If you are a person that spends any length of time at all in your garage, you may quickly notice how cold it can get. They aren’t heated, and they are usually poorly insulated. Since most people don’t have any regular heating element installed to keep their garage space warm in the winter, many people just use a cheap, disappointingly inefficient space heater.
Of course, there are several kinds of heaters you can use in your garage, and each type of heater has its own strengths and weaknesses. That being said, which heaters actually work best in a garage, and are electric fireplaces up to the task? The following post will help you explore all of your options so that you can make your own conclusion about the best solution to your garage heating problem.
Items Covered In This Post:
- What Are Some Different Garage Heater Types? – There exist many different garage heating options out there. We will list the most common ones you might consider putting in your garage.
- What Are Some Of The Various Electric Fireplace Types? – Electric fireplaces are one of the best garage heaters you can go with. If you are leaning toward an electric fireplace to heat your garage, we will break down the different categories and see what works.
- What Is So Great About Electric Fireplaces Anyway? – If you have reservations about choosing an electric fireplace in place of a standard shop heater, we will list many of the great benefits of a fireplace.
- How Does An Electric Fireplace Work To Produce Heat? – Not all heating devices work the same way. It’s important to know how these electric fireplaces work to generate heat and keep your garage warm.
- Are Electric Fireplaces Safe To Use In A Garage? – Not all fireplaces are safe to use in garages; this part will talk about how safe electric fireplaces are safe electric fireplaces are actually to use within your garage.
- I Have Converted My Garage Into Another Room, Will My Electric Heater Work Better? – Using your garage as a shop and converting it into a completely different room might change how well your electric garage heater warms the space.
- Should I insulate My Garage? – Even if you don’t convert your garage into a different room, is it still a good idea to insulate a garage if it hasn’t been insulated already?
- How Large of A Garage Can My Electric Fireplace Reliably Heat? – The area that electric fireplaces can heat will be covered in this section so you know if it is enough for you.
- Couldn’t I Just Use A Gas Fireplace Or Wood Stove? – Why you should never use a gas fireplace or wood stove in your garage.
- I Have Seen Some Dedicated Garage Heaters, But I Don’t Have A Dedicated 240-Volt Outlet. What Do I Do? – This section of the article will explain outlets and what kind you need for what type of heater.
- What Makes MagikFlame Electric Fireplaces A Good Garage Heater Choice? – Because of its popularity with homeowners, we talk about MagikFlame electric fireplaces as a great garage solution for you.
What Are Some Different Garage Heater Types?
To properly choose a heating system that is best for your garage, you need to know the main types of heaters that will work. Here are the primary types of heaters for garages are:
Forced Air Heater – These systems usually use gas. These force hot air or warm air into the room to increase the temperature. While these tend to be powerful, it isn’t easy to regulate the heat settings in a small space like a garage if it gets too hot. The airflow can also be quite strong. They have a lot of heating power but should be avoided in a small garage where a strong airflow can cause problems with what you are working on. They also require a lot of wattage, drastically increasing your heating bill. Mr. Heater is a common brand of this type of heater. Mr. Heater units tend to come on wheels to move it easily where it is needed. They require adequate floor space because of their large size. These can be useful if you have a large square foot three-car or four-car garage. Anything smaller and these might be overkill.
Coil Heaters – These are units with metal ribbons or coils that get extremely hot and warm the room by both radiant heat and convection. These aren’t necessarily that good because the electric garage heater’s radiant heat is weak compared to convection. Also, because the coils get so hot and are exposed to the air, they can result in a fire if anything flammable comes into contact. Something like a Fahrenheat FUH54 can also use this heat output method. Despite being heavy-duty units, you can also mount these on the ceiling or wall with a mounting bracket. These can also have safety features like overheat protection, so the unit will shut off if any overheating problems are detected. Not all coil heaters have the same safety features.
Infrared Heater – An infrared garage heater is a good way to heat your garage. The convection heating of the infrared heat source is very safe because the coils don’t get very hot like a traditional coil heater. One of the brands of infrared heater you can get is Dr. Infrared.
Ceramic Heater – These heaters are like infrared heaters, but they use ceramic. They are usually freestanding like the ones that Lasko makes or Comfort Zone. Because of the limited BTU heater, they may not be ideal for a large garage with a lot of square feet to cover unless the particular unit has a higher BTU rating. When using a Comfort Zone or other ceramic heater, be careful of debris or random items around the heater because freestanding heaters can be a fire hazard.
Electric Fireplace – Electric fireplaces are electric heaters that could use any other heating styles listed above. However, the leading electric fireplaces tend to use infrared heating. Unlike all of these other heaters, electric fireplaces can also simulate the atmosphere of a real fireplace. Therefore, they are great if you convert your garage into a game room, family room, home office, or something else.
Propane Heaters – Propane heaters are gas garage heaters that use liquid propane tanks as their fuel source. Typically, burning propane and other gas in a garage is considered dangerous, and using a propane garage heater should be avoided. Keep in mind; that the propane tanks will need to be changed regularly.
