Heat your shop. Cool your shop.
If your shop feels uncomfortably cold in the winter or unbearably hot in the summer (or both), your smartest "tool" purchase might be a shop heater or air conditioner. We take a look at some of the details to consider, and our quick-read chart on slide X speeds you to a decision.
For most of us, wintertime means woodworking. With the summer chores done, it's time to make sawdust. But if you live in a cold climate, toughing out a frigid shop can have a chilling effect on your hobby. Time to look into a shop heating system. But first, consider these four I's:
Bare building materials, such as wood studs, sheathing, and siding, readily conduct heat and cold. To tame that transmission, add weather stripping to doors and windows, spot-fill holes and cracks with canned expanding-foam insulation, fortify the insulation of heat-loss-prone garage doors, and insulate walls and ceilings to a value of at least R-13. If you work out of a basement, add cut-to-fit rigid foam insulation to the rim joists, adhering it in place with expanding-foam insulation.
To choose an appropriate-size system for your climate, confer with a licensed HVAC installer. He will ask such questions as: How many walls does your shop share with a heated structure? What are the dimensions, and how high is the ceiling? Do you want to maintain a minimum temperature when you are not in the shop?
Speak to your local housing code inspector to narrow the field of appliance choices. Eliminate systems restricted by your municipality and get the inspector's guidance on the legal installation of a system.
Some heat sources that pass the inspector's muster may still be frowned upon by your insurance company. Choosing a system not covered by your insurance -- such as a wood-burning stove -- could leave you with denied claims after a fire, whether your heater was involved or not. So keep your insurance agent in the loop.