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Installing garage heater - question on heat shield

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Installing garage heater - question on heat shield

Old 12-12-2008, 02:03 PM
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Default Installing garage heater - question on heat shield

Advice solicited:


Well, I finally convinced the wife that I need a heater in the garage/shop - it is after all the only room in my house that is really mine. After much deliberation, I pulled the trigger this week on the "Mr Heater Vent Free Natural Gas Garage Heater" - 30k BTU, adjustable t-stat, blower, etc. I have a certified plumber buddy coming to stub off the gas line and run it into the garage and then the heater. I'm psyched to say the least.

It will be mounted on the wall - the bottom half of the wall is the concrete form of the garage, the top is fire-rated drywall (new construction as of last year). Here's my dilemma:

The installation calls for the top of the unit to be at least 36" from the ceiling. I have the minimum clearance on the other three sides, but I am about a foot short on the ceiling clearance. I am thinking that some sort of heat shield on the ceiling would make me feel better. I was thinking a sized piece of sheet metal, mounted on 1" square channel steel lengths (to create a vented area behind the sheet, rather than have it right up against the ceiling). From everything I have been able to read on the Web, this type of setup decreases your distance to the ceiling requirement by about 50% at least - so I would easily make it...

Has anyone done anything like this before, or do you have any ideas on another setup that would work to shield the ceiling from the rising heat?

This unit will hardly be used - just to keep the garage from freezing, and occassionally to warm it up to comfortable temperature. Probably a few weeks out of the year...intermittent.

Still, I want to be safe. Also I will hang a CO monitor in the vicinity just to make sure, although the unit does have an auto-shutoff feature for lack of O2.

My only other option is to maybe hang the unit from the concrete lower half of the wall, but then it's sticking out...

Thanks for any advice - much appreciated.

Dave
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Old 12-12-2008, 02:34 PM
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Default Re: Installing garage heater - question on heat shield

This non-code-DIYer says you're making the best out of what you have to work with, so have at it. IF you have room on the ceiling, install a ceiling fan. It will circulate the warm air back down to the area where you'll be (on your back, on the slab)
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Old 12-12-2008, 02:39 PM
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Default Re: Installing garage heater - question on heat shield

You 'could' place a 1/8 piece of aluminum spaced of the ceiling by 1" using longer screws into the ceiling joists. I say somewhere in the neighborhood of 48 X 48 should be fine.

However, I would have just gone with the proper vented unit heater and been done with it. They are not that much money and remove the need for screwing around or worrying about CO poisoning or insurance issues should there ever be a fire, even unrelated to your heater. I have 2 Hot Dog model (75K BTU's) Modines that I think were about 375 each for a detached garage and also have another 75K (I forget the brand) in another location that was listed for residential attached garage use that was only a few bucks more.

I've screwed around with enough salamander and upright heaters to last a lifetime. Sucking fumes, getting headaches, and keeping a door open for fresh air got too old in the cold shop spaces.
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Old 12-12-2008, 02:53 PM
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Default Re: Installing garage heater - question on heat shield

I can't remember the real word but let's call it "fire-wall board." You can get it a Home Depot near the sheet rock. It comes in 4X4 ft pieces. It's about 1/2" thick and you can drill it for screwing into walls or the celing. I'm sure it's less than $20 a piece.

Good luck!
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Old 12-12-2008, 03:56 PM
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Default Re: Installing garage heater - question on heat shield

Since there's no fire going up the pipe, only hot air, the 36" rule was probably chosen as a triple safety feature. If there's sheetrock on the ceiling now, you could run the heater and inspect the ceiling for signs of burned paint/paper. Only if you got some of that would you need to think about the way to alleviate the heat buildup....and using a little or a lot of protection would become a lot clearer to you.
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Old 12-12-2008, 04:33 PM
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Default Re: Installing garage heater - question on heat shield

I would go with a vented unit ten there is no worries. A little extra now will pay off in years to come, some states vent free is illegal and all of Canada.
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Old 12-12-2008, 05:11 PM
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Default Re: Installing garage heater - question on heat shield

bamaboy473,

It's not fire in the pipe, it's more of a heat issue ie: open flame somewhere in the unit. $hit does happen sometimes to some people.

If I'm going offshore fishing I never leave the ramp w/o a full tank of fuel. 15 or 30 miles, it's just a safety thing. RI does get cold, snow and ice. The heat (I think) will be used much more often than he or you think. I know mine does.

I do it right once and move on to the next project. I hate taking steps back to do it again cause I took the cheap road.
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Old 12-12-2008, 05:26 PM
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Default Re: Installing garage heater - question on heat shield

Go with the vented

Those so called ventless heaters put out a heck of a lot of humidity.
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