Heating the Workshop

hollybeau
Posts: 54
Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:03 am

Heating the Workshop

Postby hollybeau » Sun Nov 15, 2020 5:07 pm

I'm not sure this is the right place to post about this but I couldn't find anywhere else suitable.

With the dark (and increasingly cold) nights upon us and ongoing Covid restrictions in place I imagine that there has never been a busier time to be modelling. Those who are fortunate enough to have a well-heated modelling room inside need stop reading now but those, like me, who use garages, sheds or attics no doubt have those good intentions to work on a favourite project but are put off by the cold and unwelcoming atmosphere of your typical outbuilding. In my own case I have a garage built by myself some 20 years ago and to a reasonable standard of insulation at the time. Even so it will take the 3kw ceiling-mounted fan heater or the 2kw convector floor heater some time to warm the 6m by 3m by 2.5m space up to a comfortable temperature. If I am only planning to "pop in" for an hour's modelling it can take twice that time to get it to temperature with the resultant increase in costs. There has been many a time when my willingness to go and get something done was overcome by the inertia of preferring to sit inside by the wood stove.....
While ruminating recently on this problem I came across radiant panel heaters. Some of you may be familiar with them but I wasn't. Basically they are thin panels of various sizes (mine is about the size of a TV) which can fit on walls, like radiators, be on stands, like fan heaters or can suspend from the ceiling. Unlike normal convection heaters (central heating or fan heaters ) radiant heaters warm objects and not the air. The heat they give out is akin to feeling the sun through a window. To explain them better than I here is a link: https://www.thegreenage.co.uk/tech/infr ... ng-panels/
I took the plunge this week, ordered one from Surya Heating in Leicester (usual disclaimer), and I now have it suspended on its thin cables (an additional cost) from the ceiling directly above where I work when kit building etc. The first photo is of the panel itself whilst the second photo shows it in its setting.
20201115_161056[1].jpg

20201115_161041[1].jpg

You can get the panels with their own remote control or they are available for control by a thermostat in the room which is controllable by a Smart app on your phone. Once set up (and I struggled a bit at first but got there eventually) I can set the temperature on my phone (wherever that is) and turn the heater on and off, set a timer for daily or weekly control or even use voice control by the Google assistant to control it.
So far (only the second day) it is performing well. I went for the 580 watt Solis model which retails currently for around £250 (fitting kit extra). OK that's much more than a cheap fan heater but there should be savings in running costs (I reckon mine costs about 8p an hour to run). There is also no maintenance/ no moving parts/ no noise/ no dust being moved about.
I have found that you do need to leave it on for quite a while to heat up before going in. It is also not powerful enough to heat the whole of the workshop , except on mild days, but suits its purpose of heating me which is all that I ask. I would also suggest that you need to be careful when sizing what you require as much will depend on whether you want to heat the whole room/building and how well it is insulated. If in any doubt spend more money on improving the insulation and err on the side of having panels larger than you need.
I hope this has been helpful to others also looking for an alternative way of heating their modelling rooms. Any questions .. just ask.

Bryan

davebradwell
Posts: 337
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2019 3:48 pm

Re: Heating the Workshop

Postby davebradwell » Sun Nov 15, 2020 5:36 pm

That seems very sound with the radiant heater potentially making you comfortable very quickly. Might I suggest you add a small convector heater with thermostat set to minimum at this time of year to prevent the structure getting too cold. This will improve your warm up time and reduce condensation/rusting on steel items. It shouldn't incur a great cost as heat loss at the lower temperature will be small. I was finding that once my machines cooled down they acted like heat sinks and it was impossible to heat the workshop - it can get pretty cold up here south of Loch Ness.

DaveB

User avatar
David B
Posts: 1278
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 5:30 pm

Re: Heating the Workshop

Postby David B » Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:24 pm

I am in the process of replacing an LPG 'wood' burner (which needs new parts but they are no longer available), with these heaters, also known as infra-red heaters. The thermostat is progammable so a supplementary heater is unnecessay. I got mine from Herschel. Mine are not installed yet as I need an electrician to wire them in as they are in the house. They are more expensive than some heaters but half the price of replacing the LPG stove and the running costs are low so they should pay for themselves quite quickly. Mine are going on the ceiling which will free up room space.

davebradwell
Posts: 337
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2019 3:48 pm

Re: Heating the Workshop

Postby davebradwell » Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:52 pm

My reason for suggesting supplementary heating was to avoid a time when there's no possibility of heat - a sort of warmer frost-stat, if you like. Of course some thermostats have this facility but I feel it needs to be a bit warmer than frost protection. My workshop is currently at about 12 deg so I can pop in and drill a few holes at any time without having to brace myself.

