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Workshop temperature - cold

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Simon036203/12/2020 14:38:55
204 forum posts
73 photos

When I used to help a friend with fettling his vintage car for racing and hill climbing, most of the work was done in his extensively extended single car garage with the doors wide open at all times of the year.
To maintain any sort of comfort in the garage, we eventually used a 'space heater', essentially a gas burner and big fan attached to a big bottle of propane and designed for large factory type spaces. Ideal for roasting one side of you and leaving the other frozen.

On this particular occasion I had come directly from work and had applied a set of overalls on top of the existing layers and topped off with a set of plasticised paper overalls as supplied in large quantities to BA - and onward to me from time to time. It was a cold evening and as I feel the cold, I was getting closer and closer to the space heater nozzle whilst concentrating on the job in hand.

At some point I started to feel uncomfortable around my legs and looking down, realised that I was slowly being shrink-wrapped by the overheated plasticised overalls!

After this we moved to closed doors and radiant type heaters instead...

not done it yet03/12/2020 19:30:31
5428 forum posts
20 photos

I only managed about an hour in the workshop from 0625 to 0730 as I was diverted to help a friend for the rest of the morning and most of the afternoon so did not warm the workshop overnight. It has been delayed until Friday.🙂 ‘Best laid plans of mice and men’ at work once again...

Jon Lawes03/12/2020 20:07:29
453 forum posts

I intend at some point to incorporate a device my friend used in his carbon fibre workshop; a drainpipe going to the very top of the ceiling and a duct fan at the base. It was astonishing how warm the air was coming out of the fan. When he started using it he barely had to use the heater anymore.

not done it yet03/12/2020 20:29:47
5428 forum posts
20 photos

What’s the ‘U’ value of a carbon fibre workshop?🙂

Bill Pudney04/12/2020 04:44:47
484 forum posts
16 photos

Being up here in 'straya, where we have a daytime temperature range of (about) 10 degrees C to 45 degrees C. So cold temperatures are not much of an issue. In the Winter I just put on an extra sweatshirt and wear a dustcoat. The big problem is the Summer when the temp in my steel shed can easily get up to 55 degrees C. That's great for carbon/epoxy layups, but not for any machining or fiddly hand work. It gets really unpleasant when sweat starts dripping onto my glasses!! At which point I generally retire indoors and sit in front of the air conditioner for a while!!



not done it yet04/12/2020 05:33:31
5428 forum posts
20 photos

Hi Bill,

Us in the UK don’t get that sort of summer temperatures but I don’t like it when the temperature gets up to wards 30!

Last year, the workshop only got too hot when I stupidly left the door open for several hours. Once it had got up to over 30, it seemed to stay like that for several days.

I note, on the renewable energy front, that the Aussie scene is drastically reducing grid-take by occupants installing solar systems for their homes. Seems like your workshop could do with a roof installation and air-con? Only useful with a tin shed that has good insulation! My workshop is cocooned in at least 100mm of insulation with some exceeding that by a large margin. Relatively warm in the winter and cool in the summer (as long as I don’t leave the door open!).

John MC04/12/2020 08:05:36
329 forum posts
38 photos

After having workshops in garages and various wooden buildings I decided one day that the workshop would be part of the house. When we moved in to our "forever" house and extended it that is what was done. Most of the extension is single story. Insulated cavity walls, heavily insulated roof space, insulated floor, all of which exceeded the requirements of the time and double glazing. The workshop has no external doors, access is through the garage or utility room. Its on the central heating system, the TRV is on a low setting, it can get too warm.

I'm surprised I've not come across more of this approach to keeping warm. Not the cheapest of things to do but well worth it, no more working up the motivation to take the cold walk to a cold workshop.


Rockingdodge04/12/2020 12:45:02
269 forum posts
52 photos

My 7 x 5 Metre workshop stands about 3.5 m high at the apex and is lined with 100mm insulation in the roof and 50mm in the walls. I have a diesel night heater, purchased on Ebay, which I run on kerosene, much cheaper and cleaner than diesel!


