The House

blue_mountain - Garage Natural Gas Heater

We have a 4 car garage. The walls are insulated as are the garage doors so it stays pretty warm in the garage despite the ceiling not being insulated. Regardless, we had a couple extremely cold weeks where it simply didn't that warm during the day. As a result the garage was sometimes dropping below freezing. This is a problem with the soda machine and all the automotive chemicals I keep out there. I thought maybe I would install a heater in the garage.

I did my research and determined that a natural gas heater was the way to go. Gas is cheap in my area. An electric heater would have been more expensive and more difficult to install in my situation. Plus, I already have a 50 amp stove in the garage for powder coating. Even cracking the door and leaving it on full blast won't heat the garage very quickly.

I also looked at natural gas radiant heaters. They are supposed to be very efficient as they heat objects, not the air. I simply don't have the height to allow for that type of heater.

So I decided to install an old school natural gas heater, and boy do I mean old school. I hopped on craigstlist and amoungst all the modern and expensive heaters was this beutiful Janitrol heater made in the 1950's. It was heavy, yellow, and old... and I needed it. It was also cheap.

First, let me say I am very happy with this heater. It is heavy but not rediculously heavy. It has clearly lead a few lives and you can see that over time parts have been upgraded (like the gas regulator) and breaks have been welded back together.

Even though I don't think its very heavy, it is much heavier than modern heaters. This makes installation tricky. Unlike a modern heater, it simply draws oxygen from the room it is heating, which in turn makes the installation easier, though there would be a safety concern in a smaller confined area.

I actually installed the heater by myself. I tried various methods of lifing the heater up to the ceiling. My ideas were all sound but some worked better than others. I did drop the heater at one point, but since this is the Janitrol "Sherman Tank" edition, it took the drop like a champ. One new dent but no loss of functionality.

Getting all the piping for this install was actually pretty expensive. I spent way more on double walled vent pipe than I did on the heater itself.

Even though I have a 4 car garage, this 60k BTU heater quickly heats up the space. I love it! It is so nice setting the thermostate to 58 degrees and forgetting about it.

One tricky part of this heater is the pilot light. The pilot light is huge. It has to light two separate banks of burners, which means the flame has to be huge to span the space required to light both banks simultaneously. The pilot also needs to be in exactly the right vertical position otherwise one or both banks will be delayed in lighting which will cause a boom when the gas finally hits the pilot.

The pilot is not original. I believe originally the pilot was screwed to the bottom of the heated element. I had to futz with it for a long to before I found the right screw, with the right sized spacer, that would put the pilot right where it needed to be to minimize explosions.

Now that I have been operating the heater for about a month, I can say with certainty that it costs me about $30 per month to heat the garage to 58 degrees during Colorado's cold January and February months. I think a smarter thermostate could help here. If it allowed the temperature to drop a couple degrees before firing the heater up it could run longer and more efficiently.

Regardless, I am happy this project is done and the heater is working. It is so nice having a warm garage.

Pictures

Preview Image Size
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
I ended up tee-ing off the range gas line and running a line straight back into the garage
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
the garage is on the other side of this cabinet
SmllMedLrg
previous welding repair visible
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
template didn't help too much. Had to rotate and bring heater further into room to clear exhaust
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
I thought rubber dampers would help. I ended up removing them since the heater is well balanced
SmllMedLrg
the rear of heater was heavier than front. To get it level I had to remove rubber pads
SmllMedLrg
Attempt #1. This was a solid attempt
SmllMedLrg
Unfortunately the pulley pulled out of the wall, then the cleat broke during the fall
SmllMedLrg
a new dent on the right side. Heater functionality unaffected
SmllMedLrg
Doh, snapped the mount for the transformer, zip strips to the rescue
SmllMedLrg
bent two of the threaded rods I painstakingly installed. Ugh, had to make and install new ones
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
Decided to use a cheapo thermostate that came in a box of spare parts with the house
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
installed a longer power cord to reach my wall outlet
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
single walled 90 to a double walled straight pipe, to a plenum of my own creation
SmllMedLrg
note the lack of rubber pads under the metal supports
SmllMedLrg
had to bolt on bottom of the supports so that I could get heater to sit level, its heavier in back
SmllMedLrg
exhaust looking good
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
painted the gas line, looking good
SmllMedLrg
gas line includes a free flow leak block. If heater ever falls, the gas should shutoff automatically
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
lots of expensive double walled piping so that I only need 1 inch of clearance to combustables
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
cut a new hole in roof for exhaust
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
did a little dry wall work to clean up those holes
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
with burners removed you can clearly see the pilot light and how its loose
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
I cleaned the burners with a wire brush. Honestly they were pretty clean already
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
This didn't work. I ended up putti a ~3/8" spacer on top of pilot assembly to better position it
SmllMedLrg
SmllMedLrg
The pilot is huge but still not wide enough. I ended up putting a couple spacers around orifices
SmllMedLrg
The result was that the flame goes further right and left. Pilot now works perfectly with no bangs

Add Picture Comments
Contact Us | ©2014 Me | Page best viewed with Chromium