I’m converting a well-insulated garage in Montana into a shop. What kind of heating would you recommend for one working on a budget?
John Brock: If feasible, meaning if it can be positioned without creating a fire hazard, I would recommend a small wood burning stove. It produces dry heat, and gives you a convenient way to use up the never-ending supply of wood scraps your projects will generate.
Michael Dresdner: Besides the normal electric and gas-fired options sold as self-contained units, there is an interesting option for someone on a budget and willing to contribute some labor. Friends of mine laid a zigzag of water lines on the floor of their shop before pouring a concrete floor over it. By circulating hot water through the lines via a large water heater, manifold and circulating pump, they use the floor itself as the heating element for the room. Unlike forced air systems, there is no dust blown around, and since there is no open flame, there is no fire hazard. The concrete slab floor acts as a huge heat sink to store heat. Once the room is heated, the temperature remains stable with no hot and cold areas and reheats very quickly. Thanks to the stored heat in the floor, the room returns to temperature just minutes after their large garage doors, which are opened for wood deliveries, are once again closed.