Garage Heating

How to add heat to your garage and extend its use all year long

Adding garage heating is a task that has become very common for homeowners. Most families rarely use their garage space just for storage or for parking their vehicles.

Today, garages as laundry rooms, workshops, play areas and even as niches for pets, and some people even do garage conversions to turn these spaces into beautiful living areas.  

But while the garage has become an extension of the family's living space, cold temperatures and a drafty structure combine to make it less than habitable, causing a loss of square footage during the winter season. This problem, however, can be easily fixed with a simple garage heater. 

According to Shireen Qudosi of web retailer Heater Home, the type of garage heater you get depends on what you use your garage for. “There are seversal recomended garage heaters but ultimately you should consider three different types of heaters before making a final decision, including forced air heaters, infrared heaters and electric heaters.” 
Qudosi offered the following garage heating tips for selecting the best garage heater for your particular needs.
Alt=heaters for garageGarage HeatingForced-Air Garage Heaters
Traditional forced air garage heaters deliver instant heat like a conventional furnace and are designed to solve any outdoor heating needs.  A convection garage heater moves air past a heating element warming the air; then the hot air rises away from the heater. These garage heaters are best for enclosed spaces and are similar to a forced air heating system in a home. They are easy to use and install and are a great way to warm an entire garage. Some of the most common and widely used forced-air garage heaters include the Dayton series, a range of portable gas-fired forced air garage heaters. Many models in the Dayton line all include easy electronic ignition, a fuel shutoff device, and automatic overheat shutoff.
Forced-air garage heaters can be placed in a corner, near a gas line and an electrical outlet. How many BTUs (units of energy) you'd need depends on variables such as your garage size, climate zone and preferred temperature settings.  However, a basic rule of thumb for forced-air garage heaters is 45,000 BTU to heat a two to two and a half car garage, and 60,000 BTUs for a three-car garage.
Infrared Garage Heaters
The required minimum BTUs for infrared garage heaters is marginally lower - 30,000 BTUs can heat a two car garage, with a suggested 50,000 for a three-car garage. Infrared heater deliver radiate heat rather than using a conventional blower fan. Available in many different styles from infrared to tube heaters, it's likely that you've seen these types of heaters at city bus stops or large warehouses. As opposed to convection heaters, radiant heaters work well when you're only looking to heat a specific area as opposed to an enclosed space.
If you plan on working on a project in your garage, particularly with wood or paints, an infrared heater may work better because it doesn’t raise dust or keep dust airborne. A forced-air heater will stir up sawdust, which is certainly a problem with many DIY projects usually carried out in the garage, such as painting, re-upholstery, staining, sawing, etc.
However, you won’t feel warm as quickly with an infrared heater because it heats objects first, rather than the air. Yet once your concrete floor warms, you’ll feel more comfortable because infrared heat provides uniform and consistent heating rather than dissipating the heat associated with blower fan heaters.  With forced-air heat, the air is warmer at the ceiling and cooler at your feet. And a forced-air heater will take longer to reheat the space after the garage door has been opened and shut.
Alt=Garage HeatingGarage HeatingInstallation is markedly different too. For safety reasons, it's advisable that all nearby objects be kept at distance of three to four feet. Infrared heaters must be installed a minimum of 7 ft. above the floor, and must hang down a minimum of 4 in. from the ceiling. It’s critical that you make sure objects below are not too close. Most infrared garage heaters are installed at the back of a garage pointed toward the garage door, then aimed downward at a 45-degree angle. They can also be installed between car bays if the garage door opener rail allows and you don’t have tall vehicle such as a truck or an SUV.
Electric Garage Heaters
If you plan on doing any type of body work on cars where bare metal will be exposed, you may want to go with an electric garage heater as opposed to a heater that burns propane or natural gas. Burning any type of fuel can create moisture in the air which may cause problems when doing body work on cars. With electric heaters, you don't have to worry about producing moisture since these types of heaters use an electric coil as opposed to a burner.
Portable electric garage heaters also require very little maintenance.  And while electric heaters used to be expensive, newer models on the market are competitively priced.  A higher efficiency rating, contrasted against the extreme cost of natural gas, has made electric heating far more popular than the alternative.
Electric garage heaters have a number of benefits, such as automatic shut off. Most electrical heater units will also automatically turn off if the unit has tilted off its base and/or fallen over. This safety measure prevents hazards and fires - which is critical feature if you're using flammables or have pets or children nearby.
An additional safety benefit includes protection against carbon dioxide poisoning.  Unlike natural gas furnaces, with electric heaters you don't have to worry about lethal gas leaks (which are often undetectable to humans). And since electric garage heaters don't produce emissions, they're definitely the green choice for any eco-minded home. 
A cost benefit in by electric garage heating is that many cities and states offer incentive programs to home owners who switched out traditional heating for electric furnaces.  Additionally, many utility companies offer similar perks to those who heat their space with electricity rather than natural gases.

