How to Heat a Detached Garage Cheaply in Winter

Do you have a detached garage or are in the process of building one? If you live in an area that gets really cold then one aspect you must not overlook is heating. Detached garages don’t have the benefit of being connected to your home’s central heating system and may require a different heating strategy.

In this article, we examine a number of options you might want to look into that could help heat a detached garage at an affordable rate.

Factors that Affect Garage Heating

You can have the best heating system in the world but it may not keep your detached garage warm if you ignore other important aspects of heating. Here are some factors to consider that may affect the heating process.

Size of Garage: the size of the detached garage will affect a number of things such as the circulation of heat. You’ll also need to consider how high the ceiling is as well. You might remember from science class that cold air sinks and warm air rises.

Insulation: you hopefully had this done already when the detached garage was constructed. Insulation is a key component of reducing heating bills for any building. The primary role of insulation is to prevent the heat from escaping outside.

Insulation could be added without taking down the drywall but it might not offer the same level of heat-trapping efficiency as when insulation material is inserted into the wall.

Heating Duration: do you need heating on the whole time or only during certain times of the day? To save on heating costs, it may help to integrate some form of automation and scheduling to the heating system. Nowadays, you could even integrate a device like Alexa to have the heating system voice-controlled.

Garage Door: garage doors are considered “bad” walls as they have openings that allow warm air to escape outside. Examine the garage door and determine if it has the installations needed (e.g. weather-strip seal) to boost insulation.

Garage Insulation Tips

While you are considering your heater options, make sure the detached garage is insulated as much as possible. High-quality insulation does not come cheap but it will pay off over the long-term by significantly reducing your heating bill. Here are a couple of heat insulation tips to take note of.

Garage Door Insulation
At minimum, the garage door should have a bottom seal and weather-stripping to seal the top and sides of the door. You can learn more by reading our garage seal recommendations. Most seals should cost less than $50.

In addition to weather-stripping and seals, you may want to also add insulation boards to the garage door. The most common type of insulation foam boards are made of polystyrene, polyurethane, or polyisocyanurate. The latter two are more expensive but are considered to be superior insulators.

Garage Ceiling Insulation
The ceiling is another area of the garage that many overlook when it comes to insulation. The ceiling is a lot more complicated and will most likely require professional consultation as you may have to deal with issues such as wiring and ventilation.

Some detached garages may only come with the roof and not the ceiling. In such cases, it may be necessary to create an attic space by creating a drywall ceiling. In addition to getting professional consultation, reaching out to communities like GreenBuildingAdvisor.com may also help point you in the right direction.

Garage Wall Insulation

If you haven’t dry-walled the garage walls yet then this might be a good time to do so. Loose-fill materials can be installed in the building cavities to form a layer of insulation. Different materials may suit different needs.

Garage Heater Recommendations

Once you have the insulation in place, it’s time to decide on the garage heater. These devices can come in several forms. Examples include: ceiling-mount heaters, electric heaters, infrared heaters, and propane gas heaters. Here are a few that we recommend for a detached garage.

1. Comfort Zone Ceiling Mount Heater
This heater can be mounted to the ceiling or wall. It comes with two different heat settings, 760 or 1500 watts. It could make a great addition for smaller detached garage spaces.

2. NewAir Electric Garage Heater
With 5,000 watts of heating power, this electric heater could warm a garage space of 400-500 square feet. It can also be mounted to a wall or ceiling.

3. Mr. Heater Radiant Heater
A radiant heater works by heating the objects around them instead of heating the air. Its heating capacity is suited for small garage spaces. It also comes with a number of safety mechanisms. For example, the heater automatically turns off if it gets tipped over.