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Discussion Starter #61 (Edited)
It makes sense for in floor heat but does it make sense for radiant heat? I put in floor heat in in our garage and basement floor of our house. I am not sure I want to go through all the effort and cost for the shop. I was thinking with radiant heat we could keep the thermostats on a low setting for most of the winter and turn up the areas we are working in when we are in there. It would give us fast heat when we need it and a much lower cost of installation. Would the boiler heat be a lot more energy efficient? I still not sure what to do. Good boilers are not cheap and only have a 15-20 year life expectancy. With in floor insulation could a guy do the perimeter 8-12 ft under the cement around the inside of the grade beam. Would it be better to chain trench a 4ft deep slot all the way around the grade beam on the outside and put a vertical 4ft 2 inch thick styverfoam in the soil on the outside of the grade beam to keep the cold from coming in?
 

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What you do is always going to be about compromises and deciding what is worth it for you. We only have foam around the perimeter and under the grade beam. I'm sure the ground under the floor soaks up heat, but perhaps not that much. If the temperature under the slap is a steady 10C year round, I don't think we're losing terrible amounts of heat through the floor in the winter. Besides maybe I want some heat to leak out to push the frost back from the edges. I dunno.

Yes I would think vertical foam would be excellent at keeping the frost out. I remember we thought a bit about this, but decided against it, but I can't remember the reasoning.
 

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6Our RM shop used 4’ styrofoam grade beam forms and insulated the perimeter with 2’ sheets of styrofoam horizontally on top of footing to prevent frost from getting under footing. This is not a replacement for foam under your cement floor, I would strongly advise you to put 2” high density foa under your slab. Some people are cheaping out and putting some sort of bubble wrap under slab but I don’t think it’s a good replacement for foam.
I put bubble wrap insulation under our basement floor rather than foam because of the cost. I have my doubts that is anywhere close to the effectiveness of foam but have no way to really prove that. Another thing is the trapped air underneath will start bubbling through the concrete and in places it will continue to bubble long after you are out of reach with the float. Not a good thing if you like good cement.
 

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I don’t have floor heat just a unit heater. I went with 2”foam 2 feet down then 4 feet out. Well worth it. I left the 4 feet out for 4 feet the first winter. I had some trenching left to do. That spot I left had frost on the inside wall when it was 30 below the rest didn’t. I have 8” thick walls with fibreglass insulation
 

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Insulating the slab with in-floor radiant makes total sense. Pretty questionable using tube radiant and insulating say a 4-8 foot perimeter and both sides of the grade beam.
 

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I think the pay back for foam under the slab will pay for it’s self over time, but it might take 10+ years. Even unit and tube heaters would benefit. Another consideration is making sure that under the slab is well drained. We ran weeping tile around the inside perimeter of the grade beams and down the middle of the shop where are drains are and connected them to a sump. Weeping tile is a foot below our foam.
 

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Here’s what I use for exhaust extraction. Bought the blue smoke arm and my dad built the red portion. It can reach about a 35’ radius and has a 3 hp centrifugal fan. It can keep up with a 3406 at WOT. Works good also if you’re doing a fair bit of welding or cutting in one spot.
161608
 

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It makes sense for in floor heat but does it make sense for radiant heat? I put in floor heat in in our garage and basement floor of our house. I am not sure I want to go through all the effort and cost for the shop.
I have nothing against in floor heat, if we were to build a new shop, we would put it in.
We converted a 50'x100' quonset to our heated shop. It already had a concrete floor, so in floor was not a practical option for us.
We looked into the radiant tube system, but went with a single 300,000 btu propane heater.
It's a simple, affordable install. Its performance far surpassed our expectations. The heat is even, comfortable and good recovery. Heating cost seems similar to electric boiler shops of similar size. We leave the heat on all the time at 55 degrees. The only down side to it is the noise. We don't open the doors much, so the heater does not run very often. But when it does, you have to shout to be heard. If price point is a key concern, this may be something to look into.
 

