How To Pick Your Garage Heater: Essential Guidelines And Considerations

For most people, the garage is so much more than a safe parking place. It is also the place where they store important belongings or where they practice their hobby. Nonetheless, the most significant inconvenience of garages is that, once the cold settles in, spending time there seems unbearable.

Rest assured, though, a garage heater can solve this issue, by making your space comfortable and cozy. Plus, the good thing is that there are numerous items to choose from.

Still, since finding the perfect device for your needs isn’t something you can do overnight, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide on the topic. The goal of this article is to simplify the shopping process – we are hopeful that it will reach this purpose!

What Exactly Is A Garage Heater?

To begin with, a garage heater is a unit that is specifically created to heat up your garage during the colder months. It runs on different types of energy, and we’ll describe the features linked to each type of garage heater later in the article.

Garage Used As A Storage Space

Essentially, depending on the way in which you use your garage, a certain type of heater might be more suitable for your needs than its counterparts. For instance, if you use your garage as a storage space exclusively, you might not require a constant warm temperature round the clock.

Garage Used As A Room

On the other side, if you use the garage as a separate room, where you engage in your hobbies, or as a playground for the kids, you should prep it accordingly. A critical consideration would be insulating it properly and getting the right type of heater that will maintain a comfortable temperature.

Garage Used As A Workshop

And lastly, if you use your garage as a workshop, the heater you choose should be adequate in terms of both safety and comfort.

For instance, perhaps a gas-powered unit wouldn’t be the most suitable device if you use your garage as a workshop. That is primarily because the dust and debris might ignite and lead to a fire. That’s why we cannot argue that there is an all-purpose garage heater for every use and need.

How Well Insulated Is Your Garage?

Even if you invest in the best propane heater for a garage or in an electrically-powered unit, if your garage isn’t adequately insulated, you’ll lose heat. Many people overlook insulating the door that connects the garage to the rest of the house.

At the same time, the walls of the garage are just as important, in this respect. The garage door should be insulated, and you must pay attention to minor, perhaps insignificant cracks in the walls and floors.

Ultimately, a well-insulated garage will heat up faster, while retaining the warmth for an extended timeframe, which will eventually reduce the heating costs. So, before installing a heater, you should consider insulating your garage adequately, to eliminate the loss of heat.

What Are Garage Heaters?

When you’re shopping for a garage heater, one of the most important considerations is its power and installation requirements. Here are the most frequently asked questions on the topic.

Why Are 120v Heaters Insufficient For Most Garages?

If you’re thinking of installing the best heater for your garage, voltage is a major consideration. Still, you should bear in mind that voltage isn’t the same as power. That is to say, an item’s voltage rating doesn’t highlight how much power it uses.

In the meantime, a unit’s voltage is linked to its wattage rating. In other words, a 120v unit, with a 1500 wattage rating, can heat up to 150, maximum 200 square feet. Therefore, if your garage is larger than that, you’ll need to purchase more than one unit for adequate heating.

That being said, the main reason why 120v heaters aren’t sufficient for most garages is that they are larger than 150 square feet. At the same time, insulation plays a critical role.

If your space isn’t properly insulated, you might be losing a lot of the generated heat, which would require a more powerful unit to make up for the loss.

At the end of the day, the best electric heater for the garage is the one that addresses your needs. And the size of your garage is, ultimately, a critical element that should dictate your purchase.

A heater that is too powerful for your space will add unnecessary cost while making the air too hot and uncomfortable. On the other side, a heater that is too small is likely to be ineffective, meaning that there will be no significant difference in the temperature change.

What Should You Consider When Installing 240v Heaters In The US

Generally speaking, most garage heaters require more power than other household varieties. Hence, if you require more power and you want to invest in a 240v heater, you should know that your garage must feature an appropriate outlet.

In the absence of this type of outlet, professional installation is mandatory.

It’s true that some garages are originally equipped with wiring suitable for more powerful appliances. Irrespective of that, we advise you to check the voltage beforehand. This way, you avoid overloading the circuit.

As an extra tip: you should make no assumptions whatsoever when it comes to voltage. You must be 100 percent sure that you’re getting a unit that is adequate. Simply put, if you hook up a 120v heater to a 240v circuit, it will fail.

Conversely, if you hook up 240v heater to a 120v circuit, the heater won’t work. And if it does manage to work, the amount of heat it generates will be insufficient to what you require to heat up the space.

Perhaps it would be a good idea to contact a professional electrician to determine your outlet voltage and to install the adequate wiring – especially if your garage requires a 240v heater. You should also bear in mind that the wiring must adhere to both national and local electrical codes.

