Working in a garage can be extremely cold and portable garage heaters are very efficient at providing an affordable source of heat to make life more comfortable have to carry out work in your garage. There are several different types of portable garage heaters and they are all required to meet manufacturing safety standards. That said, you do need to be careful when operating one.
General Manufacturing Safety Issues
There are a number of stringent regulations which all portable garage heaters must comply with. For example, heaters have to be made so that if they overheat as a result of something falling on them or the air inlets are covered for whatever reason, they cannot cause a fire.
Any form of open flue or flueless appliance should not be used in garages where petrol or other forms of flammable materials or vapours are being stored. Most modern portable heaters will also feature a tilt switch for fire safety purposes which will automatically shut the heater off if it falls over or is moved whilst it’s powered on. Many will also feature timer capabilities and lights to tell you whether the heater is on or not.
Appliances that are regularly used to heat garages include electric blow heaters, halogen heaters, LPG propane heaters and, probably the safest type – oil-filled column heaters that act similarly to a radiator.
General Safety Advice
Firstly, ensure that heater is placed in a stable location in the garage. Don’t place it on furniture or situate it in any other position from where it might fall over. Some people tend to use rugs or carpets to keep the floor of the garage a little warmer. However, if you do that, make sure that if you’re also running a heater, you don’t hide any electric cords that may power your heater underneath rugs or mats.
Also make sure that you locate the heater well away from any paints, solvents and other flammable liquids and that it is well maintained. Defective heaters should be repaired or replaced immediately and, if you’re likely to have young children or pets coming in and out of the garage, make sure you have an appropriate fire guard and never have a heater on or leave it unattended.
If you’re running a portable gas heater, only change the cylinders outside in a well-ventilated area and store your cylinders well away from the garage. Likewise with paraffin heaters – you need to keep the space well ventilated.
Don’t locate your heater anywhere near furnishings or clothes and keep the heater a safe distance from where you are working so that your clothes cannot catch fire. Finally, never place anything to dry on top of a portable heater and don’t move it until you’ve switched it off.
By following the manufacturer’s instructions and the safety guidance above, you should be able to work in your garage comfortably whatever the temperature. Be very careful however, if you are buying a second-hand heater as a lot of older heaters will not meet the same stringent safety standards or could be defective.