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Heating and cooling the studio

I am considering moving my workspace from my finished basement to my
attach ed garage. I like the idea of keeping the workspace separate
from the rest of my house (my kids/their friends/our pets), while
also making the space visitor friendly, bright, cheerful, and above
all, safe. I’m look for advice on heating/cooling/ventilation of this
space. The floor is poured concrete (no basement underneath) and some
of the walls including the ceiling are drywalled and taped (to
prevent car emissions into the house). It has a lifting garage door,
that I’d like to replace with opening windows and a door. A portion
of the ceiling is roof, not covered by an upstairs room. For
ventilation: I was thinking maybe a good (?) big (?) bathroom type
fan, vented to the roof. Plus, in nicer weather, windows (once
installed) could be opened. For heating: Not sure what is the best,
most efficient and safest type of heating? Maybe a combination of
heat sources - like in floor heating (not sure if that makes sense in
this space) plus baseboard? Or an indoor/outdoor oscillating electric
tower heater? Or one (more?) ceiling type heaters (or is that a
really bad idea, with gases and heat rising?) I have bad memories of
baseboard heating and burnt furniture (from being placed too close).
For cooling in the summer (it gets stifling hot), I suppose that I
could look at a portable air conditioning unit, but wondering about
keeping things sufficiently cool. Since it is an attached garage, and
we are on a forced air system, should we look at extending some of
the runs into the garage (perhaps supplemental heating would still be
required). Many thanks in advance! Ros

I saw EdenPURE 4 quartz heater recommended on TV by Bob Vila & I
bought one. I haven’t had it long enough to see if, like the ad
says, it lowers my heating bill. My friend’s friend in St. Louis, MO
bought one & said it lowered his heating bill dramatically. I do know
it’s light weight, on rollers, cool to the touch so it’s safe for my
dog & it really puts out a lot of heat fast. You can find it online.

Sharon Perdasofpy

When I redid the garage into studio, I had a heat pump put in.
Mounts high up on the wall and the compressor is on the roof ( which
is not where most people put it).

If that sounds like an idea I can get the brand name for you.

Thanks Kay, much to consider. We are in Ottawa (Ontario), so real
winters and real summers (ha!) Just heard back from zoning and I
cannot convert it into a true living space (meaning, take down the
garage door and replace it with a wall and opening door) AND then
park in front of that living space. Confusing, to me, but it must
remain garage like. Good point about meeting with an HVAC person. We
could possibly consider having an extra 2 - 3 inches of floor height,
but when I do online calculations for electric radiant infloor
heating, we still come up with a deficit and would need an extra heat
source anyway.I would love to have more diffused natural light in the
space, and I suppose that a frosted glass garage door could provide
that, but be inefficient in terms of heat loss. And I suppose opening
and closing the garage door for clients to enter/exit would lose high
amounts of heat. There is a secondary, interior door entrance, but
requires entering my house to access. So a moveable type of wall on
the inside of the garage door might bea good option, especially in
the winter.Will find an hvac companyto discuss options!


Good Morning,

Since you are starting with a clean slate, as to say. I would
strongly suggest asking a heating / airconditioning expert to sit
with you and work out the HVAC system.

As I and other posters have mentioned in past posts, a kitchen vent
hood is not the best solution. You need 2 completely different
systems that are correctly sized and in balance.

Some of the assumptions I am making is that you live in an area that
receives real winters (Think Vermont or Quebec), Your options would
be significantly wider if you lived in say North Carolina)

You need one which will capture the fumes at source, that is to say
one that pulls the air across your work area away from you and
exhausts it outside. This should also pickup the exhaust air from the
polishing unit has well. If you do casting or have a Kiln you will
need to vent those as well. On the opposite hand you need a source of
clean heated (and hopefully air conditioned in summer) air to replace
what is being vented. In one have assuming your existing heating
system is strong enough in theory it could feed the garage has well.
The downside however is that you will end up with odors going back
into the house.

