"Cheap" way to heat my shop?

dcomiskey

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So, up until we switched from oil to natural gas about 4 years ago, my workshop stayed relatively warm in the winter because the boiler would give off a lot of residual heat. However, the gas heater gives off nothing and my shop gets COLD. I've been relying on an electric heater, but my winter electric bills are hitting a whopping $600 now. I reached out to the plumber that did our gas heater and got a quote for him to add a zone for my workshop with a wall-mounted radiator. The quote was over $3k, which I couldn't believe.

So, now I'm exploring wood/pellet heaters but know almost nothing about them. I *think* I could get away with a small pellet stove, but not sure. They require very small clearances and they make them for rooms as small as 500 sq ft.

Would love to get some feedback from anyone who's run into similar problems.
 

cybermgk

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LPTDMSV

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So, now I'm exploring wood/pellet heaters but know almost nothing about them. I *think* I could get away with a small pellet stove, but not sure. They require very small clearances and they make them for rooms as small as 500 sq ft.

Would love to get some feedback from anyone who's run into similar problems.
I've seen large pellet stoves more than once in big woodworking shops, but the point of them there is that the shop also has a pellet-making machine and turns all the sawdust into pellets = free fuel. Well, free after you've paid a few 1,000s for the machinery :( I don't think the idea would scale down, unfortunately.
 

CB91710

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Wood stove really is one of the few options... but do be sure you have proper ventilation. I would not run one in a basement shop.

Depending on how much use it will get, the $3k for the add-on may not be such a bad deal.
I mean, you're paying $600/month right now, the system will pay for itself in a couple of seasons.
 

GitFiddle

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I've heated my house with a wood burning insert in the fireplace, for the last 25 years. I live in Southwest Ohio. I mainly use an electric AC/Heat pump year round. When the temps start getting below 30 F, I keep a fire going. My electric bill for the month of December was $246.
 

Roxy13

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I have a wood burning stove although I don't always use it as the main heat source in my house. But, it can heat a 2500 sq ft house with the blower running. And make it quite warm too. I do leave a cast iron "teapot" on top with water to help with how dry it makes the air though.

I've been debating the same thing when I do have a shop. In a way it would be nice too to have something that could run at at least 50 degrees during the winter even when you aren't using it though so it doesn't get too cold in the off hours.
 

ehb

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Y’all will (probably already do) think I’m nuts. Before I dumped the travel trailer for a lake house, I bought a brown square little ceramic heater and it heated the entire travel trailer. (I have an aversion to gas)

Before I laid out major chippies, I’d try a little METAL cube ceramic heater. Takes it a bit, but it works... Once comfortable, turn its thermostat down a touch. Have it in my den now for colder mornings so big unit is not heating up entire house where I’m not. Mine is metal cased. I wouldn’t have a plastic cased one....

Do not use those like Dollar Gentrul and such “Burn my house down, please” giant toaster wire space heaters and don’t use an extension cord.

One of these days, I’m gonna build one of those clay flower pot stack heaters that uses candles but I’ll use those fat candles. (Bigger clay pots) Brilliant....just never built one.

I will put this below vid though for safety on the clay heaters.... I think a bit of dumbassery is involved. Boat/water which ain’t static/hanging farking FIRE with melted hot fuel.... Throw logic on that and your dumbassery alert should sound off too... I’d have mine in a no hole shallow clay dish on maybe a stone bass. (Stop by the marble/granite/etc store/shop and have a square flat cut from scrap stone. Have bigger slabs at shop but partner might get upset with one of our heavy flats gone... Well, I would too. Great for sanding (Sticky paper on stone, true flat)
If you’re gonna ever build one, watch the video, please.. (and don’t do stupid shit)

 

lowatter

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I'd say 2 of these should work fine in a shop with no fire hazards...
https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/redstone-multi-purpose-oil-filled-radiator-heater-2170657?cm_mmc=feed-_-BingShopping-_-Product-_-2170657&msclkid=46fe662e55f413b9e7c8062456eb0dd7&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Shopping - All Products&utm_term=4585375807245420&utm_content=All Products

I use a similar one of these to supplement 150 square feet of my house. Also, I'd address any draft or insulation issues in your shop if possible.
 

pshupe

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Where is your shop and how large is it? Is it in the basement? What type of building is it? One of the biggest factors for heating is insulation and air / moisture penetration. I heat my shop on the lowest setting of one of those oil heaters and do not even notice an increase in electric bill. My shop is very small, 200 sq. ft., and I spent $1500 insulating it with spray foam insulation.

Cheers Peter.
 

Uncle Vinnie

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What about humidity control? Wood burners produce very dry heat.
 

Lester

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I've done many years with a wood stove.

After you buy the stove (used is a $$$ feature), you still need a chimney. Brick is expensive. Even metal can get pricey as you need to be three feet higher than anything horizontally within 10' when you exit. If you have to run up the outside wall of the house you need triple wall pipe ($$). If you need to run though floors and ceilings similar fittings are needed. The days of single wall sheet metal pipe are gone except for the initial run off the stove... and you have to keep single wall at least 36" from combustibles.

Speaking of which - a wood stove needs 36" of clearance from combustibles. You can cut that way back with a heat shield of brick or steel with the proper air gap behind to combustibles. So, that will use up some shop space. If it's a basement with 9" thick concrete walls, you're all set on that. Otherwise, it will use up some space. You also need 18" in front to combustibles and a non combustible hearth.

Add in a little space for a wood supply... and the more, the merrier so that you don't have to head outside every day. Depending on the stove, you may need shorter length wood which can be harder to buy. Most wood suppliers don't want to sell less than 16"... and a lot of "shop" sized stoves need less, so there may be some regular cutting involved as well as re-splitting.

There's also the issue of hunting down a wood supplier who brings quality stuff. You also need to get the wood early enough in the year to have it dry by Fall when you need to start burning. Otherwise you end up trying to dry it by the fire every day as you burn the stuff you dried yesterday. Etc. You'll need a stacking area and some way to rig a cover.

If you're thinking, "I have lots of trees in my woods, I'll cut and split it myself", that's a great idea. You just have to budget time for it. I made it part of my exercise regimen.

Don't get me wrong: I loved everything about having a wood stove and solving all the issues above. I loved cutting, splitting, and stacking wood. But, it's some work... and not the panacea it might first appear.

FWIW - Pellet stoves eliminate most of the issues above. They need little clearance. Most can exit directly out a wall and vent (intake air) through the same pipe. The downsides are that they need electricity to run and cost more per BTU. They also eliminate the romance.

For either, study the fire code and regulations, check the specifics of the stove you plan to use, and buy educated. It's worth talking to the building inspector (or fire inspector) to see what they advise before you buy or install.
 
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judson

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as someone else posted above........these actually are safe and work great...

a friend had her heat pump go out with temps in the teens for a week or two. you could not get anyone out to look your hvac as everyone was having issues...

she bought 3 of these and heated her 2000sf house at 68 degrees cheaper than her heat pump for over a month...and her electric bill was less than normal after the month...

depending how big you shop is , plug em in and let them run at 70% to 80% and leave em alone, in the Spring maybe unplug or turn it down some...they work great and the heat stays constant...the key is to let them run 24/7

once they get the temp up....it stays...and again very safe

1611283911776.png
 

ehb

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Or you can just move to 'Bama, where a "cold day" is a day that you don't need a shower when you get out of the shower.
If’n you don’t like the weather down here during winter, hang around for a few minutes...It’ll change up on you... ;)
 

ehb

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I thing we just had winter two last week....or was it three....
 


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