October Project: How to Choose a Garage Space Heater

Working in the garage during the dead of winter can be quite unpleasant. Whether you’re changing your oil and oil filter, doing car repair, carpentry or any other garage work, you can’t do it in Mount Everest-grade cold gear. Other than fully insulating your garage and running heating ducts from your home’s central system, space heaters are an easy and cheap source for garage heating. Consider the following characteristics for the different types of space heaters when making your choice.

Electric Space Heaters
Electric space heaters are further divided into fan heaters, ceramic heaters, oil-filled heaters and radiant heaters. Fan heaters move air over an electrically heated element to heat the space. Ceramic heaters do the same except the heating element is made of ceramic material. Oil-filled heaters use electricity to heat up internal oil (which never needs replacing, making it very economical), which then heats up special fins on the outside of the heater. Radiant heaters work by heating people and surrounding objects rather than the air, making them ideal for open spaces. The biggest drawback of electric heaters is their energy use.

Propane Heaters
Propane-powered heaters are ideal for their portability, as they require no power cables. The tanks the propane is stored in are refillable and last for quite a while. Propane heaters are primarily radiant heaters; they heat objects, not the air. These heaters work in enclosed spaces, but because there is a gas involved, you must be certain there are no leaks.

Natural Gas Heaters
Natural gas heaters are the most cost effective. They require no power cables or refillable tanks of propane. Instead, they are linked up to your home’s natural gas line. They work great for garage workshops and fixed-area usage, as being connected to the gas line lessens their portability.

What To Use In Your Garage
The type of space heater you decide to use largely depends on the size of the area you wish to heat and the cost effectiveness you are looking for. Radiant heaters warm your body and other objects in their path while fan heaters work to warm the surrounding air. Oil-filled heaters need to be on at least 15 minutes before you enter the room for the heat to be felt while radiant heaters work almost instantly. Propane heaters are the most portable, as they can be moved anywhere. Electric heaters can also be moved around, but they must be in reach on an outlet. Natural gas heaters are the most economical, but have a fairly fixed position.

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