Garage Heater Review
Heat your garage and work year-round in comfort
I love working in the garage. It is one of the ways that I relieve stress from the day. Whether working on my boat or my 1972 Buick, I cherish the time spent on these projects. But, if you live in the north like I do, the winter is usually a time for hibernation. Watch TV, surf the internet and dream of the summer are some of the ways to pass the time. Only the rich own a garage heater, right?
This fall I thought of how much wasted time happens in the winter. Then all my projects get compressed into the fringes of spring and fall along with all summer. Why spend the summer working on these projects when I should be enjoying them?
I’ve used a propane garage heater in the past, one of those turbo torpedo units like this one. They will warm your garage up pretty fast! The thing I didn’t like about it was the noise from the heater. I love to play my music while working out there and that torpedo heater would drown it out. This forced me to cycle my heater on and off based on how warm or cold the garage was getting.
I needed an alternative method to heating the garage. I researched garage heaters and browsed through the offerings on craigslist. Many of them were natural gas and 220 volt powered. I had neither 220 or natural gas to my garage. I’ve run electric before and I had already planned on adding a separate line for my air compressor so I figured I could do both at the same time. Running natural gas was another animal that I didn’t want to handle. Further research pointed me in the direction of a 220V electric heater and the positive reviews convinced me to buy one.
Installing the Garage Heater
The first thing needed is a dedicated 220V line. According to my research 10 gauge wire can handle 30 amps, which is enough to power this heater. Be sure to consult an electrician if you are unsure about your specific situation. This heater is hard wired to the electric – it does not have a plug. Wiring the heater is easy. Unscrew the bottom panel on the unit and feed the wire through a knockout on the side – you will need your own romex clamp to secure the wire to the unit. There are two terminals to screw down the power and then a separate screw for the ground.
When you mount this to the ceiling, please follow the instructions and allow for all the proper clearances. You will need to locate a ceiling joist to screw the supplied lag screws into it. I oriented my heater at an angle to the joist and could only use one lag screw in the center of the bracket to attach it. The bracket is strong enough to allow for this, but if you don’t need to angle your heater, use two lag screws.
Once the heater is suspended from the ceiling and you have wired it in, there are three separate angles you can tilt the unit to help direct the heat. I wound up using the third angle to aim the heat down. There are also four vanes on the unit that can also be angled to fine-tune where you want your heat. Once the unit is running you can readjust the position of the heater and the vanes to your liking.
The heater has three heat settings that are selected by a rocker switch. You can choose between 3,000/4,000/5,000 watts of heat. Which setting you choose depends on how cold it is and how fast you want to heat up your work area. I leave mine on the lowest setting unless it is cold and I want to bring the temperature up faster. The heater runs just as well on all three settings with a noticeable difference in heat output.
There is also a thermostat on the heater that is not marked as to temperature, but the further clockwise you turn the dial, the hotter it will be in your garage. I have left my heater on all winter at about a quarter turn on the thermostat which leaves my garage at a constant 40 degrees. When I want to go in there and work, I will turn the thermostat up to about 3/4 of the dial and switch the heat setting on the highest. This has warmed my garage up to 60 degrees when the outside temperature was in the 20’s.
Sadly, there is no on/off switch on the heater, but if you turn the dial all the way counter clockwise, it will be ‘off’. I still would like to see an on/off switch because the power light on the heater remains lit constantly. You may want to install a switch somewhere in your power supply if this bothers you.
I can truly say that I wished I had installed this heater in my garage years earlier. Those lazy winter days wishing I could work in the garage are gone. My garage now stays 40 degrees all winter long on standby. Whenever I want to go out and work in the garage, I will set the thermostat to about 3/4 and the heat setting on high, then go back in the house for 20-30 minutes while the garage heats up.
My garage is about 25 x 20 with 12 foot ceilings and it is insulated. It is a big garage, but it heats up very nicely thanks to this heater. I have had to dial back the thermostat and shed my sweatshirt because the temperature had gotten up to 65 degrees.
The increase in my electric bill has been minimal. I estimate it to be about $15-20 dollars a month extra to keep my garage at 40 degrees constantly and accommodate work sessions a few nights and on the weekends.
You should get one for yourself. You will be glad you did.