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The Amount Of Money I Wasted By Using An Electric Heater In My Garage Is Unbelievable

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January and February were harsh months in Michigan, with temperatures regularly dropping near zero. They also happened to coincide with my decision to swap guts from one broken Jeep to another. Desperate to reduce my vehicle count to something more manageable, I invited my friend Dustin from Wisconsin to help me with the wrenching. It was grueling work, but it wasn’t so cold thanks to my garage’s small electric heater, which, I recently realized, burned away an absolutely absurd amount of my money.

Ever since I began writing about cars in 2015, I’ve taken pride in admitting my mistakes. They are oftentimes deeply foolish and embarrassing, but I have no shame, so why not share my idiocy with you, dear readers? If reading this spares even one of you the financial ruin I just suffered, then my mission is accomplished.

The image above shows me sitting on a rare 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee five-speed that I bought for $350. Unfortunately, the Jeep was missing its most important attribute: the stick shift. Luckily, my friend Dustin from Wisconsin had sold me his rusted-out manual ZJ for just $350 delivered, so I had donor parts ready to revive the red Jeep.

For three days straight, Dustin and I toiled. We had to tow both broken Jeeps into the garage, remove a transmission and transfer case, gut an entire interior, and deal with far too many rusty parts to even mention. (I documented our struggles in an article on Jalopnik a few months back). Since it was so cold outside — and since my landlord had asked me to make sure the pipes in the poorly-insulated garage don’t freeze — I had an electric heater turned on in the corner:

It’s tiny and doesn’t really shoot out a ton of heat, but it gets the garage to a comfortable 45 to 50ish degrees. Throw on a jacket, spin a few wrenches, and it’s enough to help me break a sweat.

I Wasted A Grand Because I’m A Fool

After Dustin and I had swapped the green Jeep’s transmission into the red Jeep, he headed back to Wisconsin, and I continued toiling on The Cheapest Car In America In 2009 (a cheap Nissan Versa) before driving the thing all the way down to Arkansas. From Arkansas I flew to LA for work, and a few days later I returned home and continued work on The Autopian, banging away on my keyboard all day for weeks.

One day, during a lunch break, I checked my bank account and saw an enormous withdrawal from my energy company. “What in the actual hell?” I thought. “I’ll look into this later.” The following day, I received this bill from my energy provider:

Holy mother of god.

FOUR HUNDRED AND EIGHTY FIVE DOLLARS AND SEVENTY FIVE CENTS!

My heart began racing as I tried avoiding thinking about how many Jeep 4.0-liter engines I could buy for that amount. I logged into my DTE Energy account to look at my other bills, and that’s when I found the previous month’s statement, which I had somehow overlooked:

OHGODOHGODOHGODOHGOD.

SIX HUNDRED AND NINETY SIX DOLLARS AND TWENTY THREE CENTS!

Oh no. Oh no.

That’s $1,182 for two months of electricity. I could literally buy eight used Jeep 4.0-liter engisfiewiodaiosfbasfbas [sorry, I fainted on my keyboard there for a sec].

To put this into context, the U.S. government’s “Energy Information Administration” lists the average monthly residential energy bill in Michigan as $109.86. And since I’m just a single dude living in a small shack, I’d guess that my bill should have been about $200 for two months, meaning my dumb ass wasted nearly a thousand dollars over over that span. One thousand dollars.

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131 Responses

  1. There must not be a single person in the world rooting for the success of The Autopian more than your landlord (possibly the city of Troy, maybe?), so that you can move to a farm in Milford or Oxford or something.
    Good gravy, David! I’m amazed the whole property isn’t on fire as I type this. You are completely out of hand, haha.

  2. I use one of those “radiator” type heaters. It’s a power hog, but it does a better job heating my garage than those IR ceramic units. Since my wife usually gets to the utility bills first, I have no clue how many hundreds of dollars this costs me, but my garage rarely gets below 38° because it’s an insulated tuck-under.

