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Heat your shop. Cool your shop.

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Forced-air Systems
Heater box
Enlarge Image
With a double-walled vent, this unit
draws outside air for combustion,
keeping fume-and dust-laden air
away from its internal flame.

Forced-air Systems

Specifically targeting home workshops, manufacturers have recently introduced more and more forced-air furnaces onto the market -- both gas and electric -- making it easier to find an affordable model for nearly any shop size. Fan-circulated, heated air raises a room's temperature quickly, making a forced-air unit an economical choice if you heat only intermittently.

In an electric forced-air furnace, all of the power sent through the element is converted to heat, making the appliance nearly 100 percent efficient. Electric furnaces sit on the low end of the price scale. Installation is inexpensive and simple -- often little more than plugging or hard-wiring into your existing electrical service. However, in most of the country, electricity is the highest-cost utility, so an electric forced-air furnace may make the most sense for moderate climates calling for only occasional or supplemental heat. If your electric panel can handle it, opt for a more powerful 220-volt model.

A gas-fired, ceiling-mounted forced-air furnace requires venting and a gas line. And through-the-wall, direct-vent versions require some modifications to your shop wall, adding to installation costs. But natural gas remains one of the most inexpensive fuel sources, so it makes good long-term sense. For safety in a fume- and dust-filled shop, choose a furnace with a separated combustion chamber that draws outside air for combustion.

Their propane-fired cousins work the same, but propane prices approach electricity costs in some regions. If your only fuel options are electric or propane, enter your utility prices into a cost calculator like the one available from the U.S. Energy Information Administration ( to guide you to the lowest-cost option.

Continued on page 3:  Radiant Systems


Comments (9)
anonymous wrote:

I also am getting tired of the recycled articles and projects.Also believe when my subscription ends that will be the end of Wood magazine for me

7/23/2015 10:05:19 PM Report Abuse
skyler3088799 wrote:

How about something new??? These articles are re-runs, the projects are wonder I'm considering cancelling everything to do with Wood.

1/8/2015 01:33:07 PM Report Abuse
rbtpartsman wrote:

I've put in a used "trailer furnace" before in a shop, sitting it up high on a frame with the hot air just coming right out of the bottom. My shop was well insulated, and it only took about 10-15 minutes to heat the shop up to a comfortable working temperature. I used a oil furnace, but you can also use propane and natural gas furnaces.

1/8/2015 11:31:37 AM Report Abuse
brucenadams1 wrote:

My shop is open to the elements, but shaded. Winter temps get to a bone chilling 55*. Summers are bit warm. Radiant heat works best for me during the winter. The round, reflector electric heaters from Costco are convenient, portable and safe. Sort of a chill chaser. The addition of a heat lamp on the scroll saw in addition to the regular lighting keeps my hands and fingers warm. That strategy doesn't work everywhere, but it works for me.

1/8/2015 11:15:17 AM Report Abuse
phartman89130 wrote:

How about geo air tubes?

1/8/2015 10:02:47 AM Report Abuse
kjdoyle.woodworks wrote:

I've installed a conventional forced air furnace. It was a simple 80% natural gas unit. I can put a high efficiency filter on it and it cleans my air and I can add a humidifier for the winter and AC for the summer. It was around $500 for the furnace, filter housing and plenum kit.

1/8/2015 09:45:21 AM Report Abuse
markbutler506 wrote:

I put a gas radiant tube heater in and it is the best way to go. It heats up instantly and the best part is that it is great for drying finishes. It speeds up the drying and doesn't give dust a chance to settle. I even use it in the summer although even with all the windows open it gets too hot to stay inside but in 20-30 minutes the finish has cured enough to prevent dust nibs.

1/8/2015 09:45:20 AM Report Abuse
timlarkin2010 wrote:

I added a mini-split upstairs and in the downstairs level of my shop. They both have worked flawlessly for over a year heating and cooling my shop here in central Virginia. They are quite economical to purchase and operate. I installed them both myself in less than a day.

12/22/2014 07:05:39 PM Report Abuse
meridiaman1 wrote:

I, actually, purchased a mini-split brand new from a seller on a popular auction site and installed it myself. Installation is quite easy. My mini-split has been operating perfectly for the last 9 years with no problems. It supplies me with A/C in the hot Phoenix summers and heat in the winters (Yes, we get as low as the '20s in the winter here, at times.).

12/18/2014 04:39:27 PM Report Abuse

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