Natural Gas Heaters – These heaters require natural gas lines to work. Dyna is a company that makes heaters like these that run on natural gas like their Glo heater. Something like the Dyna Glo may produce a weird natural gas smell. And the Glo units can take up a lot of your workspace. Big Maxx is also a brand of these types of heaters. Again, keep in mind that burning gas in an enclosed garage can be dangerous, and gas heaters should usually be avoided.
Oil-Filled Radiator Heater – These are similar to oil radiators commonly found in homes but are a portable garage heater variety. NewAir is a brand that makes these. NewAir usually has a fan to help blow air. Sometimes the NewAir unit also has adjustable louvers for directional control.
What Are Some Of The Various Electric Fireplace Types?
If you think that picking up an electric fireplace is a good fit for your garage, there are a handful of types you should be aware of:
Mantel and Fireplace Unit – Coming as two pieces, these are almost always wall units or corner units. They come as two pieces so that buyers can choose a style of mantel that fits their home. These electric fireplaces look the most traditional. If you are putting in a large media center, you can also find one of these units built into it. An electric fireplace mantel unit is good for your garage game room or other garage room conversion.
Conversion Insert Unit – This probably won’t apply to your garage. These units are designed to insert inside of the opening of a traditional wood fireplace, thus converting it into a purely electric fireplace.
Wall-Mounted Unit – Some electric fireplace units can be hung up on your wall with wall brackets attached to wood studs behind the drywall. These units can also be partially recessed or fully recessed so that the fireplace is inside the wall. Mounting a recessed electric fireplace is a great idea for a garage room conversion that doesn’t have a lot of space. By installing the fireplace into a recessed wall, it can be completely flush, allowing for more walking space along that wall.
Portable Unit – These are no different from any other portable room heater. It is designed aesthetically to look like a fireplace and sometimes has some mild flame simulated effects. These have the same drawbacks as any other portable room heater and aren’t recommended if you want something serious.
What Is So Great About Electric Fireplaces Anyway?
While electric fireplaces have a long list of benefits that make them better than wood or gas fireplaces inside of your home, let’s focus on the reasons that pertain specifically to heating your garage:
No Venting – Since these are purely electric, you don’t have to worry about installing any ventilation to make the air safe for breathing. Even some gas fireplaces require ventilation due to toxic emissions like carbon monoxide.
Garage Safe – One thing you have to worry about in garages is that if you store vehicles in the garage, gasoline cans, or anything else that can give off flammable fumes, burning of any kind to produce heat can be dangerous. For this reason, gas burning and wood burning in a garage should be avoided. Electric fireplaces don’t involve any burning, so they are entirely safe to use in an enclosed garage, no matter what you store there.
Low Energy Cost – High-end electric fireplaces are designed to efficiently heat apartments, small houses, or large rooms. This means it should be one of the cheapest ways for you to heat your garage.
Adjustable Thermostat – Many garage heating devices simply have low, medium, and high settings. Electric fireplaces have a thermostat that is easy to adjust. The heater works more when the temperature drops below the setting; it works very little when the heat is above the setting. This gives you perfect control of the temperature of your garage.
Remote Control – Electric fireplaces should come with a remote control or an app for your tablet or smartphone to easily control every aspect of the fireplace. The remote can turn it on, turn it off, change the thermostat, change the visual features, change the sound features, and more.
Visually Pleasing – Electric fireplaces are absolutely the best looking compared to all of the other heaters for your garage. They bring a sense of comfort and warmth just with their look. The appeal of the flame effects will make your garage feel more like a part of your home instead of just a garage. Electric fireplaces are ideal for people who have done or are planning to convert their garage into a game room, family room, or home office.
How Does An Electric Fireplace Work To Produce Heat?
Most of the really good electric fireplaces you would buy for your garage will produce heat using convection-style heating. They commonly have infrared heating coils as the main part of their built-in heater.
When you turn on an electric fireplace, and if the room is colder than the thermostat’s setting, the fireplace will begin sucking cool air. After the air has been sucked into the electric fireplace unit through the air intake, the heating element inside heats all of the air there. Once the air is warm, it is pushed back into the room through the blower. This all happens in a constant, quiet cycle.
The warm air then helps heat all of the cool air it touches.
Because electric fireplaces with infrared coils begin heating cool air so fast, you don’t have to turn the fireplace on and leave it on for a long time to warm it up like you might need to with a conventional metal coil heater. With these more efficient electric fireplaces, you will immediately feel warm air pushing into the room.
Since you don’t need ventilation with your electric fireplace, no excess heat is escaping through the vents. Most of the residual heat stays in the room, keeping it warm for a long time before it dissipates. That’s one of the really helpful ways that make these work so efficient and help reduce your heating bill.
Are Electric Fireplaces Safe To Use In A Garage?
Yes, as mentioned before, electric fireplaces are one of the safest methods you can find to keep your garage warm. No fire is present, so there is no additional risk of your home catching on fire or flammable fumes in your garage from sparking.
There are also no harmful emissions like carbon monoxide, where you are at severe risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
As long as all of your electrical wiring in the garage is up to code, you shouldn’t have any safety concerns when using an electric fireplace.
