Shop heaters - any suggestions?

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"Chris Rule" writes:

It is typically the most expensive heating energy source.
<snip>

You are obviously using subsidized power.
Try about $0.15/KWH in the open market.

Definitely. Are you getting power from the TVA?
BTW, if you want to reduce propane costs, buy 5-6, 20 lb tanks and get 5 refilled at one time from your local propane distributor.
SFWIW, I used a lot of propane to melt and cast 12,000 lbs of lead for my boat ballast.
HTH
--
Lew

S/A: Challenge, The Bullet Proof Boat, (Under Construction in the Southland)
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Knowing where you are Lew, explains your electrical costs.(are you not in the great state of California ??)
Average KWH rates in the Carolina's is .06/kwh - .08/kwh
Lew Hodgett wrote:

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Well, who needs heaters in California??
Pat Barber wrote:

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You have to take the edge off when it gets below 57 in the garage.
scott
[*] obviously facetious - however, there are issues with finishing at low temperature wherein a heater in the garage would do some good, even in california (at $0.15 - $0.19 /kwh depending on usage).
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Burning 20 lbs of propane, *and* reducing all the generated H20 to _liquid_ _form_, releases about 450,000 BTUs of heat. A substantial part of that amount is locked up in the water _vapor_ generated in the combustion process, and not liberated until it is condensed to liquid water.

That is an awfully *inexpensive* price for electricity. About $60/megawatt hour.
Open-market _wholesale_ price is ball-park $100/megawatt hour.
During the recent crisis in California, spot-market wholesale prices were in excess of $1,000/megawatt hour. I think the peak price reported was a bit over $1,800/megawatt hour.
Tuesday's "futures market" price (on the New York Mercantile exchange) for circa 900 megawatt-hours delivered over a month, is about $58/megawatt hr. That's price "at the generating plant". There are NON-TRIVIAL additional costs for getting it 'across the grid' to where you need it for consumption. (Note: this is the 'off-season' for electric demand, short-term prices are running well below the annual average.)

Nit-pick: that's 3414 BTU per kilowatt-HOUR. Aside from that, you're absolutely correct 4.4 kWh will generate about 15000 BTUs of heat.

You're getting a *REALLY* good price. I'd practically guarantee it's coming from the TVA. I'd also guess that that is 'base' cost of the electricity. i.e. 'before taxes'. Which, in many territories, adds another 20-25% to the total bill.
average base cost, nationally, is in the range of 12-13 cents per kWh. Plus the tax load. "All-in" cost of 15+ cents/kWh is _not_ unusual.
In addition, buying propane in 20lb units is "small quantity" purchase, and you're paying a big premium because of it.
Try pricing a 1000lb refill -- enough for 'whole house' heating for a month or more. I wouldn't be surprised at a price in around 20 cents/lb.
"Industrial" pricing, on the NYMEX futures market, is the equivalent of about 8 _cents_ for 15,000 BTUs. about one-fourth of the rate for that $9 refill.
At something resembling typical market prices -- say $10 for a 20lb propane refill, and $0.12/kWh for electricity, that 15000 BTUs of heat costs about $0.33 via propane, and $0.54 via electricity.
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If only we all could get that cheap federal government electricity we paid for via TVA.
Dave Hall
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Hopefully this thread isn't dead yet -
I bought the HD kerosene heater. Used it two days, and ended up returning it. It gave off a smell that wasn't really strong, but it was noticeable. Also, SWMBO said she could smell it in the house and upstairs ("workshop" is my garage with the MBR over top). It did get the place warm, but it took about 2 hrs. due to not being insulated, etc. I did notice a slight increase in humidity, but it wouldn't have been a problem because I keep my machines coated with Boeshield, and covered. The other issue was the cost of fuel - HD's kero was about $4.50/gal. The directions said to use "high quality", and talked about some synthetic fuel made by Exxon, but that stuff was even more expensive. I didn't figure the $1.50/gal kero from the local gas station was "high quality". Anyway, the Kero unit didn't work for me.
Price and adverse recommendation from my HVAC company discouraged me from trying a natural gas unit.
I'm interested in the propane - does it smell? Any CO problems or issues? If not, (as someone already suggested) I think it would work good to run it, get the temp up, then shut it off. Would someone comment on this? How long does a 20 lb tank last? (about $9 locally)
TIA -
Nick B

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comment: "Gas station kerosene" _is_ probably of adequate quality.

Propane does have less 'smell' than kero.
CO is _always_ an issue with anything that 'burns'.
With 'perfect' combustion, the only byproducts from propane are CO2 and H2O. If there's insufficient oxygen available, there is risk of getting CO.
The "right way" is a 'sealed combustion chamber' unit that is vented outside. These do cost non-trivial money. natural gas fed, or propane.

