The Best Garage Heating Options and Why They're Beneficial

October 28, 2020

garage furnace diy

When winter approaches and the temperature drops, it’s hard to keep working on some hobbies and projects you enjoyed in the summer or fall. It’s too cold to continue working outdoors, and a frigid garage isn’t much better.

With a good garage heater system, your garage could become the workshop you need to continue projects through the winter. Read about the three main benefits of garage heaters, and learn everything you need to know about finding the right heater for your garage.

Top 4 Benefits of Using Garage Heating Systems

1. Traditional Heating Methods Don’t Work for Garages

For several reasons, extending ductwork into your garage isn't the optimal way to heat the space. You need to have balanced air flow so that you don’t run into pressure issues; every cubic foot of air that leaves your house needs to bring in a cubic foot of air. Running ductwork to the garage can create a serious unbalance for both heating and cooling.

Garage heating systems are specifically designed to handle the unique challenges that come along with heating a garage space. With a garage heater, you can turn your garage into a comfortable workspace without wasting energy or seeing huge energy bills.

2. A Garage Heater Can Help You Finish Your Projects Faster

Installing a garage heater means you will no longer have to wear a hat and gloves when you're out working on your hobbies and other projects. You can keep projects going all year long, and you'll also be less likely to postpone projects just to avoid the cold.

3. Garage Heaters Increase Your Storage Space

A garage heating system makes your garage more comfortable — for you and your belongings! Heating your garage allows you to use garage space to store temperature-sensitive items, such as clothing, books and leather furniture. Free up valuable storage space in your home by moving items to the garage without risking damage when the temperature drops.

4. A Warmer Garage Helps Protect Your Car

Using a garage heater keeps you warmer, and it keeps your car safer and more comfortable too. In a heated garage, your car's oil stays warm and fluid, so it does a better job protecting the engine. Your coolant also stays warmer, helping your car's interior warm up faster.

Garage Heater Sizing: Finding the Best Garage Heater to Fit Your Needs

Garage heaters are not a one-size-fits-all heating solution. Different size garages require different types of garage heating systems. If you have questions, an HVAC professional can help you determine what size garage heater is right for your garage.

What size heater do I need for my garage?

There are four critical factors and calculations you need to know before getting a garage furnace:

  1. The cubic feet of your garage
  2. The temperature rise you’d like to achieve
  3. The British Thermal Units (BTUs) needed
  4. The efficiency of your garage

First, calculate the cubic feet of your garage to accurately estimate the best size of heater for your space. Multiply the length and width of your garage floor to obtain the correct square footage. Then, multiply this number by the ceiling height to obtain the cubic feet.

Next you’ll need to know the temperature rise, or the total degrees your garage must be heated to reach your desired room temperature. To calculate temperature rise, subtract the coldest average low winter temperature from optimal heated room temperature. For instance, the coldest average low temperature in Des Moines is about 14°F, according to U.S. climate data. If you want your garage heated to 68 degrees, the temperature rise is 54 degrees.

If you want to take it a step further, you can estimate the BTUs (British Thermal Units) that you’ll need to satisfy your needs.

How to Calculate BTUs Needed to Heat a Garage

To start your BTU calculation, simply multiply the total size of your garage (in cubic feet) by 0.133. Then, multiply that number by the desired temperature rise. Take this final number and round it to the nearest thousand to estimate your total BTU needs.

For example, a garage space with 4,000 cubic feet multiplied by 0.133 and again by a 56-degree temperature rise would require 30,000 BTUs.

Don’t forget to factor in your garage’s efficiency when determining heater size. A well-insulated garage won't require as large of a furnace as a leaky and poorly-insulated garage would. In the long run, insulating and sealing air leaks in your garage or workshop could significantly reduce energy costs. You might also consider installing ceiling fans to help circulate air, especially if your garage or workshop has tall ceilings.

What size garage heater do I need for a one car garage?

You can calculate the ideal garage heater for your garage using the formula of size (in cubic feet) times 0.133 times the desired temperature rise. These factors vary, but we generally recommend an 8,000 - 12,000 BTU garage heater for a one car garage.

What is the right size garage heater for a two car garage?

To heat an average two car garage, you'll need a garage heater that is capable of heating roughly 6,000 - 9,000 cubic feet of air. We recommend getting a 30,000 - 50,000 BTU garage heater to get your two car garage to a comfortable temperature.

How many BTUs do I need for a 3 car garage heater?

A 50,000 BTU garage heater is your best bet for a garage that fits three or more cars. If your garage heater has fewer BTUs, the unit simply won't be able to make the large space as warm as you'd like it to be.

Explore Lozier’s Garage Heating Options

To enjoy the benefits of garage heating, be sure to get the right size garage heater for your space. Lozier offers two of the best Lennox garage heaters: The LF24 Garage Heater or the T-Class TUA Separated Combustion Garage Heater. Both are great garage heating options to keep your space warm and useful throughout the winter.

Regardless of the type of heating system you choose, remember that it must be sized correctly to heat efficiently and prevent early system failure.

For professional assistance calculating the right garage heater size, please contact Lozier Heating & Cooling. We've been serving the Greater Des Moines area for more than 100 years. Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Des Moines, Iowa area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).