Shop heating

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Old 11-19-16, 09:49 AM
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Shop heating

We have a place in the mountains and our shop gets pretty cold in the winter, I have used electric space heaters but it becomes expensive if your outside much. The building the shop is in has a hot water heater in a closet and I am thinking about using the hot water as a heat source as it is always kept hot for the laundry and bathroom. Can I use something like an automotive heater/ radiator and pump?? water from the hot side of the heater through the heater core and return the water into the cold side. Anyway that is my thought to an affordable solution, the building is heavily insulated so when it warms up it lasts pretty well but it does get well below freezing in the evenings as it is at 7000 ft. Thanks for any ideas.
Bill
 
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Old 11-19-16, 11:21 AM
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First, you'd need a heat exchanger to keep the heating water separate from the domestic water. You'd need a circulator, a way to control it, and an expansion tank. Most water heaters aren't approved for space heating use, and may live a shortened life if used that way. Others have done it, a search on here might turn up some threads about it. Good luck, Steve
 
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Old 11-19-16, 11:40 AM
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Also is the fact that even if the water heater was turned up to 140 degrees witha tempering valve, that is barely enough to get any appreciable heat from any type of radiator
 
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Old 11-19-16, 11:55 AM
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Any fossil fuel available there ?
 
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Old 11-19-16, 03:08 PM
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I assume that your water heater is electric? If so, what is to be gained, economically, by substituting it for electric space heaters?
 
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Old 11-19-16, 04:05 PM
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Wow, 7000 sf is about 12 times the size of my modest shop. I would say multiple blower type hanging gas heaters would be the best option for a complete heating of the area. Just for an example: Mr. Heater Big Maxx™ Natural Gas Garage/Workshop Unit Heater — 80,000 BTU, Model# MHU80NG | Natural Gas Garage Heaters| Northern Tool + Equipment
 
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Old 11-19-16, 05:14 PM
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At 7000 ft above sea level, I doubt he has natural gas available?
 
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Old 11-19-16, 05:25 PM
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Duh, I was reading it as an area of the shop. Yeah, I agree at 7k feet you may not have much option in gaseous fuels.
 
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Old 11-20-16, 04:32 AM
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I used to have an all electric home and soon realized that despite being 100% efficient, there are only 3412 BTUs of heat in a Kilowatt Hour. I had a special rate for being all-electric and had a solar assist; but it was still expensive. I had a 20 KW Boiler to back up the Solar.

Even if you get to apply all of those KWHs to your application, with no waste, it's still going to be expensive . . . . but you can push the numbers:

How many BTUs do you need ?

Take the sum of BTUs divided by 3412.14 and then multiplied by your local electric rate per KWH and there you go.

Your Electric Company may assist you in making that calculation, and you probably need to upgrade to a 200 Ampere Service if you're not there already.

There is no Free Lunch !
 
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Old 11-20-16, 05:11 AM
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Is this a living space? Could you possibly use a portable Kerosene slandamander heater?
 
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Old 11-20-16, 05:38 AM
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I suggest getting a propane tank and installing a unit heater that hangs from the ceiling. Reznor is one popular brand.
 
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Old 11-20-16, 05:55 AM
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portable Kerosene slandamander heater
While those jobsite kerosene heaters are cheap and effective they do put fumes/odor into the space that can become offensive. IMO they are best used as a last resort or on a temporary basis.
 
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Old 11-20-16, 06:44 AM
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Another option might be a wood burning stove.
 
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Old 11-20-16, 07:21 AM
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Hey thanks everyone for the responses, our place in a mountain valley at 7000 ft and was built in the mid 40's as a fishing cabin. It has grown with time and owners and after we bought it we built a shop behind that turned out to be smaller than we thought it would. It was on propane originally but when we built the shop we added an electrical upgrade as well as natural gas as it was put in the street who knows when so both buildings have 220 and gas so thats not an issue, The shop is actually 2 smaller shops in a split level arrangement one being on a raised floor with access underneath and the other being a blacksmith shop with forge and power hammer and welders and it sits on the ground on a bed of crushed rock for fire safety. If the forge is running I am in a t shirt when it's 10 degrees out side but when it isn't it can get pretty cold so I wanted to generate a somewhat easy way to use existing assets one of which is a water heater which in a closet built just for it and it is used to wash the clothes and your hands so it has always been overkill by far hence my thoughts about using water as a heat source. I also have a heat exchanger I got from a college I was enrolled in, it is stainless and maybe 5 ft long or less and 1.5 feet high and it was never used. The school always had donations of materials and some shop gave him several of them so I scored one, It might have 1/2 inch tubing throughout its fins. I have been making stuff most of my life and this is just another otherwise goofy idea that came to mind. I was a hot rod builder after retirement and am starting one for my wife this month, after she retires we will move up there so I'm just trying to raise the comfort levels for us. There is also a separate room that is a lavatory, laundry and she built a counter that has all of mer sewing stuff in it and it has a through wall heater so that room is always toasty and of course it had a stereo and coffee pot etc so she runs off and can be found there. I guess what I was asking about was the feasibility of using the water heater as a source of heat via a radiator that I could turn a ball valve on and maybe a pump as well to warm the area to a comfortable working temperature. It has an upstairs/ loft that has a reading/ sleeping crawl space with a window and a main room with air hockey and entertainment etc for the grandkids. Again thanks, I enjoy ideas from others as mine arn't always perfect.
 
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Old 11-20-16, 07:59 AM
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There is no financial advantage to using the hot water heater over electric space heaters.
The cost of electricity is the same to heat hot water as it is to heat air.
In fact, the circulating pump could make the hot water tank a more expensive option.

If you already have a forge, insurance may not be a consideration and a wood burning furnace or heater could offer some savings.
 
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Old 11-20-16, 08:17 AM
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I got a little confused reading this thread.

It involves a Fishing Cottage located at Elevation 7000'; not a building of 7000 SF ?

Heating a 7000 SF area with a hot water heater would be quite a feat !

I've read that some people heat small efficiency apartments in New York City by having their Hot Water Heaters do double duty; but that is heating something more on the order of 700 SF; NOT 7000 SF. And those apartments also often suck heat from above, below and the sides, to help make that possible.

A 7000 SF Fishing Camp would be gigantic !
 
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Old 11-20-16, 08:48 AM
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Yes, perhaps I didn't explain things well enough, the shop isn't a large floor space so I tried to make it versatile so to speak, the upper half/ lower half is separated by a wall with a door way from the lower half where the forges and welding table are, the upper half is a carpenters shop so we do both. The water heater is in the upper area. All of the wood working tools are individually mounted to rolling frames so when I want a router I pull it out or a cut off saw or band saw etc etc so a piece of the ceiling mounted heating coil was to remove 2 heaters from the floor but it may work out or not, time will tell, I originally got the heat exchanger to make a cooler for my tig welder so I may still do that after doing the research. The idea just seemed kind of unique and that appeals to me.
 
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