"Twice as long as a 10 lb one." Not trying to be facetious, but it depends on a -lot- of things -- how big the space is; how well it is, or is not, insulated; how cold it is outside; how much outside air you need to let in for proper combustion; etc., etc., ad nauseum.
If I did my math right, 20 lbs of propane generates 'net' about 411,000 BTUs of heat. And will produce about 32.7 lbs of water vapor. that water vapor condensing will liberate another roughly 980,000 BTUs of heat.
I'm not sure how the water vapor energy is counted, but at 30,000 BTU/hr, it looks like 13.7 to 46.6 hrs.

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snipped-for-privacy@host122.r-bonomi.com (Robert Bonomi) wrote in message

I'll got a step farther. I use a "Mr. Heater" single burner tank mount rig in my shop in the winter. Winter nights in Knoxville vary from the high 20's (F) to the low 40's.
On "high," I get about thirty hours burn out of a 20# tank. Getting to the shop 30 hours a week is a REALLY good week, so I burn about two tanks or so a month.
Bill
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I'm stuck - all the advice is most welcome, but now I have to sort through factors I was not even aware of. Reminds me of the old Chinese proverb - decisions are easy when choices are few...
Here is some additional information. The garage is 14Wx22Lx12H. It has no insulation and there are two doors plus the roll-up. We don't have any gas in the neighborhood. I would likely use the shop around 6-8 hours per week when the heat is on. The walls are covered in plybead and thus are a little harder than drywall to repair cuts. I really don't want to take up much space and whatever I use doesn't have to be permanent. I had seen the Mr. Heater units someone mentioned but questioned whether 9,000 BTUs would be enough to accomplish anything in such a large space. I suppose when my hands start to feel the chill I could always go put them in the heat. I do know enough to wear a hat ...
DIYGUY wrote:

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I've had many people suggest to me that i use a 4800watt construction heater. I am going to give it a try after i get the garage insulated in the next couple of weeks.
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DIYGUY wrote:

It's a bit more than that at full tilt, I think 12 or 15,000 BTUs. No, it's probably not enough for that big of a space. My shop is 10x12x8, more or less, and the Mr. Heater definitely doesn't get it toasty. The low setting is completely worthless IMHO.
Even at that, it's over your $100 budget by the time you buy a tank and a hose for the thing.
For my part, I sealed up the cracks as best I could, and added as much heat as I could afford. The Mr. Heater and a pair of 1500W ceramic heaters with fans. I can run one heater at full power, and the other at half power on a single 20A circuit, so long as I turn one of them off when using any power tools.
The combination isn't enough to get the shop warm enough for glue to cure properly. At least, I'm not willing to spend the money it would take to heat the place that much, let's say. It might get there after five or six hours or something, but not in the course of a typical four-hour shop day. Doing glue in the shop would be expensive, so I'm not doing anything that requires glue for the moment.
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
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This may sound odd, but using electric heat can be more usefull if you are working in one place. You can make an inside tent so if your gluing, the air space in the "tent" is much smaller. Plastic Tarps works fine. Or you can have half the space with a tarp deviding the room. Nothing fancy but it works.
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This is a repeat post, I posted on an old post but here it is again.
I know it pbbly doesn't meet the budget requirments, and maybe I'm just gloating a bit here, but I just built my dream shop and it's all in-floor radiant heating. It cannot be beat - please don't argue with me on that<G>. I heat a 600 sqft shop, a 720sq ft garage and the basement under the 600 sqft shop with a 40 gallon water heater running propane.
No blower, no smell, no noise, no dust blowing around and unless I'm handling heavy stuff, I can kick off my shoes, even last week when it was -15F. I can't stand the smell of burning kerosene and flames in the shop give me the willies.
We installed all the hoses ourselves and spent 3 evenings hooking up the brains of the system with the help of a friend. Most all parts came from the local home-improvement shop.
You should give serious consideration to covering up any cement floor. I don't care if you use the cheapest (which will actually be the costliest in the long run) heater. You'll just be draining the heat thru the cement floor and the wear on your legs and knees will be much reduced. I had a big shop with cement floor and big wood furnace and I just wouldn't spend evening time during the week out there because it took too long to heat up. With all the heavy steel in the equipment and the big cement slab, it was hard to get really warm out there. Now I spend 3 hours minimum every night in my shop.
Beware of dust explosions if you're using open flame torpedoes. Also never-never throw un-contained sawdust in a wood stove. You've heard of grain-elevators exploding and you'll get a quick lesson in why it happens of you just shovel loose sawdust into a wood stove.
Anyway - this pbbly doesn't help but thought I'd share my ideas.
jb
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