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How To Find the Right Heater for Your Garage or Workshop

We’re often asked, “what's the best way to heat my garage or workshop?", or “how do I size a heater for my garage space?" There are many variables involved in selecting just the right heater or heaters to meet your specific criteria.

To choose the correct size of heater for your garage or shop space, begin by answering the following questions:

  • How big is the space to be heated (square footage and ceiling height)?

  • What is the building constructed of? Steel, Wood, Brick?

  • How well is the space insulated? Insulated walls, ceiling, overhead doors, etc.?

  • What is the climate in your area? Northern climate? Southern climate?

  • What fuel do you have available? Natural or LP gas? Electricity only?

Once these questions are answered, it’s just a matter of doing a quick heat loss calculation to come up with the BTU heat load requirement needed to do the job effectively.

So how do I conduct a heat-loss calculation? Simple. You don’t. But we or a qualified heating professional – usually a heating equipment distributor – can to do that for you. It's important to not under-size or oversize the heater for your application. Dumping more heat into your space causes short-cycling and is less efficient for maintaining a constant temperature than a heater properly sized to space and conditions.

Once you’ve determined the actual heat load requirement for your given space, the next step is to search out the various heater types and heater methods available in the marketplace. Are you looking for a portable or fixed heater? Forced air or radiant (infrared)? Vented or vent-free? Don’t know for sure? Then,type into your browser such keywords as:

  • “garage infrared heater”

  • “workshop heater”

  • “forced air unit heater”

  • “gas infrared heater”

  • “electric garage heater”

  • “infrared tube heater”

  • “vent free gas garage heater”

Searching keywords and phrases with any combination of the above will get you well on the road to viewing a lot of options from a lot of manufacturers. The more specific you are in your search phrases (ie., "why choose infrared to heat garage"), the more options you will find.

Next, search from companies that specialize in the type of heater or heating products that you feel would be best suited to your application. This is critical. A little research can pay off big. After-all, not all heater manufacturer’s are alike. There can be substantial differences between brands, heater quality, warranties, return policies, etc.

Once you’ve narrowed down your search, do a few phone interviews. Find out more about the company you intend to buy from. Of course you want a good heater. But buying from a reputable re-seller is just as important. Find a company with the strength, reputation and staying power to offer you whatever support you may need right now as well as in the years to come. Also, if you can't find a phone number and a live voice on the other end, go someplace else.

The company you choose to buy from should be friendly and have the technical expertise to help you make the best heater selection.

Scott Workman is President of Infra-Red Products Supply, Inc. of Draper, Utah and an expert in radiant heating systems.

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