Now that the weather is starting to turn colder in the Northern Hemisphere it is time to start thinking about heating your workshop or garage in order to make you projects more fun. There is nothing worse than trying to do some fine work with fingers that are cold and numb. You know what I mean if you have ever tried to rebuild a carburetor or assemble a wood project when the mercury drops in your workshop thermometer.
If you are looking for a way to add heat and comfort to your work space this year then you have a multitude of options available to you. The old standby, a small wood stove, is very popular but it does have some new draw backs. First, in many urban areas you are no longer allowed to burn wood as a heat source because of the smoke factor. Also, it takes a while for this type of heat source to really warm up. But when it does, wood heat is hard to beat.
A second option is fuel oil. This also used to be popular but the price now almost requires that you refinance your home in order to fill up the oil tank. Although cleaner than wood, these stoves are also seeing pressure in some gas heaters metropolitan areas. The nice thing about these heaters is that they usually have a fan and this forced hot air heats up the space quickly.
Two other fuel sources which offer almost instant heat are natural gas and propane. With natural gas you are limited to areas which have gas line service. But it does burn clean and hot. If you don’t have a natural gas line near your home, then propane stoves and heaters are very popular. These often times work on the principle of radiant heat by heating an element instead of using an open flame. They are safe and also offer a lot of heat really fast.
A fifth option that was very popular for years was electric. But again it takes a while for the air to warm up with these elements. Also, since the majority of the electrical energy in the US is from coal burning plants, many people are trying to limit their use of electricity to combat global warming. If you are in this boat then the only renewable source of energy for heat is the wood burning stove mentioned above. The wood was produced from carbon that was in the air before so there is no net gain when it is released.