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Insulation for the shop walls?

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My shop is basically the garage. It's a detached garage about 50' from the house. For ventilation i open the two windows, the one nearest the forge has a fan directed toward the window to try and suck a bit of the fume out. 

The garage is unfinished. 

With the windows open, would it be worth the time and money to go through and insulate the walls? I'm mostly thinking about the upcoming winter here. 

I assume that the forge will put out a bit of heat for the garage, but will that all just blow out the windows either way? 

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I'd suggest trying it out first, as if it does get warm in there the last thing you'll want is insulation. I have a metal shed without insulation and plenty of ventilation and it soon gets warm once the forge is lit, although it's only a small shed, it's only a small forge too.

However, should you find you need to insulate it, I'm ignorant of the weather conditions in your local, please ensure you chose a suitable insulation material!

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Sorry, iI probably should have said that in in central Minnesota. It gets down to the negatives for a solid month or two. Usually we only see - 20 or so for a couple weeks. 

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The lungs are designed to run on clean air. If you can see it, smell it, or taste it, then it is not clean air.

You do not mention a chimney. A through the roof chimney or Hofi style through the wall chimney with a 10-12 inch diameter stack is suggested.. You will need to provide make up air from the outside to replace the air going up the chimney. This means you will need to leave a window or door open a bit or use a pipe so outside air can go directly to the forge.

You do not say what fuel you are using. The above suggestions are for all fuels.

Edited by Glenn

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Heating a 10x 10 shed will be different than heating a 20 x24 garage obviously. Same goes with your heat source. Personally I'd want insulation as not all functions occur with the forge lit. Cutting stock, finishing etc can be done more comfortably in a heated space.

 

I have a 10 x 30 "shed" that is separate from the house that I use as storage space in the winter. With R19 in the walls and R 30 in the ceiling, I can manage to keep temps in the low 50's when the outside temps are between 30 and the single digits with just the overhead florescent lights being left on. A small space heater on low keeps the temps up when it gets even colder. We use it to keep paints and so on from freezing.

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I agree that you need to run a chimney, or at least a roof vent to get rid of the carbon monoxide, and a carbon monoxide detector would be a smart addition.

 

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With my Fire Dept. background I  would agree with  Big Gun on a vent of some kind, then this AM I got an ad from a stove company telling about their new offerings on Unvented Propane heating stoves for a 1000 sq ft. area.  We have a relative with one he uses all winter as auxliery heat in a den??????   I have a roof vent.   

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Read the small print, they require a hole in the floor and a hole in the wall or celing of "X" square inches for ventilation. Have a few in the house, even the catlaetic one dump co and watervaper in to the room

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If I remember correctly, Carbon Monoxide goes to the floor. I know propane also does, that is why there is a detector in campers and R/V's at floor level.

Don't go short on fresh air. You get one shot at life!!!

Neil

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Okay... So I'll need to put in a vent that's better than a window 4 feet away. 

Do you folks that live incolder climates have insulation in your shop walls, or is it just a wind / precipitation shield? 

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Good Morning,

Do your body a favour before the arthritis sets in, Keep it warm!!

There are no police checking up on your facility. Stay warm, keep good ventilation, Don't hurt your lungs with smoke, Always wear good working clothes and ear and eye protection. If you never work, you will not get hurt, you will not get burned!

Neil

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With my Fire Dept. background I  would agree with  Big Gun on a vent of some kind, then this AM I got an ad from a stove company telling about their new offerings on Unvented Propane heating stoves for a 1000 sq ft. area.  We have a relative with one he uses all winter as auxliery heat in a den??????   I have a roof vent.   

In Japan, no one would think twice about it. The majority of homes use ventless kerosene heaters for primary heat. They've got one's over there with digital displays, remote thermostats, programmable heat cycles, you name it - wish they'd start selling them over here like that.. kerosene is already effecient (up to 99% depending on the system), but with a real thermostat/automatic ignition I'd put one in the shop and just keep it filled.

J

kerosene-heater.jpg

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Insulation is valuable under any circumstances. In the south the aluminized  reflective sheet insulation goes a long way toward cutting down the radiant heat from an asphalt shingle roof. On the walls insulation creates a lag in heat up on south and westward facing walls.  The aluminized sheets would cut cold convection from the roof and reflect any radiant heat back into your shop during the winter.  On the walls  insulation would cut the cold convection from the walls also. 

Get the Idea?  Air circulation from hot or cold surfaces is the enemy of comfort where ever you live.  That is way I see it at least. When I lived in Tennessee one of my friends inherited a house built before world war II.   He Heated the whole place with one coal stove and relied on the convection up the stair well to heat the second story.  No insulation in the walls.  A glass of water would freeze on the night stand during January.     

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Vent it even if you build a hood over the propane forge to target the CO and other combustion products. CO is lighter than air, (I thought otherwise too Neil but got shown the numbers) anyway, you need to get it OUT. CO is cumulative in your tissues, a little bit over a long period is as bad as a lot quickly. Worse in one way, slowly dosing yourself will sneak up on you, by time your gums start buzzing you aren't likely to be thinking clearly enough to heed the warning.

You can buy heat exchanging vents to keep most of the heat inside where you paid to put it. Using one on a propane forge vent would be a fine way to heat the shop off the forge waste heat.

My original plan was to build a forced forge exhaust vent that drew the badness down into the downdraft shop exhaust system. This would've done two things, get the bad air OUT and as an added bonus circulate the hot forge exhaust under the floor to help keep the floor warmer. Win win.

