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Thread: A warm shop

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    A warm shop

    Hey all,
    Just wanted to pass on a quick review of a portable heater I bought recently at the borg. I know it's not the ideal situation for a shop & that there are some safety concerns I need to worry about, but I had to do something.

    My "shop" is an uninsulated block 2 car garage with 2 uninsulated garage doors & 2 double pane windows & a concrete flat roof. Last winter I think I worked in the shop 3 times cause it was unbareably cold -I had a small kerosene heater & a large portable electric heater I kept about a foot away from me & it was still too cold to work.

    I was at HD about a month ago & they were having a sale on several different portable heaters. I bought a propane convection heater that goes from 40,000 - 80,000 BTU/ Hr. It was only $99 so I bought it.

    Last night I was out in the shop for the first time, since I bought it, & it was fairly cold & windy. I turned the heater on, kept it on low & cracked one of the windows open about 3". When I was working on the lathe, which is close to the heater, I was actually getting too warm. Even when I moved away & was working on the TS, right near the door, It was still plenty comfortable. I didn't detect too much odor & I figure if I keep the window cracked open I should be fine with carbon monoxide.

    This is an open flame heater - but I don't have too much in the way of finishing solvents in the shop. Does anyone think this is more dangerous than I'm thinking it is. I really love the idea of being able to work in a warm shop. Am I missing anything in the way of safety hazards? The heater will only be on when I'm in the shop - I even turned it off when I had to run into the house for a minute last night. I also have a small fire extingusher out there - just in case.

    any way this might be a good short term fix for anyone in the same situation I am.

    here's a link to the heater:
    <a href="http://www.reddyheat.com/reddy/products/rcp80v.html" target="_blank">Heater Link</a>
    God Bless America!

    Tom Sweeney BP

  2. #2
    that should work good I used a infrared propane heater before I went to kerosene heaters it worked ok,,,just keep the window cracked,,,,,,,I glad I don't have to use either one since I went to a gas furnace,,,,,,
    Mike

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Portsmouth, VA
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    Tom, congrats on a solution to heat your garage. Let me clarify something for you though. The combustion of propane creates carbon DIoxide and water as a byproduct, no monoxide. So you don't have to worry about that. Most propane heaters are actually certified to be used in doors without worry of any gasseous poisoning.

    The caution with propane heaters is two-fold: The water vapor they give off can become a problem in small spaces. I used a small one in a tent before and woke up with water dripping off the inside of the top.

    Secondly, and this is where the danger is - oxygen depletion. Obviously it needs oxygen to burn. If you are using it in an enclosed space without a source of replenishment oxygen it'll eat it up quick. Your garage is probably far from being sealed tight so you should have no problems. Cracking the window is an excellent precaution though and one I wouldn't steer you away from. A lot of the newer propane heaters even come with an oxygen depletion sensor and will shut the unit off.

    Stay warm and be well,

    Doc

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Indianapolis
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    1,430
    A warm shop is truely a blessing during the winter in a cold climate. I know you will enjoy it.
    ________
    Ron

    "Individual commitment to a group effort--that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work."
    Vince Lombardi

  5. #5
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    Tom,

    A heater gloat? Yep, a worthy investment, thereís nothing better than a warm shop on a cold winterís day. You will get tired of refilling the tank like I did with my kerosene torpedo heater. A few years ago I installed this puppy for about $500. Itís one of the best shop investments I have made.

    Take everything you like seriously, except yourselves. -- Rudyard Kipling
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Riverside CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Page
    Tom,

    A heater gloat? Yep, a worthy investment, thereís nothing better than a warm shop on a cold winterís
    hi bruce
    looks impressive
    what is it? what does it run on? what size is it? and what model is it?
    best
    mike
    Last edited by Ken Salisbury; 12-14-2003 at 9:48 AM.

  7. #7
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    Feb 2003
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    Coatesville, PA
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    Thanks for the confirmation guys

    And to think Doc - science was my best subject in high school - other than shop & lunch of course - Thanks for the clarification.

    Bruce - I remember you posted that before - I just couldn't bite the bullet on anything that expensive. Hopefully - I won't need to keep the heater running all the time & I can save $$ on the propane.

    looking forward to actually doing some WW'ing this winter!
    God Bless America!

