Mini-Splits vs. Garage Heaters: Whats Right for My Shop?

Comfortable isn’t typically a word used to describe a garage. But many homeowners take full advantage of this area as a workshop for home improvement projects or hobbies like woodworking. Mulling using your garage for a home woodshop? By installing heating and cooling, you’ll have the option enjoy the area throughout the year.

Traditional systems, such as a furnace, heat pump or air conditioner, are often expensive due to the ductwork that’s required. Not to mention, garages are often separate.

The two most popular options are garage heaters or mini-split systems, because they don’t have to have ductwork. But which system should you choose? It’s essential to be aware of each to choose the most energy-efficient solution for your woodshop. Sawdust demands special planning because these particles can fill up filters and decrease your system’s efficiency.

We review the differences to help you pick the right option for your shop.

Mini-Splits: Top Marks for Heating and Cooling

Ductless mini-splits are like a heat pump, since they shift heat in place of creating it. This makes them highly energy efficient. They’re placed on your wall and join to an outside unit with a small hole in the wall.

A mini-split air conditioner is popular for its energy efficiency and nearly noiseless operation. This makes it ideal for craftsmen needing a calm, comfy location to work. Because they offer both heating and cooling, mini-splits can be used throughout the year.

Because wood shrinks with changes in temperature, total control over heating and cooling is highly useful. Many carpenters and woodworkers recommend doing projects in temperatures very close to where the final product will be used.

Changing your filter often is an essential part of upkeep. Using a saw kicks up a lot of sawdust. If you don’t clean your mini-split’s filter, you risk reducing your system’s efficiency and longevity.

A mini-split also needs frequent tune-ups from a professional HVAC specialist, like one from Matz-Rightway. Keeping its internal pieces clean and lubricated will help lower the chance of malfunctions and may even help it run longer.

Garage Heaters: Best for Cold Climates

Garage heaters operate a little differently. They create heat, so it’s best to compare one to a little furnace. They’re installed on the ceiling, typically in a corner. If you rely on your garage for extra storage, keep in mind that these heaters will require a portion the overhead room.

The main difference between garage heaters and mini-split systems is the type of fuel they need, because mini-splits are electric. Propane or natural gas garage heaters are both common kinds, but there are electric garage heaters too if you don’t want to bother with fuel connections.

Garage heaters have a feature that gives them a leg up on a mini-split system. They don’t need a filter and some models have closed combustion chambers, which halts sawdust from getting into those internal components.

Key Differences Between Mini-Splits and Garage Heaters

In the long run there are a lot of things to think over, such as the weather in Long Island. These include:

  • Whether you need both heating and cooling, or just heating.
  • Your budget.
  • How much overhead space you have in your garage.
  • How much time and money you want to dedicate to service.

Ductless mini-split systems are more expensive up front than garage heaters. If you don’t plan on using your shop frequently, this may not be the most budget-friendly solution. But woodshops in areas with major changes in temperature may benefit from more precise control.

Garage heaters are a simpler, more affordable option. Different models consume differing fuel sources to create heat only, making them bad for warm climates. Gas or propane garage heaters are ideal if fuel costs are more reasonable. They’re not as energy efficient, so regular use may create bigger utility expenses. But the excellent heat generation is preferable in colder climates.

For professional advice and installation, turn to the HVAC Experts at Matz-Rightway. We’ll help you make the right choice. And with quality repair and maintenance services, your woodshop will be a productive location for many years to come. Contact us at 631-406-9220 to book a free home comfort assessment or appointment today.

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