Workshop Heating

My workshop is in a detached brick built double garage 20' square with
a pitched roof. The two up & over doors are blocked off (one is
sealed with foam sealer and the other has a polystyrene lined
hardboard skinned pannel in front of it). Most of the walls are
polystyrene/chipboard lined. At the moment the temperature is about 5
degrees (just to cold for comfortable working). When I want to work
in there I use a small fan heater to lift the temperature a few
degrees -8 degrees seems OK to work in. I run a dehumidyfer, but at
these low temperatures it is obviously of little use.
Given the size of the workshop, would one of the small "greenhouse"
type of electric heater have any impact. It would be nice to keep it
a couple of degrees warmer -so it takes less time to get to a working
temperature, and to minimise condensation risks (not that I have a
problem at the moment, but I do have nightmares about damp!). If I
were to use one of these what size would it need to be to have an
impact. I'm looking at leavign this on all the time, so if it needs
to be too large a wattage it will obviously not be practical (I need
to be able to pay the electric bill!).
Regards
Kevin
Reply to
Kevin Steele
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I use a paraffin space heater in mine (jet engine type) 130,000 btu........the secret is to heat it 24/7. I have the space heater on a thermostat.....this I wired into its mains supply.. I have it set at about 17 degrees. I have no problem with condensation at all ...a little bit on the windows... not much.......as all the machines ,walls and air after a few days running equalise in temp. I have a small vent at each apex to bleed off a tiny proportion of the hottest air which contains nearly all the moisture. running this way over the last two weeks (cold spell) it has used an average of 1 gallon a day.............paraffin in bulk costs about =A31.40 a gallon. My workshop is about 25 by 25 with an insulated roof but solid concrete walls and single glazing . During the coldest days a few days ago it was on for eight Min's every hour . when you first turn it on for the first time,for three days you will have bad condensation problems .but after that ...when every thing begins to heat up ..........it's great .....no trouble. Think doing the same with any other bought fuel would be mega expensive. It may put a gallon of moisture into the air with every gallon burned....but all I can say is I've not noticed it ........I have a humidity gauge on the wall that reads a constant 55 % moisture level . the up and downs in temp with this set up are 15-25 degrees when run. (thermometer is on a wall that is away from the blast)........the 25 degees quickly disperses and gets the workshop to a Nice 17 degrees when the heater switches off. all the best....mark
Reply to
mark
I have a workshop / garage 20' x 40', I have a fan heater on a thermostat set to cut in at about 0 C, this stops the pipes freezing. I have a vent 250 x 150 mm at each end, and I have not sealed the garage doors though I have fitted a 'skirt' to stop rain splashing in under the bottom. I put the thermostat up to 10 C when I'm working. I have had no damp problems. The way to keep damp at bay is to keep water out, this includes not running fuel burning heaters that do not exhaust out side, and letting hot ( and thus moisture bearing ) air out...
I have a de humidifier, but it's useless below about 5C.
Reply to
Jonathan Barnes
Any kind of background heating is going to be lost if the insulation and heat retention of the place are not up to scratch.
If you can reduce heat loss then almost any small electric radiator would keep it at a low level at a small cost.
When we moved into our new factory back in 1982/3 winter, we had to have a big gas power blower heater to keep it at all comfortable, and we used a couple of 56kg cylinders a week.
We then spent £2k on a suspended ceiling and partitioned off the stores area from the offices, and now we have a couple of 6kW GEC wall-mounted fan heaters that we run in the winter, probably one continuously and the other internittently, and that keep nearly all of the 900sq ft at a nice temperature. They are both on timers and come on at 6am so the factory is warmed up before staff arrive. One goes off at 10am and the other stays running on cold days.
The key was the ceiling, it kept any heat down where it could be felt. We didn't insulate the ceiling, it's just a standard micafil type ceiling board, about 1/2" thick. If we added insulation it would probably improve things even more.
I'd be inclined to get your pitched roof sealed off so you can retain heat at your level first, that will help a lot.
Peter -- Peter & Rita Forbes Email: snipped-for-privacy@easynet.co.uk Web:
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Reply to
Peter A Forbes
My workshop is a similar area to yours, well insulated apart from the draughty double doors and the concrete floor. I run a dehumidifier most of the time, it does contribute a small amount of warmth even when things are too cold for it to do its main job. I have two old 1kW industrial 'space heaters' bolted to the walls, just a simple convector heater probably similar to a greenhouse heater, one of these is often enough to take the chill off, the second gets used when things get a bit colder, and for seriously cold weather I have a portable ceramic element infra-red radiant heater which is very good for local heating. That one didn't come out at all last winter, I have a feeling it might do this time, though!
