Heating my reloading room / shop


2 Wild Dueces
October 15, 2012, 10:32 PM
I am building a new garage and plan to have a well insulated small shop addition off one side of the garage. The shop / reloading area would measure 14x20' (just 280 square feet and 8' high walls....but with a vaulted ceiling).

I'm trying to figure out an economical way to heat and cool this space and I am concerned about moisture and open flames. Likely I could run a small wall A/C unit for summer.

Located in Minnesota.....the right heat is important (we can get to -30f) and I will need some reliable heat to keep moisture off my reloading gear and guns and my tools. I am considering an in-floor radiant system with either a small electric or natural gas boiler or an electric hanging unit. I don't want to spend a fortune...still....I want something that works good.

I'm looking for suggestions. Anyone up in the north country with experience in heating a small reloading and gun room like this?

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Arkansas Paul
October 15, 2012, 11:12 PM
I have about the same square footage as you do, maybe a shade less. I use a small window unit in the summer and one of these in the winter. It takes a couple hours to heat up, but man does it heat a room. No open flame to worry about either. I'd recommend it.


October 15, 2012, 11:14 PM
There's a thread from not too far back in the reloading section that might help you out.

I live in AL so I get by with a small electric heater.

October 16, 2012, 12:06 AM
Any source of ignition in a space used for reloading should not be used. Radiant flooring would not pose a risk. Propane/natural gas HVAC can increase moisture, but a dehumidifier could offset that proble.

October 16, 2012, 12:20 AM
Mine has baseboard electric heaters, dry heat...............


October 16, 2012, 12:38 AM
Burning hydrocarbons produce water, no way around it. I have radiant floor heat in my house and I recommend it to everybody. It gives you a lot of control and you don't have anything in the room that's overly hot like a oil heater or something like that. Granted I'm in the middle of Illinois and not MN, but I keep mine set really low.

October 16, 2012, 12:55 AM
Dueces - a couple of things you didn't mention is if this workshop is attached to the garage and is the garage attached to the house. We also need to know what you are using to heat your house now (nat. gas, LP, oil, or electricity).

If electricity, what are your winter heating bills like now?

If LP, how easy would it be to get a delivery in Jan. or Feb. AND at what price?
OR, if you're lucky, do you have a gas-fired hot water heating system that already supplies radiant floor heating to your house? Just extend the lines!

Radiant heat in this workshop might be a problem if more than one of the long walls is exposed to the cold (one long side and one/both short sides). Insulation against the cold is going to be your biggest problem. If you haven't already insulated the workshop consider spray-in expanding foam. It's airtight, water-tight, and bug-proof.
Those oil-filled "radiators" do a good job but even on "HI" take a long time to heat an area that big (neighbor has one) because they are just a "convection" heater (warm air rises and pools under the ceiling - nothing to force it down to where YOU are!). AND they are "energy hogs".

If you can find a small electric furnace (fan-forced hot air type) like one used in a mid-sized travel trailer, you can use that to heat the area quickly, control it with a thermostat, AND use the fan in the summer to stir the air up. I have one in my workroom in an uninsulated pole barn. The room is about 8'w x 8'h x 25' long. Furnace is about 18" x 14", sits on a stand about 10" off the floor, and has a sheet metal top with two vents at 90 deg. angles. One was removed and I put round ducts up with 4 outlets aimed at 45 deg. down angle at 4' intervals. The vertical walls have plywood on BOTH sides with 2" pink Styrofoam boards (R-10) in the vertical walls. There is NO insulation in the roof as it is inside the pole barn. There is storage on top that covers 90% of the roof (paper goods, camping gear, empty boxes, etc.) so we didn't feel it was necessary. Mind you, this is in Illinois just east of St. Louis, MO, and winters aren't THAT bad. :D

This heater can warm this room from 20 to 60 in less than 30 minutes (45 for zero-60). The one thing I couldn't do (and didn't really want to) is put a window A/C unit in as the power requirements were too high. And, with the corrugated metal skin of the barn on 2 sides, one being the side away from the house, security was a concern as well.

Good luck on your project!

October 16, 2012, 01:00 AM
Is it too cold for a good portable electrical radiator unit?

October 16, 2012, 08:58 AM
I am considering building a insulated shed separate from the house as a reloading room and workshop.

For security and natural lighting I am planning of installing double pane narrow wide windows horizonally about 8' high. Something about 6 - 8" wide and 4' - 6' long. Solves the problem with thieves looking inside to check out the jewels.

I am not sure about the door yet. May go with a insulated roll up since this is going to be a workshop also.

October 16, 2012, 11:00 PM
Sorry for the late closing response.

While this is a decent topic for a reloading or home improvement forum it is really not on topic enough for THR. There have been some good answers so I'd look in to what the suggest.

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