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Thread: Heating a detached garage - Forced air v. Infrared v. Hydronic slab

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    Default Heating a detached garage - Forced air v. Infrared v. Hydronic slab

    Like the title says; if you were starting from scratch, which approach would you take, and why?

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    I don't have any of these. My parents detached has in-slab heating and my dad loves it. Operating cost is relatively low, but more importantly heat retention/recovery is very quick. Can have the OH door open in -20, and within just a couple minutes of closing it the garage is back up to temp. Downside is if your garage is built tight, humidity could be a problem (it is for my parents, they keep a window cracked on the garage during winter).

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    Considering near every commercial building uses ceiling mounted gas heaters, my bias is to say that’s the most practical answer. To repair worst case Ontario you replace the unit.

    Ny heart want to say in slab because it seems cool, but I don’t have a good reason as to why. Admittedly if anything ever went even mildly wrong it seems like it would potentially be a nightmare to fix.

    I worry about the effect of infrared heating on a car (basically heating the cars paint which transmits heat to air) which may be overblown in my mind, but I gues those could work if the goal is to just melt snow off cars and not heat the air in the garage to temp.

    Forced air gas heater really does seem like the easy answer.
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    I would definitely go IR - it doesent have to be set hot enough to melt steel. Something like 20-30% more efficient as it heats the objects, instead of the air.

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    Humidity with any "tight" garage is brutal.

    Most cost efficient is forced air gas heat. Simple to repair or replace too.

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    Forced air is good because it's really fast and it also warms up everything else in the garage like your tools and chemicals inside cabinets, etc. Downside is when the door opens, most of the heat leaves and the heater has to come on again to replace it. Infrared is good because it heats the objects rather than the air, so when the door opens & closes everything is still pretty warm and it gets back to temperature reasonably fast without having to run the heater for a while again. One downside of infrared is it's slower and things in cabinets will stay cold like your tools & chemicals.

    I went with an electric forced air heater, it was extremely cheap (didn't want to run a gas line), safer (no gas or open flame), heats my 20X20 garage no problem and it's too small to notice on my energy bill. Only downside is when someone opens the garage door and it's -20C outside, it has to re-heat most of the air. I like that I can leave the garage at 5-10C or whatever, and quickly warm it up to 15-20C if I am out there working.

    I imagine in-floor heating is the best but I don't have any experience with that as I was adding it to an existing garage.

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    Ceiling mounted infrared, and forced air as a secondary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mitsu3000gt View Post
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    I went with an electric forced air heater,
    Which one did you go with?

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    I talked to an installer late last year - the radiant was suggested because:

    - silent operation
    - wont kick up dust
    - lasts longer (less moving parts) - Calcana can last 2x as long as forced air
    - he claimed 40% improved efficiency vs. forced air

    Forced air was 2500$ with gas lines, radiant was 3000$.

    For me, the first two would be the main reasons to go with radiant. After 10 years the total cost of install+operating, would probably be the same.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mitsu3000gt View Post
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    Forced air is good because it's really fast and it also warms up everything else in the garage like your tools and chemicals inside cabinets, etc. Downside is when the door opens, most of the heat leaves and the heater has to come on again to replace it. Infrared is good because it heats the objects rather than the air, so when the door opens & closes everything is still pretty warm and it gets back to temperature reasonably fast without having to run the heater for a while again. One downside of infrared is it's slower and things in cabinets will stay cold like your tools & chemicals.

    I went with an electric forced air heater, it was extremely cheap (didn't want to run a gas line), safer (no gas or open flame), heats my 20X20 garage no problem and it's too small to notice on my energy bill. Only downside is when someone opens the garage door and it's -20C outside, it has to re-heat most of the air. I like that I can leave the garage at 5-10C or whatever, and quickly warm it up to 15-20C if I am out there working.

    I imagine in-floor heating is the best but I don't have any experience with that as I was adding it to an existing garage.
    I did the same thing. I already had 220v in the garage. 6000w heater in my triple garage is more than enough to keep my triple garage at 20C when it's this cold outside if I need it. I usually just keep it from 10-15C. Minimal addition to my monthly bill. I went with Dr. Infared heater off amazon for $250.

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    Quote Originally Posted by revelations View Post
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    I talked to an installer late last year - the radiant was suggested because:

    - silent operation
    - wont kick up dust
    - lasts longer (less moving parts) - Calcana can last 2x as long as forced air
    - he claimed 40% improved efficiency vs. forced air

    Forced air was 2500$ with gas lines, radiant was 3000$.

    For me, the first two would be the main reasons to go with radiant. After 10 years the total cost of install+operating, would probably be the same.
    I have a couple NG calcana radiants on my deck at the lake, they are FAR from silent.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jutes View Post
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    Which one did you go with?
    A generic one that the Electrician brought with him. I believe it is 5,000W and cost something like $150 as I already had 240V and an electrical panel in my garage. It's basically just a resistance coil and a fan. It's tiny but heats things up surprisingly fast. I got him to install a temperature sensor solenoid, extra 240V plug, and a thermostat and everything including labor was around $700.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tik-Tok View Post
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    Ceiling mounted infrared, and forced air as a secondary.
    Might as well add the floor heating if the first two fail.

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    in floor would be awesome if you're working on cars a lot.. I have a unit heater(is that considered forced air?), i went bigger than i needed because it was only $200 more i think.

    my garage is at 10 (nest only lets me keep it as low as 9) right now, i'll turn it up to 18 see how long it takes to heat it up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by killramos View Post
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    I have a couple NG calcana radiants on my deck at the lake, they are FAR from silent.
    This. My Calcana is loud as fuck when the fan kicks in. Wonder if it's because the inlet isn't piped outside and it'd be quieter if I did so.
    Originally posted by SEANBANERJEE
    I have gone above and beyond what I should rightfully have to do to protect my good name

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    Went with a NG forced air this fall, considered electric, but in the end was convinced by the FIL and friend to go with NG. Our detached garage is 20x20.

    Upsides/ downsides already noted in this thread. It does heat up pretty quickly in there and probably ran us around $2k?

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    I would do in-floor heating, but it'd have the spots marked/drilled for the future hoist so I could install that later without raising damage to the heating lines.

    I currently also have the 5kW electric heater and it works great. Recently added de-humidifier to mitigate that issue and it's working fine. Ceiling fan may be next.

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    Quote Originally Posted by killramos View Post
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    I have a couple NG calcana radiants on my deck at the lake, they are FAR from silent.
    holy crap, no thanks then! our garage is right below the master bedroom and the last thing I want is on/off noise at 3am

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    took 30 min for my garage to warm up, i hope this information serves you well lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThePenIsMightier View Post
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    I would do in-floor heating, but it'd have the spots marked/drilled for the future hoist so I could install that later without raising damage to the heating lines.

    I currently also have the 5kW electric heater and it works great. Recently added de-humidifier to mitigate that issue and it's working fine. Ceiling fan may be next.
    My shop was built with radiant in the floor but I have no idea where the lines were ran as it was done before I bought the house and the hoist thing is a concern too. I would most likely end up punching a hole through a line if I installed one.

    I agree on the 5000-6000w heater route.

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