During the cold winter months, spending time in a freezing garage is nobody’s idea of a good time.

The thought of rugging up in a beanie and a scarf, just to do a bit of tinkering on your car, seems altogether crazy!

However, with the right heater, there’s no reason for you to be stuck in the ice age.

Click here to choose the right garage heater.

By installing the correct heater for your garage, you can be cozy and comfortable in no time at all.

Measure the length and width of your garage to start estimating heater size and type.

Image credits: todayshomeowner.com

It’s crucial that you select the right sized heater for your garage. If you install a heater that is too small, then you’ll just end up needing to replace it before the winter season comes to an end.

On the flip side, buying a heater that is too big for your garage is only going to be a waste of money – as you won’t need the additional capacity that you paid up front.

Start By Measuring Your Garage Size

Before you rush out to Amazon and buy yourself a new heater, there are a couple of factors that need to be taken into consideration when estimating the heater size for your garage.

For fast heating, it’s recommended that you select a forced air over a radiant heater.

This is because forced air heaters will make you feel warmer much more quickly, while radiant heat sources may take hours to heat a room to a comfortable temperature; although they provide more even heat in the room.

You must ask yourself: can you really be bothered waiting all that extra time for your garage to warm up?

For an electric heater, the best way is to abide by the law of 10. That is 10 watts per square foot of floor space.

This is where you need to put your tradesman hat on and get measuring! Simply measure the length of your garage by its width.

If your garage has, for instance, 450 square feet; the simplest way to estimate the required wattage is to multiply by 10.

450 x 10 = 4,500 watts. See… now that wasn’t so hard!

Calculate Thermal Units

Whereas electric garage heaters are rated according to wattage, gas garage heaters are rated according to BTU’s (British Thermal Units).

While it all sounds extremely high-tech, it’s actually quite straight forward. Each BTU is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit.

Even though gas heaters are heating air and not water, this is the normal method of referring to heating capacity.

To work out the size of a gas garage heater, you multiply the wattage by 3.41. Using 4500 as an example, the measurement would be as follows: 4500 x 3.41 = 15,345 BTU’s.

Another more exact way to estimate the heater size for your garage is to calculate the number of watts or BTU’s required to correlate with your desired temperature rise.

How Much Space Does a 1500 Watt Heater Heat Up?

The first step in this process is to determine your desired temperature rise, then measure the volume of space you intend to heat. A 20ft. x 22ft. garage with a 10ft. ceiling has a total of 4,400 cubic feet of air (20 x 22 x 10 = 4,400).

The next step is to estimate the degree of insulation in your garage. This will generally vary between homes in different weather climates. Rooms in very cold climates like Minnesota must have an R-value of 25-30.

In contrast, rooms in especially warm climates like Arizona require an R-value of 13-15.

The R-value is a measure of how thoroughly a two-dimensional barrier, such as a layer of insulation, a window or a complete wall or ceiling, resists the conductive flow of heat.

R-values measure the thermal resistance per unit of a barrier’s exposed area.

Calculate BTU

The amount of insulation should be assessed on how far above or below it is from the recommended average.

Use a rating of 5 if your garage space has no insulation, 1.5 if it has minor insulation, 1 if it has average insulation and 0.5 if it has strong insulation.

Once your measurements are in order, you can determine the required number of BTU’s by following the below equation:

By implementing the previous example of a 20 x 22 garage (average insulation,4,400 cubic ft. and a 25F desired temperature rise) the formula would be:

(1 x 4,400 x 25) / 1.6 = 68,750 BTU.

To convert into watts, you would then divide by 3.41.

68,750 / 3.41 = 20.161 watts.

In this example, it would be unlikely that you could find an electric garage heater rated for 20.161 watts. You would either need to purchase and install a gas heater or multiple electric heaters.

The only other option would be to increase the volume of insulation in your garage walls. This would then reduce the overall amount of energy needed to heat it.

Chose The Right Heater For Garage

Once you have done your diligent research and selected the best heater for your garage, it’s down to the business of installing your device and reaping the warm benefits!

That way, you can enjoy your garage space in pristine comfort.

Whether it’s working on the tools or doing some auto maintenance on your pride and joy, once your heater is up and running, you’ll never want to leave your man (or woman) cave again.

The great thing about knowing your BTU requirement is that you can choose any type of fuel and shop with confidence, certain of getting a heater that’s exactly the right size for your garage.

Electric garage heaters come in two styles, hard-wired and corded models. Corded model garage heaters are the easiest to install.

Even if you’re not mechanically-minded, most of these units can be installed in less than an hour.

Since many of these models are floor units, not only are they easy to install, they’re also portable.

Where To Place Your Heater?