Main heater




Exhauster outlet insulated from the timber


100ltrs of kerosene, this will last me 2 to 3 years.

I turn this on when I get up (if I'm workshopping), walk the dogs and have brekkie and by that time the chill is taken off and it's comfortable to work in even if the outside temp is wee below zero.

Only downside is that the metal and machinery is cold to the touch but I have ways around that devil.

If I need it warmer for painting I just ramp up the heater and leave it on overnight, at less than 50p per ltr it doesn't break the piggy bank.


mgnbuk04/12/2020 13:06:24
910 forum posts
65 photos

at less than 50p per ltr it doesn't break the piggy bank.

Where can you get paraffin for less than 50p a litre in the UK in managable quantities ? I use a 25 litre plastic oil container for my fuel tank. The nearest bulk paraffin pump to me is 15 miles away & charged 82p a litre last year when I was looking. A filling station 3 miles away had gasoil (red diesel) at 84p a litre, so I'm currently running my 5Kw night heater on that.

My workshop is a corner of a 16' (approx) square detached garage, single skin Marshall's Heritage block built with a concrete tile apex roof & two steel up-and-over doors. Wall insulated with 20mm expanded polystyrene trapped against the wall with 12mm chipboard sheets & loft boards isolating the roof space. The 5Kw night heater gets the area around the machinery comfortable after an hour or so.

Still working at the moment, so not as much workshop time as many on here - motivation lacking in the evenings & usually other things competing for attention at weekends.

Nigel B.

not done it yet04/12/2020 13:48:40
5428 forum posts
20 photos

Kerosene, not ‘paraffin’ and gas oil not ‘diesel’. Subtle differences in the fraction but gas oil and diesel are the same - just a difference in name (and price) at retail outlets.

Bulk deliveries for central heating is only charged at 5% VAT. 20% VAT for small quantities in containers.

Make of that what you wish. Personally, I would make a suitable arrangement with/for a bulk supply....

Rockingdodge04/12/2020 17:41:56
269 forum posts
52 photos

Around here you can't get bulk deliveries unless you have central heating tanks, my supply is a 39 mile round trip but I can put up with that with getting 120 ltrs for £50 and it's also cheap diesel so I fill the car up as well! It's a 2 or 3 year trip after all! smiley

mgnbuk04/12/2020 17:51:41
910 forum posts
65 photos

Kerosene, not ‘paraffin’ and gas oil not ‘diesel’. Subtle differences in the fraction but gas oil and diesel are the same - just a difference in name (and price) at retail outlets.

In these parts the product is usually refered to as paraffin, not kerosene. There used to be several outlets with pumps (hardware shops & a local bulk oil supplier) where you could take a container in & get it filled. One hardware shop used a calibrated jug to draw the fuel into from a drum, another had an electric pump that filled an integral glass flask with a pre-determined quantity that was then gravity fed into your container. The oil company had a standard fuel pump with a meter. The hardware shops typicall sold "Esso Blue" & the oil company had two grades - commercial and premium. The commercial stuff was sold for cleaning puropses & to tarmac gangs - for heating you bought premium.

For the first couple of years after I got married (early '80s) I used a "Blue flame" paraffin heater in the bathroom & subsequently used the same heater in a greenhouse, so I was a relatively frequent purchaser. When I bought the night heater & tried to buy the same product from the oil supplier, they had ceased to sell the product "loose" - changing times, I guess. Also known as 28 second heating oil, some local heating oil suppliers sell this pre-packaged in 20 litre drums as "emergency top-ups" - still to investigate whether this is a cheaper option, but most "pre-packaged" fuels tend to be expensive. B&Q sell 4 litre containers of paraffin for £8, for example - it would be cheaper to buy diesel road fuel than use that !

Heating have the following description under "Whats the difference between kerosene & paraffin" :

In the UK, kerosene is quite often referred to as paraffin when people are talking about heating oils, so you will probably be getting the same product regardless of what it’s called. In other words, it doesn’t matter whether your supplier describes the fuel as kerosene or paraffin oil. In both cases, you can use the product to power your heating system.

"Red diesel" & "Gasoil" are also interchangeable terms in these parts. These days "red" is likely to be a bit more refined than diesel heating oil (35 second oil), as it is used by farmers & construction companies for tractors, earthmovers & other diesel engined equipment. Modern electronic injection diesel engines require ultra low sulphur fuel, so these days "red" is usually the same as EN590 road fuel, just dyed to show that is not to for road use. We use this at work in the diesel generators & FLTs.

IIRC the 5% VAT rate on bulk deliveries only applies up to 2500 litres - over that & it's 20%. Bulk supply is not practical for me - I have nowhere suitable to store it. Better to be able to fill a 20 litre jerry can to top up the 25 litre supply drum when it gets down to the last 5 litres. At a consumption of around 0.5 litre an hour, it is not too regular a task.

Nigel B.

JA04/12/2020 17:52:44
1061 forum posts
54 photos

Gas oil and diesel (for motor vehicles) may be the same as far as distillation, the basic chemistry, goes but there are serious differences. Diesel contains additives particularly a Cetane number modifier. This, I think, speeds up the ignition of the fuel after injection.


Having used gas oil and, accidentally, diesel at work for testing gas turbines we in the end had to seek advise from a fuel blender on the terminology we used. This was after paying the road fuel tax on 35,000 litres of fuel.

Edited By JA on 04/12/2020 18:00:27

Steve Neighbour04/12/2020 19:24:53
74 forum posts
1 photos

I use a 1/2 kW electric panel heater which I pop on the 2kW setting as a instant heat boost when in the workshop and run on a timer on the 1kW setting if the oat drops to freezing or below overnight.

The workshop is extensively insulated to reduce heat loss.

Seems to work well, although if we get a '63 winter as the weather folk are suggesting it might get pushed to its limits 🤔

not done it yet04/12/2020 19:33:26
5428 forum posts
20 photos

Agricultural vehicles run on diesel - nobody calls it gas oil - but they order diesel, not DERV.

DERV is taxed as it is for Diesel-Engined Road Vehicles (what the abbreviation stands for).

Central heating oil can be diesel or kerosene, the difference being the volatility. Kerosene has a Redwood viscosity index of 28s while diesel is 34s or 36s (can’t remember which). The longer chain fraction has a slightly higher calorific value, of course.

not done it yet04/12/2020 19:40:56
5428 forum posts
20 photos

Agricultural vehicles run on diesel - nobody calls it gas oil - but they order diesel, not DERV.

DERV is taxed as it is for Diesel-Engined Road Vehicles (what the abbreviation stands for and gives a clue of why it is taxed so heavily).

martin perman04/12/2020 19:54:50
1923 forum posts
81 photos
Posted by not done it yet on 04/12/2020 19:40:56:

Agricultural vehicles run on diesel - nobody calls it gas oil - but they order diesel, not DERV.

DERV is taxed as it is for Diesel-Engined Road Vehicles (what the abbreviation stands for and gives a clue of why it is taxed so heavily).

Or Duty Exempt Road Vehicle.

Martin P

Bob Wild04/12/2020 22:58:33
50 forum posts
32 photos

What a load of wimps on here. Just spent an afternoon in the workshop at 1.0 deg C. Done a load of milling with a glove on one hand to reduce the conductivity from an aluminium handle. But it was most successful 😋😋

Edited By Bob Wild on 04/12/2020 22:59:31

Peter Simpson 105/12/2020 08:03:04
189 forum posts
9 photos

No normal person would attempt to work in a workshop in those temperatures unless it as a dire emergency. But it takes a all sorts I suppose !

Guy Lamb05/12/2020 08:48:02
105 forum posts

I find a wood burning stove has more than one benefit, the primeval pleasure of sitting around a fire is one and another is the material I find for reuse while 'skip diving' for fuel wood.


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