This is How to Choose the Perfect Shop Heater for the Winter. In this post you’ll learn how to keep yourself warm in the shop during those winter months.
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Choosing a Shop Heater
If you work at a shop that gets really cold in the winter time, then you definitely need to think about getting a shop heater to help keep yourself warm. They are very inexpensive, and they can actually make you a better woodworker.
While a heater won’t actually teach you to operate any of your tools better, it will help you feel more comfortable during the operation. That will not only make you safer, but it will also help you do the processes better.
There are a few things to consider when picking up a shop heater, and I’ll show you everything you need to know coming up in the post.
Consider Size of Your Woodworking Shop
The first thing that you need to look at is the size of your woodshop. If you have a gigantic shop, it’s going to take a lot more heat to make it comfortable. In contrast, a small shop might not require very much.
More than the quality, type, and brand, choosing unit based on the size of your shop is really what’s going to make the biggest difference. If your goal is to be comfortable, then be prepared to get the right unit depending on the size you need.
After you know this little piece of information, you can take a look at the few next points that are coming up to refine your decision even further, and help you pick out the perfect heater.
Local Heat vs. Full Shop Heat
There are two big options when it comes to heating your shop. Even though everyone thinks about heat and you immediately envision the entire room being warm, that’s definitely not your only option when it comes to your woodworking area.
Depending on the size of your shop, heating the entire area just might not be feasible. It may also be cost prohibitive, or you may just have too many openings for a heater to even do the job at all.
In a case like this, you should think about local heating versus heating the entire room.
Local heating is where you only focus on heating one small area of the shop, which is the area where you will spend the majority of your time.
It’s common to run a small heater on the top of your workbench, pointed directly at you. This surrounds you with warmth, even though the rest of your shop might be freezing.
While it’s definitely not as comfortable as having your entire shop at a consistent temperature, the initial cost will be a lot less, and so will the upkeep and fuel cost to run the machine.
See Also: 12 Helpful Tips for Hanging Shop Lights
Decide on a Power Source
After you decide which way you plan on heating your shop, the next thing to look at is the power source. In most shops, this is going to be pretty obvious, because your house will probably have either gas or electric, but in some cases both.
The thing to pay attention to is hidden sources of power that you don’t necessarily think about. For example, while your whole house might be electric, if you work in the garage with a gas water heater, you do have access to a gas line.
You’ll have to have a professional come in and create a fresh line for you, but you’ll be able to power both units from the same gas line. Just like that, you now have more options than you may have thought you did when it comes to your shop heater.
Also, even an electric water heater in most cases runs on 220v instead of 110v. This means you also have two different power types when it comes to picking your unit.
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Intermittent or Consistent Heating?
Another thing to think about is whether you plan on heating the area consistently, or just heating it intermittently while you are in the room. Obviously there’s a big cost difference between the two, but depending on your goals, one of these might be more attractive than the other.
Most shops are out in garages, or in parts of the house that aren’t used very often. If you are lucky enough to be in a room that is insulated, you may just want to keep the heat running all the time.
However, if you are in a structure that is not insulated, or that is insulated very poorly, then you are more likely a candidate for intermittent heat that you only run when you are in the room.
Either way you go, knowing this piece of information before you make your decision can help you save some money. A bigger unit might cost more up front, but it will have a much lower running cost than a small unit if you are to keep the entire room the same temperature all the time.
Insulating the Shop and Sealing Cracks
Take a look around your shop and identify any areas that can use help with either filling in some gaps, or using a little bit of caulk. If you spend $20 on caulk and you end up using all of the tubes, you can really do quite a big service to your shop.
Drafts will always steal your heat. If you don’t shore up the little gaps and cracks in your shop, they will cause your heater to run all the time. That’s definitely not an ideal solution, because it costs money the entire time it runs.
Your Action Assignment
Now that you know how to pick a shop heater for your woodworking shop based on how you plan on using the unit, it’s time to get out in your shop and take action. While you’re out there freezing, answer these questions and pick a nice heater.
When you get the heater back to the shop, make sure to go through all the safety precautions first and then install the unit. Before you know it, you’ll have a shop that’s a lot more comfortable, and you’ll be much safer for it.
If you have any questions about picking out a shop heater, please post a question and I’ll be happy to answer them. Happy building.
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