Well, I know my shop can't be as cold as some
of yours (I live in Northern California), but I
really find that I avoid doing anything during
the "hard" winter months here - Dec - March.
So I like to change that.
I have a small ceramic heater that I know is
puny, but if I close the shop doors (it's insulated
and a single stall wide), it should do fine.
I was thinking of my feet on the concrete slab
and wondering if anyone had experience using
foot heaters - the kind you use for hunting, hiking?
Do they work? What other things do you do to
stay warm in your unheated shop? Extra socks?
I live in Buffalo, NY and worked outdoors for over 10 years. The
HotHands foot warmers work well with insulated footware. The boots I
wore had 1000 grams of Thinsulate. The HorHands last for about 6 hours
and kept my feet warm in sub-zero temperatures as long as your feet stay
Get something between your feet and that concrete. Either get some wood
down there or some kind of rubber mat.
If your feet get cold, they deserve some kind of special footwear. My wife
has a couple pair of foam insulated boots. They are lightweight, if a
little bulky, but super warm. She swears by them. I use the old hikers
trick. A thin sock inside of a thick sock. This was to help prevent
blisters. But it keeps your feet warmer too.
I am a big believer in protective footwear. My work boots have a steel toe.
They saved my toes a few times. (Not that I ever drop anything on them.
I don't know what type of shop you have barn, garage, basement, shed.
But I like an oil heated radiator over the ceramic. They hold the heat
longer and just feel more comfortable.
As far as the floor, like everyone else said. Also look into the OSB
with rubber or plastic bubbles underneath . They are made for concrete
underlayment for a wood floor. They do two things protect your tools and
the bubbles get you off the concrete and protect the wood.
Wish I had done mine like that. I put down commercial vinyl tiles. Those
OSB tiles weren't around then.
On 11/30/2010 7:13 PM, email@example.com wrote:
1) A lot of heat is lost via the head in cold weather, so a knitted cap is a
good idea. 2) Rubber floor matts keep your boots off that cold concrete.
3) An insulated vest helps a lot without restricting the arms as a jacket
can. 4) A thermos of hot tea or coffee. 5) I've tried fingerless gloves to
help keep my hands warm, but I only use them for tasks where fine dexterity
is not required, like steering a ROS around.
The knitted cap is probably the biggest bang for the buck. Quartz
radiant heaters work really well too, like Upscale mentioned. I find
that radiant heat is best for my fingers as I can't stand anything on
my hands when I manipulate tools. I should add that radiant quartz
heaters should be used in pairs as they cast a shadow of cold and
don't really heat the air much at all.
This thread reminds me of a (machine) shop that I was in a couple of years
ago. I was looking for a job and they seemed to be pretty excited to get me
to work there. Nice machinery, nice tooling and nice work. One big downside.
It was in an unheated tin building. In addition to no heat, there was a
large bay door that stayed open most all the time. This in Washington state.
Freeze during the winter and bake during the summer. No thanks. Not the
worst I've seen though. Was in one once that had a tin roof. That's it. Just
a roof. There were times when the guys had to dig their machines out of a
snow drift in the morning.
Heating, like lighting can be task specific. Shops have a lot of volume,
and it is sometimes very wasteful to try to heat or cool the entire shop.
Sometimes it is just plain impossible. Specifically placed heaters work
better. I like those long ones like they have at Costco, and am looking
into buying one, but I wonder how much fuel they use. As for comfort for
the feet, yes, anything insulated and softer than concrete will be good for
you in the long run.
I was at the Toronto woodworking show this past Saturday. There were a
number of outfits selling radiant heaters similar to the Lee Valley heater
in the link below. Anyway, I could feel the directed heat from them every
time I passed one even though I was a good eight feet away. I'd suggest that
such a heater would be very useful when one wants to warm just one area and
not the whole shop.
After 25-30 years of buying and smelling Kerosene for a kerosene
heater I switched to a very economical alternate.
I purchased a natural gas version of a radiant wall heater from a
local Propane dealer. It is a 25,000 btu version and cost about $225
during a year-end clearance. When we built the house a couple of
years ago I had the plumber leave me a stub and valve in the basement
just beneath the planned garage location. A couple of weeks ago I
bought about $100 worth of plumbing pipe and valves and plumbed it
in. Works like a charm and the Kerosene and cans were delivered to
our son for his garage.
Our neighbor has a similar unit in his separated garage but did not
want to plumb natural gas from the house. He has a propane tank,
provided by the local LPG company, sitting outside of his shop. They
ran the line through the wall directly to the heater.
Those work good. Just remember they put out various materials.
e.g. don't seal up so tight you breathe in the exhaust.
Also, get a RH meter - a cheap one is fine. Watch the water factor
so it won't rain at night when it gets cold. One way is to flush
out the shop when leaving.
Actually it can be rain or a dew. Some of that is good - when the
RH% is very low in the winter time.
On 12/5/2010 10:29 AM, RonB wrote:
Followup - Mine is one of the un-vented versions that shuts itself
down if oxygen level starts to drop. With two garage doors and some
open area around attic door I haven't had to worry much about air
exchange, at least so far.
I read a lot of comments about infrared radiant heaters only heating
things. This one does a pretty good job of heating the entire space
which is slightly over 1,000 SF with an 11 foot ceiling. Yesterday
was a 20 degree morning and the garage temp was down to about 48
degrees (garage is attached to house and shares a 30' wall). within
one hour the temp was up to 56 and eventually rose to about 65 before
I turned the thermostat back. These temps were registered on a
thermometer that is on the same wall as the heater an about 6-8 feet
away, so the heater isn't pointed at it.
No concerns with water yet as I do not run it at night. But I have
been watching windows for condensation and so far none. Admittedly, I
have very little history with the heater so far but will be using it
often for the next few months.
Actually keeping it warm will keep it from raining I would think.
When you allow it to get cold is when the condensation would drop, just
like it does every night.
Keep enough heat there every night and your tools should stay rust free,
all it to cool and watch out.
On 12/7/2010 10:45 AM, RonB wrote:
Want to thank everyone who sent in suggestions
about working in the "cold". I realize our daytime low
of 55, is awfully "wimpy" compared to many other
places, but it is relative, right?
I am now in the hunt for insulated boots. I do have
pads I can use to get my feet off the concrete. And
Santa's been told (or Mrs. Santa) that I need
a down vest. A good suggestion!
A heater, hmm. well that will just have to wait. I might
get by on my small ceramic heater for the now, looking
to beef that up later.
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