    This reminds me of a not-so-funny time in my life when I was young, scraping by, living hand to mouth. It was an unusually cold, prolonged winter in Wisconsin. I was renting an older home that was probably 1600 sq ft. The woman who’d become my wife had already moved to North Dakota to begin her new job in earnest, while I was working 14 hours a day trying to keep my head above water financially and trying to save enough money to move out with her.

    During this time, I was wearing double sweatshirts around the house and bundling up to keep warm. This house had a fireplace, although it let more cold in than it helped, even when it was operating. It used gas heat, but it was grossly inefficient. One month, despite keeping the thermostat at 62-65°, I somehow managed to still rack up a $486 heating bill. I just about died. And, on top of that, my young, dumb ass got the pipes under the sink frozen, so they burst and spewed water all over the kitchen floor and down into the basement. Bailing water out the front porch is the last thing you want to do deep in January, believe me. So, yeah, I feel you DT, I feel you.

    1. Ugh. My apartment in grad school was all electric baseboard heating. Bed room, kitchen, and living room were all on separate thermostats so I kept the doors closed and the room I was occupying at 60 and the others set to 50. Unless I had someone over (wink, wink) I slept under a pile of blankets with the bedroom heat off.

  3. Might I suggest an ASIC bitcoin miner to heat the garage. Sure you are still burning electricity to make heat but at least you are contributing to a hugely wasteful pyramid scheme as well. You might well get a couple of seasons of “free” heat until the whole crypto thing comes crashing down.

    1. Not always. LP gas is pretty expensive, too. In fact, at my old house I was spending upwards of $500 a month to heat it using LP gas. My heater broke down and due to the untimely settling of my former landlords estate which resulted in his worthless son getting the house (previously his daughter was managing things quite well) my central heat didn’t get fixed for a couple of months in the winter. So I used the radiator type space heaters (2 of them) and my electric bill was never over $300. Then I moved out.

      Also, using electricity to run a heat pump is also pretty efficient.

      1. Indeed, we live in the dirty south, a heat pump is definitely the way to go, year-round. Our house is comfortable all the time (71-74°) and our energy bill is cheap (we also run a pump for water, too, I’ve been trying to justify investing in solar but when the power bill is so insanely low…).

      1. I have a small ceramic space heater that I used at my former residence (my room was drafty always) and it did not have much of an impact on energy bills. But it is a lot newer and likely far more efficient than that thing he used.

    1. Resistance heat is the devil My house is all electric and I might touch $200 in the dead of winter (Ohio). Ground source heat pump in house, 2 electric radiators in 2.5 car detached garage + baseboard heating when I’m out there. Also mining crypto on a PC in the house.

  4. I live in California so it doesn’t get that cold in the winter. maybe 50-55 degrees at night, which is chilly enough at night in the garage. I have two large sized Kerosun kerosene heaters. These things really throw out the heat. I can just sit one near by the bench, fire it up and I am taking off the sweater in 5 minutes. A 5 gallon container of kerosene is about $40 here and lasts me about 2-3 months. I would suggest you invest in one. The ones they make today burn clean and don’t stink.

    1. If his garage would stay at 50-55F without heat, David wouldn’t have a problem. Hell, I’m in the upper midwest too, and keep my house at 55F in the winter. If I’m cold I can always put on more clothes. It’s when I’m sweating and sweltering that I can’t stand it, and there are limits to how much clothing you can remove.

      Ya still should have a CO detector, though.

      1. As an HVAC tech who spends his days on various roofs, I always say, ‘You can always layer on more clothes, but there ain’t but so much clothing you can shed with out vicious laughter—or arrest!’

        Little HotHands packets tucked in the back of your gloves help with the inevitable numb fingers-important to a former mid-westerner who had frostbite as a kid. Numb fingers poking around live voltage is rather scary.

  5. Renting a garage is the toughest. I doubt your landlord will cough up the dough to have a gas line run to the garage for a proper heater, and doubt he/she will invest in insulating it properly.. Would they consent to a pellet or wood stove? That could be a compromise.
    I too love in an area where electric is insanely expensive, when compared to natural gas. My father-out-law has the opposite. His electric is crazy cheap and natural gas too expensive not consider. Location, location, location.

