Green Garage: Getting Your Garage Winter-Ready

There are a number of things you can do to get your garage from basic to energy-efficient – an idea that sparked my interest when I read about what late night talk show host Jay Leno was doing to get his garage greener.

As a writer desperately in need of some quiet space for all my scribbling, I had long since decided to convert my garage into a writing studio.  This generally works out great but proved to be a real challenge during winters.  Despite additional insulation and adding stacks and stacks of rugs to create a warm cozy feel, my writer’s corner is left completely exposed to the cold as soon as the temperature drops around this time of year.

After a little research and a lot of persistent question asking this past week, I was able to sort out what I needed, which apparently was an electric heater.  However looking around my neighborhood, there are tons of families who use their garage as an extension of their home.  These days, garages double as laundry rooms, workshops, play areas and even as niches for pets.  The garage has become an extension of the family’s living space, as well as our own personal space.

If you’re like me, either a profuse hermit barely visible behind stacks of book, or a car enthusiast eternally pilfering through some engine, or if you just enjoy congregating with fellow man over a cold one, hopefully my notes here will help you keep your garage sanctuary a comfortable green niche throughout winter.

The Green Heat Solution

What type of garage heater you get depends on what you use your garage for and there are tons of recommended garage heaters.   Personally, I prefer the green appeal of electric heaters.

If you plan on doing any type of body work on cars where bare metal will be exposed, you may want to go with an electric heater as opposed to a heater that burns propane or natural gas. Burning any type of fuel can create moisture in the air which may cause problems when doing body work on cars. With electric heaters, you don’t have to worry about producing moisture since these types of heaters use an electric coil as opposed to a burner.

Portable electric heaters also require very little maintenance.  And while electric heaters used to be expensive, newer models on the market are competitively priced.  A higher efficiency rating, contrasted against the extreme cost of natural gas, has made electric heating far more popular than the alternative models that still use natural gas.

A personal  favorite is the Lasko ceramic heater, which heats up in seconds and feels like you’re working alongside a roasting fire. In my quest for a new work space heater this week, I tried out Lasko, Vornado and Soleus, and while they were all great, I felt the Lasko was not only rated at a lower cost but also the one that was far more effective. If you plan on being in your garage space for longer periods of time, it’s probably best to get a larger unit, and then a smaller space heater.

Overall electric heaters have a number of benefits, such as an automatic shut off feature. Most electrical heater units will also automatically turn off if the unit has tilted off its base and/or fallen over. This safety measure prevents hazards and fires – which is critical feature if you’re using flammables or have pets or children nearby.

An additional safety benefit includes protection against carbon dioxide poisoning.  Unlike natural gas furnaces, with electric heaters you don’t have to worry about lethal gas leaks (which are often undetectable to humans). And since electric heaters don’t produce emissions, they’re definitely the green choice for any eco-minded home. 

A cost benefit in by electric heaters is that many cities and states offer incentive programs to home owners who switched out traditional heating for electric furnaces.  Additionally, many utility companies offer similar perks to those who heat their space with electricity rather than natural gases.

Just knowing what heater is right for your needs, paired with quick insulation techniques, can go along way in making it easier for your to shift from a warm toasty summer to chilled winters.


Green Garage is brought to you by Shireen Qudosi of Heater Home. Follow Heater-Home on Twitter @HeaterHome.


Images: Apartment Therapy & Tree Hugger


3 Responses

  1. […] week, we can’t help but notice the proliferation of strange car-related stories.  Maybe it’s the change of seasons, but the world’s roads seem flush with entertaining and, in some cases, frightening vehicles and […]

  2. Three comments:

    – Maybe you should save for a studio
    – Jay Leno is a hack.
    – My dad always uses a Dayton 3UG73 garage heater and calls it, “a gift from heaven.”

  3. Jay Leno is not actually as funny as everyone says he is, but sometimes he does make some valid points. I checked out and that definitely looks like something I’d get, or that I’d want to get. Hopefully it’s as warm as it sounds! I want my money’s worth.

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