If you want to be extra careful, here are a few safety tips when using the electric fireplace:
Wall Secured – Some electric fireplaces can be quite heavy, 200 pounds or even more. Even if you have a unit that sits on the ground against the wall or in the corner, you want to make sure it is secure against the wall and free from the chance of tipping over and crashing down. This is similar to how you might secure a large, heavy bookshelf. Just make sure you have some kind of bracket or another securing method so the fireplace won’t tip over and fall forward if you accidentally bump it. This is especially true if you get the kind you can mount on the wall a couple of feet off of the ground. Not only will this save you from a potential injury, but you will keep from damaging the fireplace you invested so much in.
Direct Plug-In – When you use electric fireplaces, you want to ensure that the power plug goes directly into a proper electrical socket with the ground wire connected. This is the same for any large appliances. If you use a surge protector or an extension cord, there is no way of knowing how well they are rated or if the ground wire is disconnected. Plugging your electric fireplace directly into the wall outlet or hardwiring it into the house is a bad idea. It can result in poor performance of your fireplace, causing damage to the fireplace, or even causing an electrical fire. If you don’t have an electrical outlet where you want your fireplace, call an electrician to wire one up for you correctly. Don’t take the risk.
Cord Check – Make sure you check the plug-in cord of the fireplace from time to time. You want to ensure that the outer protection isn’t frayed and that none of the internal wiring is exposed. This can short out your fireplace or cause dangerous sparks and electric shock. If you notice a damaged cord, check with the manufacturer’s customer support on how you should fix it or have it fixed by a professional. When checking the wiring, check the plug itself and make sure the tongs of the plug and the housing all look normal.
Unblocked Blower – Electric fireplaces have blowers that blow the warmed air back into the room. You want to make sure that the blower is free of any obstructions. Don’t place anything in front of it, and keep it free from random debris. If the blower on your electric fireplace gets obstructed, it will cause the fireplace to overheat. Most quality electric fireplaces can detect this with censors and have an auto-shutdown feature. Some generic bargain fireplaces you get on sale on Amazon may not have this extra safety feature. Overheating can lead to a damaged fireplace.
I Have Converted My Garage Into Another Room, Will My Electric Heater Work Better?
Suppose you are one of the people that don’t use their garage as a shop or a place to park their car and have instead converted it into another room for the house like a family room, game room, home office, or even an additional bedroom. In that case, this could allow your electric fireplace to work even better.
Usually, when doing these kinds of conversions, you’re going to install more insulation, drywall, and other things that you might otherwise not have in your garage. You’ll likely also hang up some curtains that can further help as some mild insulation if you have windows. Lastly, you probably took care of any drafty trouble spots where cold air can blow it, which tends to happen in older garages.
These different elements to your garage remodel will help the room keep in as much heat as possible. This means your heater won’t have to work nearly as hard, and you will save a lot more money on your heating bill.
Should I insulate My Garage?
If you aren’t someone who isn’t planning to convert your garage into another room, installing insulation if you don’t already have it is always a really good idea. This will go a long way to making sure you don’t need to turn your heaters up so high to keep you warm.
Check for any drafty spots where the cold winter air can blow in and take care of them. This is common up above the rafters, the seams of any windows or exterior doors, or even the garage door itself. Many garage doors have a gap underneath them where cold air can blow in and heat can escape. Consider attaching a rubber strip to help protect from this. If you are working with anything toxic, you get proper ventilation or crack windows and doors to ensure breathable air.
How Large of A Garage Can My Electric Fireplace Reliably Heat?
Not all electric fireplaces are made to the same standards. Again, if you choose to get a really cheap bargain electric fireplace from Amazon, you can’t expect it to keep your garage as warm as a top-of-the-line electric fireplace. That’s one of the reasons it is always good to get the best electric fireplace that you can within your budget. Going too cheap will leave you disappointed in the quality and heat production. The electric heater output is enough to heat about 1,000 square feet with a high-end fireplace.
Couldn’t I Just Use A Gas Fireplace Or Wood Stove?
You should never put anything that has a flame inside your garage because of the possible risk of flammable fumes in the air. Although some of the dedicated heaters mentioned above-used gas, these are built specifically for garages, and even they aren’t as safe as electric heaters.
I Have Seen Some Dedicated Garage Heaters. What Do I Do?
This usually isn’t an issue. With most houses with proper wiring, you can easily have an electrician change your standard 120-volt outlet into a 240-volt outlet.
If you are still unsure about this, go with an electric fireplace instead of a traditional garage heater. Electric fireplaces almost always work by being plugged into a standard 120-volt outlet.
What Makes MagikFlame Electric Fireplaces A Good Garage Heater Choice?
If you are going the route of electric fireplaces, MagikFlame is one of the best choices. These robust fireplaces have a 5,200 BTU heater that can easily keep your entire garage warm. They have 30 completely realistic holographic flame effects that you can switch between depending on what kind of mood you want. These units play the soothing sound of crackling logs to add to the wonderful fireplace atmosphere.