    1. I dunno about an oxygen sensor, but if you’re using a combustion heater (diesel/propane/natural gas/wood stove) I’d put a carbon monoxide detector in. $20 from your big box home store, $8 from Aliexpress if you don’t mind buying no-name Chinese safety gear or the shipping time (a month or so, but the next heating season is half a year away).

    2. Whoa. I used to use a propane heater in my old garage. Guess it was good that the windows were a bit drafty. My new place has a garage with a natural gas heater mounted on the wall, and is well insulated. It makes life very nice.

  6. I made this mistake once, so I feel for you. In my case I already knew I’d forgotten to shut off the milk shed heater for a week before the bill arrived and had readied myself for impact. I discovered I’d forgotten when I woke to find the fresh snowfall miraculously melted in a pattern matching the section of roof I hadn’t finished insulating yet.

    The garage is on its own meter, so the math was much easier. As I was only heating the garage to install the insulation at that point, I can say with certainty that that is one green project that did not match its cost recovery expectations.

  7. I’ve been plenty happy using my tank-top propane heater (one that looks like a cylinder and has 360 degrees of fire/warmth) in my insulated two-car garage. Typically, I only need to run it on medium/low for about an hour before the garage is plenty warm, at which point I shut it off, and the insulation keeps everything acceptable for the day.

    I am missing any kind of sweep on the bottom of the back door out to the patio, and the ceiling is at least 12 feet high, so I never tend to have any issue with CO in there.

    And boy is it way cheaper than…that.

    1. Keep in mind that carbon monoxide has about the same density as ordinary air, so it doesn’t tend to rise or fall. Having 12 ft ceiling height does give you more air to dilute it, but I wouldn’t necessarily count on that for safety, CO can just make you tired and stupid (symptoms we experience occasionally anyhow).

  8. I should mention that I DID use a torpedo heater before. They’re incredible – basically like huge jet engines on your garage floor. But my landlord put the kibosh on that and installed this little electric demon.

    1. Torpedos (we always call them “salamanders”) are too darn loud and stinky. That’s what I used to heat my garage until last winter. I installed a little electric heater; though it’s only on when I’m actively out there. My garage is an un-insulated, detached two-stall from the ’20s. It would cost a fortune to actually warm up. But in ~15F weather, with the heater on, it gets warm enough to be comfortable in jeans, sweatshirt and beanie.

      I’ve always been amazed there isn’t a heat pump space heater. Something like a window (or portable) AC unit but backwards.

  9. Would some heat tape on the pipes satisfy your landlord? I’m not sure how much electricity they use but I have to imagine that they would be much less total since they aren’t heating the entire garage.

  10. Solution: Tear down the garage and convert your house into a wrenching area. Keep a bedroom, bathroom, and the kitchen free of cars.

    This also reminds me of architecture school. We all competed in making the greenest, most environmental projects, but a third of my classmates would run electric heaters underneath their desks at all hours – even after classes discussing different kinds of heating sources and their energy usage.

    1. Let’s just use the Jeep engine as the yardstick for everything. How tall is David? 2.12 Jeep engines. How much does he weigh? 0.35 Jeep engines.
      And then people can complicate matters by choosing dry versus wet weight, and whether the fan should be installed or not when you measure length. The Brits can have their own system, based on the BMC A-series.

  11. I mean, in the summer, you could also add insulation to garages which further decreases the amount of heating required as well. Buying rolls of insulation and some cans of spray foam isn’t too expensive.

  12. Life lessons learned the hard way. Not as bad as the time you dyed clothes in oil and nearly had your dryer explode. I can’t wait to hear next years lesson about how you almost blew up your garage welding something on top of your natural gas heater.

    1. I live a couple of hours from David and have a slightly larger one of those that I use to keep an insulated 36’X48′ building with a 14′ ceiling at about 47º. My monthly LP expenditure during the winter is around $200 for that (shop is on a separate LP tank from the house).

