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What is a Garage Heater?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
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Lots of people use their garages as workrooms, playrooms or as an additional living or seating area. The trouble is that most garages have concrete floors and are relatively cold during the winter months. This may make them impractical for most uses except for storage of extra items or cars. To address this issue, people may purchase a garage heater to help provide some extra warmth.

There are numerous things to consider when selecting a garage heater. Many of them require electricity to run, though some run on propane or tap into a home’s natural gas line. The way heaters are installed also represents some differences. There are wall mount, hanging, or free standing types.

Larger heaters and the ones that use propane or natural gas usually require ventilation, and wall mount and hanging heaters need to be installed carefully. Free standing heaters don’t have to be installed. However they tend not to be as effective and need to be placed carefully in order to avoid potential accidents or fire hazards.

Many people prefer to use wall mount heaters when the garage heater employs propane or natural gas. They can be installed by cutting a segment of the garage wall out and won’t require ventilation through the roof, which makes installation more complicated. People don’t have to know how to perform this installation. Lots of companies that sell garage heaters offer installation services for an extra charge.

Other options to consider are the way the heater operates. Some produce radiant heat, which means they won’t blow air all around the garage. This can be important to minimize blowing dust or sawdust around workspaces. When this is not a concern, forced air heaters are available too.

Most garage heaters aren’t particularly effective if a garage is not insulated. If a garage is in frequent use, people may want to consider insulating it to help their garage heater work better. The garage may retain more heat if the concrete floor is covered with durable carpeting, since concrete is very cold and difficult to warm.

Even in an insulated garage, heaters must be able to produce enough heat for the space available. Check the recommendations on any heater to see if it will adequately heat the square footage of the garage. Very large garages, like those capable of storing three or more cars, may be too big for the average garage heater to provide adequate warmth. In this case, people may want to look for industrial or shop heaters instead.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By mobilian33 — On Jul 13, 2014

@Feryll - If you have electricity in the building you want to heat and you are only going to heat it when you are inside then electric garage space heaters are the way to go. They are less expensive than installing some other type of fuel system, and the new space heaters are much safer than the old ones. You can also buy the ones that will heat the entire space and you don't have to be in front of the unit to stay warm.

By Drentel — On Jul 12, 2014

@Feryll - If you are going to install a gas or propane garage heater in your building then the actual physical labor needed to get the heater set up and in position is something the average person can do, with the help of a friend. It's not rocket science, so mostly what you need is muscle and common sense.

However, you should get someone who has an understanding of venting and gas lines to look over the system before you start using it. You would be surprised how many people use the wrong kind of gas attachments or just do a sloppy job on the venting systems. A poorly vented gas or propane heater in a garage is a major accident waiting to happen.

By Feryll — On Jul 11, 2014

I would like to add some type of heating system to the building we had built in the yard. The building is more of a storage room and workshop than a garage, but the size is about the same as an average sized garage. The floors are wood. I think this makes heating easier than if the building had a concrete floor.

Has anyone out there ever done a do-it-yourself heating system in the garage? I want something simple, but not as simple as toting in a space heater and plugging it up.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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