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Shop heat?

Discussion in 'Truck & Equipment Repair' started by John Mac, Jan 21, 2009.

  1. John Mac

    John Mac Senior Member
    Messages: 374

    A couple of years ago before I bought my shop I asked you guys about shop heat. The consensus back then was a waste oil heater. I went with a large wood furnace and it has worked ok but takes a very long time to heat the shop up, so now I am looking at a way to heat up the shop faster and still use the wood furnace as supplement heat. The used oil heat sounds great but here is the problem I have, I only produce about 40 gallons a year of waste oil and every one that I have spoke to around here that is producing any big amounts of waste oil uses it for heat already. The waste oil furnace that I would buy uses 2 to 3 gallons per hour. MY shop is 30 x 50 and has 20' ceiling height. I have insulated the entire shop; don't need to heat it every day just a few days a week for maintenance. I would do more maintenance if the shop was easier to heat though. My main door is a 14 x 14 overhead to get anything big inside and a 9 x 9 overhead to get a pickup in. When you open that big overhead all the heat escapes. I don't have NG so fuel oil or propane is the logical choices, no coal, corn, pellets etc. We have not had a day above 32 degrees in long time, lately is has been around 0 most every day. Any ideas, what are most of you guys using? Oil or propane? What size would you recommend? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2009
  2. augerandblade

    augerandblade PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,054

    My buildings are mostly greenhouse type so I get the advantage of solar heat. I heat with wood/ I have a 20 acre wood lot. However hoping to do some research on burning oil clean but with a kit /lines to the wood stove. Anybody got any ideas on that?????????????

    REAPER 2000 Club Member
    from 60050
    Messages: 2,230

    When I plowed in Michigan the shop they had was comparable to what you describe.

    What they had was a large torpedo type heater to use as a supplement to the wood stove. Kick on the torpedo as your loading up the wood stove and by the time the wood stove is going strong you can kick off the torpedo.

    Using a larger then needed torpedo they actually used less fuel than a smaller one did they tried at 1st.

    Also I would suggested some strategically placed fans. I have a small wall heater in my garage and I installed a ceiling fan and I have a small round one to circulate the floor air. I can keep the setting on the wall mount at 1 and it keeps it warm enough to work in wearing only a thermal. wesport
  4. 04sd

    04sd Senior Member
    from pa
    Messages: 266

    We used to use a 150K btu torpedo for quick heat when we had a wood stove. Got it warmed up quick in the morning or after opening the big door. The heated part of the shop was only 25x40 with 14' ceiling though.
    If you want something more permanent without the fumes something like this is probably your cheapest solution... http://store.h-mac.com/pd250mbhunhe.html

    NICHOLS LANDSCA PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,362

    I have an oilburner it works great but I have an endless supply of oil, they use a ton. One problem is you can't turn on/off you have to have somekind of heat going otherwise the oil gets too thick. Another problem is getting CLEAN used oil no water/coolant, leaves, dirt, or whatever crap that people endup with in their drain pan. Everyone is more than willing to give you oil but it will have any and everything in it. I run it through a super fine screen as I put it in the tank.
  6. maelawncare

    maelawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 871

    i agree with others on a torpedo type heater. i have a 175k btu one in my 30x40' and its not insulated at all. I have the temp set on 60 degrees. it heats up in about 20 mins then turns off. and stays off for about 20 mins before it kicks back on.

    defiantly get the biggest one you can though.
  7. BuckeyeSiteWork

    BuckeyeSiteWork Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    I've been doing the same research for my next shop(hopefully this spring construction). I am leaning towards a radiant tube. you can get them in either natural gas or propane. A buddy of mine has them in his 40 x 80 two forty foot tubes, both run for a short time in the morning then only one every now and again during the day. once you get the equipment warm and the floor warm it stays warm, plus if you open the door the shop reheats faster. I do alot of excavating and concrete for farm shops and ALL of them are installing thes tubes big or small.
  8. the new boss 92

    the new boss 92 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,989

    very nice heater,i have one in my 4 car garage,and i can heat it up to about 65 in 15 20 minuets. very nice setup for cold days and runs off a thermostat to!
  9. hedhunter9

    hedhunter9 Senior Member
    Messages: 212

    In my 24 by 48 foot workshop, I put in two 8 foot electric baseboard heaters.(220Volt)
    Keep the thermostat set on 40-45 Degrees.