  13. Insulation and a heat pump would be advisable. They have little ones that still have a COP of 2 or so at single digits F. That’s twice as efficient. So it still would have been a lot of energy, but nowhere near as bad. And they only get better as the temperature rises. Plus air conditioning in the summer.

    And depending on how green the local grid is, they really help reduce pollution if that’s a consideration. The greenest is not heating the garage at all. But a line has to be drawn somewhere.

  14. If you anticipate more long wrenching days/nights in the garage in winter, it may be worthwhile to get yourself a woodburner. Using firewood definitely comes with its own pitfalls (Cost of a stove, chimney, you’ll need to get a good saw and cut your own/haul it to actually save money)

    It’ll take a couple of seasons to pay for itself, But man, lemme tell ya. You cannot beat the amount of heat for the money. It’s borderline luxurious heat, and PLENTY of exercise.

  15. Here in the Midwest ™ we have a large number of houses that were built “All Electric” because the owners would get a rebate from the local electric utility. The rebate was never passed on the the subsequent buyer so what they get is a higher electricity bill than their neighbor that has natural gas for their heat.
    In the house that we just remodeled and moved into we switched from electric ranges to gas cooktops and electric ovens. The heater and water heater were already gas. One of the reasons I had them make the switch was the cost of cooking all the meals on electric applianced.

    1. If I only had electric, I’d be looking into heat pumps (for HVAC as well as heating water) and inductive stoves. Modern heat pumps can heat effectively and pretty efficiently to -5F, but I’d still have some sort of aux back-up source. Inductive stoves solve a lot of my complaints against normal electric stoves.

    1. CORRECTION – because there’s no edit feature – My rate is 9 cents/kwh. I misread the bill. The .02271 is part of it for something about which I have no idea.
      So I’m actually paying more than David but my overall bill for 871 kwh last month is $124 so the difference has to be in the fees and charges they pound on top.

      1. I don’t want to thumb up 31.5 cents a kwh but I appreciate knowing that’s the rate. My God. Seriously? Left San Jose in 89 for Denver and never looked back.
        I see the rate now in Denver is .135 / kwh. I left Denver and moved south so getting out or Xcel Energy’s web was a good thing.

  16. A ~9k btu Mr Buddy propane heater is around $130 ( well, was in the before-times: no idea now ), and the local Northwest Hardware refills tanks for $2.99 / gal on Sundays. A half-decent CO detector was about $40 a few years back.

    I gave up on kerosene a decade back due to the smell and lack of safeties. Ymmv.

    Insulation and a 1&1/2ton mini-split heat-pump would be optimal, but you’re renting.

  17. Some self-regulated heat tape under pipe insulation on the pipes would be the cheapest way to prevent freezing. That’s what the landlord should install.

    For heat in my garage, I just use a propane heater that screws to the top of a propane tank as needed, but my garage is poorly sealed and about 900 sqft, so there’s little chance of not getting enough oxygen. It takes the chill off. I’ve often looked at Marketplace for an old wood stove or something like that. That’s the ultimate goal for me – wood heat and just make a fire when I need to warm up the garage to do some work in the winter.

  18. Insulation first, then a mini-split heat pump, you can get them whole sale and install them yourself for the price you paid in electric heat, plus they provide cold air in the summer should you need it. You aren’t locked in to using fossil fuels as your grid changes, and you can pull them out and move it with you when you relocate.

  19. Holy Crap! My whole house is heated by electricity and I never got that high of a bill! Actually, electricity is my only utility bill. Your two bills are near the same money I’ve put into a cheap $350 Mini Cooper S, including a cylinder head and supercharger.

  20. Use an air to air heat pump and insulate the garage. I heat 4 units each 700 sq feet and I’m pretty sure my tenants pay way less than that for electricity to do that.

    They are pricey for the install but the mitsubishi come with a 15 yr warranty. You can also DIY (but you lose the warranty). Get the Mitsubishi Hyper Heat ones which heat down to -14F. Encouraging people to heat with Natural gas in today’s environment is socially irresponsible and with prices for Natural Gas skyrocketing it’s not going to be that much cheaper than heat pumps over the long term.

