Our garage heating guide will help you in deciding how to make your garage comfortable in the winter months. Today, more and more homeowners are using their garages as not only a place to park the car but a place where they can work on hobbies and projects.
If you have a forced air furnace in the home, then the easiest and least expensive way to heat an attached garage is by extending the duct system to supply warm air to the garage.
Although this may be easy and cheap, it may not be the right answer for most homes.
The first problem with this approach is that the furnace in the home is probably not sized to heat both the garage and the house and so you may end up being uncomfortable. This method does not provide much control over the temperature in the garage but it will usually make it warmer than it is outside. These problems can be overcome with a zone system but that adds a lot of expense.
If your home uses hot water for heating, then you have the option of installing radiators that can be connected to the home's boiler. You can even tear up the concrete floor and install a new one that has radiant heating pipes in it but this would be expensive. You will also have many of the same problems as discussed above and so this is not always a good option. You can add a separate boiler or other source of hot water to provide the space heating but this, too, will be expensive.
The next option for your garage heating is to install a separate heating system for the area. This can be a typical ducted forced air system, a ductless heat pump (which will provide cooling as well), or a unit heater. The unit heater will almost always be the least expensive of these options followed by the ductless system. A typical unit heater burns either natural or propane gas to produce heat. This heat is then circulated throughout the space by a fan.
Other units, which are normally called tube heaters, burn the gas and heat up a metal tube. This tube has a shiny metal reflector above it which reflects the heat down towards the floor. These units do not use a fan but instead use the principle of infrared heating. This is more desirable when you want to maintain a set temperature for long periods of time due to the amount of time it requires to heat up the space. Before you purchase a radiant tube heater, you can check out our brand ratings.
If you go to install a separate ducted forced air system, then you will want to put the furnace and ductwork in the attic to conserve floor and overhead space.
A gas fired unit heater is relatively easy to install but they normally have lower operating efficiencies than the normal gas furnace. Before you purchase a unit, you can check out our brand ratings to select the model that is right for you. With our ratings, it is truly like taking a repairman with you while you shop!