To Heat or Not to Heat

Just moved. Thinking of putting my hand press (and printing shop) in an outbuilding on my property. It is a finished guest house, but is not continually heated. I live in New England, where winters see extended periods of freezing temperatures.

Can I keep my press in there through the winter or will the temp. changes damage it? The building has a heating source, but I can’t afford to heat it all the time if it’s unoccupied. I would only turn on the heat on days I was printing. Do I have to scrap my plans and keep my press inside the main house? What about summer time temps as well? HELP!! All input is appreciated!

Log in to reply   6 replies so far

Heat is good. I have a press shed in my back yard in Massachusetts - it’s insulated and wired for electricity. I run a small electric (oil-filled) radiator on a timer in the winter - just want to keep things from freezing. Unless we really have a cold snap, I only need to have it on at night - the concrete floor holds a fair amount of warmth. When I need to work, I just crank it up a few hours beforehand. Yes, it uses some electricity - but working comfortably is important to me, and cold hands make mistakes. You might want to consider keeping your ink and dampened paper in your house…

In the summer I put an AC in a window for late July and August.

Hey, thanks, Bill. I’m in MA as well. I was planning to keep my ink etc in the house, as you suggested. The timer is brilliant! Many thanks, I think it will do the trick!

Cold will not harm the steel/iron of the press. In addition to taking the ink and paper into the main house, I would take the rollers too.

Since you are going to have temperature fluctuations, keep in mind that it is better to cover presses,cutters,etc. with cloth covers (bedsheets,etc.) rather than plastic tarps or sheets. Both will serve to keep the dust off of things, but the cloth covers breathe and allow the moisture to dissipate. The plastic will NOT and if you cover the equipment when it is warm and humid for instance, and then it gets colder, the moisture that it trapped under the plastic will condensate and your equipment will rust very quickly.

all excellent advice . many thanks

I find that without heat everything I have stored outside is rusting from condensation. I’m in CT and my outbuildings don’t get much direct sunlight to warm them up either which is part of the problem. While the cold won’t necessarily harm anything it’s a good idea to do something to keep the inside temp above freezing and actually closer to 50 degrees. Electric heat is a good solution, you could possibly supplement the cost with solar panels for generation on smaller building. Might even get the local power company to help pay for that ;)