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How to Heat a Garage Efficiently – 5 Best Ways

Key Takeaways

  • Radiant heat panels and radiant underfloor heating systems are the best options for heating a garage.
  • Portable electric heaters are the cheapest option, though not the most effective.
  • Heating a garage without electricity can be achieved with propane heaters and wood or pellet-burning stoves.

How to Heat a Garage - Identifying Priorities

Heating a garage seems like a fairly simple proposition. But different homeowners have different needs. 

Where one person wants to know the cheapest way to heat a garage, or even how to heat a garage for free, others need to know the most efficient way to heat a garage or the best way to heat an uninsulated garage.

Below we examine some of the most common scenarios before moving on to identify the best methods and types of heaters to heat a garage efficiently.

The 5 Best Ways to Heat a Garage

Radiant Heat Panels: Top Pick

radiant heat panels
These devices work by emitting far infrared radiation, heating objects and people directly instead of the air.  This method offers a more consistent and efficient heating experience than forced air systems or electric space heaters, particularly useful in larger or detached garages. These panels work at cooler temperatures yet effectively disperse warmth, leading to less energy use.

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Portable Space Heaters

portable space heaters

For those wondering about ways to heat a garage without major installations, portable space heaters are an accessible choice. They come in various types, including electric and propane. 

Being portable, they allow for flexibility in placement, and come in a variety of types, including electric, ceramic, and oil-filled.

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Ductless Mini-Split Systems

Ductless Mini-Split Systems

These are compact heating (and cooling) units that can be mounted on walls. They don’t require ducts, making them perfect for spaces like garages.

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Radiant In-Floor Heating

Radiant In-Floor Heating

When it comes to a seamless integration of heating technology, underfloor radiant heating stands out as a popular choice. 

Using either electric elements/cables or tubes of hot water beneath the flooring, this system radiates heat upward, warming the entire space efficiently.

It is the most expensive option on our list, but potentially the most effective.

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Convection Heaters

convection heaters

These heaters warm the air, which then circulates throughout the garage. 

Available in both wall-mounted designs and portable, free-standing units, convection heaters are versatile and can be suited to various garage sizes and layouts.

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The Best Way to Heat an Uninsulated Garage

Beyond identifying the kinds of heaters most suitable for heating garages, the best way to ensure your garage is warm is to add proper insulation. 

Proper insulation is crucial for maintaining a comfortable temperature in a garage. Here are the primary ways to insulate a garage:

Fiberglass Batt Insulation

  • This is one of the most common types of insulation used in homes and garages. It comes in rolls or pre-cut panels.
  • It fits between the studs in walls and under the rafters of ceilings.
  • It’s relatively easy to install and can be covered with drywall or plywood for a finished look.

Rigid Foam Board Insulation

  • These are large sheets of foam that can be cut to fit the size of your garage walls or ceiling.
  • They are excellent for insulating without taking up a lot of space, as they can be thinner than batt insulation for the same R-value (a measure of insulation’s effectiveness).
  • Common materials include expanded polystyrene (EPS), extruded polystyrene (XPS), and polyisocyanurate.

Spray Foam Insulation

  • This insulation expands upon application, filling gaps, cracks, and voids. It provides an airtight seal.
  • It’s more expensive than some other methods but can be more effective at insulating and air sealing.
  • There are two types: open-cell (softer and less dense) and closed-cell (denser and more rigid).

Reflective or Radiant Barrier Insulation

  • This type of insulation is typically in the form of shiny foil rolls or sheets.
  • It reflects radiant heat, making it especially useful in hot climates where heat from the sun is a concern.

Cellulose Insulation

  • Made from recycled paper products, it’s environmentally friendly.
  • It’s typically blown into walls or ceilings using special equipment. It’s excellent for filling all nooks and crannies, especially in older garages that might have irregular framing.

Garage Door Insulation

  • This can be done using kits that fit within each section of the garage door.
  • Kits can include rigid foam panels, fiberglass, or even reflective barriers.
  • Insulating the garage door is crucial since it’s often the largest surface area and can be a significant source of heat loss.

Weatherstripping

  • While not insulation in the traditional sense, weatherstripping around the garage door and windows prevents drafts and helps retain heat.
  • It’s an essential complement to other insulation methods.

Insulated Flooring

  • Especially if you’re converting the garage into a livable space, insulated floor tiles, carpeting or mats can make a noticeable difference in comfort.
  • These act as a barrier between the cold ground and the garage interior.

How to Heat a Garage without Electricity

Heating a garage without electricity can be a bit challenging, but there are ways:

  1. Propane Heaters: Portable propane heaters can efficiently heat a space without needing an electrical connection. Ensure proper ventilation and follow safety precautions.
  2. Solar Heaters: These utilize the sun’s energy to warm the space. They can be DIY projects involving black-painted cans or commercial solar heating panels.
  3. Wood Burning Stove: If installed safely, a wood stove can provide significant warmth. Ensure you have a proper chimney and ventilation system to handle the smoke.
  4. Thermal Mass: Items like water containers or large stones can absorb heat during the day (from the sun or other heat sources) and radiate it back during colder times.

FAQs

Where do garages lose the most heat?

Garages primarily lose heat through:
  • Doors and Windows: Especially if there are gaps, cracks, or they’re not well-insulated.
  • Walls and Ceiling: Heat escapes from uninsulated or poorly insulated areas.
  • Floor: Concrete floors can absorb heat, making the space colder.
  • Ventilation & Gaps: Vents, along with any structural cracks or gaps, can let out warm air.
  • Roof: Poorly insulated or damaged roofs contribute to heat loss.
  • Connection to the House: The joint between an attached garage and the main house can be a heat escape point.

What is the best way to heat a 1200 sq ft garage?

Opt for radiant in-floor heating. It offers even warmth, efficient heating, operates silently, and needs minimal upkeep, making it a top choice for larger garages..

What is the cheapest way to heat a garage?

The most cost-effective method to heat a garage is often through insulation and sealing gaps first, as this reduces the amount of heat required. 

Once that’s done, portable electric heaters have the lowest initial cost outlay.

Ending on a Warm Note

Finding the most efficient way to heat a garage hinges on understanding your space’s specific needs and combining various methods for optimal results. 

Whether you’re looking for a free solution, like sealing gaps, or are ready to invest in a more permanent heating system, there’s an option suitable for every garage.

If you are looking to upgrade the heating in your garage take a look at our market leading radiant heaters or consider our radiant in-floor heating systems for larger garage spaces, and don’t hesitate to contact us for a free quote.