How to Safely & Economically Heat your Enclosed Carport, Garage or Metal Building

As the southern states continue to experience record low temperatures this winter season, everyone is looking for ways to stay warm. If you spend many hours in your enclosed carport, garage or metal building, no doubts you’re bundled up, shivering and thinking about heading back inside your warm home. But if your structure doubles as your workshop or office, don’t let the cold chase you from your work. Invest in a safe, affordable heat source instead.

Two basic choices are available for heating your enclosed metal carport, metal garage or metal building: electric heat or gas heat. The size and BTUH output of your heater, whether electric or gas, should be determined by the size of your enclosed garage, carport or metal building. BTUH stands for “British Thermal Unit per Hour” and refers to the unit of heat required to raise one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. Here is a quick guide to determine how many BTUHs of heat your heater will need to emit to effectively and affordably warm your structure:

• A 24,000-BTUH heater for a 1-car structure up to 250 square feet;
• A 36,000-BTUH heater for a 2-car structure up to 350 square feet;
• A 48,000-BTUH heater for a 3-car structure up to 550 square feet;
• A 60,000-BTUH heater for structures up to 650 square feet.

If your carport is wired for electricity (see our next blog on Wiring your Carport, Garage or Metal Building for Electricity), electrical heat is easy and affordable. For a smaller structure, space heaters that work via 120-volt outlets work well, but can be dangerous. Never use a space heater near combustibles and make sure yours has a tip-over feature that will automatically turn the heater off if it’s knocked over. Also, never use a space heater with an extension cord. Most extension cords are not rated for the higher power demands of space heater and could easily overload and catch fire. More powerful heaters needed to warm larger spaces, such as Carport Empire’s triple carports or RV carports, may require a 240-volt receptacle.

Gas heaters run on natural gas, propane, liquid petroleum (LP) or kerosene. Natural gas and LP heaters require gas to be piped into your enclosed carport, garage or metal building, which must be well ventilated to prevent a dangerous carbon monoxide buildup within your structure. Propane and kerosene heaters require storage tanks for the fuel. Note that kerosene emits a strong odor, something to keep in mind if you’ll be tooling away inside your enclosed structure for extended periods of time.

A money-saving factor to consider is whether the electric or gas heater you choose is radiant, infrared, fan-forced or convection. Radiant and infrared heaters heat only nearby people and objects rather than the air, making for a more targeted, economical choice. However, if your structure will be used by multiple people (for instance helpers in your garage workshop or family members if your structure is used as a recreational room), a more effective choice is a convection heater, which is designed to heat air as it rises, warming the entire area. Insulating your enclosed garage, carport or metal building, and using weather stripping on doors will help keep things toasty.

If you have questions about the best methods for heating your structure, call Carport Empire at 1-800-985-7678.

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