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How did you insulate the building, @DDF? Spray foam would be expensive because the surface area is nearly double that a normal building with the corrugations.
 

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Bjtjjl can you post or text me a picture of your anchors? Does each anchor have 4 ft of railroad iron attached to it? Is there any chance you would crack the concrete when pulling on them? Is the railroad iron bellow the cement or in the cement? Thank you for mentioning this.
Not much to show. Plastic cover flush with cement floor, about 8” diameter. The railroad iron is below cement. With rebar tied in.
 

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How did you insulate the building, @DDF? Spray foam would be expensive because the surface area is nearly double that a normal building with the corrugations.
We did spray foam. It is expensive, but it was still was a better option for us than a new building price wise. We are very happy with the results. It is a zipperlock building, so there aren't corrugations.
 

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Discussion Starter #72
Thanks once again for all the great replies Dan Vanderwell with that fan system is the fan inside the building or outside? What is the diameter of the metal pipes and is it quite noisy? If you use it for welding fumes do you have problems using a mig welder with gas and it affecting the gas flow at the weld? Is there anyone that makes something like this or is this something that a guy has to fabricate?
 

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That's a really slick exhaust tube system Dan! Wow! It keeps up to a 3406 at WOT!! 3 HP fan is the answer. My little 1/3 HP furnace fan works good on my vent system with 4-500 HP at 1200 rpm for warmup and oil changes etc.

30 years ago I had a Farm Shop publication from Alberta Ag that had some good info, specially about insulation and the benefits of stopping heat loss. That was when energy was pretty cheap. Some of the heat loss numbers I remember working with were for a 40' x 60' x 16' building and had a breakdown for different stages of insulation and the BTU used or saved. I can't find the book but from memory this is how it goes. On the test building the ceiling had R40, 2x6 walls R20, foundation 1 1/2 or 2 " of styrofoam and the floor may have had styrofoam but was the smallest heat loss at 6 or 8,000 BTU. There is not much heat transfer from the slab at 10C to the ground at a static 5C. With no windows or doors our test building only took 16,000 BTU to heat. Add 40,000 BTU for a 20ish x 14 overhead door. Add about 20,000 BTU for a 12 x 12 overhead door. Add for every walk in door and window. Add for exhaust fan openings. Add if you perforate the vapor barrier and insulation for electrical and other utilities. And add BTU if you omit any of the insulation steps often not done, like the 4' of 2" styrofoam on the outside of the grade beam, add 16,000 BTU. I think I wound up needing 90,000 or 100,000 BTU to heat my shop. I did the grade beam but not the floor. I built my own 20 x 16 x 4" thick bifold door. I put heat pipes in the floor and under the pads outside with a separate valve to take ice off. I put in a 125,000 infrared tube heater for quicker recovery. The ir worked so well I have never hooked up the under floor lines. The floor stays comfortably warm to lie under a vehicle for hours regardless of outside temp and it is warm enough from the ir heater that ice on any big truck is all melted off and totally dry by morning. Make sure you put in some kind of floor drain and have some slope on the floor. I don't like the draft from ceiling fans so see no need to run them since the floor is comfortable without. My floor is not too hot on your feet when in there all day. On a 4-5 hour afternoon in the shop the ir heater only cycles on 3-4 times when it is -30 outside. If I have the door open it recovers in 10 minutes to where it was. If it is -30 outside you probably have more than a Tshirt on anyway. I remember checking my gas bill for the winter before adding on the shop and comparing it to the winter after. The most expensive month was up $30 and about 4-5 months were up about $20 per month. So for the 7 ? months that we use heat, the total heating bill was maybe $200. Less than the cost of keeping one vehicle plugged in. I just looked at my current gas bill and I would guess it might be $60-80 per month now. I know shops are 2-4 times as big now but Insulated the way my shop is it is still very affordable to keep it at a comfortable level like 10-15 degrees C all the time. The ir heat tube brings up the temp very quickly if you keep it at say 10 C and then when you come in to do some little job like a carb kit and are not moving much, just bump up the thermostat and in 5 minutes you will be comfortable. I put the tube close to the side (10' from wall) where the bench is so you get that immediate radiating heat there. This shop is a wonderful cool place to work in the hot summer as well. I built my little shop on a tight budget and tried to put the money where the biggest return was. $25-30,000 for the basic insulated building. Maybe that much again for all the little extras like the cranes, exhaust evac system, compressor and airlines plumbed in, all electrical in conduit, concrete pads outside doors, etc,etc. One of the best investments of my life.
 

