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Tips on Heating Your Garage

Many people use their garage for multiple purposes. The winters in the middle Tennessee area, including Nashville, can be cold and, unless the garage is heated, the work space it represents becomes unusable. This issue can be resolved by installing a heater. This discussion is focused on natural (or LP) gas heaters.


The garage should be insulated, otherwise the heating system will be ineffectual, and the money invested in it will be wasted. The walls should have four inches of insulation; the ceiling should have six inches of insulation; and the garage door should be insulated.

Heating System Choices

There are two types of natural (or liquid propane – LP) gas heaters that can be considered: 1. A forced-air heater that mimics a conventional furnace. 2. A low intensity infrared heater that radiates heat. Do not use a high intensity infrared heater (they glow ‘red’) as they are not suitable for residential use – their ratings are for commercial use only.

They each have pluses and minuses. A few facts to help in your decision:

  • A forced air heater will be about half, perhaps a little more, of the cost of the infrared heater; it is less expensive in up-front cost.
  • An infrared heater is normally less costly to operate. It is cheaper over time. How often you use the heater affects the economics.
  • A forced air heater will stir up dust and sawdust. This could be a disadvantage if the garage is used for staining and painting, such as you might do in a woodworking environment.
  • It will take longer to feel warm with an infrared heater as it heats objects before it heats the air. As the concrete floor and your drywall warm. You will feel more comfortable as the heat is uniform.
  • A forced air heater warms the garage more quickly, but the air will be warmer at the ceiling and cooler at your feet – it heats the air.
  • You should not stand close (less than four or five feet) to the infrared heater. It is very warm close in.
  • If the garage door is opened and closed, it will take longer to heat the garage back up with a forced air heater – it heats the air.

Understand the Installation Requirements

Understand the installation for whichever system you choose as they are different. Infrared heaters should be seven feet about the floor and four inches below the ceiling. Do not have objects directly under the heater. A forced air heater does not as stringent set of requirements. Ventilation is required for both. Please follow the manufacturer’s instructions or have a certified technician perform the installation.

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