baseboard heaters in wood shop - safe?


I'm converting a 20' x 24' tool shed into a wood shop, adding all new electricity, benches, lighting, insulation, etc.
I'm located in southern Michigan and it will need summer cooling and winter heating. I assume a window AC unit can handle the cooling, but I'm not sure about the heating.
Will baseboard heating be safe in a dusty environment? I'm talking sawdust, not the stuff I find under the bed. Will a dust collector sufficiently mitigate the problem, assuming a problem exists?
TIA, Charlie Mulks
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NO! I tried one, bad move. Dust settles on the top and in on the heating unit itself. I would guess, maybe, if you could put a small fan to keep the dust away from the heating fins. That would sort of circulate the heat too, but I still wouldn't do it. If your going to use electric anyway, think about the heat cable on the ceiling. I can't remember what it's called. Around my area, baseboard heat is frowned upon by the inspector and the fire marshal.

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Charles Mulks wrote:

Hi Charlie.......Oooooooo no on the baseboards. Even with a good dust collector/airfilter there will still be stuff that gets in on the heating elements of the units. They're just not made for that type of abuse/use.
You'll want to keep a close eye on that window A/C unit too... The dust will cake in the filter of it fast too... My neighbor had one in his window and he had to clean the filter multiple times a day depending on what he was cutting/sanding/milling.
And folks think sawdust is just a harmless little thing... ;-)
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just a suggestion. have you looked at hydronic infloor heat. water coils (pex pipe) in or under concrete or under floor joist. if you have a exsisting cement floor you would have to add a layer over the top. as for heat sorce many possabilaties. electric boiler, outside wood furnace, even just a water heater depending on your needs. i have infloor heat in my shop and it's great. check out www.centralboiler.com for some ideas ross www.highislandexport.com
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Safe? Sure, nothing will burn as it does not get that hot.
Good idea? Maybe not as the fins will need frequent cleaning to maintain efficiency.
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*snip*

Depending on the window unit, it can probably be used to do both heating and cooling tasks. Considering where you are, you'll *need* it 6 months of the year so take the time to get a unit that can handle the environment.
I wonder how good of an idea it would be to have a "self-cleaning" filter. Once an hour or so a brush swipes off the outside of the filter...
Puckdropper
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cost of infloor radiant is not expensive. you can buy a 500 ft. roll of 1/2" oxygen barrier pex for about $200. laid under floor every 14 to 16" with not more than 250-300 ft per zone. other than that pump, manifold and heat source. ross
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Yes, but you have to plan ahead for infloor radiant. It's not easy to retrofit to a garage with an existing concrete slab. You also need something to tie the PEX tubing to. We used fibermesh additive in our slab instead of wire mesh, so there was nothing to attach the tubing to.
In any case, I only paid $200 for my Hot One heater. The only installation needed was adding a 240 volt outlet and plugging it in. Probably 30-45 minutes total.
Anthony
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wrote:

Safe? I don't know- but I did have a baseboard heater in my first small turnery, and it was okay for well over a year. The only problem I could see was the same for all the baseboards in the place- when they were first turned on after a period of inactivity, the dust smelled bad.
As a good point, there is no open spark or flame as there would be with a wood stove or even a regular cumbustion furnace. On the bad side, they're costly to run, provide less comfortable heat, and are generally the worst option you've got. I don't know how much money you've got to put into your heating and cooling, but if safety, and not cash, is the main issue here, you might want to look into an outdoor wood burner, especially in your neck of the woods. Then you can heat the shop with boilers, and save yourself a large hunk of change to keep the shop toasty all the time in the long run- most of those are big enough to do your house as well, should you be interested in a backup to whatever you've got now.
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Hmmm? - I seem to have lost track of my original posting, so...
Thanks for the thoughts and suggestions. It looks like I will be going for an electric heater of some type (but not the baseboard), at least for the near-term. Ignoring the expense (which I actually can't) I have a concrete slab floor and seven foot ceilings, and can't give up any height (top or bottom).
I do have a seldom used wood stove in the house. I can foresee it eventually finding its way out to the shed/shop.
Thanks again, Charlie Mulks
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I have a temperature controlled boiler system here. The baseboard units are all hydronic (hot water circulated). The maximum temperature of the boiler is 180 (which it never reaches unless it is below 0F outside, mostly it is somewhere between 140-155). I am not sure what the self-ignition temperature of wood dust/chips is but I would take an educated guess at above 400F. I would also take an educated guess that any resistive electric heating element *would* reach this temperature on its surface. The pipes inside the hydronic baseboard devices are usually 10 degrees cooler than the boiler. I'll stick with hydronic.
Not sure if I want to use the fireplace in the shop though ;)
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I use those radiant oil filled heaters. I also put a low speed fan behind it to move the air around my shop it works for me and is not a fire hazard.
Al

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