    Then, if I plan on working out there, I crank it up to 60 and then plug in my propane
    powered torpedo heater.
    Takes about 5 minutes to get it up to 60....
    Then the electic baseboard heaters will keep it warm after that

    I found that by keeping the cement floor warm with the thermostat set at 40 or 45 Degrees
    in there, I was always more comfortable working. It also keeps everything in your shop warmer, which makes it easier to heat up faster.

    If the cement floor is at 20 or 30, and all the steel and other equipment in there is cold too, I dont care how warm ya get it, it takes forever to get it warm enough to feel comfortable.

    It cost me about $150 a month to heat it that way...

    And I should mention, I have super insulated the walls and ceiling,
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2009
  10. W.F.D. Plower

    W.F.D. Plower Member
    Messages: 32

    When I build my shop it will definitly have in floor heat. That way you use 100% of your heat. You can use electric or gas water heater or outdoor wood furnace. Also you can section it off to only heat certain areas. Its too bad they can't somehow do this to existing cement floors. The only down side to torpedos that run on propane and oil is that you have to be carfull about carbon monoxide.
  11. John Mac

    John Mac Senior Member
    Messages: 374

    I have decided to go with radiant tube heat using propane. Getting quotes in the week. From what I have been told this is the best option for what I want to do. I think the cost is around $5000 to $6000 but only going to do it one time.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2009
  12. pelt35

    pelt35 Senior Member
    Messages: 131

    Shop Heater?

    I put in radiant tube heat when I built my shop 9 yrs ago and have not had any issues with the unit at all. I have a 40 x 80 with a partition in the center with a 14x14 pass-thru door. I doesn't take any time to heat up building after opening doors etc. coupla ceiling fans and your good to go. I tell my furnace guy to check it every year when he does the house furnace, but he tells me that there isn't a lot to check. no adjusting of burner or such ,they either work ,or they don't .So far so good
  13. 24/7

    24/7 Member
    Messages: 48

    You said you have it insulated? That kind of leaves it wide ope n assuming that it is insulated well and efficiently. My shop is 3 + inches of spray foam.with concrete floor. Even with no heat at - 35 C outside it will not be below 0 C inside. That being said I heat it with a wood stove with a fan that circulated the heated air. Stoked up for a few hours it will go from 0 c to 70 c -- a few more hours wide open i can see 85 F ............. trust me foam insulation is far superior to batts. plus it a vapour barrier and seals all the air leaks. We have our home done in it as well. Our house is heated with a combination wood furnace/oil, and have no used oil fora few years.
  14. John Mac

    John Mac Senior Member
    Messages: 374

    I looked into spray,wow big $ so I went with bats but foam is better, alot better!
  15. 24/7

    24/7 Member
    Messages: 48

    It was 2 $ a sq foot about 5 to 10 years ago , I just did a building a few weeks ago and it was 3.25$ a sq foot 3 " thick but this is R 7 per inch a total seal.

    The real joke on batts is everyone does a nice job and then seals it up with a vapour barrier all taped up nicley. THEN come the drywall and screws fill that vapour barrier with holes like crazy. Your vpour barrier is now non existant.

    Over all a 30 x 50 ' shop might cost 10k to insulate now but you would save that in heat in 5 years or less I bet.

    Yup I am sold on it so far.