  21. David, you should talk to your landlord about adding some insulation. If he’s worried about the pipes, insulation would help with that, and you’d get some benefit too. Even just styrofoam insulation on the walls would do something. And putting vapor barrier on the ceiling rafters, then blowing in insulation would help a lot. Probably wouldn’t cost much if you did it yourself.

    And my garage is just as messy as yours, but with kids stuff and yard tools. I would say that you should do a Marie Kondo and get rid of stuff that doesn’t spark joy, but you find joy in old Jeep parts, so the point is moot. Now organizing these things might help……

  22. “Meanwhile, it only cost me $200.30 to heat my house — which is bigger than my garage and which I keep toasty at 72 degrees — during that same period.”

    Dude – get your free Nest from DTE and have that shit automatically turned down overnight and while you are gone! You’re a cheap bastard, but you haven’t achieved cheap NORTHERN bastard status yet – 68ish during the day, 64 or lower at night. Blankets are cheap after all.

  23. David,
    I would look into insulating your pipes so you no longer have to worry about them first. Then look into a heater that uses old oil to burn. You should have plenty of oil on hand with all of your vehicles.

  24. First – electric space heaters aren’t TOO bad if you’re just running a 1,500W one – I throw my infrared one out into my garage during the coldest month or two of the winter just to take the worst off the cold off and its very reasonable.

    Second – if you’re going to switch to Kerosene, be prepared for everything to smell. 2 years ago, I had to change out a fuel pump on my old truck and let it sit in a closed garage for a day with a kerosene torpedo heater. Granted – attached garage, but my entire house, car, all of my car washing towels ALL smelled of kerosene for weeks.

  25. Your work is virtual, so *why* do you continue to live there? Sell (more) of your cars. Clean up the garage. Move to the southwest and actually enjoy your off roading hobby. Stop fighting the f’ing rust. Been there, done that… It isn’t worth it.

    I’ve watched you struggle over pointless crap for years while people cheer for it here. They aren’t doing you any favors because there’s nothing noble about it. It’s just reinforcing bad behavior so that they can continue to behold the spectacle. You can do better than this.

  26. When I lived in coastal CT in 1988, I paid $100.00 monthly rent for one room studio. It had electric baseboard heaters. One month we had 10 days of below 10 degree weather, which was unusual for the coast. Being a naive student from TX, I wanted to keep the heat at 70 degrees. That month the electric bill was $650.00! I was so overcome, I could not have coped with calculating kW usage. Thereafter, the room was kept at 55 with many down comforters.

  27. I feel your pain…. The place I rent in northern North Dakota has the water heater, washer and dryer in the garage for some inane reason! It’s not like it’s an old build, only 10 years old. While the house has gas heat, the garage has a similar electric heater to yours, means $$$$ from Jan-Mar/April to keep the pipes thawed depending on the winter. This year the bill went from a spring-fall norm.of around $70 a month to almost $300 a month, and the garage is well insulated.

  28. One look at David’s garage:
    No way is that just the “gubbins” from 2 Jeeps.
    That’s got to be the detritus from at least a dozen various vehicles deposited over many years.

    Thousand years from now, some neo-archeologist will search this site and presume it was a repository for an eccentric collector of specialized vehicular rubbish. Then, she will be absolutely stunned as to why it was housed inside 4 rudimentary walls while multiple rusted skeltalized heaps were found in the surrounding yard. Like any archeological site, she will just presume that it was all for religious/spiritual purposes to worship some unknown Rust god.

  29. I’ve long dreamed about installing a natural gas powered co-gen system. Use the smallest liquid cooled ICE needed to meet power needs; something like the REX out of a BMW i3 but smaller – maybe using a small motorcycle engine and a hybrid battery as a buffer. Bonus points for using an Atkinson cycle, cylinder deactivation, 6+ stroke cycles or whatever to maximize thermal efficiency and to match output to demand. Use as much of the waste heat as possible to warm the garage, water pipes, house and water heater and maybe repurpose a few engine blocks as thermal reservoirs for when the generator isn’t needed.