Reference putting heating in the floor; that is expensive but nice.
You have to figure removing the existing floor (or adding a 2 to 3
inch surfacing coat.) And you are still stuck with the problem of
makeup air and possibly summer cooling. Personally I would look to a
small heat pump with a separate fresh air exchanger for makeup air

In reference to the garage door… Be aware in all jurisdictions it
means getting a building permit and in some cases permission from an
architectural board. Many people just insulate and do a wall across
the garage door on the inside so has to avoid those problems,
assuming you have an alternate exit door

It all really comes down to 4 factors, which is hard to tell from
your post

  1. What do you intend to do in your studio, both present and
    possibly in the future?

  2. What is your budget?

  3. Is this to be a private studio or are you planning receive

  4. What local legal constraints would you have.


Yes please, Justine, please send me the brand name of the heat pump
that you had installed!


Ros - If you connect your studio to the central forced air heating,
it would be a good idea to have a supplemental exhaust. You do not
want a return air duct that would mix your studio smells and fumes
with household recycled air. If you don’t have a separate exhaust,
you wind up pressurizing the air in your shop and it doesn’t heat
well. Using an externally vented hood usually gives your studio the
needed supplemental exhaust. I personally like a separate heating
system. For cooling, I open windows at night and control sun heat
with shades or blinds.

Judy Hoch

heating/cooling/ventilation (...) The floor is poured concrete (no
basement underneath) has a lifting garage door that I'd like to
replace with opening windows and a door. A portion of the ceiling is
roof, not covered by an upstairs room. 

We rehabbed a garage like this as living space for three cats we
rescued who needed space away from our other cats.

First: fur coats help in an area like this one. :slight_smile:

A Redwell infrared heater was our heating choice, chosen for
efficiency, so that the cats would not have to eat tofu while the
electric utility execs eat steak. They’re wall- or ceiling mounted.
(The Redwells, not the execs.)

Our biggest heat loss was through the uninsulated lifting garage
door. We covered it with roll fiberglass insulation and added a
cosmetic treatment over the insulation.

Do the walls already contain insulation? How about above the
ceiling? Do you have a pull-down stair so that you can access the
"attic" to place insulation? For the walls, you could use blow-in
insulation if it meets fire code in Canada. (Canadian fire code tends
to be stricter (and IMO safer) than US code.)


Heating a studio is not my strong point damned cold down there,
cooling is too easy :slight_smile:

My take on heating is whatever gets hot enough and meets your budget
and convience. A wood stove in the corner IS lots of work, cheap, but
nice for fuzzy feelings. Any fears of combustible/explosive gas in
the room and you should just not be in the room. Open flame heaters
are not the problem, just your housekeeping of nasty stuff.

Sucking stuff out… a kitchen hood sort of low for simple stuff
like pickle and burnouts. Really nasty chemicals do require more
care, but if you are using such you had better have a some idea of
the safety stuff first.

Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing

Can’t you just put a wall and door behind the garage door? It would
still look like your government wants it to look, but would function
as you want it to. You could even find some cool graffiti artist to
paint the wall to look like a garage with a car and a bunch of garage
junk in it.


I also work in my garage and recently installed a glass garage door.

IT makes the most beautiful lighted space you could imagine with
tons of beautiful light.

It is a pleasure to work in all the natural light. Many times I
don’t even have to turn on the lights in the day time.

The glass is translucent, so no one can see inside.

The glass garage door might make it a little warmer in the summer
and cooler in the winter, but I think it is worth it.

You could always put up a curtain for extra insulation when you
aren’t working in the garage.

This is just a suggestion without taking into consideration the
location of the door, exposure to the weather, etc. but it has
changed my garage studio from a tomb to a delight. It would also
comply with local zoning for retaining the function of a garage door.

Harriete Estel Berman

Thanks for responding Lorraine! I’m happy to hear about the stray
cats having nice, warm digs. Do you have concerns about cooling in
the summer? Or is it as simple as keeping a door propped open in the

Do the walls already contain insulation? 

Hmm, they are drywalled, but I will ask the builder what’s behind
the drywall. I’d love to have a spray foam insulation put in, then
maybe a noise reduction drywall. Or maybe, cement board in some

How about above the ceiling? 