One of my 'space heaters' was in my un-insulated attic bedroom over 40 years ago, if I forgot to turn it off I was likely to get my pocket money docked :-( I have to confess that these days I sometimes leave it on all day or night if the weather is very cold, I only have myself to answer to over the electricity bill
Cheers Tim
Dutton Dry-Dock Traditional & Modern canal craft repairs Vintage diesel engine service
Reply to
Tim Leech
Setting fire to a couple of health & safety inspectors might do the trick ;-)
Regards, Tony
Reply to
Tony Jeffree
As I understand it, you need to keep the temperature in the worksho
fairly constant. It's no good if during the day you keep it warm an let it go too cold overnight because the moisture in the warm air fro the day just condenses out on the cold metal overnight. Again I'm no sure but I think greenhouse parafin heaters also promote moisture i the air but I can't remember why (byproduct of what they'r combusting?). A dry heat like that coming from an electric fire or central heating radiator are the ideal solution. If there i condensation on your machines in the morning, wipe it off with pape towel before putting the heater on. Either that or cover the machine in some old cloth or paper towels to absorb any condensation when yo go in at night (and of course, keep the machine surfaces oiled)
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Reply to
DX-SFX
--Getcher self a copy of the latest edition of Fine Woodworking; there's a comparison of various heating methods for shops.
Reply to
steamer
Good points here. Combustion leads to water and carbon dioxide when burning most things - gas, oil, paraffin etc. Warm air can take up a lot more moisture than cold. And big lumps of metal take a lot more time to warm up and cool down than air. You need to avoid warm moist air and a cold lump of metal, cold air and warm metal is fine.
So a constant temperature sounds good, that keeps metal and air both warm - so you might not get condensation on the tools even using a combustion heater. But if you let everything go cold overnight, then warm up the air with a combustion source, then the cold metal on your tools can condense water out - just the same way your glasses mist up when you walk into a warm pub on a cold night. So if you are going to let things go cold overnight, then use a dry heat to warm the air when you are in there - e.g. from a radiator or electrical. If its a very small shed your own breath may still make the humidity go up enough to cause some condensation - as will your kettle.
24 hour heat also means unattended heating - so it had better be super safe.
On the other hand using cold tools make you feel chilly too, and 24 hour heating does at least keep them warm-ish.
I think dry background heat 24hrs to keep the chill off, and electrical warm air or radiant heater if you feel its still too nippy when you are in there. I don't like the idea of an unattended combustion heater in my workshop.
Reply to
Steve
Sorry, I should have been more specific. When I said "greenhouse heaters" I meant something like this
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Not the parafin ones. Due to the problems already mentioned by others I wouldn't use any form of combustion heating in the workshop.
Regards
Kevin
Reply to
Kevin Steele
Exactly. I believe most of the oxidation (rust) happens as the wate evaporates off which is why drying the machine with a paper towel i preferable to letting the hot air do it when you first put the heate on. It's also why you shouldn't put away a wet car in a warm garage Keeping the lathe's temperature above the dew point of the atmospher at all times is the ideal scenario
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Reply to
DX-SFX
Your going to need ten 180 watt ones in a 20 by 20 BUILDING to keep it at a nice temperature .that equals 1800 watts that's 43 units every 24 hours in cold spells, if it was ten pence a unit that would be =A34.30 a day !!! =A330 a week !! and thats a low guesstimate you may need more. if your afraid of naked flames and combustion .why not just install an oil fired central heating boiler outside in an outhouse ........and have heaters running off it .........this would probably workout nice...about the same as what I'm paying. or pipe the Central heating over to the workshop before i insulated the roof of my place i worked out that it needed a constant 4000 watts of electricity to keep the place at 17 degrees by running a few fan heaters in there with outside temps of below 5 degrees. I've done a bit of research into this ..my answers are based on that .=2E.im not making anything up. waste oil heating is the cheapest solution.........I'm working on this .=2E........well I would be if i didn't keep getting diverted onto other projects.............sort of .miniature version of the thermobile because their smallest one is to big. all the best........mark
Reply to
mark
Does that mean that the best strategy is to heat the machines directly (with heating tape, sump heaters, whatever) rather than trying to keep all the air in the workshop warm and dry ?
-adrian
Reply to
Adrian Godwin
.=2E. Because paraffin produces copious amounts of water vapour as a byproduct of combustion... far more than other fuels. Paraffin is the 'last' thing you want to use to heat a workshop.
But all of this is like dejavue to me.... I have been 'off-line' from the model engineering groups for some time (about 2-3 years) until fairly recently ... and one of the last threads I recall (from the then group I subscribed to) was exactly on this perennial subject.
There is another thing you can do to help with keeping rust off the machinery. Make them some 'cosies' ... .=2E.(as in the old tea-cosy ... seriously).