  16. John Mac

    John Mac Senior Member
    Messages: 374

    Thats cool, I wish didn't have a budget. I still need to put in a bathroom, septic system and a better pump system for the well. I still have to put in the floor drains, that will included jack hammering out the floor and pouring a whole new one, with trench drains. I can do most of it myself but it still cost alot to do. I have to add to my parking and need a small entry door in the front of building. It never ends so much to do and never enough time or money.
  17. 24/7

    24/7 Member
    Messages: 48

    yeah same here, we have done our house over the last ten years or so. We had the foundation walls done all around the house above the grade as well.
  18. mmaddox

    mmaddox Member
    Messages: 57

    Shop heat

    I use infrared heaters and forced air furnaces, all LP. I have also put a lot of floor heat in. I do like the floor heat, but worry about problems with heavy point loading. Floor heat is very slow to gain heat, or lose it for that matter, due to the mass. Figure several days to make much of a change. You must also take more steps to insulate it. Infrared heat will also heat the floor and objects, is faster to bring the temp up, but still is not real fast. These are usually the tube type, or stand alone units. My shop is 101' by 70', and two 50,000 BTU heater do very well to maintain the temp, usually 45 to 50 degrees. There are 6 more sitting there, ready to put up, but I haven't felt I need them. I did put on in a friends shop, 36 by 42, to keep it warm until he gets his wood burner going when he needs to work. He has admitted that sometimes he just turns the LP up. If I need to bring it up quickly, for painting or other jobs, I crank up two 200,000 forced air units. Gets to 70 or better very quickly. I would equate it to snow removal, it's unlikely that one machine will meet all your needs, same for heating. Consider two or three sources. For some spot heat, I will use a torpedo heater, or a smallish LP fired infrared heater.
    I did try the waste oil units, I had problems, my waste oil is stored outside in a 1500 gallon tank. I had to transfer it inside to warm it up, strain it, and then keep cleaning the furnace. I sold it to a friend who has a tire/mechanic shop. He fights it as well, but it's not him, but an employee that has to deal with it. Electric heat is also an option, compare your costs, might surprise you. And as others have mentioned, insulation is important.
  19. John Mac

    John Mac Senior Member
    Messages: 374

    mmaddox, sounds like you have tried them all! I appreciate all the help. I was working in the shop today and one of my projects was to insulate the 10 x 10 overhead door, the 14 x 14 is insulated, did that and started the wood stove and torpedo heater and waited for it to warm up. I plan on insulating the best I can, it is a work in progress. I waited about 2 hours before the temp was above 32, the temp outside was 5 so it was cold. My plan is to keep the shop around 45 all the time and turn up the heat when I am working. I also will use the wood stove when I am going to be working all day.The wood stove does work to get the inside temp up around 50 but it takes all day to do so. The BTU I am shooting for is 175,000. Tell me about convection heaters that run on LP. You can buy them for around $200.00. I have seen portable radiant heaters also, what do know about them. LP is going to be my fuel source because I would like to install a tank less hot water heater next year. I had a friend tell me that radiant tube heaters only heat metal objects, I said he was wrong it will heat the concrete floor but not positive of that. The in floor would be nice but worried about floor drains and heavy equipment on the floor. Another problem with in floor would be that you can not mount items to floor. I would like to be able to put a lift in my shop someday and in floor could be in the way. If you had to do it all over again and knowing the limitations that I have would you say tube heaters are the way to go?
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2009
  20. 24/7

    24/7 Member
    Messages: 48


    This is what I was talking about, you are starting at 5 F -- My shop with no hear will rarely see below 32F with no heat. Ground heating of cement always is radiating 45F or so from ground. Might be too late for you now but food for thought for others.
    Same idea here with Free heating of my hot water.... http://www.cfisher.com/heatcoil/
    Instead of heating water from 45 to 50F you are putting preheated water into the cold inlet of the hot water tank. Our electric tank is set for 138F and I can tell you that the water going in at times is over 180F . Love this free heat. well cutting firewood is not exactly free -- :)

    <<. I waited about 2 hours before the temp was above 32, the temp outside was 5 so it was cold. My plan is to keep the shop around 45 all the time and turn up the heat when I am working. I also will use the wood stove when I am going to be working all day.The wood stove does work to get the inside temp up around 50 but it takes all day to do so.>>