When selecting a space to put your heater, simply find an area in your garage that will allow the heater to distribute air without being impeded by objects and then you’re good to plug it in.

The ideal place for your heater is normally against the back wall of your garage. This is so that the heater faces the garage door.

Corded garage heaters also come in a ceiling or wall-mounted models that are installed with a mounting bracket.

To maintain a safe environment, you should ensure that there are no obstacles within 2-3ft. of the heater unit.

Hard wired electric garage heaters are slightly more advanced in their set-up.

While they certainly remain in the realm of the do-it-yourself category, hard-wired heaters will require more time to install correctly.

Once you have selected a suitable spot in your garage to place your heater, you will need to connect the unit to your home’s electrical system.

To do this, you run a sheathed cable from your circuit breaker box to your heater.

Do I Need A Thermostat?

If you elect to use a thermostat with your heater, you’ll run the cable from the breaker box to the thermostat and then from the thermostat to the unit.

Qlabe would recommend you to install a carbon-monoxide with a smoke detector on the garage so that you can neglect the possibilities of health hazards.

If you want to operate your heater without a separate thermostat, it’s as simple as running the sheathed cable directly to the heater.

Check the temperature of garage after you install the right sized heater.

Representative image of a thermostat

Once all the wiring is complete, which shouldn’t take any longer than a Saturday afternoon, your brand-new garage heater will run off your home’s existing electrical system.

Other Types Of Heaters For Your Garage

A natural gas garage heater is installed just like you would install an electric model but there are two differences.

First, you’ll need to connect the heater to your home’s natural gas line.

Second, you’ll need to install a vent that allows the fumes that are generated from the unit to escape the garage through either your roof or wall.

After all, what’s the point of spending all your leisure time in your toasty garage if you’re going to be breathing in nasty fumes!

When installing a gas-powered garage heater on either the wall or ceiling, it is recommended that you select a spot that is 3 ft. below the ceiling.

You’ll also need to make sure that all objects are at least 3 ft. away from the heater for safety reasons.

You don’t want your garage catching on fire with all your prized possessions, or yourself, trapped inside.

The main point to consider in placement is that the unit will be directing heat towards the area with the maximum heat loss, normally the front door of the garage.

This will mean that your device operates as efficiently as possible. An efficient device is a cost-effective device!

Use a mounting bracket to install the garage heater and ensure that you’ve allowed enough clearance to make the venting, gas, and electrical connections.

These will normally be on either the right or left, though some models allow you to use either side. Utilizing the gas pipe specified in your instruction manual, this will ensure that your heater is receiving the right gas pressure.

The next step is to secure the piping properly and then test the line for any leaks prior to operation.

After the gas line is connected, it’s up to you to make the electrical connections.

There are some units that can easily be plugged in, but most models will require hardwiring.

Check the safety guidelines here.

This shouldn’t be too much cause for panic. If you choose to, you can simply run sheathed electrical cable to a thermostat and then run the cable to the unit to allow for temperature control.

Once you have connected the unit and thermostat to your electrical system, you need to install the ventilation system.

You should be able to connect the appropriately-sized vent ducts to the exhaust of the garage heater with a 90-degree venting elbow.

After you’ve completed this task, you then connect the other end of the vent to a cut-out in either the ceiling or wall of your garage to allow for proper ventilation.

The final thing to consider (and some may argue the most important) is the cost of purchasing and installing your garage heater.

The cost of a garage heater itself costs anywhere from $300 to $700 for an electric or gas-fired, forced-air heater.

The cost is around $1,000 to $1,200 for an infrared tube heater. If the garage needs an air intake and exhaust installed, the cost can be about $600 and for a gas-fired heater, it costs approximately $250 to install a standard gas line.

Finalize The Heater Installation

Having a professional install a garage heater generally costs between $1,500 and $2,000, including the unit.

After you have made the decision to finally warm up your garage for winter, it’s time to do your homework before parting with your hard-earned cash.

What type of heater you are going to install? Is your garage already adequately insulated? And if not, will you, therefore, need to compensate by installing a larger heating system?

These are all variables that must be taken into consideration before you make your purchase.

There’s also the question of whether you pay a professional to install a larger system for you.

Whilst you can easily install a corded electrical heater, it may be worth your while to pay a licensed, HVAC technician to install a more complex unit – particularly a gas system.

At the end of the day it all boils down to two factors above all else – how much time are you planning on spending in your garage and how cold does the climate get where you live?

If your home is in the hills of California and you only use your garage to store your vehicle, then perhaps your money could be better spent somewhere else.

However, if your garage is your home away home, your happy place where you engage in work and play, a correct sized, properly installed garage heater might be the perfect investment to make, just in time for winter.