How to heat your garage for free

How to Heat a Garage for Free

How to Heat a Garage for Free (Almost)

As temperatures drop, it becomes increasingly important to be sure that you are heating your garage properly. Many people like to use their garage as a workshop, for example, but keeping your space warm enough to work in during the winter months can be difficult and costly.

Often, this is due in part to the lack of insulation and heating capabilities that can be found in the rest of your home.

However, there are many inexpensive options out there that allow you to gain control of the heating situation in your garage. Read on for some tips on heating your garage for next to nothing!

Heating Your Garage for Free (Almost) the list

  • Use Solar Panels on the Garage Roof
  • Use Colour (paint/roofing/siding) to warm the garage
  • Consider Your insulation and heat efficiency
  • Use Propane – It’s cheap and has a High Burn Rate
  • Radiant Heat
  • Electric Heater with Solar or wind power to get the energy needed
  • Geothermal power or heat pump

Bonus way – Infloor heating. you may not think of this as cheap or free, but if installed correctly and ran efficiently with insulation and proper maintenance the energy required to heat the water which heats the garage can be very very low. You can even do it with solar.

Know How Much Heat You Need

First things first, you will need to determine your heating needs! If you try to solve the issue without this information, you may find that your efforts are unsuccessful. On the other hand, you may end up installing a heater that is too large. This will be more than able to heat your space, but then you will be wasting money and energy. The simplest rule of thumb is that, for every square foot of your garage space, you will need ten watts of heat. 

To determine the amount of heat you need, you should calculate the square footage of the garage (the length x width of the space). If your garage is insulated, you will need a different formula to determine your heat needs than if the garage is insulated. For insulated garages, you will want to divide the square footage by 200, and then multiply it by 6000 to get the BTU needed (square footage / 200 = y, y x 6000= BTU). For an uninsulated garage, though, you will need to divide the square footage by 200 but then multiply by 9000 (square footage / 200 = y, y x 9000 = BTU). BTUs are a unit of measurement that refer to the output of how much heat an appliance is generating. 

For instance, if your garage is 400 square feet and has no insulation, you would come up with 18,000 BTU. This is what your heater would need to produce to properly heat the space. 

Seal the Garage

One of the most crucial things that you can do to keep your garage warm is to ensure that it is both properly insulated and sealed. Insulation helps to not only keep the cold air at bay and keep it from getting into your garage but also to keep the warm air in! You can start by adding weatherstripping around the doors and windows of your space. Look carefully and find any holes or gaps and fill these, too. Then, add insulation to the walls and the ceiling if your garage is uninsulated. If your garage was previously insulated, check to make sure that your insulation is in good shape and that there are no missing spots, for example.

There is more than one choice of how to insulate your garage. For instance, if your garage has open walls, you can hang fibreglass batts or spray the areas in need of insulation with expanding foam. Alternatively, you can choose to punch small holes in the walls and spray loose cellulose insulation or foam inside if the walls are sealed.

It’s also important to note that, by adding insulation to your garage, you can reduce the size of the heater you need by about one-third. This will reduce the upfront cost of purchasing the heater, as well as reduce your costs in the future when you are running the heater, because it will use less energy or fuel, and will not need to run as frequently. Once you have installed your insulation, it works for free!

Different Heating Options

When you are choosing a way to heat your garage, there is more than one type of heating. The three basic choices are gas, electricity, and wood. Of course, each of these has its pros and cons. Qualities such as the ongoing cost of operation, ease of installation, and permitting requirements should all be things that you are considering when choosing your heater and the type of heating that you will use.

For instance, electric heaters are the safest and the easiest to install, whereas gas heaters are cheap but more difficult to install. Wood-burning options are also less expensive to run but may require professional installation, and then you have to be sure that you have a steady supply of wood as well.

Electric Heaters

One of the great things about electric heaters is that there is such a range of options! Models can range from small plug in space heaters to split ductless heating systems. They operate cleanly and typically do not pose a safety hazard. However, most electric heater options also utilize a fan, which may blow dust particles around your garage. Due to this, an electric heater may not be the best choice if you use your garage as a workshop. 

One of the cheaper electric heater options is a small space heater. They are small and can fit in many spots in the garage. A space heater typically plugs into the wall and pumps out heat from there. Because of their size, though, they may not produce enough heat for your space, so it is important to look into your heat requirements before making a purchase. 

Kerosene Heaters

Using a kerosene heater in your garage can be an effective and economical way to provide warmth, especially in areas that lack central heating or during power outages. Kerosene heaters are known for their high heat output and efficiency, making them suitable for heating spacious areas like garages.

They operate by burning kerosene fuel, which is readily available and often more affordable than electricity in many regions. These heaters are portable, allowing you to move them to different areas as needed. However, it’s crucial to ensure proper ventilation when using a kerosene heater, as they emit fumes that can be harmful if inhaled in enclosed spaces.

Additionally, safety precautions should be taken to prevent fire hazards, such as keeping the heater away from flammable materials and never leaving it unattended while in use. Regular maintenance, including cleaning and checking for leaks, is also essential to ensure the heater’s safe and efficient operation.

Gas Heaters

Gas heaters are considered to be the cheapest to operate, so if cutting costs is your number one priority, this is likely the way to go! A gas heater can be fueled by propane tanks, which need to be refilled, but could also be powered with the gas lines that are already set up in your home. Additionally, gas heat is significantly cheaper than electricity is, so by choosing a gas heater, you are saving more money on operation than an electric heater would. The units themselves also tend to be less pricey than electric models. 

However, it is important to ensure that you install a gas heater correctly. If it is done wrong, it will not simply run inefficiently– it can also be very dangerous. This is because burning gas produces unsafe byproducts like carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a clear, odorless gas that is impossible to detect on your own. It is also toxic– so toxic that it is deadly. You’ll need to be sure that your gas heater has proper ventilation to avoid this becoming an issue. It may require the installation of a professional. 

Wood Burning Heaters

Last but not least, is a wood-burning heater option! We have been burning wood for heat since nearly the beginning of time– after all, fire dates back to the age of cavemen. A wood-burning stove can be a great addition to your garage if you have a source of wood, but if not, it might not make sense. You will have to be able to procure the wood, otherwise, the garage will not stay warm! 

That being said, wood-burning stoves are probably the most stylish heater option on this list. They come in different sizes and at different price points, and it is important that you check your local regulations before you choose this heating option. In some areas, wood-burning stoves are restricted, so this is something you will want to know prior to purchase or installation!

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I heat my garage cheaply?

Some of the cheap ways to heat your garage are by utilizing space heaters or gas heaters. Gas heaters, in particular, are the cheapest heaters to operate. They can either be fueled by separate propane tanks or by the natural gas lines that already feed the rest of your home. 

How do you heat a non-insulated garage?

If your garage isn’t insulated, you will have a more difficult time heating it up and getting it to stay heated. However, there are some things that you can do. For instance, you can use an overhead tube heater, which is one of the more inexpensive and efficient ways to heat your garage. Another option is to install a wood stove in your garage or add insulation to your garage. 

What is the most efficient way to heat a garage?

If you are looking for the most efficient way to heat your garage, you should opt for surface radiant heat. This option heats the surface, rather than the air around the heating option. In turn, this will end up using less energy and will cost you less to keep your garage space warm. 

How can I heat my garage without a furnace?

Even without a furnace, you can still heat your garage. You can do so by implementing portable heaters or space heaters in the garage. There are many different options that you can choose from based on the size and shape of the garage, as well as what you plan to use the garage for. You can also ensure that your garage is well insulated to keep in the heat.