We’re always looking for ways to save energy at home. We buy energy efficient appliances and install new windows in the hopes of keeping the heat in during the winter. Yet, for some of us, heat continues to escape our home, and we don’t know why.
If you have a garage — a room that is typically not heated and features a large metal door that opens widely on a regular basis — then this room is likely the culprit. Garages, by design, are extremely difficult to keep warm.
Simply because heating a garage is a challenge doesn’t mean that it’s impossible and not worth the effort. Garage door design has come a long way over the years, and energy efficient unit heating makes adding climate control to your garage easy because it eliminates the need to tie your garage into your home’s HVAC system. Plus, transforming your garage can add value to your home, making it more appealing if you decide to sell.
We’ve put together a guide on the best way to heat a garage, along with other ways to conserve energy at home. From insulated garage doors to weatherstripping and everything in between, we have collected some of our best advice on the subject. Some are easy fixes that you can do yourself, while others are best left to professional contractors. Regardless, if you want to know how to heat a garage in winter, look no further.
Benefits of a Warm Garage
There are many reasons to heat your garage over the winter, and doing so may be more affordable than you had previously imagined. Before we tackle some garage energy efficiency solutions, here are some of the benefits of a winterized garage:
- A space for auto repair and maintenance. For the gear heads among us, working on the car is typically reserved for warmer months. But that’s because cold garages and numb fingers make working on a vehicle difficult. If you heat your garage, you can tackle your auto repair all year long. If you’re the type of person who likes to keep an older car running as long as possible, you likely can’t choose when your car needs maintenance. With a heated garage, you don’t have to worry about your car working (or not working) on your schedule.
- A space for other projects. Woodwork, art projects, and other crafts and home projects are perfect projects to be completed in a well-insulated garage. Perhaps you want to do some home renovations during the winter but don’t want to pull your table saw outside. Besides, cutting wood in the cold can be hazardous! Or maybe you are an artist who wants a place to paint without worrying about accidentally staining your carpet. Again, if you take your art seriously, you don’t want to take a break for three months because your studio is too cold.
- A space for storage. If storage is at a premium, increasing your amount of climate controlled storage space can make life much easier. With a heated garage, you won’t have to brave frigid storage spaces to pull out your holiday decorations every year. Nor will you have to worry about what you store in that space over the winter, as cold sensitive wares won’t be exposed to the elements.
- A cozy space to keep your car. Keeping your car warm can make the start of your morning commute less of a headache. Cold cars can be temperamental, cause the battery to fail, or be a struggle to start. Plus, driving a cold car is hard on your engine. In fact, according to the Germany Automobile association ADAC, 52% of all car problems are caused by the battery failing. If you give your car a warm place to park overnight, you can also increase the life of your vehicle.
Some of us are fine letting our garages become cold over the winter, but there’s no denying the benefits to adding climate control to that space. It will make the space more usable during the colder months, and it will also increase the value of your home.
With that in mind, here are some steps you should consider if you want to keep your garage warm while lowering your energy bills over the winter.
Keep Your Garage Insulated From the Rest of Your House
Newer homes — especially those built after the energy efficiency craze took off — are generally built to include insulated walls that separate your garage from the rest of your house. However, if you have an older home, adding basic insulation should be your first step towards making your garage more energy efficient.
If the wall that separates your garage from your house contains only thin insulation or no insulation at all, the heat in your home is rapidly leaving through your garage. Unless you are an advanced DIY homeowner, we strongly recommend using a contractor for the job. There are many insulation options to choose from, existing walls are most likely load bearing, and installing new insulation will likely require extensive renovations to your walls. A professional will help you determine the best approach for your insulation renovation, and they will also get the job done quickly and correctly.
Insulate the Rest of Your Garage
If you want to take insulation to the next level, consider insulating your entire garage. This is especially helpful if you want to keep certain storage areas, like an attic crawl space, climate controlled. In fact, attic crawl spaces and other overhead storage areas are some of the most important — yet often overlooked — areas for insulation. Even if you don’t plan on actually heating your garage, added insulation will provide another barrier between your home and the elements.
This can be a challenging job, so we recommend contacting a professional who will spot energy leaks might and understand which kind of insulation is best suited for the different parts of your garage.
Install or Update Weatherstripping
Most of us are used to a chilly garage every winter, so we don’t think too much about the weatherstripping on the various doors and windows. These small leaks, however, can have a big impact on your energy efficiency. A single drafty window or a sliver of light under your door can suck heat out of your home at a rapid rate.