We had a small division of the company I used to own which made industrial covers for machinery. We supplied them with moisture trap pockets inside (basically a number of small bags sewn on the inside which contained a kilo or three of Silica Gel). Originally these were developed for temporary external storage covers for sensitive or delicate items (where for whatever reason the item couldn't be got under cover for a week or two). I had some of our covers made for my own workshop equipment and they performed brilliantly. We used to bespoke make them for folks, but haven't done for some time. We also made large versions for Caravan storage. If you want to make them up yourself all you need is a nice new (cheap) tarpaulin large enough to completely cover your lathe/miller etc (with spare space), a set of measurements for your machine, a wife/friend/colleague/Mum with a robust sewing machine (the old Singer Treadles are perfect as they will stitch just about anything ), 2 or 3 kilos of Silica Gel (probably the hardest thing to get in this quantity as it tends to come in industrial quantitites of at least 50kgs), some of the ripstop nylon netting they make Koi/Tropical fish nets from, and a bit of nylon rope to use as a 'drawstring'. Make the pattern ... cut out your tarpaulin fabric ... 'double' stitch it together ... have the bottom hemmed to incorporate the 'drawstring' .=2E. stitch the net bags inside regularly spaced (best if they don't actually touch the 'sensitive' bedways but are held just above)... then cover the machine immediately you have finished using it and whilst it is still warm, tuck it all in nicely to keep it 'cosy' and drawup your drawstring. Make sure the Cosy reaches to the floor or within an inch or so of it. It won't completely kill the need for trace heating in all circumstances, but my old Harrison has been wearing it's cosy for 6 years now in an unheated workshop and the beds are exactly as they were when I started. Not a sign of rust and that included an 18 month period of zero use whilst I concentrated on the fine work with the watchmakers lathe. By comparison I bought a Bridgeport 2 years ago and put it in the same workshop and (for lack of time in having a proper cosy made) simply covered it with an old bit of carpet and a sheet ... BIG mistake... within weeks I had severe rust on the table. Should have taken my own advice ... but got lazy.
You need to take the Silica and dry it out every now and again... But if the machine isn't being used (as in my case for 18 months) the Silica will continue to work for months/years(?) Whenever you start to see pink or blue spots appearing (depending upon which type of Silica you get ... look in Yellow Pages for Chemical Supplies ... if anyone gets stuck I might be able to help with supplying some). By covering up the machine whilst warm with a non-porous material you are effectively creating it's own little micro-climate... reducing the temperature gradient, as the ret of the workshop cools, and the Silica draws moisture from the atmoshere reducing the humidity inside the cover. Both elements reduce the likelihood of condensate forming on the machine itself. Someone will say that it isn't foolproof... (which I don't claim it to be) ... but it does help greatly. Cost ? ... about =A340 all in for something the size to cover a lathe the size of the Harrison, or about =A350 for a Bridgeport, or if you have to pay soeone to make it for you about double that price would be fair (there's some heavy sewing involved... be prepared to bribe 'SWMBO').
Hope this gives some 'food for thought' =20
Ian
Reply to
ticktock
In message , Adrian Godwin writes
If, for one reason or other, it is impractical to keep the whole space at the desired level of temperature and humidity, then why not?
For a few years my lathe survived very well in a damp and unheated shed while covered with an old army blanket plus a large old candlewick bedspread that draped down to the floor. Under the lathe, on the floor and permanently lit, was 25watt bulb protected by an inspection lamp holder.
Meanwhile a couple of large unprotected pieces of ferrous metal suffered the ravages of the slow red plague.
Reply to
Mike H
Adrian,
I read somewhere (on this forum?) that leaving a low wattage lamp o in the bottom of the lathe/mill stand was a way to keep the too moisture free. I've not tried it myself, though.
Ro
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Reply to
elj221c
Even putting a simple plastic cover over your lathe makes a bi
difference. It acts as an insulating layer against temperatur extremes. Coldness won't hurt machinery per se. The damage is done b moisture condensing out of warm wet (or cold wet) air onto col machinery. You either have to stop the moisture condensing out throug temperature, in which case you need to see that the machinery is kep relatively warm, or use a dehumidifier. If you want to use you machinery over the winter comfortably, the only completely safe an ideal solution is to constantly heat the room that they're in
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Reply to
DX-SFX
Anyone tried a pot-belly stove?
Reply to
Billy H
Keeping a thin layer of oil or grease on all exposed surfaces would work as well if not better than managing and monitoring the heating and humidity arrangements.
And no, heating by the ways you note would not be the best answer for you would be left with the problem of damp in the air all the same, and the extra heat would increase the reactivity of the steels.
Reply to
Billy H
I run a large, 2 foot square by 4 foot high sawdust burning stove although for the last two years it's been on scrap wood. I'm fortunate around here as there are literally dozens of small furniture manufacturers and scrap beech wood is free for the collection.
Anyone who has been in my shop in winter will tell you you can't stand near my stove. It only runs during the day and it does get cold at night as I have no roof insulation as yet. Since fitting this I have no problems with rust and I don't oil up only for lubrication.
My biggest problem is the roof and draughts plus having to get about 17 tons of material and machinery up from cold in a morning every day.
Before this I had a space heater and it was useless, fumed, caused condensation and as soon as it switched of you were freezing again.
-- Regards,
John Stevenson Nottingham, England.
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Reply to
John Stevenson

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