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Thanks once again for all the great replies Dan Vanderwell with that fan system is the fan inside the building or outside? What is the diameter of the metal pipes and is it quite noisy? If you use it for welding fumes do you have problems using a mig welder with gas and it affecting the gas flow at the weld? Is there anyone that makes something like this or is this something that a guy has to fabricate?
Thanks once again for all the great replies Dan Vanderwell with that fan system is the fan inside the building or outside? What is the diameter of the metal pipes and is it quite noisy? If you use it for welding fumes do you have problems using a mig welder with gas and it affecting the gas flow at the weld? Is there anyone that makes something like this or is this something that a guy has to fabricate?
Google “smoke eater” and you’ll see a variety of solutions. Some are pretty hi tech and expensive but good for getting some ideas and options.
 

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Discussion Starter #75
Thanks for the info Transaxle and Bigswede. Has anyone put in a used oil furnace or have any thoughts or experience on that type of heat? How much used oil would you go through and is it a lot of work or maintenance associated with used oil heaters?
 

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Thanks once again for all the great replies Dan Vanderwell with that fan system is the fan inside the building or outside? What is the diameter of the metal pipes and is it quite noisy? If you use it for welding fumes do you have problems using a mig welder with gas and it affecting the gas flow at the weld? Is there anyone that makes something like this or is this something that a guy has to fabricate?
The fan is upstairs in a parts storage mezzanine. It’s fairly quiet. The fan is about as loud as a shop vac and it’s behind a wall. I’ll measure tomorrow but I think it’s 6” pipe. It has a damper control at the intake to close it off if you’re not needing it for a minute or two or throttle it down for a mig welder. If you have it too close to the gun it can cause problems with the gas. I’ll try to position it 4’ or so up and choke it down and it works ok.

I can’t remember where we got the smoke arm from as I was about 10 at the time. This is the mfg of the smoke arm but I see they have some different models now.


The red arm my dad made is just a piece of 6” pipe pivoting on spindles mounted to the floor and ceiling and 2”x4” rectangular tubing arms.
 

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Thanks for the info Transaxle and Bigswede. Has anyone put in a used oil furnace or have any thoughts or experience on that type of heat? How much used oil would you go through and is it a lot of work or maintenance associated with used oil heaters?
Might want to check with your insurance. Mine started wanting inspections on our diesel fired boiler and tank. We asked about a used oil burner and they said no dice even though it was CSA approved. Ended up with a gas boiler and couldn’t be happier.
 

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If you have natural gas it’s a no brainer, at least until carbon tax gets too expensive. At that point might have to look at a wood boiler.
 

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Used oil burners do use a fair bit. Doubtful a regular farm would have enough used oil alone. 2 cleanings a season to remove the ash. Insurance will be a bit of a battle as well.
It made sense for us with a large farm and we had stock piled oil back from our road construction and forestry days.
So if your buying at full purchase price and don’t end up producing enough used oil the payback will take a long time.
 

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Discussion Starter #80
If a guy is putting in a insulated overhead door for the main door what width would you go with? I was thinking of somewhere between 24-26ft but was was wondering what peoples experience has been. We currently find our 20ft too narrow in our current shop and would like something wider.
 
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