Shop heater? Standalone (no power)

The Heretic

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I have a shop that is ~2K SF, partly insulated (walls have batt insulation up to about ten feet, above that not insulated - the roof isn't either IIRC), two large uninsulated vehicle doors (one for an RV), probably not airtight, concrete floor, two smallish windows.

This time of year it is pretty cold in the shop as it is not heated - most likely pretty close to outside temps although there don't seem to be any huge drafts. It would be nice to work out there in the winter.

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I would like a space heater that would take the edge off when I want/need to work in the shop. I would like to work out there in the winter, which I rarely do now because it is too cold, and rarely do in the summer because when the weather is nice I am out in my woods, not in the shop.

I would prefer the space heater be totally stand alone - i.e., not require any power - even though there is power in the shop. I could put a fan out there to move the air around, but I would like the space heater to work when there is no power, as that sometimes happens here, especially in the winter.

I was thinking of something along these lines:

Amazon.com: Mr Heater Mh200cv F270500 Portable Propane Convection Heater 75k-200k Btu: Kitchen & Dining

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Propane, no power needed, but then it doesn't move the heated air around either, except by convection, and in that shop, most of the heat would go up to the roof, where much of it would be lost IMO. I supposed I could put some reversible fans up in the rafters?

Yes, I could put a wood stove out there, but that would take much longer to heat the shop, and I want to be able to go out there and work for a while with little notice.

Thoughts?
 
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You do need 120v to run these.
We use a KBE5L commercially for construction temp heat.
They are not cheap, but they work exceedingly well and without nasty fumes.
They are diesel burners but they burn surprisingly clean.
There may be a smaller version that would work for you or you might find one used.
VAL6 Diesel Fueled Infra-Red Heater

Been the propane route....gives off too much moisture.
Salamanders.......hello fumes.
 
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With an un-insulated metal shop, stay away from propane unless you vent it. Otherwise you'll have the inside sweating like a pig, and risk CO poisoning.
A wood stove is your best bet, despite the time it may take to warm the place up. If you have the room I would consider a rocket-mass space heater too. Just put the mass under the workbench.
Youtube is your friend here.
 
If you don't want a solution that requires electricity, then it must be some sort of combustive solution - right? In which case, providing air to the wood or gas-fired heater, without losing the heated air would be a major consideration. Got nothing for you, but based on pictures you've shared previously of your property, a wood-fired stove would be my first choice.

But even before settling on a heat source, I'd be deciding how much space I needed for the work I had in mind. Section off a part of the building and insulate it very well. An interior door to the work area would be desirable, so you didn't have to figure out how to eliminate heat loss through the garage door. Concrete floors are cold, as well as being hard on dropped tools. Once you have sectioned off a workspace and insulated it, you could then give attention to the floor: lay down a vapor barrier, put down cedar sleepers on 4' centers with rigid foam insulation between them, and cover with plywood decking. [That's what I did in my half of the garage.]
 
OP
The Heretic

The Heretic

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With an un-insulated metal shop, stay away from propane unless you vent it. Otherwise you'll have the inside sweating like a pig, and risk CO poisoning.
A wood stove is your best bet, despite the time it may take to warm the place up. If you have the room I would consider a rocket-mass space heater too. Just put the mass under the workbench.
Youtube is your friend here.
Propane combustion does not produce CO, only CO2 and H2O

During the winter, the humidity outside is already 99% (measured on my weather station), so I doubt it would get any worse in a shop that isn't all that airtight to start with, but yes, I used to have cheap NG heat in apartments I would rent and it produced a lot of humidity.
 