Types Of Garage Heaters

If you’re on the lookout for the best heater for a garage, you should know that there are two major categories to choose from. The main distinction lies in the way in which they distribute heat. Let’s have a look at the primary pros and cons associated with each category.

Electric Garage Heaters

We could argue that electric garage heaters are the most popular units. And this is primarily due to their convenience. As a rule of thumb, the best electric garage heater features an integrated fan, which is responsible for evenly distributing the heat around the room.

To be more specific, an electric garage heater converts the electricity into heat. Afterward, a fan draws the cold air from your space and, after warming it up, it releases it. In other words, an electric heater has to circulate the air after heating it.

Pros

Lower upfront investment – Typically, electric heaters are much more affordable than their counterparts. And this applies when it comes to the installation costs, as well.

Easy to maintain – If a gas-powered unit malfunctions, this could lead to an emission of detrimental fumes. Nevertheless, if an electric heater stops to work, that’s that. Plus, you don’t have to clean it, and have it checked as often as a gas heater.

Few limitations – Installing an electric heater is quick and easy. Plus, you don’t have to worry about venting and exhaust gases. So, you may mount the heater wherever you need.

Cons

Slow heating – Since an electric heater must warm the air and afterward circulate it in the room, it can take a while until it heats up your garage. Plus, if there is a draught, then the warm air will escape.

High running costs – Roughly 30-35 percent of the energy ends up being converted into heat. At the same time, electricity is pricier than natural gas, in most parts of the country.

Reduced air moisture – Electric heaters target the air, which means that the level of moisture in your garage is minimized. This could make the breathable air excessively dry and uncomfortable to the sinuses.

120v

To start with, while 240 volts might be more recommended for larger garages, a 120-volt garage heater might do a decent job, as well. Of course, you cannot expect it to provide the same performance as a 240-volt unit. Still, it can keep the temperature inside at a comfortable, manageable level.

It’s worth noting that your garage’s insulation will play a major part. To be more specific, if your garage is well-insulated, and the temperatures aren’t really low in the area in which you live, getting the best electric garage heater 120v will do. Typically, it will heat roughly 150 to 200 square feet – tops.

240v

Considering that garage heaters have to be more powerful than residential heaters, 240-volt units are widely popular. In comparison with 120-volt devices that you can simply plug in most household outlets, 240v heaters aren’t compatible with the majority of residential plugs.

Still, the good thing is that many garages are wired for powerful appliances. Even so, before purchasing the best heater for the garage, you should check the total amperage rating of your electrical socket. Perhaps your outlet isn’t created to handle an item with higher load capacity.

So, to be on the safe side, check this beforehand. This way, you can be sure that your garage can cope with the amperage requirements. Also, as a rule of thumb, most heaters use fifteen to twenty amps. Plus, a reliable 240v heater should heat up to 400 square feet of garage space.

Infrared

Moving on to infrared garage heaters, this type of unit directs the heat forward – to be more precise, it distributes it to the most close-by units. In a sense, we could argue that they work in a similar way to the sun – providing a natural and comfortable type of heat.

Nonetheless, the primary disadvantage to infrared garage heaters is that in order to enjoy the benefits, you have to be in their proximity.

That being said, infrared heaters are suitable if you want to heat up certain parts of a room. That’s primarily because the beams concentrate on a specific spot, in comparison with convection heaters that target the entire room. Concurrently, infrared heaters provide instant heat.

For instance, the infrared beams will heat the surface of an object. Let’s say that you have a toolbox on the floor and an infrared garage heater in its proximity. In this case, the outer part of the toolbox will be warm, whereas, on the inside, it will remain cold.

The biggest advantage of infrared heaters is that they are perfectly suited for poorly insulated spaces. That’s because they don’t heat up the air. Plus, they operate silently, in comparison with other units whose operation is much noisier.

Another noteworthy advantage is that infrared units don’t minimize the amount of moisture in the atmosphere. This way, the air isn’t prone to dry out excessively. Other heaters might dry your sinuses, meaning that you’ll end up breathing a stuffy, dry air.

Plus, in comparison with typical electric heaters, these units utilize less energy. Essentially, this makes them more cost-efficient and environmentally friendly. Still, in order to enjoy these benefits, you should pick a heater of an appropriate size. A unit with insufficient power won’t heat up a large space, for instance.

Gas Garage Heaters

Gas garage heaters are widely used for industrial applications. Essentially, this type of heater is powered by fuel, as opposed to electricity. They are recommended for heating up larger areas. Nonetheless, when used in an enclosed space, there are some precautionary measures that should be taken into account.

