Shop Heat - Backup Generator

So off topic to some degree…

I’m located in Minnesota in the USA - been like 1 degree these past few days…

What do you guys do for shop heat? My shop is my garage and my house is all electric heat… not sure why the house was ever built with electric heat back in the mid-60’s but the house has never been converted to a furnace. So I don’t have access to natural gas with out a big cost.

I’m also curious to know if anyone with similar weather climates has backup generator for their house.

Its on a rare occasion where I would need a backup generator but it always seems when we have some severe storms come through. Thinking I should have a backup just to be on the safe side in case we every have a storm that comes through and knock out the power for a few days.

I just work on software projects for 3 months of the year :slight_smile:

I resign myself to being frozen to the ass-end of a snowblower for three months. Then, every minute spent slothing on the couch watching whatever is on TV (our cable box is going out, and requires actual effort to get up and stagger to within a couple of feet to use the remote) is heavenly bliss. Especially since the alternative is usually hurtling across a frozen sheet of ice, praying that I can somehow maintain control of two tons of mild steel and plastic composites…

I’ve only lived in this frozen hellscape for a decade or so, so I haven’t gotten used to it, yet. Hurricanes? Check. Earthquakes? Check. Tornadoes and blizzards? Nope. :confused:

I have a kerosine heater that I fire up when I’m in the shop. Or, if I really need heat (right now!) I fire up my propane forge. Some day I’ll put in a real heater, but I need to bat proof the barn before that.

I live like 3 miles from a big hydroelectric dam… Electricity is really stable, in 13 years I haven’t yet lost power. Down at the coast on the other hand, we had a backup propane generator with enough oomph to run the fridges and freezer. It kept the food safe during the longer outages. No heat in the garage, but I’ve got Nordic blood. :slight_smile:

My new show has a 5 ton AC/Heat Pump installed in it. Haven’t cranked that up yet.

In the last house, I used a 1.5kw space heater in the 2 car garage. I could work out there comfortably in the low 40’s with a sweatshirt and sweatpants on. The heater would be set to 70. The heater is one of those oil-filled radiator style. I’d point a small fan at it, turn it on and then come back out an hour later.

Some of the people I know with wood shops have installed old wood-burning stoves in the middle of one wall of their shop. They run the exhaust out the top of the shop. Then they burn scrap lumber in it the entire winter. All the scraps from the rest of the year get pilled up next to it for the following winter.

If you’re really serious about using the garage in the winter, I’d look in to having it insulated next year (both the walls and the garage door). If you can keep the heat in, it’s a lot cheaper to keep it warm.