    Would this be worth it? Could be, especially if there was any chance of the power going out for a long time especially during extreme climatic events.

  30. It’s unfortunate to learn some lessons the hard way but that’s life. My unheated garage froze water lines to the washer and extended line to the garage door sidewall for washing cars, etc. The fault was the flimsy garage door made in the ’60s – no insulation. Replaced with insulated up to date roll up doors, repaired trim and added weather stripping to ward off freezing temps. Temps inside doesn’t go below 45F, still unheated as part of the house. Winter outside temps average down to around 25F.

    If unable to replace the garage door for better insulation to lower heating, monitor winter temps inside the garage and adjust the heater for minimum heat to keep pipes from freezing. Adding foam insulation to the garage doors can help as well as checking weather stripping around the doors. All work can help lower electrical use of that 5kw heater.

      1. Makes me wonder if EV chargers automatically turn off when the battery is charged? Other wise like this don’t drive but leave on and connected same cost. But I don’t know if the charger keeps running or not educate me.

  31. Been there too! 1100€ of electric bill because of an old heater! The older they are the more they consume. Older appliances including refrigerators and washing machines should be traded every five years because they are more economical when new and also because the power prices have risen greatly. Get yourself a good old wood burner!

    1. Normal space heaters like this haven’t changed in efficiency since they first came out. 5KW of electricity in, 5KW of heat out.

      Heat pumps will do something like 2-4x better most of the time, but they’re still pricey enough it might have been a wash overall.

  32. No one is going to comment that this appears to be a massive fire hazard?? I am genuinely surprised you didn’t burn your house down. That would have cost more than $1,182.

    Incidentally, as an ex-Michigander (and former resident of several other frozen hellscapes in the upper midwest), I’d recommend moving south. After living in Georgia for the past several years, I now think of 45 degrees as a cold day.

  33. I like the comparison to how many Jeep parts that money would buy but where’s the comparison for how much heat you could have generated by just burning actual Jeep’s? Surely a $350 Jeep carcass would heat a space quite well.

  34. I know space heaters are quite costly, but wow, that is out of site. I used one for a hot minute when I really needed to work in the garage when it was 20 degrees in there. I am glad that I didn’t leave it running!

    I am probably going to grab a torpedo heater for next winter. Smelly, but effective, like myself.

  35. I have an electric baseboard in the insulated garage with insulated door. Main heat source was a propane sunflower, That took a long time to heat a large two car garage up. Floor is the main source of cold. This winter I broke out the bigger dog heater. Which is just an aluminun box with raw flame inside it. On a cold day though it would go thru almost 10lbs of propane

    I would not trust an open flame in Davids garage though.

  36. I added an electric 240 VAC heater to my garage a few years ago to keep it from freezing when the kerosene heater wasn’t running. Electric spiked some but not that much. The big issue was, we went away for the weekend, and came home to a garage that had burnt to the ground because the electric heater shorted out, causing a fire. According to the fire investigator anyways. I still have other thoughts on the matter, but I no longer even live in that state, so it’s all moot.

  37. Good ideas here, if you owned the house.
    Since you rent, you’re only responsible for heat when you work in there. The pipes are your landlord’s responsibility. If they burst, he pays to fix them.
    He installed the electric heater in an uninsulated space, and told you to not let the pipes freeze? Right, he doesn’t pay the bill.
    He could either pay or reimburse you to install insulation. Then use a thermostat on the heater to keep it at a minimum temperature.
    Better yet would be that he pays or reimburses you to install actual wire heating wrap, with thermostats, that goes around the pipes, with pipe insulation, and uses a pretty low amount of power.
    Then, you only run the big heater when you work.

      1. I bought one of those small propane heaters that are used for camping/hunting and for $3.50/bottle I can get the garage nice and cozy without the significant expense. Or, maybe you should think about living a bit further south, like in TX where you have to worry about cooling your garage instead of heating it.

