If you’re looking for the most inexpensive and effective way to heat your garage or shop this coming heating season, a vent free infrared garage heater may be the best solution. Why? Compared to other types of garage heaters, a gas fired vent free infrared heater is easy to install, economical to operate and extremely quiet.
What is a vent free heater and how does it work?
"Vent free" simply means "unvented". Unlike a vented gas heater or furnace, which requires a flue to rid the atmosphere of combustion by-products, a vent free heater emits those elements (primarily water vapor and carbon dioxide) directly into the space. Therefore, a vent free heater is virtually 99.9% efficient.
Are vent free heaters safe?
Yes. Vent free heaters have been used for over 30 years to heat the dwelling spaces of homes in addition to residential garages and shops. Like all heating appliances, vent free heaters must be properly sized for the space. A typical 2 car garage requires somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000 BTU’s, depending on insulation, ceiling height and other factors.
It is important to buy a vent free heater designated and approved for garages such as this one. Most vent free heaters have refractory (often called catalytic) heating elements, which are able to burn fuel so efficiently that only traces of combustion by-products (mainly humidity) are left behind. For most people, a little extra humidity is beneficial, especially during the winter months when relative indoor humidity is low.
A word of caution: Heaters that are not approved for vent free operation should never be left unvented. Forced air gas unit heaters, furnaces and radiant tube heaters fall into this category. They must be properly vented as per manufacturer’s requirements to prevent bodily harm or even death.
Do vent free infrared heaters require blower fans?
No. Hence they are whisper quiet. By contrast, forced air furnaces move air via large motors and prop fans, which can cause annoying reverberation through the walls and ceiling of the garage and home.
Are vent free heaters expensive to operate?
No. Vent free heaters cost less to run than virtually any other type of gas heater. That’s because all the heat energy goes into the space. Nothing is wasted through an outside flue. In a well-insulated garage, the cost to operate a vent free infrared heater is just pennies a day.
Are vent free infrared heaters suitable for all garages?
Yes and no. You need to determine if vent free infrared is right for you. Your choice may include an electric forced air heater, gas forced air heater, gas infrared tube heater, portable propane heater, kerosene heater, direct vent wall heater and of course a vent free infrared heater. Some heaters are better in dusty areas. Some are better for freeze control. Some are quiet. Some are noisy. Determine your needs and do some internet research to find just the right product for your needs.
How easy is it to install a vent free heater?
The most difficult part is getting gas (natural or propane) to the heater. Most vent free garage heaters don’t even require electrical power. Instead, a millivolt control mechanism turns the heater on when the thermostat calls for heat.
Vent free heaters are an excellent choice for the DIY homeowner. Just hang the heater, run the gas line and you’ve turned your garage into a year-round space for recreation, mechanics, exercise, animal comfort or to simply keep your vehicles warm on cold winter days.
Scott Workman owns and operates Infra-Red Products Supply, Inc. of Draper, Utah. In business since 1986, Infra-Red Products has become recognized as one of the foremost leaders in energy saving heating system design and sales for residential, commercial and industrial consumers.