Keeping things from freezing

I live in North Carolina where winters are mild. Rarely are there long stretches of below freezing temperatures. My shop is in an unheated garage, a hundred feet from the house. It fell into disuse a number of years ago, and when I revived it last Spring I threw out all the latex paint, Elmer's glue, etc. on the assumption that, at some time, it had been frozen. I've been restocking, and now that Fall is here I'm thinking of ways to keep the new stuff from freezing.
Simply store stuff in an old refrigerator? An ice chest? Build an insulated cabinet with a temperature-controlled heat lamp?
Or maybe not worry about it. I haven't actually seen anything frozen, but then, when I wasn't using the shop, I didn't go out there for months at a time, so wouldn't have noticed.
Moving the stuff into the house wouldn't be convenient because of the distance to the garage.
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A box with a couple light bulbs will do the trick. The reason you use two light bulbs is in case one burns out.
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That's my first choice. I'd add a temperature-sensitive switch, like those used in greenhouses, and only turn the bulbs on when necessary. My only concern there is potential fire hazard. Perhaps I'd line the box with drywall.
I have a cheap particle-board cupboard that's big enough. I could mount the bulbs in the bottom and drill some holes in the shelves to let the warm air rise more freely.
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Richard Evans wrote:

Drop by http://www.builditsolar.com and take a look at DIY solar panels - and visit http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/solar.html to see the /easy/ way to keep your shop (and you) warm and cozy all winter long. :-)
--
Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
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The garage is over 1200 square feet. As much as I would like to, I have no intention of heating the whole thing,
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"Richard Evans" wrote

Nice drive-by ... you suck, regardless of temperature.
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 8/18/08
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"Richard Evans" wrote in message

Considering your unheated shop situation, there may be times when you need to do a winter glue-up in the kitchen, if you can get away with it, and the temperature of the stock and glue will both be important in cold weather.
My shop is also unheated ... I buy Titebond by the quart, transfer some to a smaller glue bottles that go out to the shop most of the year around, but I keep the big bottles in my office so that I always have fresh glue around at optimum temperature.
--
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On Mon, 29 Sep 2008 12:26:34 -0400, Richard Evans

I have an old freezer that gave up the ghost. I took out the switch and diconected the compressor. now when I plug it in only the 15 watt bulb comes on and stays on. no freezing problems in the last 3 years. I'm also in N.C. when the wheather is going to be below freezing I plug it in and leave it untill it warms up. I have to replace the bulb once or twice a year.
skeez
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On Mon, 29 Sep 2008 12:26:34 -0400, Richard Evans

I stick the latex stuff under my saw outfeed table, and hang a trouble light with a 100 watt bulb. Nothing has ever frozen to my knowledge. My shop well insulated but not heated except with a portable propane radiant.
Frank
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You can often find waterbed heaters at thrift shops. they are thermostatically controlled and able to operate on a very low wick. As such, the power draw is minimal.
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Richard Evans wrote:

Any kind of cabinet with a little bit of heat should do what you need--an old refrigerator would be nice since it's insulated. Same principle as putting a light on the pump. Just use wire shelves or something else that lets the heat flow through the entire cabinet. For heat, a ESE terrarium heater (works like a 60, 100, or 150 watt light bulb, but has a ceramic heating element so it doesn't burn out--to figure out which one you need, once you've got the whole thing together, try light bulbs of each wattage and check the temperature rise) should be fine. You can put it on a greenhouse thermostat if you want to just turn on the heat when the temperature gets close to freezing. For the heater try a pet store that does a good business in reptiles, for the thermostat the pet store may have one or you could try garden centers.
If you can't find them locally, Googling "ESE heater" will get you several sources for the heaters, googling "110v thermostat" will get you several sources for the thermostats.
While solar heating the whole space is appealing, it may be overkill for what you seem to be wanting to do.
--
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--John
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"J. Clarke" wrote

Yabbut...., He could make a little solar panel, to heat the paint cabinet!
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You can simply insulate the paint closet, but it's more effective if you also use a heat sink (like, is the floor a concrete slab?) to extend the time before the temperature drops too low. That means a low box is better than a tall closet.
Sheetrock/tubafour/fiberglass insulation like a house will suffice for a warm box. Insulate a lid and weatherstrip where it rests.
I'd consider a terrarium heater in the 30 watt range to be a suitable backup heater. It includes a thermostat (set it low, of course), and the heater has decades of useful life, as compared to 750 hours of life for an incandescent lamp.
None of your liquids are pure water, they ARE safe at freezing point, only at lower temperatures will they actually crystallize.
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Richard Evans wrote:

The lowest cost way to solve problem is to buy some elcheapo 30-50 qt styrofoam coolers.
Lay a piece of 1/4 ply or hardboad in bottom of cooler to distribute load.
Hang a 7-1/2 wat light bulb protected by a plastic cage (The type that are OSHA req'd for bare stringer lights) and get a beer.
You could also build a box using 1/2 CDX and 1-1/2 foil faced urethane foam, but it will take more time and cost more money.
BTDT, forget the T-Shirt.
Have fun.
Lew
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Richard Evans wrote:

Hi Richard,
I live in a climate where -35 is not unheard of in January. My shop is heated when I'm there, but not when it's left vacant.
I have an old plywood cabinet/bench setup that has a section closed off with doors. I took some Styrofoam SM and lined the inside of the section, including the doors. I drilled a hole in the side and inserted a piece of heat tape, available around here in nearly any hardware store. Not sure if it's available in the Carolinas.
The heat tape is thermostatically controlled, and keeps my chemicals just above freezing. The heat output isn't enough for me to worry about fire, but you could also string it on insulated stands.
This was the simplest and cheapest way to ensure that I got no freezing in that area.
Tanus
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