You should also check to make sure your weatherstripping hasn’t degraded. Stiff, old rubber will greatly reduce the energy saving capabilities. Even if you can’t see light under your weatherstripping, you may need to update your installation to ensure you’re receiving maximum energy efficiency from your winterizing measures.
In addition to helping keep out the cold, weatherstripping also helps defend against vermin and insects who might want to take advantage of your warm home. Mice can enter a garage through the tiniest of gaps in your weatherstripping, so a new installation around your doors and windows will go a long way in keeping unwanted guests on the outside of your home.
Plus, basic weatherstripping is an easy fix. If you’re handy, you can complete this job on your own. A quick trip to the hardware store could go a long way. However, if you’re already hiring a contractor to do other insulation work in your garage, adding a weatherstripping upgrade is convenient and will ensure that you’re getting the most insulation power out of your installation.
Keep Up With Routine Maintenance
Every time you open your garage door during the winter, warm air escapes and cold air blows in. It’s important that your garage door works as efficiently and smoothly as possible. If it’s been a while since you’ve oiled all the moving parts, you’re probably overdue for maintenance.
Professionals should catch any problems while performing maintenance. If you add a routine tune-up to your winter preparation schedule, you will feel confident that your garage door is working at peak efficiency. You will also be aware of any potential problems that could arise in the near future.
If you’re unsure if your garage door is operating at peak efficiency, feel free to contact our service department. Our professional maintenance staff will help you assess your garage door needs, and they can also ensure that your door is in perfect working order. If your door needs to be replaced, they will guide you through the process, provide you with information on your available options, and replace your door quickly and painlessly.
Install a Unit Heater
Most garages are not included in a home’s HVAC system. If you really want to use your garage as a work space or accessible and climate-controlled storage area year round, you should consider installing a unit heater. Here are the two choices you have:
- Gas-powered heater. The most affordable in the long run, these installations are more involved and should be left to professionals. A gas-powered heater needs a gas supply and a well-insulated but efficient exhaust system. Using a gas-powered heater in a poorly ventilated garage can be deadly, as these heaters produce carbon monoxide, an odorless gas known as a silent killer. On the other hand, a poorly-insulated ventilation system will make the heater inefficient. Exhaust systems need to reach outside through a hole in your garage wall, and the hole can also exhaust heat at the same time.
- Electrical unit heaters. These unit heaters are much easier to install. They simply need to be plugged in and they don’t create any exhaust. If you plan to use it often, it will eventually become pricier because electricity prices are higher than gas prices.
You’ll have to decide which type of heater will work best for you. If you only want to heat your garage occasionally, an electrical unit will probably be sufficient. However, if you want your garage to be climate controlled all of the time, a professionally installed gas heater will probably be the most affordable option in the long term.
Consider an Insulated Garage Door
Garage doors are made from metal. Anyone who has touched a metal door in the dead of winter can tell you that they do not stay warm. If you have a standard garage door, it is likely letting as much heat out closed as it would if you left it open all day.
If you’re serious about keeping your garage warm, an insulated garage door is a must. Garage door design has come a long way, so if you have an aging door, it might be time for a replacement. A new door will help keep your garage warm, and a new design can also elevate your home’s curb appeal.
Some garage doors come with windows. If you want to keep your garage warm, it is also important that these windows feature insulated glass.
Here at Central State Door Service, we offer a wide range residential garage doors in forward-thinking designs. Our doors come with many benefits:
- They come in a variety of colors and materials, including many environmentally conscious designs, offering you flexibility. With such a wide range of options, it’s easier to match a new door with the exterior design aesthetic of your home.
- Our doors come with insulated options. Features such as Intellicore® insulation technology have made new garage doors more energy efficient than ever.
- Our doors are American made. You can support American manufacturing while knowing you are receiving the kind of quality that only comes from domestic manufacturers.
When professionally installed and cared for with routine maintenance checks, you can feel confident that your door will last while continuing to perform like new.
Are You Ready for a New Garage Door?
If you have decided that a new garage door is the best solution for your garage winterizing needs, contact us. Our friendly and professional staff is eager to hear from both former and potential customers.
After you contact us, you will receive a free quote. One of our associates will look at your garage and help you decide on the right style. With so many options and designs to choose from, we are confident that we can match both your needs and exterior design aesthetic.
If you live in Central Pennsylvania, we’re eager to help you transform your garage, making it warmer and more inviting during the winter.