Up until a few months ago, my attached garage was mostly unfinished. There was drywall on the adjoining wall and the ceiling, but it was in terrible shape. I started by removing the drywall from the ceiling, and replacing with new 5/8" thick drywall. The saving grace was the drywall lift, which made a world of difference! I had also added some R13 insulation to the walls in preparation for the addition of drywall.
After finishing up the ceiling, I threw up some 1/2" thick drywall on the walls, which went pretty quickly, compared to the ceiling. I also added some insulation to the aluminum garage door. This insulation came from kits I found at Menards.
Here's the link:
Menards Garage Door Insulation Kit
All of this was done with my new Atlas 46 JourneyMESH Vest, and I couldn't have been happier with how it performed! Check out Atlas46.com here!
After working in the garage last year during the Winter, I knew I was going to take some action and try to warm up the garage this year. As the weather started to turn this year, I was ready!
I need to start and mention some of the limitations I'm dealing with. All of our utilities are on the opposite side of the house. A few years ago, we finished our basement, and upgrading the garage wasn't anywhere on the radar. Due to this, we didn't think about running more electric to the garage, or running a natural gas line either. We have a natural gas line in the basement that's 15-20 feet from the garage wall, but it's hidden by a very nice looking drywalled ceiling... Maybe one day it'll be an option, but for now, natural gas is a no go.
My first thought was something to just take the chill out of the air, and something cheap. This lead me to fining a ceiling mounted infrared heater. I found one of these at Menards, and gave it a shot.
The installation went well, but an hour after running this heater it was the same temperature in the garage as when I started and the only area of warmth was directly below the heater... Onto some more options.
After a reading a few blogs and watching a few YouTube videos, I settled on two options. Either the Ridgid 18v Propane Heater or a Ventless LP option for various manufacturers.
I love Ridgid products, but was nervous about running the Ridgid propane option in my enclosed garage, regardless of how much fresh air I was allowing into the garage. The deciding factor came after watching the YouTube video found below:
As a firefighter, I've witnessed the dangers of carbon monoxide and lack of oxygen, so unfortunately, the Ridgid Propane was out.
As the options boiled down, I was left with the ventless propane option. There are a few different brands, and most of them have similar reviews, but I settled on a 30,000 BTU Mr. Heater model that I found on sale at the local Big R.
I ended up paying $150 for it on sale, and it had the blower fan already installed, which, altogether, saved me about $50 on the regular price. I was excited to get it home and test it out!
The assembly on the Mr. Heater unit was surprisingly easy. There were only a few parts. The heater itself, the two feet, and the connection kit, which I had been scared away from by other YouTube videos. The elbow included is a cheap one, leading a lot of people to cross-threading the elbow when putting it on.
Instead, I grabbed a connection hose kit from Menards, I'll place the link below:
Menards 12' Ventless Heater Hose Kit
The hose kit came with a brass fitting that, after some thread compound, went on like butter! The kit was another $50 or so, but well worth added length of the hose and replacing the cheap elbow with a good one.
After connecting the hose to the heater, I brought the LP tank from my gas grill into the garage, hooked it up and crossed my fingers! And how do you think it went?
My Apple Watch said it was 27 degrees outside, but was surprised to find that my old indoor thermostat was saying it was 40 degrees in the garage. Holy Cow I thought! I couldn't believe the insulation was doing that well of a job! But wait... it wasn't possible. I had been seeing 40 degrees on the thermostat for the last couple days... And the garage door was open a lot before I started testing the heater... My thermostat has a minimum temperature on it, and it's 40 degrees.... My guess is that it was 30-35 degrees in my garage when I started.
After clearing the lines, which took a little longer than I thought it would, there was enough propane to keep the pilot light running. I fired the heater up for the first time and it went off without a hitch.
Within 20 minutes, with the heater set at its lowest setting, the temperature started to rise!!! I noticed the thermostat had passed 40 degrees and was now 43!!
At about an hour of run time the thermostat was showing a balmy 54 degrees! After working in a garage in the single digits, 54 degrees is T-shirt and shorts weather!! There was only a very slight smell. It wasn't the nasty propane smell, but it smelled like an electrical appliance when it warms up. I'm sensitive to smells and this was completely acceptable!
The LP tank I was using is the one we used all Summer long, so my guess is that it was nearly empty. Because of this, the last temperature I got was 57 degrees, about an hour and 15 minutes later. The whole time the heater was set on 1 or 2, with 5 being the max. I also had the included vent fan on auto, allowing it to switch itself on and off as it chose.
So even though I have limited test sessions, I can say that I'm very happy with this ventless LP heater so far! I love the fact that I don't have to worry about carbon monoxide or lack of oxygen in the room. The warmth was GREAT coming from the unit and the fan pushed the heat around the garage surprisingly well! I'm considering purchasing a bigger propane tank so I don't have to worry about running out frequently, but I may be able to get away with 20 lb. tanks. More tests to come. I'll keep everyone updated!