Whether you’ve converted your garage into a workshop, or perhaps you just hate sprinting to the refrigerator in those frigid temps, there’s plenty of reasons to keep your garage warm throughout the winter.
Not only does the added warmth make for a more comfortable environment, there’s a monetary incentive as well. We’re talking about protecting you’re stockpile of hard-earned tools, power equipment, and other gadgets—which have a tendency to freeze, crack, and gel (fuel).
A detached garage will befit greatly by keeping the temps up, but an attached garage will help as well, as cold air in the garage will affect the house as well—you don’t want your heater on overdrive simply to battle an under-protected garage.
First and foremost, let’s talk about the garage door (our favorite subject). This is the biggest door in your home, it’s the primary entrance, not only for your vehicles, but for that dreaded cold air! Outdated weather stripping will become old, cracked, and warped, making for an easy target for cold air.
This is a DIY project that should only take a few hours. Remove the old seal by sliding it off, or simply cutting it apart if it’s really stubborn. Then scrape and clean the door’s surface to your best ability, this will make the process of adding the new stripping much smoother. Measure for your new seal and slide it back into place—lubricating the rubber with dish soap will really speed up this process!
Weather stripping can also be added between each door section. You can also glue a threshold to your concrete floor to tighten the seal as well as add a self-sealing door stop to seal the sides of the door. Of course, similar practices should also be applied to any walk-in doors in the garage as well.
This is potentially the best, most efficient step you can take to warming the garage. Find the correct R-value for your walls (R13 to R15 for 2×4 studs) (R19 to R21 for 2×6 studs) and determine the format of insulation needed. We recommend using pre-cut, kraft-faced batts of insulation. These can be found for most common framing dimensions and make the process a breeze. Simply get yourself a staple gun, mask, and goggles and go to town! Staple the extra lip of paper provided onto the inside of each stud, this way, the drywalling process will go more smoothly.
Ceilings, floors, and windows
Insulating the ceiling or attic is also huge—as heat tends to rise, you’ll want to keep it from simply escaping out the roof. If you have windows in the garage, make sure they are up to today’s standards (usually having two panes of glass, separated by a hollow area of insulating Argon gas). Even the floors aren’t off limits—apply epoxy paint for moisture resistance, limiting the effects of cold creeping up from below.
And finally, back to that unforgiving 4th wall… your garage door. Of course, insulated garage doors can be purchased and installed (call us and we’ll be right over!). But… if your budget is tight, you can actually insulate a garage door DIY-style. Fortunately, most home improvement stores actually sell garage door insulating kits! Basically, there are 3 styles: batt insulation, foam board insulation, and reflective insulation. The methods generally involve taping, clipping, or gluing (Liquid Nails) cut-out panels of insulation to your garage door panels.
Finally, we’re getting proactive against this nasty arctic weather! Heaters come in a variety of sizes shapes, and functions. And only when your garage is properly insulated will any of these have any palpable effects.
Sure, we all have a portable, electric room heater that we bring into the office while checking emails, but these will do little-to-nothing in a cold garage. Even the more powerful ones, with the glowing orange radiating heat should be used merely as a personal assistant for a single person, sitting a few feet from your current position…
What you want is a dedicated garage heater, which will be mounted on a wall of your garage to circulate hot air around the room. These are big and powerful (7,500-Watt range) and you’ll most likely want an electrician to ensure your able to give enough power to the unit as well as install a dedicated outlet to eliminate the need for extension cords, etc. With these units, you’ll basically leave the heat on its lowest setting all the time, and when you need the real power, crank it up an hour or so beforehand. This is great because it never allows the garage to reach unbearable levels, so heating it to a manageable level is surprisingly easy.
You can use portable propane heaters (which can put out some serious heat in a short amount of time) or even natural gas versions of the aforementioned mounted garage heaters. Considerations to make are needing professional installation for the natural gas, which isn’t always suitable, depending on your garage’s location,; and requiring sufficient ventilation for fumes, etc.
These heaters are like oversized oil lanterns and they radiate heat outwards from a cylindrical base, which sits atop the wick—soaked in said-kerosene! These puppies are very affordable, require little maintenance (other than changing out that wick every few years), and last for hours with very good heat output. Will you use this as your primary heater? Probably not, but it makes for a very suitable secondary unit that gets the heat crankin’ in a hurry. The downside is a foul smell that usually accompanies starting the heater up and shutting it down… But this typically only lasts a minute or two.
Now that your sufficiently warm, get to work! Or crack open a beer, or light up a stogie, or turn it into your own man cave—whatever it is you’re planning to do with your newfound love for garage warmth…