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Old 11-30-2010, 12:15 PM   #1
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choosing a heater for the garage

We are upgrading our attached garage (625 sf) with new electric, insulation, drywall, windows and doors. We want to be able to use it as a workshop/studio area but it will not be a living space. We want enough heat to keep it from freezing at night and to bring it up to the low to mid 60s when we want to work in there. We heat the house with natural gas and can easily pipe it to the garage.

We've looked at the non-vented gas heaters and they're tempting because they are cheap and pretty easy to set up. The fact that they would require us to put in vents in our walls, however, bugs me after doing all that work to seal up and insulation the space. Plus I heard about problems with excess moisture though I'm not sure if what I heard is hyperbole or not. We would prefer getting a direct vent one except for the price is making me a little grumpy.

My question has to do with a third option of going with a second hand furnace or direct vent heater.

For example, today in Craigslist I found an Empire direct vent heater for sale. The seller said it was in a rental of his and was installed in 2001. He couldn't remember the BTUs and said he would check and get back to me. I couldn't find the model (DV 218) at the Empire website.

There seems to be a fair number of used furnaces for sale. I know that a hugely over sized furnace is a bad idea because it'll cycle on & off too much and the burners will never get very hot. But how over sized is too over sized and how much under sized is too under sized if you know what I mean? I did a rough calculation of how much BTUs we need for the garage and came up with 24K. I know a 100K BTU furnace is absolutely a no but not sure if a 42K BTU one would be equally bad. Or alternately if the Empire heater is 15K, is it way too small to consider?

Anyway, I'm not dead set on a 2nd hand furnace but I want to learn more about it before I decide. Does it ever make sense to use a 2nd hand furnace? When is a furnace/heater too old. I saw a couple in CL that looked ancient. Whatever kind of heater we get, I'll have a HVAC guy hook it up (I like to tackle all sorts of DIY projects but I draw the line on things that involve stuff that might kill us). If the 2nd hand heater or furnace is in good shape and has it's parts would it take a HVAC guy significantly longer to hook up & test it than for a new one? If it was a lot I would wonder if the cost savings in purchasing a 2nd hand furnace/heater might be eaten up in the installation.

Chris - the miserly skinflint who's always looking to save a buck.
I forgot to add - we're in the Finger Lakes region of Central New York


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Old 11-30-2010, 12:25 PM   #2
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If you know how to check it ,heat exchanger , etc, & it's not very old & real cheap. I would have no problem installing used. I installed a new forced air furnace with duct work in my work shop. I have given away good used furnaces. If you were closer I would give you a goodman that I currently have. It's too big for you . I think it's 80 K


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Old 11-30-2010, 03:19 PM   #3
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Ayuh,... This last summer, I found a sweet deal on a boiler for my rental, down Cato way...
A craigslist find,... Nice little low hour Well/ McClain...
About 1/3rd the cost of new, 'n I did the install myself...

My garage/ workshop here has an old housetrailer furnace that was given to me years ago...
Other than mounting it on a base for the hot wind to come out,...
It still works Just Fine...

Kenmac sums it up quite well,... Ya gotta know what your lookin' at....
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Old 11-30-2010, 04:27 PM   #4
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Check out a Modine Hot Dawg heater.

Can be mounted up at the ceiling so its out of your way, and meets code for a garage install. Vents out the wall with a SS pipe.
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