Jamie McGannon

Heating and Cooling pros and cons

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I'm looking into various heating options for my 2 car garage and would love to hear your opinions. The space is approximately 19x19 located in the North East. The house has natural gas so that would be the fuel source. I've read that forced hot air has a lot of moisture and not ideal for machined surfaces like our tool surfaces. The space currently is not insulated with exposed beams up to the ridge beam which is 16 feet from the ground. 

 

Any radiant tube heating experts?

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Jamie,

 

I went through this adventure last year as well. I ended up deciding on the Mitsubishi Split system. I t worked great through the winter and keeping it cool through the summer. They are not cheap but worth the expense.

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If you have a hydronic (hot water boiler) near that space, I am selling new heaters for a fair price that would work fine in that space. You would need to run a 3/4" supply and return loop from the boiler and a 110v 20A wire to the heater for the fan. It has a built in thermostat. 

 

It would be very cost effective because it will use the residual heat from your boiler. The fan doesn't use much electricity at all.

 

I live in NJ near you, if you want to see one of the heaters.

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Thanks, Janello but I think I am leaning towards the mini split direction. This seems to be the most cost effective means and an added bonus is that these units also provide cooling in the summer. 

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Jamie,

 

I went through this adventure last year as well. I ended up deciding on the Mitsubishi Split system. I t worked great through the winter and keeping it cool through the summer. They are not cheap but worth the expense.

What is the square footage of your shop, croessler? Being in FL did you install mainly for the cooling or heating capability of the mini split?

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JamieM

 

 

Over the years I have installed hundreds of the  hydronic  units  with great success, Having said that, I installed ductless splits in my shop.  

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Thanks, Janello but I think I am leaning towards the mini split direction. This seems to be the most cost effective means and an added bonus is that these units also provide cooling in the summer. 

 

Can't say I blame ya there. It's what I will be putting in my shop as well. 

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I wouldn't say I'm an expert on radiant tube heaters but I did install one in my shop.  I have a 30 X50 (12 side walls) metal building with spray foam insulation.  I kind of made a "stupid" when I ordered my radiant tube heater.  I must not have been thinking clearly when I ordered the 40' heater.  As I was installing it I realized that part of it was going to be above my 16X10 overhead door when open.  I got away with it by installing a limit switch in the thermostat circuit (low voltage), so that when I opened the overhead door it would shut the heater off.  This prevents the heater from scorching the door if opened while it is running.  There is not enough residual heat to damage the door in any way.

 

I am 100% satisfied with my heater.  I keep it at 450 when not in there and bump it up to about 60-650 when I go in to do any work.  Sometimes I wish that I had air conditioning and may install that someday.  One good thing about the heater is that there is only a small fan on it that pushes the combustion gases/heat through the tube.  That cuts down on noise and I don't have filters to worry about changing.  I don't have any dust collection yet so this helps. It has such a nice even heat without all the air movement.  It actually warms all of the objects radiantly and those in turn help to heat the air in the shop.

 

Hope this helps a little.

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Jamie,

 

I moved from Chatham NJ a little over a year ago and was in the same situation.  I used a ventless gas heater in an uninsulated 2 car garage.  Probably contributed to the rust problem on my tools.  I have heard good things about the vented NG heaters and infrared.  However, in North Carolina I went the route of a Mitsubishi Mini Split sized for a 3 car garage.  The garage is always at the perfect temperature.  And to gain some efficiency I insulated the walls and ceiling.  Plus checked to see that I had insulated garage doors.

 

Good Luck

 

Clarke 

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I have a mini split but it ain't installed yet. I have done hvac for a living for 12 years and it was my first choice for my well insulated garage space

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I have a mini split but it ain't installed yet. I have done hvac for a living for 12 years and it was my first choice for my well insulated garage space

 Safe to assume you're installing yourself? I've received quotes in my area that are more than double the retail cost of the unit itself. I understand that it generally only takes a few hours to install these. In your opinion, is this something a DIYer can tackle? I can easily do the wiring myself and from what I can see through YouTube videos the install seems very simply. I'm trying to understand how guys can charge 6k for a 18k BTU unit?

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4-5 years ago I bought a natural gas overhead garage heater. Modine Hot Dawg. Cost around $1500 installed by local HVAC guy. Add a window air conditioner for $200-$500 depending on garage size, and you are set for all seasons. Not really sure what one of those split systems cost, they look pricey.

I would spend as little as reasonably possible, just enough to make the shop habitable year around.

Josh

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I have a house that is approaching 100. We had spray foam put in the rest of the house in 2006. Made a world of difference just the next winter. Cut out bills in half. We put a geothermal system into the house the next year. This cut our bills in half again. From savings we are just about to pay for the upgrades. Our bill were ~$450-500 a month that first year. We are now averaging ~$140 a month.  

 

I had relied on heat coming out the attic door to warm the shop or lighting a fire in a wood stove that we moved from the house into the garage for heat. Both worked but I don't like the dust from the shop to get back into the house. And I no longer have a place to store a winter's worth of firewood. And I now want some kind of climate control to protect the tools in my shop. 

 

I am going to have spray foam added to the garage/shop roof and walls this next week. The same guy that did our original work is going to add hydronic base board units to each of the walls of the garage/shop. He says that he will have to put a hole into the house for the supply line and return loop. He says that we have enough capacity in our well to add the shop so we will have  little increase to our bills. 

 

The bonus is that I get a/c because we reverse out system in the summer  thus get radiant cooling. He says that I will have to run a dehumidifier in the summer to prevent condensation problems. We have between the joist in floor system in the house and it does a great job. This will be the first time we have used the base board systems. His first suggestion had been to pour a new garage floor with in floor system. Sorry you are too late to do that.

 

If I had not already had a geothermal system, I would looked at he mini system for my space. How much power do they use? 

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 $3,600 to install a 2.5 ton mini split in NC, less some rebates from the local utility (approx $350) and a tax credit from Uncle Sam (well see).  Plus the cost of an electrician to wire the appropriate receptacle, approx $150.

 

As far as DIY installation, it depends on how complicated of an installation you require.  Mine required some effort by the contractor to snake the line through the walls, down into the crawl space and out through the foundation wall to where the outside unit would reside.  It sits on a concrete block.  The inside unit hangs on the garage wall.  He damaged some of the sheetrock on the garage wall which I attribute to the difficulty of feeding the stiff lines through tight places.  He came back a number of times to repair the damage.  

 

Looks and runs great.  The only other thing I would do is buy better insulated garage doors, but in NC it is not a big deal.   

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Just out of curiosity, how many of the members have a Home Energy Score (US)/Energy Performance Certificate (UK) and how accurate do you find their predictions on your energy consumption?

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We have solar panels and a geothermal unit so we get a bonus from our state. I pay a flat $140 a month for my electric and gas through the program. After a number of year when my solar panels have paid for themselves I will get some money of maybe even a bit back each month. 

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