Sheds can be used for storage, as workshops, even as clubhouses. Sheds typically do not have electricity and most are not insulated, so when outdoor temperatures drop, your shed may get very cold. The cold can damage equipment and can be uncomfortable to work in.
If you want to heat your shed, you can add insulation, bring in different types of heaters, and/or bring in different kinds of stoves. The best way to heat a shed is to use a portable electric heater, as these are easy to use, less hazardous, and do not require having electricity in your shed.
There are many different ways to keep your shed warm in the cold. Some require an electricity source, some require fuel such as wood or propane. Some, surprisingly, require neither. This article will help to find the best shed-heating solution for you.
Use a Heater
There are many different kinds of heaters you can bring into your shed for warmth. These options depend on power supply. If you have access to electricity, an electric heater may work best. If you do not, then your best bet may be a propane heater (given that your shed is well ventilated. Different kinds of heaters that work in sheds include:
- Electric space heaters
- Battery-powered electric heaters
- Portable propane heaters
- Kerosene heaters
Electric space heaters require a power supply. If you have an extension cord that reaches your shed, these are a good option. Electric space heaters are powerful and efficient and will have your shed warm, even hot, in no time. Battery-powered electric heaters do not require a power supply and are a good option for smaller sheds.
Portable propane heaters do not require an external power supply. If your shed is off the grid or powerless, propane heaters are a great way to heat your shed. They will last much longer than battery-powered heaters and will produce far more heat. This option is a bit more expensive, but worth the investment if you spend a lot of time in your shed.
Kerosene heaters are less expensive than propane heaters but work just as well. They produce a lot of heat and do not require a power supply. You will need to make sure your shed is ventilated if you decide to use a kerosene heater. As with all of these options, this heater needs to be shut off while you are not in the shed, to prevent fires.
Keeping a Shed Warm While You Are Not Present
The above shed-heating options require you to be present while they are on. Electric and propane heaters alike require a certain amount of supervision so that a fire is not accidentally started while you are away. The following heating options will be able to run while you are not present, and when set up responsibly, do not pose safety/fire hazards.
If your shed has access to electricity, a good option for unsupervised heating is an electric radiator. Radiators emit a lot of heat but can be turned down very low so that your shed maintains a warm temperature that is (at least) above freezing. Radiators are safe and can run all day.
Another, more expensive option is to install heated flooring in your shed. Heated flooring will radiate heat from underneath and keep your belongings and equipment safe from freezing over in the winter. Heated flooring can run all day and night without posing a fire or safety hazard. This option does require electricity and can be a pain to install.
Solar heaters are another safe way to heat your shed. They require no electricity and rely only on the power of the sun. Solar heaters may be expensive, but the smaller the shed, the smaller the heater you will require. If all else fails, install a window or two in your shed. Letting the sunlight in during the day will warm it naturally.
Other Ways to Heat Your Shed
Up until this point, the heating options listed might not work for you or your situation. You may not have access to electricity, have the proper ventilation for a propane heater, or have the funds for a floor heater or solar heater. If this is the case, then some other options that will effectively heat your shed include:
- Wood Stoves
- Rocket Stoves
- Clay Pot Candle Heaters
One option is to install a wood stove in your shed. Wood stoves are historically one of the most popular ways to heat homes. They produce massive amounts of heat and only require wood to burn. Wood stoves do require a form of chimney, so this may not be the best option if you are not willing to install a smoke exit within your shed.
Rocket stoves can be bought or made yourself with bricks or metal piping. They do not require electricity, only a fuel source for the fire. They provide a relatively safe and effective way of heating areas. If your shed is large, this may be a good option for you. Rocket stoves, as with wood stoves, will also require a smoke exit, or a chimney.
If you need a heat source, but do not have electricity or a chimney, you may want to build a clay pot candle heater. These can be made with a couple of bricks, a terracotta pot, and some candles. This form of heater does not produce a ton of heat but will work well in a pinch. Because candles are being used, you will need to supervise them.
Insulate Your Shed to Retain Heat
Some sheds are already insulated, some are not. Insulation is a fluffy material (typically made of fiberglass) that can be installed within walls to retain heat. If your shed is not insulated, it is recommended that you first insulate your shed’s walls before you add any kind of heat source. Insulation installation is relatively easy, and inexpensive.
If you do not insulate your shed’s walls, the heat coming from a heater or stove will not be easily retained and will cause you to run your heaters down and use more resources. To optimize the energy from your heat source, invest in some rolls of insulation.
Insulation normally goes between the drywall and roofing/siding of your home. Sheds typically only have one layer of walling. If your shed only has one layer of walling, you can staple or nail the insulation right to the inner walls. The insulation will stick out, so most people staple an additional covering over the insulation (like paper).
Be careful when installing insulation. Fiberglass can cause tiny splinters in your skin if you brush up against it. Make sure you are wearing gloves when you install it, and if you can, cover the exposed side of the insulation with another layer of wood, or the very least, some paper or Insulguard.
There are many different ways to heat a shed. Your options are not limited to this article. If you are willing to install a fireplace or other wood-burning mechanism, that might be the best option for you. Your heating options, at the end of the day, rely on power sources, funds, and your willingness to modify your shed to make different options work.
The most important thing to install if you want to keep your shed warm is insulation. This will increase heat retention by a thousand times, especially if you install it in your flooring as well. Whatever method of heating you choose, be sure that insulation is your priority. Best of luck to you in your shed-heating endeavors!