DaveB

Philip Hall
Posts: 1522
Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:49 pm

Re: Heating the Workshop

Postby Philip Hall » Sun Nov 15, 2020 11:21 pm

When we built my workshop/railway room I bought a 2.5kw oil filled radiator, as they are one of the most economical. Many makes are available but having sold them when I was working in a hardware store I went for one of the best, De Longhi. It will bring a 20ft x 21ft space (with a big workbench in the middle) up to 22 degrees in about an hour from the overnight temperature of 15 degrees, and hasn’t cost a fortune to run. The building is very well insulated though, probably better than the house!

I was quite concerned about overnight temperatures during the winter, so as the nights close in I plug it in and set it to about 14-15 degrees. I leave it like that all winter and then turn the thermostat up in the morning before breakfast and down at night when I spend the days down there. This means I can also just pop down there on impulse without freezing and I don’t get rust on any machinery. If it is a bit parky and I don’t want to wait for it to warm up I can resort to a fan heater or an old 2.5kw Belling fire for a few minutes, although I can hear the electricity meter turning over at warp speed when I do this. The radiator does have a ‘frost’ setting but it’s about 5 degrees which is too low.

I do like the idea of the overhead panel as warm sunlight coming though the window is so nice to work under. And also the ability to turn it on and off from the house, which is not available to me with the radiator. Looks a nice place to work.

Philip

Philip

hollybeau
Posts: 54
Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:03 am

Re: Heating the Workshop

Postby hollybeau » Tue Nov 17, 2020 7:03 pm

Thank you gents for your contributions.
I take Dave's point about having another (relatively) low heat source to supplement the heating. However, I am inclined to reverse the use of the heaters: using the radiant (infra-red) heater as the "background" heater and the convector heater when I am in the workshop and need a quick burst of heat. I say this because the radiant heater is more efficient (in heating solid things rather than the air and so is better at providing a heat sink) and is more controllable from the house. I would also worry about having a convector heater on, particularly a fan heater, overnight or at other times when I am not about since there must be some risk, however small, of a fire. I would have thought that Philip's oil-filled heater was a slightly better bet in that respect.
Since my original post I have found that the "SmartLife" app on my phone (or can be installed on a tablet) can not only turn the heater on and off remotely but it can control the temperature and set any number of "off and on" periods per day on a weekly basis. Since I am a creature of habit and tend to go in the workshop for a few hours each evening I now have it set to turn on an hour before I go in and turn off automatically as it were when I leave. It is an easy job to cancel the arrangement - and from anywhere in the world!
As a final comment to Philip being unable to control your radiator remotely I believe it is possible to buy "Smart Plugs" i.e. devices that convert your devices into ones that you can control via wifi from your phone. Here is a link to a recent review of some that are available https://www.techadvisor.co.uk/test-cent ... g-3649591/
They don't seem expensive (under £20) and although I doubt that you can set your temperature with them they should be able to do simple on and off remotely. My only comment, particularly with a 2.5kw device, is to get one that can handle the load (minimum 10 amps). I'll leave the thought with you.

Bryan

Philip Hall
Posts: 1522
Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:49 pm

Re: Heating the Workshop

Postby Philip Hall » Tue Nov 17, 2020 10:33 pm

Thank you Bryan for the pointer to the Smart plugs. I did think about this at one time (things have moved on a bit in the intervening years) and discussed it with our electrician, but we concluded that the expense at that time for limited functionality wasn't worth it. And your reservations about being able to handle 2.5kw are well founded. My one has a built in timer, which could be useful, but my hours in the workshop vary and so I've got used to usually just popping down the garden before breakfast and letting it warm up a bit. It actually says in the radiator's instructions that it should not be left for a long time (i.e. days and weeks) unattended, but as I am in there every day that works. When we go on holiday in the winter months (!) I always turn it off completely, and the building's insulation means it doesn't get really freezing in there.

Oil filled radiators are known, I think, to be one of the safest and economical forms of heating and most turn off automatically if they're accidentally tipped over. Like you I don't fancy something like a convector heater being left unattended; after all it is just a heating element inside a case. An alternative for background heat could be a greenhouse heater, one of those cylindrical things, but I went for the radiator as an all in one.

Philip

Enigma
Posts: 313
Joined: Tue Aug 13, 2013 2:49 pm

Re: Heating the Workshop

Postby Enigma » Wed Nov 18, 2020 2:19 pm

In the good old days (!) I remember Cyril Freezer suggesting fitting one of those background 'brown tube' style heaters in sheds etc., thermostatically set to a background heat temperature. Are they still available? Is that what is meant by a greenhouse heater? We have one in our club library to reduce condensation etc. over the winter months.

Personally speaking, I am in the enviable position of having my own man-cave situated off the lounge with CH rad. etc. so this - as the OP said - isn't really of much relevance to me. But I do sympathise with those who don't have this 'luxury'. ;)

Edit - BTW, looking back at the first post I have to comment on how ludicrously tidy the workbench is. Even after I've tidied mine before starting a new project it isn't that tidy! Get on with some modelling man - and create a bit of havoc.............. :twisted: :thumb

nigelcliffe
Posts: 582
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2008 8:31 am

Re: Heating the Workshop

Postby nigelcliffe » Wed Nov 18, 2020 4:17 pm

I have a Veito free standing infrared heater. Bought it on recommendation of a friend who has had one for some years.

