winter in attached garage


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Old 10-07-22, 08:25 AM
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winter in attached garage

I have an attached garage that gets awfully cold in the northern MN winter. It has a radiator with blower that runs off of my wood boiler, but, at least in the garage's current condition, it doesn't make economic sense to have it running except when I'm working in there. Running it otherwise would be a huge waste of energy.

It's 2x4 construction so only has 3.5" insulation in the walls. There is currently no insulation in the ceiling between the garage and the unfinished room above, but its being filled with blown insulation next week. I believe that is 2x6 up there.

Other than the obvious, like weatherstripping the doors, what can I do to increase the comfort in the garage in winter? Oh, and I'm poor so money is very much an issue. I suppose with the new insulation it will be nice and warm 8 feet above my head, lol. But the floor area will still be very cold, and that's where I am. I suppose I can mount a fan near the ceiling to blow some of that warm air down which might help a bit. I don't think I can afford a new insulated overhead door. TBH I'm not even sure if my current door is insulated, so it might be.

Just looking for ideas that aren't too expensive. I'd like to work comfortably in there in the winter
 
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Old 10-07-22, 09:04 AM
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Is the garage door insulated? If not that is a HUGE heat looser. You could get sheets of rigid foam insulation and cut into pieces to fit each panel of your door.
 
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Old 10-07-22, 09:30 AM
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Having the ceiling insulated will make a big improvement, greatest heat loss is up.

They make kits for the doors but it's easy to just buy some sheets of extruded foam and cut to fit in the sections.
 
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Old 10-07-22, 11:49 AM
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You might look into carpet for the floor and a portable radiant heater for the area you will be working.
 
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Old 10-07-22, 12:09 PM
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Electric heaters are fairly inexpensive.

Example

The expensive part is the electrician, assuming you don't have a 220 outlet.

Otherwise I'd just keep a portable heater plugged in out there to keep the room +32F. Get one with a thermostat so that it only runs when needed. When you're going to be out there, kick it up a few hours ahead of time.
 
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Old 10-07-22, 02:56 PM
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I drilled a tiny hole in the door and white stuff came out so that must be insulation. It may just be styrofoam, if that's possible. I can't imagine it does much, so it may be worth adding some panels on the inside.

I (almost) always leave the radiator valve cracked a tiny bit to make sure the radiator doesn't freeze when it gets down below 20 degrees or so outside. But the garage doesn't get very warm from just that. I need at least 20 more degrees to work comfortably, and 30 would be much better.

I'm thinking of covering my service door (which has 3 windows) with a big slab of foam where the missing storm door should be, but isn't. Also maybe cover the block foundation exterior with foam.

I'd love to put down carpet but that doesn't go well with melting snow from car tires. My slab is in dreadful shape but that's another can of worms I can't afford to fix now.

Electric heaters aren't expensive, but electricity is! I wonder how effective a fan to bring warm air down from the ceiling would be, and what the best spot and orientation would be for mounting it. I'm just thinking of a regular box fan or other house fan, not a true ceiling fan. It would be too difficult to put in the center but maybe in one of the upper corners on the (warmer) wall that adjoins the house.
 
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Old 10-07-22, 03:49 PM
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Being in Northern MN I'm sure you know how wind chill works. So moving a lot of air at 50F may feel a bit chilly. But just as an idea, Harbor freight has a 8" inline fan that you can connect flex duct to. You "could" mount it halfway up on a wall and pull warm air from the ceiling down, and duct it to the floor. That way at least you'd be mixing the air, which would make sense.

The other simple idea that doesn't involve any extra cost, (other than your utility bill) is just open up the door from the house when you're working out there and blow some of the heat from the house out there. Not ideal but it makes sense if you're cold.
 
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Old 10-07-22, 05:06 PM
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I think what I want is more efficiency in the garage, and not necessarily more heat. The boiler heater actually works pretty well, if I run it for an hour the air above my waist is almost comfortable. But half of the garage is above my head, and half of me is below my waist, and all of me is down there if I have to work under a car or something. I don't think bringing air in from the house is going to be an efficient answer, because I'm going to have to replace that heat. I think bringing warm air down is key, and I like the ducted fan idea. In fact a couple of them ducted to blow warm ceiling air down along the floor might really help. It doesn't look like HF sells the one you are thinking of anymore but other places do.
 
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Old 10-07-22, 05:46 PM
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This is the fan... can't find the link for the flexible duct.
 
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Old 10-08-22, 06:38 AM
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I was looking at that but it doesn't seem to be for inline use. Found this cheapie which has lower cfm
but I I'm not sure I need a lot of power. I just want to move air, not blow dirt around.

https://www.amazon.com/iPower-Inline.../dp/B08DR97MX7
 
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Old 10-08-22, 06:45 AM
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Just get a small box/window fan if you want to move some air!
 
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Old 10-08-22, 07:15 AM
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It is, they sell (or use to sell) the duct to go on one or both sides. I wouldn't have brought it up otherwise.
 
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Old 10-08-22, 08:51 PM
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Just get a small box/window fan if you want to move some air!

Well the best method to move the air to achieve my goal remains to be seen. I'm open to all ideas and may have to test a couple. A I already have a box fan so that's free but directing air to a certain location without creating a generalized wind effect sounds good too. My boiler heater only blows up, so that doesn't help either but might be redirected
 
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Old 10-18-22, 11:21 AM
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There's 9 inches of blown cellulose in the ceiling now. Can't wait to see if it makes a noticeable difference.
 
 

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