portable or Permanent
Portable heaters can be moved around easily while permanent heaters are installed permanently in the room. Deciding between these two is a crucial decision to make; choose the type that is best suited for you. If you want a portable heater, look for one with wheels that make it easy to move the heater around.
Some newer models come with controls that make it easier to adjust the heater. Some have remote controls, dials, or buttons that give you full control over the heater.
How to Install a Garage Heater
There are various kinds of garage heaters on the market, and each of them follows different installation processes. The type and power source of the heater you purchase plays a massive part in installing it. If you get an electric heater, you would need electricity and make some electrical connections while gas-powered requires your home gas-line.
How to Install an Electric Garage Heater
Electric garage heaters are of two kinds; the corded type and the hardwired electric heater. The corded electric heater is very easy to install; all you need to do is plug the power cord to an electrical outlet (preferably 240 volts). Installing this version can be done in less than an hour because it is portable and does not require electrical connections. The corded electric garage heater comes in two styles, it can either be mounted on the wall or ceiling, and you have to get a mounting bracket. When installing the corded type, make sure the back of the heater is against the wall, and the front is facing your garage door. Ensure that the power cord of your electric heater is long enough to reach the electrical outlet and place it 2 to 3 feet away from any object or obstacle.
Installing a hardwired electric garage heater is more complicated than installing the corded model. You will need to make a lot of electrical connections between the heater and the electrical system of your home. Look for a secure spot in your garage to position both the heater and the thermostat. You have to run wires between the heater, thermostat, and the main electrical panel of your home. Your aim is to connect the heater to the thermostat and the thermostat to the building’s electrical source. Note that you will have to run these wires through your wall or ceiling. Hire an electrician if you don’t know how to make these connections. The hardwired electrical garage is a more permanent option. It’s the better option if you need a more consistent supply of heat in your garage.
How to Install Natural Gas Garage Heater
Natural gas heaters are installed almost the same way as electric heaters; the major thing to do is connect it to the natural gas line of your home. This is where it gets the power to generate the heat passed into the room. Natural gas garage heaters can also be mounted on the roof or wall. If you want it in the roof, make sure it’s about 3 inches underneath the ceiling. If you want it on the wall, ensure that it is at least 3 feet away from any object. The gas heater should also be fixed close to an electrical source; this is because it works with a fan that needs to be powered by electricity. This fan helps to disperse the heat properly around the room as you don’t want the heat blowing in only one direction. You may need a thermostat to make these electrical connections. Check the instruction manual for diagrams explaining how to make these connections. If you can’t figure it out, call an electrical professional.
When dealing with heaters, a significant rule is that the heat should be directed to the area with the most heat loss, which is usually towards the garage door. This why your heater should face your garage door for maximum heat dispersal. Another important thing needed when installing the gas heater is a vent. This is because the natural gas that powers the heater is fuel, and there is a lot of combustion process going on. When the heater is turned on, there’s usually a flame, and the smoke produced by the flame needs to be let out of the room. You will also need a mounting bracket when installing your gas heater; this is so you can have enough space to create a vent and make all the electrical and gas connections. When connecting your heart to the gas line, ensure that your pipe is the size recommended by the manufacturer. Check the pipe for leaks and make sure it is stable and secure enough for use.
Infrared heaters can also be used in the garage; they are portable and don’t require a complicated method of installing. Infrared heaters work by heating up objects in the room directly; it does not heat up the environment. It works by releasing infrared waves which are not visible to the human eyes. This radiated heat is then absorbed by your skin, clothes, or objects in the room, thus heating you up. This kind of heater is slowly becoming popular in the homes and is very safe to use because it works just like the sun rays. They are cost-effective because they used less power than the regular electric heater. They require about 2/3 of the power used by the electric garage heater; this means a 400-watt infrared heater will do the job of a 1200-watt electric heater.
Also see, Are Infrared Heaters Worth It?
Installing a garage heater requires accuracy and care, one wrong connection, and you may mess up the electrical connection in your house. The user manuals of most models come with instructions on how to install that type of heater, carefully read through the instructions, and follow every step provided. If the instructions are not clear to you, get someone to help you with it, or hire a professional.