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Old 01-28-2018, 03:07 PM   #1
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Heating garage, best option?

The other day I realized I should look into a way to heat the garage. The garage size is roughly 20x25, and about 8' high (500sq ft). (This is not my main work garage some members may have seen) This attached garage currently is a disaster and will be torn down and rebuilt in the spring. It will be fully finished, drywall/insulation/insulated door etc.
The goal would be to keep the garage at a minimum of 55 year round. With the ability to get to maybe 75 in the winter if needed. It will mainly be used for car storage.
Im thinking I should do hot water baseboard heating like in the rest of the house. The current boiler(gas) is old and will get replaced in a year or so. A larger unit is needed anyway. At that point the garage zone would get tied in. It would have its own thermostat and all. From the boiler to where the new zone would be is maybe 10'-15' away only so not a big deal to plumb it in.

Electric baseboard heat seems like it would be too expensive to run throughout the cold seasons. A gas fired forced air unit in the garage is another option but i just don't feel like it fits what Im looking for.

Anyone have experience with a real heated garage?

Last edited by V; 01-28-2018 at 03:08 PM.
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Old 01-28-2018, 03:54 PM   #2
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Are you going natural gas when you replace boiler next year?
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Old 01-28-2018, 04:17 PM   #3
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If you have natural gas available, I'd recommend an overhead forced air heater. I have a unit pulled from a shop when they went for a more efficient unit. It's oversized but gets the garage comfortable in about 5 mins lol. I have it connected to a wireless thermostat so I can preheat and obviously set the minimum temp with ease.
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Old 01-28-2018, 04:17 PM   #4
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Are you going natural gas when you replace boiler next year?
Yes, it is currently, and will remain natural gas.
Current boiler is 40+ years old. No issues yet, but slightly undersized as it is(3 zones). Replacement would be mainly to avoid a pending failure.

I also thought about radiant floor heating since the whole slab will be getting poured new. So that's another viable option.

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Old 01-28-2018, 04:23 PM   #5
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If you have natural gas available, I'd recommend an overhead forced air heater. I have a unit pulled from a shop when they went for a more efficient unit. It's oversized but gets the garage comfortable in about 5 mins lol. I have it connected to a wireless thermostat so I can preheat and obviously set the minimum temp with ease.

I am not sure what the clearance specs are for those heaters. Finished height of the garage is still actually unknown pending architect/engineer drawings. Currently the garage door is 6.5' high but we will be trying to fit a standard 7' door. That means working with existing grade and allowing for a deck to be built on top of the garage and not too high so that the deck blocks existing low windows. So basically, The finished garage height could be as low as 7'. Dropping the slab below grade would allow for higher, but then we have to deal with french drains and sump pump which i'd like to avoid.

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Old 01-28-2018, 05:41 PM   #6
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If you go with a gas fired unit keep venting it in mind. Some of the newer units can be vented out the side of the garage, other out the roof in b-vent. (Double walled flue pipe) if a chimney isn’t close by. There’s many different makes and sizes (BTUs) available.

If your going with a new boiler and want to add a zone. Definitely add a pump not a zone valve and put in a hanging fan coil unit. Hot water unit heater. For the garage your going to want something with a fan, so when the door opens and closes it will get back to temp faster. Baseboard is nice but it will take a while to heat up after you open the door to pull a car in or out. Set it all up on a zone controller with priorities. Very cheap and easy to install.

Radiant flooring is nice, but mixing valves and material can get expensive.
Also can go with a ductless split system. Very efficient and work great heating and cooling. That size garage you would probably need a unit that takes 220v 20amp breaker.
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Old 01-28-2018, 09:29 PM   #7
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Are one of those fan coil units ok to leave on 24/7? as in set with a thermostat.
During the winter, I may only go into the garage a handful of times, and almost never open up the garage door. There will be a 36" door on the side of the garage. I just want the ability to have the garage maintain a set temperature when it gets cold outside. The garage will be more of a showroom/storage type place for my 2 '88 Trans Am GTAs. One is a future project(long term) and the other randomly comes out for car shows only.
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Old 01-29-2018, 08:49 AM   #8
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You can hook them up to a regular thermostat, which will control the pump. The fan is controlled by a pipe temp bulb, once the pipe is warm enough it turns the fan on. And shuts off after it hits set point. You can set that pipe temp low if you want the fan to run all the time, or wire it hot and just cycle the pump on and off. Ive seen it done both ways.
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Old 01-29-2018, 12:18 PM   #9
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Ok. I'll definitely look into that and talk to my hvac/plumbing guys. But it would be a constantly on type of deal to maintain a 60 or so temp during winter. Summer temp i don't care about since ill have 3 windows to throw an ac unit in if i really need it.
The garage currently leaks water and is crumbling. Not a true "attached" garage but built against the house. The rebuilt garage will be similar but sealed up and well insulated.

In my other garage, i use a small propane heater to get it up to temp when i need to work in there, plus it stays 50+ as it is anyway. That garage is about 20x35 and 9.5' ceiling.

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Old 01-29-2018, 12:51 PM   #10
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HVAC is my 7-3 gig, so if you have any other questions I will answer as best as I can, however I feel like all HVAC guys love to tell you the next guy is doing it wrong and there way is better. So pick an choose what you like. I go with simple and reliable.
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Old 01-31-2018, 05:26 AM   #11
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HVAC is my 7-3 gig, so if you have any other questions I will answer as best as I can, however I feel like all HVAC guys love to tell you the next guy is doing it wrong and there way is better. So pick an choose what you like. I go with simple and reliable.
Just drop the HVAC part and you got it right.
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Old 01-31-2018, 10:12 AM   #12
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Well, I work for an electrician(about a year now doing it professionally, I ran and wired my first 220v 14 years ago, and done numerous electrical jobs between then and now) and the things that I've seen that previous "licensed" guys have done is amazing. Many times a previous guy truly did not do something right, and either they didn't know or didn't care. Usually its not caring. When I did the 220 line, I downloaded the current NEC code manual at the time and read for a few days before I even bought any materials. I even recently worked with a guy who claimed 11 years experience but several times I called him out of stuff he did wrong(ie. bonding a neutral in a junction box to fix an open ground). He didn't like that. Towards the end, we were getting callbacks on 90% of the jobs he went out on. Needless to say though, he no longer works with us.

With the garage rebuild, I will be doing the electrical mostly myself and I'll personally know just about all the trades working on the job due to working with them in the field previously. So I do kinda trust what they say.

With the coil fan unit, it seems like it could be done after the garage is completed. That was/is my main concern. If stuff needs to be done prior to pouring the slab or closing up walls, I want to prepare for it. Sticking a copper pipe or two through the wall at a later date is no big deal. The basement with boiler etc, is on the other side of the wall.

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Old 01-31-2018, 10:21 AM   #13
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I plan on tossing an overhead 220v electric unit in my garage at some point. With a simple oil electric space heater I can maintain the temp decently in there.

Biggest improvement for mine, insulate the crap out of the walls, and ceiling, then seal it up well with sheet rock. That in itself cut down the wind chill immensely, and also stabilizes the temps.

That being said, my garage can be toasty, but the concrete slab is always frozen. If you can swing the in ground heat, do it.
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