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The garage is a center of activity in many homes. Whether it’s a man-cave, a workshop, or even used in the unlikely case of parking cars they also get cold. Most garages lack the insulation and access to central air that keeps the rest of the home at a livable temperature during the bitter cold.
Fortunately, with some creativity, know-how, and a bit of money you can make sure that your garage stays at a reasonable temperature no matter how cold it gets outside. Let’s dive right in and show you some of the best, simple ways to ensure you’ve got a warm garage to come home to.
Most garages lack any serious insulation. Many of them lack any insulation whatsoever, which means they’re likely to remain quite a bit colder than the rest of the home.
Insulation is an easy enough task for anyone with some basic DIY skills. Fiberglass is the go-to method for most. It’s easy to use: get some sheetrock and enough insulation to fill the gaps in between the new walls and the exterior of the garage.
If you’re particularly handy or don’t mind finding a good contractor you’ll find that spray insulation works even better than the old-school stuff but it’s much harder to DIY than spray foam insulation.
There is one thing to keep in mind: insulation isn’t going to do much on its own so you’ll have to find a good heater to place in the garage as well.
Run a Gas Heater
Running a gas heater in your garage is one of the best ways to keep a garage warm. They’re cheaper to use than electric options. Some people prefer space heaters, but they’ll end up paying for it with a much higher electric bill before too long.
This isn’t really something you want to DIY unless you have extensive experience running gas lines. Most people have at least a water heater in the home but you’ll need to use a larger line and a T-fitting to run the extra appliance.
You’ll need insulation to get the most of a heater. Make sure to invest in a carbon monoxide alarm as well to be safe, a bad line can cause serious problems in a closed garage. The upfront costs can be a bit expensive, so plan accordingly.
On the other hand, if you’re the type who spends a lot of time in the garage working on things or just hanging out you’ll quickly come to appreciate it.
Check the Weatherstripping
Take a close look at all of the weatherstripping in your garage. If any of it is damaged, cracked, or otherwise compromised then you’ll be losing a lot of heat.
In areas with wide temperature swings, you can end up with damage to the strips rather quickly. Check any windows and the garage door regularly to ensure that the material is still in good condition and you’re on the right track.
Seal Things Up With Caulking
Any small air leaks can cause a huge change in temperature, particularly if they allow for a crosswind.
Inspect the walls, windows, and doors for cracks and holes. You can use a weatherproof caulk to fill them in and prevent the wind from causing temperature drops.
This is a relatively minor fix but if you apply it along with the others on this list you’ll be surprised at the end results.
Consider Your Lighting
LED lights are great. They’re energy-efficient, bright, and relatively cheap if you spend the time to comparison shop.
All of that comes with a small cost: their efficiency means they’re not a significant source of heat in your garage. While more expensive, you may want to consider using warmer lighting during the winter.
Sodium halide lights, in particular, give off a ton of heat. You may not want to use them for a permanent installation but the work lights available at hardware stores are relatively cheap and they can help warm an insulated garage.
One thing that people often don’t consider is just how cold the floor of a garage is. Concrete is dense and holds a lot of thermal energy… and it also gets cold and stays cold.
In-floor heating can be installed by a professional. They’re essentially heating elements placed underneath the slab which keep the whole garage warm. Since concrete holds temperature so well it’s an excellent option for those who can afford the installation.
They’re a double bonus for mechanics who spend a lot of time underneath vehicles on the slab. Since you’re closer to the heat source you can keep warm and cozy while getting work done.
Go Old School With a Wood Burning Stove
If you’ve got firewood on hand then you’ll find a wood-burning stove to have the lowest cost of running around. These heavy, cast-iron stoves put off a ton of heat and they’ve been used for centuries to keep people warm.
You’ll need a flue and chimney set up to use one safely since any kind of combustion gives off smoke and carbon monoxide, but it’s a cheap and easy option to help you keep warm during the winter.
They’re not practical for everyone but if you’ve got land with trees that regularly need clearing they’re a cost-effective, old-school solution that will last for years with minimal maintenance required.
Best of all, they’ll still work when the power is out and you’ll never have to weather another storm in the cold again.
Don’t Deal With a Cold Garage This Winter
If you love spending time in your garage but you don’t feel like freezing your hands and risking frostbite you’ll need to keep it warm.
The above list should give you some ideas of just how easy it is to get your garage heated during the winter. There’s nothing quite like having a warm workshop when the snow is falling or getting out of your car after a commute to a warm and toasty garage before you even get in the home.
So why freeze this winter? It’s time to get started on a solution to the problem before the cold season is in full swing.