  38. Late to the party, but you may have dodged a bullet.

    Lpg space haters have a snag which goes thus,
    C3H8 + 5 O2 -> 3 CO2 + 4 H2O

    3 molecules of propane plus 5 molecules of oxygen from the air yields 3 molecules of carbon dioxide and 4 molecules of water. Plus HEAT!

    44 pounds of propane burn to form 9 gallons of water.
    So just 5 pounds of propane results in one gallon of water somewhere in your garage.

    The water comes out as vapor because it’s so hot, but in your garage, which is cold,the moisture laden warm air cools off and water falls out on your floor (and your stationary tools, your toolbox and lots of other things you don’t want to get wet and rusty.
    ( yes I pinched the chemistry bit)
    So, direct propane is not the answer. Properly ducted, well insulated ………………Oh sod it, a man who knows about heating and cooling cars?
    Please tidy up your garage.

  39. Honestly…. guys…. those chinese diesel heaters KICK ASS. I just installed one in my van. They literally sip electricity and a 10l tank of diesel would last for freakin ever, and they’re like $110. I was going to heat my detached garage with natural gas but the cost of trenching and getting it connected is $1000s of the dollars. I think I’m just going to throw in a diesel heater instead. They work great.

  40. Well, you have a nice collection of iron oxide already, just grind down some aluminium scrap parts and you have all the ingredients for thermite. Lots of free heat!

    The other option (if you have room) is to leave enough space for a second car. Pull in with a fully warmed up car/truck and the engine cooling off will provide lots of heat into the garage.

  41. In Finland we have this thing called “insulation”. Might want to look that thing up if you want to make warm space up in cold climate. It’s a bit like not trying to keep warm by peeing your pants.

    1. We’ve got it too, but it’s often expensive to add after the fact, and while there are a few government incentives, they don’t add up to much. So adding insulation can be a high cost situation. Yes, there’s a return, but it can be long.

      1. I know you got it, it was supposed to be a joke.

        Still with these energy prices 1k in insulation it will pay itself back. Not only it will decrease the cost + add more comfort. Also during summer it’s easier to keep the place cool. Personally I would use heatpump for both.

        1. Heat pumps are finally starting to catch on in North America. Still in the early stages, but we are getting there.

          But for reference, I just replaced my gas furnace with another gas furnace about two months ago, because the gas furnace was cheaper, install was cheaper, and natural gas despite being currently high is still pretty cheap, so the ROI of a heat pump was 15-20 years, which is how long a natural gas furnace is supposed to last. I suspect most of the high costs were due to limited choices of installers and brands in my area.

          Now if I were on propane or electric, a heat pump would have actually be a pretty cost effective solution.

  42. When our furnace died, we had to heat our house to about 55° in December with a fleet of space heaters and ended up spending about $600 to be absolutely frigid for a month until it was repaired. It’s astounding how expensive electricity gets when you start using it just to heat a large space in MI, let alone an uninsulated garage.

    1. My previous house was all electric-resistive heating. Even at the $0.07/kWh we have here winters hurt a LOT on the ol’ wallet. It was nice to be able to have individual temperatures per-room, but… ouch, especially when you have beautiful old trees that make solar panels not an option.

      My new house is conventional gas forced-air (with an A/C) and gas water heater. …but I have a massive SE-facing roof just BEGGING for solar, so I’m running spreadsheets on use cases involving hybrid electric water heaters, A/C, an electric car charging station to see how much lifestyle I have to tip back electric before solar starts paying off.

      1. Where I live in Maine the local Utility charges an additional 60% fee in “delivery”. So the 15year energy loan was cheaper per month to go solar then paying for our utility. We’ve now paid off the loan and our neighbors keep asking how we like the solar setup. It’s great. The rebate bought us half of our used Kia Soul EV (it’s boring but costs nothing to run). Our bills are waaaay less now. We also installed 2 heat pumps and added better house insulation. Cozy and cheap heat nowadays.

      2. David reminds me of my teenage son. $500? That’s 2 Jeep engines! My son buys a student lunch at the local deli. All his cost metrics are in “sandwiches”. So $600 = 100 $6 sandwiches. Which is probably half a school year of lunch.

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