Just vent the exhaust out. Keeping windows open in an uninsulated shop in a mid west winter doesn't sound like a plan to me. Insulate and vent, maybe put in a barrel stove. A wood stove has a significant advantage over a warm air heater that's radiant heat. Wood burners heat by IR which heats the other stuff which warms the air. you can feel the heat from my barrel stove 30' away on a cold day.

Fingers crossed this won't be the 5th. post disappeared on me today.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Gases tend to mix evenly by themselves.  Otherwise we'd have a layer of argon or something on the floor instead of an athmosphere all mixed together.

I would get a CO alarm.  The thing about CO poisoning is you just get sleepy and stupid enough to not realize you need fresh air.  Then you die.

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Gases tend to mix evenly by themselves.  Otherwise we'd have a layer of argon or something on the floor instead of an athmosphere all mixed together.

I would get a CO alarm.  The thing about CO poisoning is you just get sleepy and stupid enough to not realize you need fresh air.  Then you die.

True but temperature dominates.  However,  Hoods have to be larger and closer to the source to be effective at capturing source pollution.  One of the charms of the forge vents shown in the Hofi prints is that they have individual exhaust fans pulling the smoke and pollution out.

CO alarms are always desirable when ever fuel is burned in an enclose space.

 

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JWS, look up the KeroSun Monitor heaters. They were made to heat entire homes. I bought the contents of a warehouse years ago, and shipped pallets of them to a guy in one of the Carolinas.

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Update :

My in laws have worked in the heating and air conditioning fields, and one of thewife's uncles is a junker. 

Managed to get a decent sized blower that we will put on the wall and try to fab up a hood for the forge. 

Haven't insulated the garage yet. 

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I am in the process of insulating both a 2-car attached garage and a 50x65 2-story barn/shed that will soon become a big workshop. I would recommend insulating anything you can. 

In the garage attached to the house, for the walls I chose to use faced R-13 insulation as my price-per-roll was far better than a 16" on center faced insulation with a higher R value (R-15). I then put 4x8 sheets of plywood along the bottom 4' of the walls and 4x8 sheets of pegboard along the top 4' of the walls. I'm about half way complete with the walls and have not addressed the roof yet and we can already notice a difference. I tend to be a little OCD so if it were me (this is not cheap) I'd either buy a fire-retardant primer or use something like a cement backer board on the walls. You may want to consider cement/rock board (check your town's zoning rules for burn time) at least on the walls behind/near the forge. 

In my old garage I had a smudge pot that would burn pretty much anything, mostly used motor oil. It was great and would easily warm a 25x25 garage without insulation when it was 10* F outside (New England). I built a duct system with 4" flexible metal dryer hose to pipe fresh air from outside into the garage for air circulation, etc. It is a little hard to explain without photos but I turned the side gable vent off the garage into an intake duct using an aluminum turkey oven pan and some 1x2 fairing strips. I then plugged the 4" dryer hose into the pan, ran it about 5' down the roof then wound it down the chimney of the smudge pot. I just left the 4" hose laying on the floor next to the base of the smudge pot. It worked so well I had to tape off almost 1/2 of the 4" pipe to restrict air. By the time the air got down to the floor it felt warm on your hands. Even though hot air rises, it will pull down. 

If you built a similar intake system and put a CO detector in the space it would probably work well. Usually you can do all of this stuff on the cheap if you have the time to look for deals. 

Do you have a roofline or ridgeline vent in the garage roof? If you start insulating walls & ceilings/roofs then you may run into ice damming. Start looking into soffit vents and the like. Last thing you want is to be putting on a new roof in the spring.

Good luck!

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Here is where an induction heater would be nice, no venting needed.

I would look at what is recommended for insulation, then double it. I have a friend from Germany, and he has shown me some heaters that they use over there. One is a flat panel infrared heater that just hangs on the wall. Unlike the ones we have here, these only get surface temps of 230°F, and are very energy efficient. They also have heating fabric that can be installed under flooring, and in the walls. Unlike the radiant heaters here that use water, theirs have no issues with leaking since theirs are made with carbon fiber mats. 

5/8" drywall is a 1.5 hour fire rating.

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I live in eastern ontario canada, in winter here its nothing to see a week or two of -40°Celcius, my shop is 30×45 and has no walls, post and beam construction with a shed roof.... The question isnt "can you forge in that weather" its "how badly do you want to?"

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Yup!  My shop is a pole barn construction and insulation would be difficult and look lousy when done.  Also have a 4 vehicle garage built same way.  In VT we get a lot of -10 to -28F for 3-4 months a year.  I  don't go out to work in either shop below +10 or so now, I have another shop in my basement and a lot of projects that get put off the rest of the year.  I sometimes rush out to the garage to cut something on my big saw there or use the big drill press but that is my limit.  I can't take the bitter cold anymore after working out in it for 40 yrs regardless of the temp farming, logging, fire dept, snowplowing, etc. 

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Thinking more on this subject most "Old" blacksmith shops say around 1900 were not insulated as we know insulation and they were worked 6 days a week as it was their livelihoods and they had to go to work regardless of the weather and temp. I know the temps were as cold if not colder than today.  In my town in VT there were 26 blacksmiths in the 1910 census working in ? shops.  There were 1801 horses listed in town that year besides Oxen to be shod and equipment to be built & repaired.  I'm just getting soft in my old age I can see.   

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