The ceiling is finished too, with insulation,as hot air ducts are
run to the bedroom above.

Do you have a pull-down stair so that you can access the "attic"
to place insulation? 

We don’t have pull down stairs, as part of the ceiling is covered by
a bedroom above, another part is roof. We havea solution for the
garage door. A company in southern Ontario modifies garage doors to
allow for a pedestrian door within. Extremely cool. Of course, the
design that I love the most (all glass, with aluminium) would be
exactly that, very cool - not meant for the climate that I’m living
in, sadly. Also very neat, the pedestrian door uses standard door
hardware, so I can put a keypad deadbolt on it - which is easy for
my kids to use, and we’d be able to use the space as a bit of a
mudroom too. Yayee! By being prevented from having a permanent wall
(and no space for a window, as this garage is recessed into the
house, and attached on either side to two dwellings), we won’t have
a nice window to leave ajar on a summer’s evening, to cool down the
place. Not sure if a skylight would be a help or more of a
hindrance. I forgot to mention in my earlier posts that the size of
the garage is thankfully small (from a heating and cooling
perspective) - about 10 feet by 20 feet.

Thanks so much, everyone, for taking the time to respond - most


I like your idea Norman, of the mural - in our case, no vehicle
parked in, bec of too much junk. ha!The City did say that we could
subdivide the space, closing in a room, so long as we left 17 feet in
length free for parking…out of a total of 19.5 feet garage - ha!
Alas, we have a neighbour that has tended to be quick to cry foul
with anything that didn’t conform.The pedestrian/garage door combos
are pretty darn cool and another option is a wood veneer on a
regular, R-16 door, meaning that one could also have a darn handsome
door too. Nice window options too (alas, not moveable
windows…though I wonder if that couldn’t be rigged? hmmm).


Thanks for the responses when I posted on this topic of converting
my attached garage to my workshop. The City is preventing me from
making it ‘living’ space, and is probably saving me money in the long
run. So, an hvac person came by and suggested an electric wall
furnace for heating (we don’t have venting clearance for a gas
heater), a ‘mini split’ for cooling (it is wall mounted will run to a
unit on the side of the house), and a regular hood fan for
ventilation. The garage door has a perfect solution - something
called a Walkthru Garage Door system, where a pedestrian door is cut
into a new garage door. Will give me an R-16 on the door, plus more
light (windows in the doors) and more function. My NEW QUESTION: I’m
not sure that I want to have my heating station against one wall,
under a range hood. I was thinking of making a centre island in the
garage instead. Can air-purifiers or HEPA filter REPLACEa range hood

thanks! Ros


I live in the mountains of western NC, winter temps regularly below
freezing, and use mini splits, which are heat pumps, for cool AND
heat…they do a great job of keeping my rental cabins toasty! I
can’t imagine, unless you are in the Antarctic, that you would need a
separate furnace. I guess if your climate is too mild the heat pump
might not be able to create heat, but then strategically placed space
heater should handle the chill? There are some nifty wall panel
heaters which might suffice for this purpose…example:

my 2 cents…Landen

I too have been wondering how to heat my studio. In winter, temps can
go to the single digits. The studio space is 15’ x 60’. I also do
woodworking in the same studio, so have been reticent to put in any
wood burning or pellet stoves due to the ambient wood dust.

Anyone have any good suggestions?

I live in N. Texas. I’ve got a heat/pump in mine 580 sq. ft. I also
recently bought an EdenPure4 quartz heater for zone heating here &
the rest of my home. It’s on rollers, cool to touch. Bob Vila on TV
endorses it & my friend in MO has a friend who bought one & said it
helped them lower their heating bill. It works fantastic.

Sharon Perdasofpy

Good Morning,

If wood / wood pellet is a good choice, other than the problem of
wood dust, you could look at an outside wood furnace. A quick Google
of the search term outside wood furnace returns many hits. Here is
one possibility that I note has both wood and wood pellet units