Not the cheapest thing around, though I got mine in maker's sale. Its very effective at heating my workshop when I'm using it in the winter. The heat is nearly instant, and after a full-power quick blast, can turn it down to the "half" setting to keep things comfortable. The workshop is a 10x8 room off my built-under garage, outside the house insulation layers and heating system. So, probably not as cold as an outside shed, but still pretty chilly in winter.

Last January, our heating boiler failed for about 8-10 days. During that time we kept warm around the house with two of the Veito heaters (mine and my friend's) plus the gas fire in the living room. We kept warm enough with that, though did need to keep moving heaters around to whatever room was in use.



- Nigel

hollybeau
Posts: 54
Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:03 am

Re: Heating the Workshop

Postby hollybeau » Thu Nov 19, 2020 7:31 pm

To answer Enigma, the photos were rather staged as I have been between modelling jobs and simply put the tray I use for modelling on in place to give it some atmosphere. Clearly I failed. However, now that it is warm enough to work in there I have begun the long-awaited construction of a Gibson Midland Compound so things have returned to their normal state of untidiness. Furthermore, if you click on the photo and then enlarge it things look more cluttered, and certainly less clean!

Enigma
Posts: 313
Joined: Tue Aug 13, 2013 2:49 pm

Re: Heating the Workshop

Postby Enigma » Fri Nov 20, 2020 4:54 pm

hollybeau wrote:To answer Enigma, the photos were rather staged as I have been between modelling jobs and simply put the tray I use for modelling on in place to give it some atmosphere. Clearly I failed. However, now that it is warm enough to work in there I have begun the long-awaited construction of a Gibson Midland Compound so things have returned to their normal state of untidiness. Furthermore, if you click on the photo and then enlarge it things look more cluttered, and certainly less clean!


:D

Terry Bendall
Forum Team
Posts: 1801
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2008 7:46 am

Re: Heating the Workshop

Postby Terry Bendall » Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:37 am

hollybeau wrote:Furthermore, if you click on the photo and then enlarge it things look more cluttered, and certainly less clean!


It still looks very well organised to me. :D And I am very envious of the very smart woodworking bench! :thumb

Terry Bendall

hollybeau
Posts: 54
Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:03 am

Re: Heating the Workshop

Postby hollybeau » Sat Nov 21, 2020 6:44 pm

Just for the record - and particularly for Enigma's benefit - here is a photo of how the workbench looks normally:

20201121_172328.jpg


Thank you for your kind comments Terry about the workbench. It is the product of my other hobby of woodworking. I made it about 20 years ago from steamed German beech. It has a large Record vice at the left hand end and a home -made wooden tail vice at the other. There is a long series of dogs along the front. During modelling sessions the tray sits on top but can be moved out of the way when woodworking takes over. I think we had better end this foray into benches here otherwise the moderator may have something to say.
Back on topic I am finding the heater above my "modelling position" (sounds rude) is helping although I do wonder if the infra-red is capable of giving my increasingly bald pate a suntan!

davebradwell
Posts: 337
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2019 3:48 pm

Re: Heating the Workshop

Postby davebradwell » Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:41 pm

You'll only get a suntan with UV so you're safe or disappointed, whatever your point of view.

DaveB

Philip Hall
Posts: 1522
Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:49 pm

Re: Heating the Workshop

Postby Philip Hall » Sat Nov 21, 2020 10:58 pm

I think this slightly OT foray into benches is really interesting - seeing where people produce their masterpieces or where they throw their efforts at the cat. I am very impressed with your woodworking skills too; to have a bench like that but also to have made the thing yourself is just great.

Philip

Terry Bendall
Forum Team
Posts: 1801
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2008 7:46 am

Re: Heating the Workshop

Postby Terry Bendall » Sun Nov 22, 2020 8:42 am

hollybeau wrote:Thank you for your kind comments Terry about the workbench. It is the product of my other hobby of woodworking.


In which case congratulations. I thought it was one that had been bought. :)

Philip Hall wrote:I think this slightly OT foray into benches is really interesting


I agree. I particularly like the large model making tray with built in test track and controller. No matter how much model making we do there are always good ideas to be picked up. :thumb

Terry Bendall

Enigma
Posts: 313
Joined: Tue Aug 13, 2013 2:49 pm

Re: Heating the Workshop

Postby Enigma » Sun Nov 22, 2020 4:07 pm

Philip Hall wrote:I think this slightly OT foray into benches is really interesting - seeing where people produce their masterpieces or where they throw their efforts at the cat. I am very impressed with your woodworking skills too; to have a bench like that but also to have made the thing yourself is just great.

Philip

I used to enjoy the 'who's workbench is this?' feature in the Snooze. I actually recognised a couple of them! Perhaps a thread on here might be an idea with marks out of 10 being awarded.................... :?: ;)


Return to “Other Workshop Practice”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests