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Workshop temperature - cold

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Derek Lane29/11/2020 21:56:42
371 forum posts
77 photos

I find that the greenhouse heater keeps the workshop above freezing to protect the machines as it works off of a thermostat it only comes on when needed to back that up a oil filled heater which I have on a timer as well as thermostat so it goes on about 9am so I can start at 9;30am once I have some of the machines running that one can go off. On the woodworking side i have a piece of carp[et on the floor which helps with my feet.

peak429/11/2020 21:59:58
1325 forum posts
147 photos

I recommend Aldi's winter workshop trouser. Just like the normal ones, but fleece lined.
Similarly they do a padded fleece overshirt. I prefer the one with the quilted lining, rather than borg fibrepile for workshop use; I think the latter is the Lidl variant.
Add a paddded waistcoat from the same source and be toasty warm, apart from fingers and nose.

Aldi Yoga mat interlocking tiles on the floor help no end as well; hot swarf does rather eat into them as they are quite soft, but they are also cheap to replace.
Rubber stable matting is probably more durable, but my tiles have been down for a couple of years and still going strong.


Bazyle29/11/2020 22:23:17
5698 forum posts
208 photos

Humidity makes a huge difference and even a little physical movement warms one up internally, hence the value of encourageing old folk to keep active. Vast numbers of walkers going past undetered this weekend and yesterday especially the easterly wind was bitter but only if standing still. Today I got too hot outside hand sawing some sticks so had to find a slower job but yesterday I went into the woodshed and half closed the door to keep out of the wind,
The 'shed' aka dining room is at 12C as it is the other side of the wall from the living room (18.5c) woodstove, otherwise it would be 9c like the rest of the house. The problem is motivation in low temps.

Henry Artist30/11/2020 11:22:51
120 forum posts
46 photos

This is why my workshop is located, for the most part, within my house. I only go out to The Shed for activities that would seriously destabilise domestic harmony e.g. spray painting and silver soldering boilers.

Bo'sun30/11/2020 11:46:25
297 forum posts

Definately agree with the comments regarding humidity. I'm sure if the humidity is up it feels colder. I use a desicant dehumidifier plumbed in for constant drainage. The reduced humidity also helps keep rusting at a tolerable level, and the heat output adds a little to workshop warmth. No much I'll admit, but every little helps.

pgk pgk30/11/2020 12:23:32
2024 forum posts
290 photos

It's not the temperature as much as the degree of activity or inactivity involved. My 'hobbying' is more cerebral than physical - I spend more time thinking about it than doing it (amateur) so I like a toasty warm shed.
On the other hand I was adapting my petrol chipper to take solid tyre wheels yesterday... had it parked outside shed in temps around 10C crawling around on an old plastic compost bag on the wet ground and not feeling at all chilled.

Today i have a load of chipping to do. It's reported 9C outside and I know that I'll be sweating in just a tee-shirt while cutting up the brash and shoving it down the hoppers

Perhaps instead of thermal underwear one should recommend a hula-hoop to stay warm


JA30/11/2020 12:48:22
1055 forum posts
54 photos

Many thanks for the replies. I may not be as bigger wimp as I expected. I do agree with Bazyle - Motivation is important. Also I don't like completely dressing up to use the workshop.

Just for information - The workshop is one half of a double garage which is split by a wall for most its length. The other half houses motorcycles etc which are generally dry. The garage door has a separate internal wall and the two external walls have cavities. The window, over the work bench, is double glazed and gets the sun on summer afternoons. The floor is concrete with rubber mats. The roof space is not insulated. Dampness is not a problem. I use an oil filled electric radiator for heating. It really just takes the edge off the cold. It may be sensible to invest in cavity wall insulation and loft insulation.

When I am driven out of the workshop I spend the time catching up on everything that has been put aside.


DMB30/11/2020 12:50:02
1054 forum posts

I have in prev. threads described my cheapo heater in mill driptray. Home made 3ply wood box with 4 brass battenholders wired in series with 60W edison bulbs with bayonet fittings.Permanently plugged in but only switched off while using mill. Don't normally forget to activate when locking up workshop for the night. Arranged that cheapo heater shares same plug socket as angel eyes bright light above endmill chuck. So, one out, other in.

Very old 3ft tubular heater in Myford driptray controlled by thermostat via timeswitch often 9pm to 7am or 8.

No heat on Fobco bench drill - not needed, just plastic bag over top and another on table.

Heated lathe covered with flimsy plastic sheet + thick plastic bag over the vfd.

Heated mill table thick plastic bag each end + 1 above y axis slide + 1 below. Enormous, even thicker larger format plastic bag over top of mill.

Workbench also has flimsy plastic sheet, quickly flicked back for work and finish, no heat necessary. 

Heat escapes and makes rest of 10 × 8ft shed gently warm. Max and Min thermometer down end furthest from heaters monitors all..

Shed roof lined with thick polystyrene sheet, door and walls covered in 3plywood and voids stuffed tight with rockwool insulation. Outside, whole shed covered in roofing felt, waterproofing/draughtproofing/insulating.

Winter, temperatures still go up and down like a whores drawers but kept within acceptable bounds for working and very little rust trouble.

Sounds like  lot of aggro with the plastic bags, thick ones held ballast or sand years ago before the aggregate industry adopted much thinner version. I plan work to do as many jobs as possible on one machine, so cuts down on bagshift and setting up time. Set up time is the big time waster.

Edited By DMB on 30/11/2020 12:57:22

Brian H30/11/2020 13:18:24
1964 forum posts
108 photos

The temperature in my workshop is set on a blower heater to be not less that 6 deg C which was chosen to prevent frost damage to a pre-war motor car.

The car has now gone but the setting remains.

When entering the workshop I set to temperature to 16 deg C which I find comfortable when wearing a wooly jumper.


Howard Lewis30/11/2020 15:17:36
4143 forum posts
3 photos

My spec for the (Then, 17 years ago ) workshop called for 50 mm of glassfibre in walls and ceiling. Being 2 M x 2.8 M, external, but 2.5 M high, it is quite small,

There are no windows, just a small fixed vent at floor level, and a rarely used small intake fan at high level

The central walking area of the floor is covered with thick plastic matting, but the floor proper is 18 mm ply on 8 x 2 bearers, but with three sides closed off, and the open end sheltered.

When the ambient is liable to go close to freezing, a 60W tubular heater, under the fitting bench (If you can see it for clutter ) is switched on, to keep things above the dew point. Once I am in there, a thermostatically controlled 2Kw fan heater is used. Being small, that runs for about 10 minutes and then the heat from me and from the machines means that it cuts in fairly infrequently.

My clothing is no more than i wear about the house, shirt and sweater, and insulated work trousers.

So even if a bit chilly on first entry, it soon warms up..

Maybe, I have a higher tolerance of low temperatures?


Dave Halford30/11/2020 16:58:06
1142 forum posts
11 photos
Posted by Martin Kyte on 29/11/2020 16:57:00:

Not sure really, I tend to like it a bit warmer than I used to if I'm in there all day. I am at the moment as I'm working from home so the radiator is on every day all day. I have noticed a distinct drop off in workshop related posts as the weather has turned colder. Many more 'what gets my goat is. . .' rather than 'look what I made today. . .' and 'how do you go about turning whatever . . .' Could it be we are going soft?

regards Martin

Some of us are Geordies and some of us are soft Southerners. laugh

Howard Lewis30/11/2020 17:04:12
4143 forum posts
3 photos

Now anyone involved in that fight will keep warm


Dave Halford30/11/2020 18:07:23
1142 forum posts
11 photos
Posted by Howard Lewis on 30/11/2020 17:04:12:

Now anyone involved in that fight will keep warm


But some will only be wearing tee shirts

mechman4801/12/2020 13:21:14
2823 forum posts
438 photos

I have converted my single attached garage 17' x 8' as my 'hobby shop' the walls have been studded & lined with 'Celotex' insulation, boarded out with OSB, as is the loft space which is insulated with 4" 'space blanket' I have foam rubber tiles in the floor which keeps the 'plates of meat' off the cold concrete. I have two small oil filled rads, one at ea. end which I switch on for an hour before I venture in, which are set to reach 16* C then switch off, nice & cosy, I don't like cold!. Saying that I do wear an over t shirt, extra military style cargo pants on top of my 'house trackies & safety trainers with thick soles & if I am using the lathe I wear a ware house type coat.


Martin Dowing01/12/2020 14:05:48
292 forum posts
4 photos

My garage is warm, with central heating.

Nothing rusts there, even my wife is happy to sit there and observe how swarf is made.

She is very fascinated while watching it, very much like neighbours cat which often comes and also watches.

Welding and rough grinding are always done outside, on free air.

There is wooden bench in garden for that.

Roger Best01/12/2020 21:37:34
174 forum posts
31 photos

A warm workshop means less sore joints so mine is insulated better than the house. Neither have central heating, so an electric heater will be used this winter. Last winter there was no machinery installed so no heat was required, yet it kept pretty warm due to heat coming through the wall from the house. I will probably set the thermostat to 18C and lower it as I get used to how warm my smock coat is.

Fatgadgi02/12/2020 00:05:47
170 forum posts
25 photos

One of my little luxuries in life is keeping my workshop at a constant 18 degrees 24/7 in winter.

As Roger said, it’s better insulated than my house as well, and a 600w oil filled radiator keeps it warm.

Toasty 🙂🙂🙂

Steviegtr02/12/2020 01:02:36
1779 forum posts
235 photos

The coldest i have recorded so far is 14 degrees C . With a 20 min blast with the 2kw fan heater it usually comes up quickly to 19-20. I have a 750w chocolate heater from my contracting days hung from the ceiling. This takes over & keeps it a comfortable 19.

Chocolate heater is a old chocolate enrober heater , which is 3 250w ceramic units. Which were originally on 3 phase 415. But each element is 240v so i just rewired for single phase. I had a stack of these & gave them away to friends. I wish i had kept 1 for the main garage area. Fortunately when i built the garage / workshop i used 10mm kingspan type panels which have a very good thermal value.


Neil Lickfold02/12/2020 03:35:31
651 forum posts
102 photos

I used to put up with a cold workshop. Last year installed a heat pump and it stays 20c all through winter, and cooled in the summer to about 24c Very comfortable. Its the best thing that I ever did for the shop, apart from insulating it. Until the heat pump, I had one of those infrared heaters , it is like standing with the sun on your back. But the heat pump is way cheaper to run, and once it is all up to temp, does not cost alot to keep it warm.


not done it yet02/12/2020 08:24:55
5382 forum posts
20 photos
Posted by Fatgadgi on 02/12/2020 00:05:47:

One of my little luxuries in life is keeping my workshop at a constant 18 degrees 24/7 in winter.

As Roger said, it’s better insulated than my house as well, and a 600w oil filled radiator keeps it warm.

Toasty 🙂🙂🙂

I look at it rather differently. I warm it when necessary. There is little point in wasting both energy (climate warming?) or money unnecessarily.

I make sure my machines are kept corrosion-free without unnecessarily wasting valuable resources. The 15m^2 workshop has been running at 9-12 Celsius during the recent cold weather, currently costing 12p/day for heating/drying. It is detached from the house.

It has 40-60W of lighting and me (100-120W?) while I am in situ, of course, which would steadily increase the air temperature. If I intend staying for more than an hour and a half - after which my hands get to the point of needing warming - I would consider turning on a heater as necessary.

I will be warming it with a few kWh tonight as I intend being in there for most of the day, tomorrow. I take sensible precautions to keep warm in the winter; woollen socks, long johns, thick(er?) trousers, T-shirt and sweat shirt is more than sufficient in the workshop as long as I am active. Oh - and I wear a hat (~10% of our heat loss is from our heads) to reduce my heat losses.

Those few kWh will undoubtedly warm both the air and the metalwork in the workshop overnight. I don’t anticipate any need for extra heat during the day - as long as I keep the door closed - but, if necessary, I expect my dehumidifier (375W) would supply sufficient extra warmth.

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