Heating my workshop

I am looking for advise on heating an uninsulated workshop 18 x 20 feet in southern MA. The choices are 35,000 btu Hot Dawg propane unit or wood stove burning Envi blocks and some hardware. Both would have to be installed so the cost is the same. I wish to hear from someone who has experience with a Hot Dawg heater in their workshop concerning warmth and cost of propane. Any other suggestions are appreciated for you have helped me in the past.

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Hi Elizabeth
I am in the process of finding a heat source for my 17x20 insulated shop space in Western Mass. I started out with a vent-free propane heater but when I started taking the steps to have it installed I discovered that vent-free was definitely NOT the way to go. I have since investigated hot water baseboard (our furnace is right on the other side of the shop wall) vented propane, hot water ceiling-mount, wood and pellet stoves. It looks like purchasing new they are all around the same price. I am leaning toward a woodstove mainly because I’ve always loved wood heat (had it in my 2 previous homes) and have some acreage to get a supply of wood from.
I’m sure that, being vented, the Hot Dawg would be a good choice, my only concern would be the noise factor of the blower. I’ve heard other ceiling-mount heaters and they have all been pretty loud. I haven’t heard the Hot Dawg run but I assume it would be the same?
Please let me know what you decide to go with, I’m curious about the vented propane - my propane line runs through the shop into the house and would be an easy hook up. Thanks and good luck!


Paper Stone Printing
Steve Nartowicz
P.O. Box 137
Chesterfield MA 01012

i heat my garage (24x48 feet) with a gas furnace near the rear of the building, i keep the heat at 60 degrees, then i run a small wood/coal stove in the front of the shop to bring the heat up to around 68, i’m in southeastern massachusetts and my garage is pretty well insulated. Dick G.

Could you tell me more about the hot water ceiling mount ? Did you investigate the radient gas ceiling mount?

My tiny (12x26), well insulated, new Studio uses a “cove” electric heater, do a search and you will find it is like a “baseboard” type heater, except it is mounted about 2” from the ceiling. It has been warm so far here in Colorado and I keep my Studio at 55, but the thermostat shows during the day about 65-70! Have not seen any increase in electric bills…so far!!!
Good Luck. Denise

Elizabeth, Move to Florida, all I need is a candle and a sweatshirt here.

The hot water ceiling mount heater would use a hot water line from my furnace, the same as if I ran baseboard heat instead. I stayed away from the radiant heaters and am shying away from vented propane, I’m worried about odors. I had a tank-mounted propane heater in the past and would get headaches from the fumes.
I just returned from buying a wood stove that I found on craigslist, now I need to do some MAJOR shop reorganization so I can install it. I’ll post a picture when I finally get my shop back in order, best of luck and let us know how you make out.


Why do you stay away from radient heaters? I went to see a gas fed Re- verber- ray radient heater installed in a warehouse yesterday and the heat was grand but the unit will not install because of electrical tubing crossing at 8” in the workshop. I went on line looking at the Cove electrical unit that Denise mentioned that installs around the sides. Has anyone else had experience with the monthly cost of an electrical unit?
I appreciate any advice for this is stumping me.

I was worried about odors with the gas radiant heaters also. I guess I was leaning toward a wood stove all along, I just needed a good excuse to get one! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to move type & galley cabinets and furniture so I can fit the new stove in my shop! Best of luck!

What is the issue/problem with an unvented propane heater?

unvented can cause carbon monoxide, not good.

Unvented heaters create combustion products (which can be carbon monoxide) but also produce water vapor, driving up the humidity in your shop. This is not so much a problem if the heat is always on, but is problematic if there are heat/cold cycles, as the moisture will condense on the machinery/metal when the heater starts up.

Do you worry about flashpoints with solvents if using a pellet stove? I’ve considered it, as I have electric baseboard heating which is just ridiculously inefficient and expensive. The thought of blowing up is the only thing keeping me from exploring it further.


Seems like you are going from one extreme to another with your choice and both have their pros and cons. The way I see it is…

Hot Dawg Propane = Instant Heat for the shop but propane can be expensive.

Wood Stove = Takes time to get going and warm up a shop but cheaper to operate and needs some maintaining.

I would consider a few things first before you make a decision like….

1. Do you want to have to start/clean/operate a wood stove and wait for it to warm your shop? Or do you want to walk in hit the heat and get to work?

****Do you have somewhere safe to dispose the ashes?****

2. Propane is basically no maintenance and quick to heat your shop.

3. Does the heat get shut down when you leave for the day? Steel and cast iron hold the cold very well and equipment may not operate well if you don’t keep a stable heat source at a constant temp, even if it’s a low temp.

I would consider a pellet stove before a wood stove and it would be cheaper to operate over time than propane. However you still need to clean a pellet stove about once a week.

I would have a lot of questions that I didn’t see asked or mentioned.

1. Is this workshop your own building on your private property?

2. How often would you be in there during the cold months?

3. Are you the only one working in this shop as some people can’t deal with wood smoke…..even a little.

4. Have you looked into if there would be any insurance issues with running a wood stove in this building? And what about the wood smoke in the surrounding area?……could there be any problem with neighbors and the smoke produced?

I would think a natural gas or propane unit would be your best option from what I know at this moment for ease of operation and convenience.

Good Luck,
Dave L

I have my shop in a warehouse building with 18’ ceiling and drafts. Too expensive to heat with any method.
In the winter I put up a simple wooden framework around the press and typesetting station. The framework is covered with plastic. I use a portable electric heater inside. Ink, rollers, press and printer get to 65F.
The framework and plastic come down when the weather warms.