Using House Furnace to Heat Garage – Good Idea?

Garages can be a nuisance to heat during the wintertime. There are a few ways to heat your garage, depending on what you have available. 

One option is to use a space heater. Another is to install a heating cable in the ground near the garage.  A third option is to install a forced-air heating system.

When it comes to heating the garage, some people also wonder about using a house furnace to heat the garage. Please read below to find out whether it is feasible or not.

Can I Heat My Garage With My Home Furnace?

The straight answer to this question is: no, you cannot heat your garage with your home furnace. Not only does it violate the fire code, it can also put you and your family at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning

If your garage and home are connected, the air from your garage can get in through the ducts. There are instances of vehicles catching fire while still in the garage. 

In such a scenario, if your home and garage have duct connectivity, the fire can also reach inside your house. So, instead of using a home furnace to heat the garage, there are many viable options you can try. Read about it here!

How to Heat a Garage

There are many ways other than using a house furnace to heat your garage. Depending upon the size of your garage and how frequently you use it, you can choose a heater that is best suitable for you. 

For example, a portable plug-in heater will work fine if you use your garage every once in a while to work on some DIY projects. But a powerful heater would be your best choice if you work long hours in your garage every day.

Determining Heating Needs

Before selecting a heating method for your garage, you need to determine the heating needs of your garage. You’ve gotta think about a few things like how cold it gets where you live, the size of your garage, and how warm you want it to be inside.

Calculate BTU

BTU is a unit that measures the heating capacity of a heater. The heat required to increase the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit is equal to one BTU. Calculate how much BTU you would need to heat your garage. 

  • Determine the area of your garage in square feet by multiplying its width and length and then dividing that number by 200.
  • Now multiply the number by 6000 if your garage is well insulated and 9000 if your garage is not insulated correctly. 
  • The number you get is the required BTU of your heater.

Insulate Your Garage Properly

Before installing a heating system, insulate your garage properly. Poor insulation will result in heat loss, which in turn will be a waste of energy. During the insulation of your garage, focus on the foundation, walls, windows, and ceilings. 

Use a plastic shrink film on windows. Use expanding foam insulation to seal cracks and holes in the foundation. There are many options to insulate the walls in your garage, like using cotton fiberglass batt insulation or injecting or spraying foam insulation.

Select a Method to Heat Your Garage

There are several different ways of heating your garage. 

1. Electric Space Heaters 

These space heaters run on electricity. The best part about these heaters is they don’t need any professional installation. All you need to do is plug them into a power outlet, and you are good to go. These eclectic space heaters are affordable and energy-efficient. Since they don’t need ventilation, using them inside your garage is safe.

But, these electric space heaters will only heat a small space of your garage and will take more time than a few other options. Also, in case of a power outage, you won’t be able to use this heater.

2. Forced-Air Heaters 

Forced-air heaters are another best option for a garage. They work by constantly blowing hot air into your garage using a fan, air handler, or blower. If your home already has a propane or gas line, you can ask a professional to connect the forced air heater. These heaters are more affordable than infrared heaters and consume less electricity.

The heater will produce noise, and you must clean the duct regularly. Also, the heater can blow the debris and dirt around your garage.

Related article: Propane vs Kerosene Garage Heater

3. Electric Ceiling Panels 

One of the best ways to heat your garage is using electric ceiling panels. You have to mount the panels onto your ceiling, which will heat the entire garage. The panels are one inch thick and heat and cool down quickly, making them an energy-efficient option. Not only are these panels easy to install, but they also make your garage look better.

The only problem with these ceiling panels is you need a finished ceiling in your garage to install these.

4. Ductless Heating 

Ductless heating uses an indoor air handling and outer compressor unit. It works similarly to your central heating apart from using ducts. 

Not only are these heaters easy to install, but they also look pleasing. Since ductless heaters meet the highest energy guidelines, they are one of the most energy-efficient options to heat your garage. You can place the unit on the wall, ceiling, or floor or even hang it depending upon your comfort.

The cost of installing these heaters is higher than some options. You will also need to clean the filter to avoid debris buildup.

5. In-Floor Heaters 

One of the most efficient ways of heating a garage is using in-floor heaters. This heating technique uses infrared radiation to heat the garage floor’s surface. 

Using an in-floor heater ensures a quiet operation, and your garage is heated evenly compared to other heating sources. The installation cost of these heaters is high, and installing them can take a lot of time.

6. Portable Space Heaters

A portable heater is one of the easiest methods to heat your chilly garage. Depending upon how much space you need to heat and for how long, you can find a portable space heater of different capacities or sizes. 

They are affordable and easy to use. However, these portable heaters take more time and will only heat the area around them.

Related article: Best Non-Electric Space Heaters

Cost comparison of different heating options for the garage

The cost of heating a garage can vary greatly depending on the type of heating system you choose. An electric space heater is the cheapest way to heat your garage, you can get one for around $40. If you want something a bit more powerful, propane or natural gas heaters are a good choice. But they’re more expensive, you’re looking at around $300 for a basic model.

Now, if you really want to go all out and get something fancy, in-floor radiant heating systems are the way to go. But they’re pretty pricey, starting at around $2,000, depending on the size of your garage. But the good news is, they’re also more energy efficient, so in the long run, you might save money on your energy bills.

Read also: How To Heat a Garage For Free

Maintenance requirements for each garage heating option

One option is an electric space heater – those are really easy to maintain because they don’t have any moving parts and don’t require any fuel. If you choose a propane or natural gas heater to heat your garage, you’ll need to regularly maintain it by cleaning and adjusting the burners to make sure it’s working safely and efficiently. This could mean cleaning the burners or adjusting them.

Another option is ductless heating. But, like other options, you gotta make sure you keep up with it by doing things like cleaning air filters and checking that it’s sealed right. And then there are in-floor radiant heating systems, which you’ll need to flush and check for leaks to make sure it’s in good shape.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a furnace to heat my garage?

No, it is not ideal to use a furnace to heat your garage for safety concerns. There are several other heaters that you can use in the garage instead of a furnace.

What is the most efficient way to heat my garage?

Using in-floor heaters is the most efficient way to heat your garage. Rather than heating the air, an in-floor heater heats the surface. However, it is an expensive option.

What is the best way to heat a detached garage?

The best way to heat a detached garage is by using a ductless heater. If you don’t live in an area that gets too cold, insulating your garage also can be sufficient. Using a portable heater is another great way to heat a detached garage.

How many BTUs do I need for a 2-car garage?

An average-sized two-car garage is around 500-600 square feet. To bring the air inside the garage to a comfortable temperature, you will need a garage heater with 30,000 to 50,000 BTU. The BTU may increase or decrease depending on how low the temperature can get in your area.

Wrapping Up

Using your house furnace to heat your garage is a safety hazard. Depending on your needs, I have discussed several methods to heat your garage. Before choosing a heater, add proper insulation to your garage to avoid energy loss. 

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