    Tom Sweeney BP

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike malone
    hi bruce
    looks impressive
    what is it? what does it run on? what size is it? and what model is it?
    best
    mike
    Hello Mike, itís a Sterling 45,000 Btu, power vented, natural gas fired unit. Model # RF045N, it keeps my 480 sq ft garage-shop nice & toasty.

    http://www.sterlinghvac.com/index.asp
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    Tom,

    To expand on something Don mentioned - the water vapor from the heater may cause you some real problems unless you prepare for it.

    When winter really gets here, your machinery will be cold. Really cold. Stone cold. All the way through - not just the top, flat surfaces.

    When you fire up your heater, water vapor from the heater will likely condense on your, ahem - nice "warm" machinery.

    Do you really want water condensing on your table saw trunnions or bandsaw wheel bearings or ... you add something to the list.

    I'm not trying to rain on your parade. Cold workshops are no fun. My old workshop was in the unheated end of my basement, below the lioving room where we keep the heat really low. The new workshop is in the addition under a radiant heat floor, so the whole workshop is comfortable and the machinery isn't cold.

    You might want to think through how you'll protect your tools, especially anything with a high-carbon steel cutting blade.

    Rob

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    weaverville, ca
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    have done the same dance as everyone else - kerosene, propane, electric in a 2 car uninsulated garage. biggest problem with the kekrosen & propane was moisture - had to resurface tool surfaces 3 or 4 times a winter.

    this spring added on to the garage - insulated it all and hung a unit like burce's - just a different brand - a reznor. another brand is modine's "hot dawg."

    they are direct vent (even out the sidewall), natural or lp gas, easy to install, thermostat controlled and do the job.

    one of the better investments.

    jerry
    jerry

  11. #11
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    Feb 2003
    Location
    Coatesville, PA
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    follow up question

    Good points about the rusting tools.

    What are your thoughts on pre-heating with either a kerosene or electric heater? I guess the kerosene would have the same problem with moisture???? Also as I said even with both the kerosene & electric heater running it never got anywhere close to warm anyway.

    How about dry coatings for the equipment? Is there anything I can spray or coat them with that would help? I think I've seen posts about some kind of product like this????

    Next year I plan on at least insulating the shop & depending on how things work out I'll try to set up one of the heaters mentioned or possibly a wood stove (I have one I could probably use)- but it aint happening this year so I guess I'll just have to live with it for now.
    God Bless America!

    Tom Sweeney BP

  12. #12
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Sweeney
    What are your thoughts on pre-heating with either a kerosene or electric heater? I guess the kerosene would have the same problem with moisture???? Also as I said even with both the kerosene & electric heater running it never got anywhere close to warm anyway.
    On really cold days, I "pre-heat" with kero, but take it outside before turning it off to avoid the fumes. From that point on, my overhead electric radient keeps the shop very comfortable.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  13. #13
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    Mar 2003
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    weaverville, ca
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    you could try covering the tools with those "breathable" tarps - most wwing catalogs show them. the "top coat" products or just wax do help, but it's always seemed inevitable - the rusting is not really a problem until you turn the heat on - those heaters just throw out the moisture.

    jerry
    jerry

  14. #14
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    Tom

    One thing I would bring up is what our fire extinguisher service people & fire department told me. Get a fire extinguisher with a good metal valve because the plastic valves deteriorate over time & leak. Just when you need it it won't work.
    I usually find it much easier to be wrong once in while than to try to be perfect.

    My web page has a pop up. It is a free site, just close the pop up on the right side of the screen

  15. #15
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    Tom, back in my old shop, I used to have some pretty radical temperature swings and yes, I used a lot of LP without direct venting outside. Two bigs things I always did is to keep a good coat of paste wax on all major surfaces and I kept an old box fan running in there 24x7, set on "low". I learned that from a mechanic buddy of mine who worked for a long time out of a small garage w/no insulation and a big old pot belley stove for heat. He didn't wax any of his tools, but that fan was *always* running and he didn't have any problems. Oh yeah...That goes for the three Harley's he had parked in there, too!
    Cheers,
    John K. Miliunas

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