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Concrete floors are cold, as well as being hard on dropped tools. Once you have sectioned off a workspace and insulated it, you could then give attention to the floor: lay down a vapor barrier, put down cedar sleepers on 4' centers with rigid foam insulation between them, and cover with plywood decking. [That's what I did in my half of the garage.]
Not if you build them right in the first place.
Thrmo brake slab with 6 mill minimum positive vapor 1/2 the distance of the sand thickness so to not cut it with the steel or wire, rigid insulation at the perimeter and six inches of sand below the concrete for the heat sink. Once the shop is warm you can shut the stove down and at the end of the day and stay warm almost all night with the residual heat saved in the slab.
Mine works perfect.
Silver Hand
 
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Propane combustion does not produce CO, only CO2 and H2O

During the winter, the humidity outside is already 99% (measured on my weather station), so I doubt it would get any worse in a shop that isn't all that airtight to start with, but yes, I used to have cheap NG heat in apartments I would rent and it produced a lot of humidity.
We build a lot of metal buildings.
It will literally rain on you with a propane space heater/metal building/weak insulation combination.
And if your builder didn't use thermal breaks to outside metal you will still have some condensation issues even with insulation.

With your situation and no power requirement, wood heat might be your best answer.
It will take more planning/time of course to get the building up to temp but you can adapt to that.
 
OP
The Heretic

The Heretic

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Just about any combustion device that is not working properly can produce carbon monoxide due to incomplete combustion, but generally propane devices that are working properly do not produce CO. This is why forklifts that are operated inside buildings are either propane or electric.

CO2 is not something that is to be sneezed at either (pun intended) and can kill you too. But in a shop like mine that isn't all that airtight, is large and has a high ceiling, I doubt I would have problems.

I probably have more danger from my wood stove in my house than from a propane heater in my shop, my house being much more airtight and the wood stove being much more likely to produce CO due to incomplete combustion of the wood (it has more than once set off the alarms when I was starting up a fire).

I don't intend to use this in my house, only in the shop.
 
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back to the op A propain patio heater and A wood stove is what I use, wood stove for residual heat and patio heater in the area I am working. after about an hour patio heater is turned off and wood stove continues to heat after 4 hrs inside temp is 60 and outside is 25. my shop is 36 x36 with osb then siding but no insulation.
 

Camelfilter

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? One of those made in Oregon gravity pellet stoves maybe ?

No electricity needed. Can have it made portable, so it can be a backup/tertiary heating system for the house.

Yah, would require a bit of planning to heat the shop, like fire it up the night before etc.

Would require a decent supply of consumables (pellets) to be worthwhile, or buy a pellet mill, and get into pellet making as a side business for your community.

With no roof insulation I doubt it would be warm in severe cold weather, but it probably would be comfortable enough. Honestly don't know though, but I'm sure they have documentation on the heat output of them.

Best bet, whatever you go with, would be to to insulate the roof. Would require less heat, and give you secondary living space should the need arise. Bonus if your shop is an outbuilding, gives you living space in case there's an issue with house, and you can't live in it for a bit.
 

CHLChris

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During these snowy days, my garage has gotten only as low as 35 or so, even on the coldest days, so maybe my experience won't speak to your situation, but here goes.

I spent a lot of time working on a reloading bench and I just used a Mr. Buddy propane heater with a couple of those little canisters. The fan part takes D batteries and 2 canisters only last an hour or two, but here's the big benefit: It was so light I cold just carry it with me as I moved from spot to spot, keeping me warm. After awhile my garage was warm enough, even with its open cracks all over that I didn't have to wear all of my cold gear.

I got it at BiMart for maybe $100 and the canisters I pick up every time I go grocery shopping at WinCo, $3 each. I also have an adapter hose I bought on Amazon to use a full-size propane canister, but I don't really want to trust those regulators indoors.
 

Nick Burkhardt

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The Mr Heater are like the Big Buddy heater, but larger kicking out 30,000 BTU per hour. I almost forgot the coupon codes:

Northern Tool Coupon Code 251092 Take an extra $20 off your purchase (including already discounted sale & clearance products) Or 250312 Take an extra $50 off your purchase of $250 or more. This code is valid on regularly priced products as well as already discounted sale products!
 

CHLChris

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I have a feeling that he doesn't have propane piped to his shop and probably doesn't have a huge tank out in the back. Otherwise he would have said something about that.
 

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