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Garage Heater

Iv'e been using force-air garage heater few months ago. But I'm not comfortable with the dust being blown away by the heater. Now, I am planning on switching to infrared heater soon. Thank's for the good information.

propane vs electric garage heaters

I've read from this website
that electric garage heaters are more inexpensive than propane garage heaters. what brands can you recommend ?

I need one!

I have started a small home business, and since we don't have a lot of room in my house, it has been moved to the garage. During the morning, and during the winter, the garage is so cold it is hard for me to get any work done. I think the forced air garage heater would be perfect for what I'm needing! It's not too big, and it works really well in a small closed off area, which my garage is.

I found this article at just the right time! We are right in the middle of a new garage construction, and I wasn't sure of the differences between heaters. I never would have guessed that the burning heaters would add moisture to the air! Thanks for the info!

I've found the main hurdle to

I've found the main hurdle to keeping our garage heated is the poor insulation of the garage door itself. We have a space heater to keep the area near the laundry machines warm, but closer to the door the garage leaks heat like through a sieve.


Heating is an uninsulated drafty garage could be more costly than heating the house.

Comments from Facilities Engineer

Several key points were missed here:

1. In many parts of the country, garage cooling is as critical as garage heating. Often both conditions can be addressed in one fell swoop with a thru-the-window heat pump unit, but ideally if one can afford the premium, a ductless minisplit with variable speed fan/compressor should be used, which is much more efficient, can provide heat with colder outdoor temperatures, operates almost silently, and controls humidity much more effectively in the summer.

2. If the garage will be heated/cooled for a substantial portion of the year, consider insulation prior to heating/cooling the space. Most attached garages have insulated walls, whereas many detached garages do not, especially if built after the original home construction.

Most garage doors are not insulated. In most cases, an insulated door with at least R-3 foam panels will reduce heat/cooling loss by 20-50%, as well as reduce noise transfer immensely. If you are already considering a new garage door, specifying an insulated one is a very marginal cost adder.

Most garage attics are not insulated. With the 30% federal rebate, and rebates many electric/gas utilities offer, the cost of insulating your garage attic can be offset nearly 90% (true for me in Austin, TX), and will reduce heat/cooling loss by another 40-60%. Be warned, the utility rebates often will not apply for DIY insulation jobs.

Finally, have FUN!!! My roommate and I fully insulated his 25x25 detached garage/workshop (including attic/walls/door), as well as purchased and installed a ductless mini split heat pump, for under $2,000, with roughly 50 man-hours total DIY labor.

Propane Heater

What about those propane heaters I've seen advertised for hunters/ice fishermen. The ones I've seen are just radiated heat.


I have a furnace in my garage for my house and it has a vent I can open but it doesn't give enough heat because I do hair out there and I can only get the temp. to @62 would one of these heaters help? if so how much? Thanks

I have a workshop in my

I have a workshop in my garage that I work in throughout the winter. I actually use that same Dayton heater pictured in this article. Works like a charm!