Mini-Splits vs. Garage Heaters: What’s Right for My Shop?

Comfortable isn’t often a word used to reference a garage. But many homeowners take full advantage of this space as a workshop for home improvement projects or hobbies such as woodworking. Mulling changing your garage into a home woodshop? By adding heating and cooling, you’ll be able to utilize the area all year. 

Common systems, including a furnace, heat pump or air conditioner, are typically cost-prohibitive due to the ductwork that’s required. Also, garages are sometimes detached. 

The two most popular styles are garage heaters or mini-split systems, because they don’t need ductwork. But which system should you select? It’s critical to be aware of each to choose the most energy-efficient solution for your woodshop. Sawdust needs special thought since these particles can bog down filters and decrease your system’s efficiency. 

We break down the differences to help you select the right solution for your shop. 

Mini-Splits: Top Marks for Heating and Cooling 

Ductless mini-splits are like a heat pump, since they move heat rather than creating it. This makes them very energy efficient. They’re installed on your wall and connect to an exterior unit through a small hole in the wall. 

A mini-split air conditioner is popular for its energy efficiency and quiet operation. This makes it ideal for craftsmen needing a tranquil, cozy space to work. As they provide both heating and cooling, mini-splits can be used no matter the season. 

Because wood shrinks with shifts in temperature, full control over heating and cooling is extremely advantageous. Many carpenters and woodworkers suggest finishing work in temperatures very close to where the final item will be used. 

Changing your filter frequently is an essential piece of maintenance. Sanding creates a lot of sawdust. If you don’t change your mini-split’s filter, you might lower your system’s efficiency and longevity. 

A mini-split also has to have frequent tune-ups from a certified HVAC specialist, like one from Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. Keeping its internal components clean and lubricated will help lower the likelihood of interruptions in comfort and could even help it run for a greater period of time. 

Garage Heaters: Ideal for Northern Climates 

Garage heaters work a little differently. They make hot air, so it’s best to compare one to a small furnace. They’re fixed on the ceiling, often in a corner. If you turn to your garage for added storage, know that these heaters will require a portion the overhead room. 

The biggest difference between garage heaters and mini-split systems is the type of fuel they run on, since mini-splits are electric. Propane or natural gas garage heaters are both common types, but there are electric garage heaters as well if you don’t want to worry about fuel hookups. 

Garage heaters include a plus that makes them slightly better than a mini-split system. They don’t have to have a filter and some models have sealed combustion chambers, which halts sawdust from infiltrating those internal pieces. 

Key Variations Between Mini-Splits and Garage Heaters 

Ultimately there are lots of things to consider, including the temperatures in the U.S.. These encompass: 

  • Whether you need both heating and cooling, or just heating. 
  • Your budget. 
  • How much wall area you have in your woodshop. 
  • How much time and money you want to dedicate to upkeep. 

Ductless mini-split systems are more expensive at the start than garage heaters. If you don’t plan on using your shop often, this may not be the smartest option. But woodshops in locations with major changes in temperature may benefit from more precise control. 

Garage heaters are a simpler, more affordable option. Different models consume varying fuel sources to make heat only, making them ill-suited for warm weather. Gas or propane garage heaters are best if fuel costs are low. They’re not as energy efficient, so regular use may result in bigger utility bills. But the great heat generation is preferable in colder climates. 

For experienced advice and installation, trust the HVAC Experts at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We’ll help you make the best choice. And with excellent repair and maintenance services, your garage will be a relaxing location for years. Contact us at 866-397-3787 to schedule a free home comfort assessment or appointment now. 

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