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How Many BTUs Does A Garage Heater Need?

How Many BTUs Does A Garage Heater Need?

Do you want to install a garage heater but don’t know how many BTUs you’ll require? We gathered information that could help us answer your question, and this is what we have for you.

For warm, average, and cold climates, the amount of BTU required to heat a garage per square foot is 30, 45, and 60, respectively. Having said that, here are the BTU requirements for a 1, 2, 3, and 4-car garage:

  • 7500 BTU (warm); 11,750 BTU (average); 15,000 BTU (1-car garage) (cold)
  • 15,000 BTU (warm); 22,500 BTU (average); 30,000 BTU 2-car garage (500 ft2) (cold)
  • 22,500 BTU (warm); 34,250 BTU (average); 45,000 BTU 3-car garage (750 ft2) (cold)
  • 30,000 BTU (warm); 45,000 BTU (average); 60,000 BTU 4-car garage (1,000 ft2) (cold)

Continue reading to learn about possible garage heating options, factors to consider if you want to install a garage heater, and the benefits of investing in a garage heating system.

Garage Heating Systems Available

If you use the proper heating options, your garage will be warm and comfortable in no time. If you want to spend more time working in your garage during the winter or whenever it’s cold, consider these heating system options.

  • Installation Of Insulation
  • Heaters That Run On Gas Or Liquid Fuel
  • Portable Space Heaters
  • Space Heaters With Direct Vent
  • Extension of the Central HVAC System

Installation Of Insulation

How Many BTUs Does A Garage Heater Need?

If you have insufficient insulation and weatherstripping in your garage and use it frequently during the heating season, your energy costs can easily double or triple. In the long run, investing in space insulation will save you 20% on energy costs.

Pay attention to the following details when insulating your garage:

  • Ascertain that the windows in a garage that will be insulated for the winter have the same thermal resistance as the windows in your home. The best option is insulated glass with two or three panes filled with inert gas.
  • Steel, aluminum, or fiberglass doors with polyurethane foam inside have the highest R-values. Most experts recommend a garage door with an R-value of 10 to 12 for a heated garage.
  • Inspect the weather-stripping along the bottom of the primary garage door because drafts are the most common source of energy loss.
  • To reduce heat loss, insulate the areas between the rafters and trusses and finish the ceiling with wallboard.

Heaters That Run On Gas Or Liquid Fuel

Several liquid-fueled space heaters, including kerosene, liquid propane, and natural gas, can be used safely in a garage. Here are the two basic types of these heaters:

  • Space heaters that stand alone
  • Space heaters with a direct vent

Portable Space Heaters

How Many BTUs Does A Garage Heater Need?

Kerosene or propane-fueled freestanding space heaters are portable and inexpensive, but they only heat small areas. Always use extreme caution when using a freestanding liquid fuel heater in an enclosed room; many safety experts advise against it.

Space Heaters With Direct Vent

These heaters, on the hand, can be great for heating the garage, especially if your home is already wired for propane or natural gas, which powers your furnace, stove, or gas fireplace.

Direct-vent garage heaters exchange combustion air and exhaust fumes through a conduit in the wall, eliminating the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Wood Burning Fireplaces

A wood burner can be a great alternative for heating the garage under certain conditions, especially if you have a consistent, low-cost supply of wood. However, there are some drawbacks to using a wood stove. These caveats are as follows:

  • A safe installation requires a sufficient distance between the stove and any combustible surfaces.
  • All wood burners must be equipped with suitable chimneys.
  • A wood stove takes a long time to heat up and will continue to produce heat even after you stop feeding it fuel, so it is not a good choice for quick heating.

Never, ever burn pressure-treated lumber or sheet material that contains chemical resins. Toxins are released when these materials are burned, endangering both human health and the environment.

Heaters That Run On Electricity

The greatest advantage of electric heaters is their convenience. These heaters are quiet, clean, and unobtrusive, and they do not necessitate the use of a furnace or boiler. They also do not necessitate the use of chimneys or vent pipes.

