I have to point out that the above is utter nonsense. It ain't right,
it ain't wrong. It's a *meaningless* assertation -- too many 'critical
details' left unstated.
How much of a temperature differential between inside the cabinet, and
outside of it, is a function of the thermal transmission characteristics of
the cabinet (i.e. the 'insulation').
_What_ the inside temperature will be is thus a function of both the
transmission characteristics (insulation), *and* the 'outside' temperature.
In "Northern" climes, in a poorly-insulated, free-standing outbuilding, with
even R-19 insulation(say), on the cabinet itself, 100 watts is *not* at all
likely to be adequate under severe conditions. Ditto for an unheated
In extreme environments, I've known folks to use an upright freezer, with
_several_ hundred watts of heating in it. Usually in the form of several
'banks', each of which kick on at slightly lower 'inside' temperatures.
Of course -20 F isn't extreme, nor is 46 20 north, but a 60 watt bulb keeps
the 1/4 hose to the pressure switch on my pump from freezing inside an
uninsulated, unheated shed if I put a tarp over the pump. If it burns out -
hair dryer time.
Oil-based finishes can suffer coagulation in freezing temperatures, too.
Only things in the garage at my house are a spare 5 gallons of diesel and
gas for the snowblower.
Probably depends on where you live. I live in central Texas and have an
unheated garage that is 9x19. I have 3 100 watt light bulbs that heat the
entire shop on most winter days.
For the cold nights, I turn on one of those electric radiators that has a
"no freeze" thermostat setting. It seems relatively safe and keeps the shop
above 40 degrees without much trouble.
This is only the second year that my shop is heated 24/7...although I
only keep it set at 45 degrees ...until I actually walk in the
door...Still evaluating the costs however....Last winter the bill was
about 160 bucks for the winter...not that bad. in my opinion
Prior to that...the last 25 years or so it was completely unheated
until I walked in the door and fired up the Ready heater...smelly
noisy Kero type...
BUT I really never had a problem... rust from condensation being the
biggest problem..especially on stored band saw blades...
I kept my glue etc inside a wall mounted cabinet that I had installed
a single 25 watt light bulb inside ...kept it warm enough so the glue
would not freeze...
One other thing that I always worry about is the cords and plastic
casings on cheaper tools. If you've got a rubber cord, it stays
pliable, but when I was moving the weekend before last, my power
strips were so stiff that I could hold them straight out by the end of
the plug, and some of my less expensive tools were having the same
issues. I was very careful packing them, so there wasn't a problem,
but I imagine that if I had tried to use any of them, those cords
would've cracked right open. I also lost a plastic knob on my router
when I set it on the tablesaw- dang thing was so cold that it cracked
right off. While the temp was pretty extreme (-25f), it still would
make a me a little leery of using my tools until they were warmed up
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