Most homeowners in America use their garages for much more than just to park their cars. Garages are a great place to store your tools, entertainment systems, or your gym equipment you told your wife you’d use every day but is left gathering dust and rust in the corner.
Whether you realize it or not, a garage is just like a basement; it requires proper care like dehumidifying, frequent cleaning, and heat management. Keeping your garage warm is important if you plan on spending time there during the wintry months. In this article, we’d like to focus on various systems you can install in your garage to keep it warm and toasty when snow falls in abundance. We’ll even throw in a few tips on how you can prevent cold air from blasting its way into your garage.
1. Install insulation
For the most part, installing brand-new insulation is the most affordable and comfortable way to keep your garage thoroughly heated during the wintertime. Insulating your garage is as simple as buying and fastening insulation foam, shooting silicone sealant around your garage’s windows, and weather stripping any doors that lead to the outdoors.
Of course, insulation using store-bought items isn’t the perfect solution for preventing cold from seeping in and heat from leaking out. These items are also not ideal for areas where temperatures often fall below freezing or where snowfall is measured in feet.
2. Use an electric space heater
Electric space heaters come in all sorts of sizes that offer different heating capabilities. If your garage is home to a small entertainment room, then you may just need a simple, portable unit to keep the room nice and warm during autumn and winter. There are even some models that can be mounted onto walls or on the ceiling to save floor space. No ventilation is required to circulate the heated air around your garage since, as long as you have the proper model, it should radiate enough heat to reach all corners.
There are a few downsides to relying solely on an electric space heater. The first of which is the amount of time it takes for the unit to heat an entire room properly. Additionally, without proper insulation, you might as well throw money out the window since chilled air from outdoors will find a way in.
3. Use a combustion space heater
Combustion space heaters sound more terrifying than they actually are. They can use one or several types of fuel sources to produce heat. These include kerosene and propane, and if you have access to both, you may want to consider buying a multi-fuel model that gives you the flexibility to utilize whichever type of fuel is cheaper when firing up the space heater.
These space heaters are much more effective at heating larger rooms than their electric counterparts, but they’re not without a few drawbacks. Some have equated the sounds resonating from a combustion space heater to that of a jet engine which is quite loud, to say the least. They also emit some pretty nasty odors since they burn kerosene and propane, and your garage needs to have perfect ventilation to expel any fumes. Plus, this type of heater introduces water vapor into the air which will create a whole range of different problems – rusting, mold growth, and general discomfort.
4. Install radiant heating
Perhaps the most efficient way of preventing cold air from bursting into your garage in the wintertime is by installing a radiant heating system. This system is placed under the floor of your garage and within its walls and/or ceilings. This is the most technologically advanced way of warming up your garage as it uses infrared radiation to heat your floors, walls, and ceilings rather than the air inside of your garage. Don’t worry; it’s completely safe and practically maintenance-free.
Due to it being safe and maintenance-free, purchasing and installing the system can cost you a pretty penny. One of the largest costs is tearing down the walls and floors of your garage in order to get the system in place. In addition to the outrageous investment cost, they may create a different problem in the future as moisture has been found to accumulate on surfaces where radiant heating systems are installed.
5. Install ductless heating/cooling
Another great system to maintain the ideal temperature during any time of the year is with a ductless heating/cooling system. Often referred to as a split system, a multi-split system, or a split-ductless system, this consists of an indoor, air-handling unit that’s connected to an outdoor compressor via a conduit. The entire system is powered by electricity, but modern models are mindful of electricity consumption so your electric bills shouldn’t spike too crazily.
The only downsides of a ductless heating/cooling system are that installing it is not the most DIY-friendly project, and it’s also not the best provider of heat during extreme winters. In most cases, even with this system in place, you’ll need a supplemental source of heat like a space heater to keep things warm and to your liking.
6. Choose the right materials for your garage
The construction materials used to build your garage play a huge role in how well your garage can deal with heat and cold. The most common material used to build the flooring and walls of a garage is concrete, which has been proven time and time again to be quite bad at insulating the room. Unfortunately, unless you want to do a whole makeover of your garage, you’re left with what you have for the time being.
The good news is that there are ways you can prevent heat from leaving and cold air from entering your garage. You can apply a sealant on the floors and walls which actually serves to prevent water from seeping through these surfaces, but they also work somewhat well at preventing cool air from making it through any microscopic cracks.
This guide explains the different available systems to maintain a livable, enjoyable temperature in your garage during the cold, harsh, wintry months. For most of you out there, you may only need a simple space heater to keep things warm and toasty, but people living in severely cold places in the world may need to implement more than one of these systems.
Before you tie hundreds or even thousands of dollars into one of these systems, you may need to hire a pro to give your garage a thorough checkup to see which of these heat management systems is right for you.