On the other side, if your garage doesn’t have insulation, the best natural gas garage heater will be up for the challenge. That’s primarily because this unit can transform your cold, unwelcome garage into a comfortable workspace for the cold season.

Also, in the absence of a gas line, you might consider getting the best propane garage heater. Still, you should note that propane canisters necessitate refilling. Thereupon, if you don’t have a backup at hand, you might be unable to keep your garage warm round the clock.

What is more, propane heaters use an open flame, while producing fumes that must be properly vented to prevent any harm. The risk of fire is significantly higher than in the case of other units – this would require attending the heater attentively.

A common question linked to garage heaters is the following: is it safe to install a gas heater inside a garage? Essentially, it is perfectly safe to do so. The one thing you should do is make sure that there is enough air for combustion. Simultaneously, you should keep all flammable items at a distance.

Pros

They heat up faster – As soon as the burners are activated, gas burns at its maximum heat. On the other side, electric heaters require time for building up heat.

More affordable – As a rule of thumb, in most parts of the country, natural gas is more affordable than electricity. Not to mention that the heating efficiency of gas garage heaters is higher, as well.

Cons

Shorter lifespan – The average lifespan of a gas-operated garage heater is much lower than the typical lifespan of an electricity-powered unit.

High upfront investment – Gas heaters tend to be more expensive. Plus, you’ll need to hire a professional to install the unit. That is due to the strict rules regarding venting.

More maintenance expenditure – Considering that gas-powered units run on gas, they release harmful pollutants. This requires them to be adequately cleaned on a yearly basis. At the same time, they necessitate proper ventilation.

What Happens To Heaters If Left Unattended?

It is self-explanatory that gas and propane garage heaters pose a range of safety challenges. As they heat the air, these units emit carbon monoxide fumes. Therefore, it is critical to ensure that an adequate ventilation system is installed.

To be more specific, a wall or ceiling unit should be installed by a professional. This way, the air vents should expel the fumes accordingly. In the event in which you operate a unit without the appropriate built-in vents, it is compulsory to leave a window or door open – to ensure adequate air circulation.

On the other side, if this isn’t taken into account, CO poisoning due to unvented heaters is a considerable concern. Still, you should rest assured – if the vent system it installed properly and works accordingly, the pollutants will be released through the vent pipe. 

What is more, we’d like to mention that, if you’re thinking of investing in a propane garage heater, the risk of fire is significant – especially if you leave the heater unattended. That is because this type of heater utilizes an open flame, which increases the likelihood of fire.

That being said, note that gas-fired units require more maintenance than electric units. And this makes sense since they produce fumes and gases that necessitate adequate venting.

Other Safety Issues

Moving on, in the event in which you smell gas, you should turn off the heater ASAP. Some of the most common early signs of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, nausea, and dizziness.

That being said, if you’ve been in the proximity of a gas heater and you experience these symptoms, you should turn off the unit and get some fresh air right away. Before using the heater again, you must have it inspected by a certified professional, to ensure that it operates safely.

Also, bear in mind that the fuel used in gas heaters is highly inflammable. This is why you should handle it carefully. When you have to add fuel to the unit, ensure that it is turned off. Additionally, it is critical to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure a safe operation.

On a different note, when you refill the gas heater, it might be the perfect timing to inspect the device for potential damage.

Concurrently, if you usually work with wood in your garage, you should know that there are some potential risks. To be more specific, the debris and dust that result due to the sawing and sanding could be dangerous, especially when the heaters are in use.

If the debris comes in direct contact with the heating element of the garage heater, it might ignite and cause a fire. At the same time, forced air derived from any heater might blow the debris and dust; thus, it makes you inhale unnecessary harmful compounds into your lungs.

As an isolated case, this isn’t necessarily harmful; but, over the course of time, it might lead to other complications. A solution to this problem might be to temporarily turn off the garage heater during the dust-raising work. Make sure you clean the space accordingly before you turn on the heater again.

Moving on to correctly positioning the garage heater, you should know that it is important to place it on a stable, hard surface. This minimizes the likelihood of it being knocked over. We advise you to leave sufficient space around the device; this will reduce the chance of accidentally bumping it, which could lead to bruises, burns or even electric shocks.

Conclusion

Garage heaters are an excellent way of keeping your space warm and cozy even during the coldest months of the year. This plays an important role in ensuring your comfort while protecting your valuable belongings.

After reading this guide, we think that you are ready to go to the next step – which is reading our recommendations for the best garage heater. We will also present the top things you should consider during the shopping process. That being said, make sure you also check our forthcoming buying guide!