Electric heaters are generally inexpensive to buy and install, but they can be expensive to run continuously, especially in extremely cold climates.

This heater is available in three varieties:

  • Heaters by convection
  • Radiant heating systems
  • Combination Heaters

Heaters By Convection
Convection heaters, like traditional space heaters, warm and circulate the air in a room by utilizing natural processes such as convection currents, which allow warm air to rise and chilly air to sink.

Heaters With Radiant Heating
This heats objects in their immediate vicinity, including people, but not the surrounding air. This is a good option if you need heat quickly, but it is dangerous because it can burn people or pets and cause a fire if used too close to flammable items.

Combination Heaters
Combination heaters combine the benefits of radiant and convection heaters by using a fan to spread the heat produced by radiant coils.

Extensions For Central HVAC

Adding ductwork to an attached garage can also be used to extend the system that your central furnace and air conditioner use to heat and cool the rest of your home.

How Many BTUs Does A Garage Heater Need?

However, because this could put a significant strain on your HVAC system, it’s best to hire a professional to assess the problem and install the additional ductwork if you go this route.

What Factors Influence Your Heating Needs?

The following factors can have an impact on your garage heating requirements:

  • Climate and weather
  • Parking garage
  • Garage material and quality

Climate And Weather
The more energy it takes to change the inside temperature of a building, the colder or warmer the outside air is. After you’ve determined your climate zone and the appropriate BTU requirements for your area, you can make a rough estimate for your home.

Parking Space
Another factor to consider when evaluating your energy requirements is space, both in terms of square footage and cubic footage. Naturally, the greater the requirement, the larger the space; however, it is critical to avoid the “more is better” mentality.

Garage Material And Quality
This assessment is influenced by the quality and type of building materials used, as well as the age of the home.

The calculation is altered by the addition of windows that let in more light or cold air, as well as the installation of insulation throughout the garage.

In older homes that are drafty or poorly insulated, heat capacity will be required.

Before Heating Your Garage, Here Are Some Questions You Should Ask

Before you set up and install your garage heaters, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do you do with your garage?
  • Is your garage adequately insulated?
  • Is there any exposed pipework?
  • What are your heating options?

How Do You Utilize Your Garage?

This question can aid you in the rest of your decision-making process. If you use the garage to store summer gardening equipment, you won’t need to heat it. If you have climate-sensitive items or an automobile in storage, you may require some heat.

Is Your Garage Adequately Insulated?

A well-insulated garage can store some of the heat that your house allows in during the winter. While your garage will not keep you as warm as your living room, cellar, or any other interior space, the better insulated it is, the less likely you will need to heat it.

Is There Any Exposed Pipework?

Pipes may freeze if the temperature falls below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Exposed, uninsulated pipes in an unheated garage space can freeze, break, and cause catastrophic damage.

A garage heating system is a simple way to reduce the risk of freezing and plumbing issues. While extending your home’s heating system into the area may be expensive, burst pipes may be even more so.

What Are Your Heating Options?

It is also important to understand your heating options when selecting a garage heater. You must decide which heating option is best for your garage.

What Are the Advantages of Garage Heating?

Here are some advantages of having a garage heating system to help you decide whether you should proceed with heating your garage:

  • You can turn your garage into a comfortable workstation without wasting electricity or incurring high energy costs.
  • Specifically designed to address the unique issues associated with heating garage spaces.
  • You’ll be able to work on tasks throughout the year and be less likely to put them off to avoid the cold.
  • By heating your garage, you can store temperature-sensitive items such as clothing, books, and leather furniture.
  • A garage heater keeps you warm while also improving the safety and comfort of your vehicle.


To reiterate, the BTU requirement varies by region and climate, ranging from 7,500 BTU at a minimum to 60,000 BTU at a maximum. Other factors, however, may still have an impact on these figures.

Also, before deciding on a heating system, ensure that your space requires heating in the first place to avoid extra energy costs.

How Many BTUs Does A Garage Heater Need?

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Written by HVAC Contributor

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