Ice Cold Shops: WHY no Heaters? - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Look at those old-time photos of machine shops. The guys were often wearing hats. And jackets. There's
    a reason for that....

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  3. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill D View Post
    Berkeley and San Jose California have banned NG service to new houses. To reduce carbon footprint eventually when electricity is cleaner supplied.? AFAIK they still allow electric dryer service to be installed?
    I understand Blimp hangers can have their own clouds and rain inside.
    Bil lD.
    banned in Bellingham, washington state too, soon if not already.

    the working theory is that its less carbon emissions and slightly cheaper to heat with a heat pump via a 50% efficient combined cycle natural gas fueled power plant and a 4:1 COP heat pump. in theory you could push twice as much heat into the building for the same natural gas burned.


    in reality you're not going to get a 4:1 cop and the combined cycle plant isn't 50% efficient. and natural gas might get cheaper.. a lot cheaper. electric rates don't drop, they only rise with aging infrastructure, pensions, etc.

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    Something else I noticed on this topic,

    Ever noticed how those who won't spend money on heat, spend it like drunken sailors on air con in the summer?

  5. #24
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    I seem to recall back in the 50s there was a big thing about going all electric in homes. It didn't have anything to do with the present concerns about the environment, just a push by the electric appliance manufacturers. And in some areas electric power was cheaper than gas or coal or diesel or other sources of heat. I can remember a bit of a push for heat pumps in the South back then. It may have taken a while for that to be felt in the guys who designed commercial buildings. Or not. Most of the homes that I knew about in those days were heated by gas.



    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Dickman View Post
    I don't understand why, but any industrial buildings built after about 1986 do not have gas lines running to them. My old shop was built in the '50s and had a couple of those Reznor heaters. Nice and toasty.
    Nothing around here even has gas. wtf?

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    I have seen and driven through those lights in the San Jose area. They are NOT at the end of the on ramp. They are back a ways so you still have a bit of a distance to accelerate in. And yes, they are supposed to actually allow more cars to enter in a given amount of time. Probably because the idiots who drive up to the traffic lane before they look for a spot to merge into, so they stop there and wait for a bit opening. And traffic piles up behind them. If they would learn the proper merging technique those lights would not be necessary. But fat chance of that.

    I don't know about Oregon, but they do work when installed properly.



    Quote Originally Posted by MrWhoopee View Post
    I believe you are referring to "metering lights" which control the rate at which traffic flows onto the freeway during peak commute hours. They are only used during heavy traffic conditions. Helps to control backups (in theory). Otherwise you get up to speed only to come to a dead stop once you're on the freeway. At least that's what they're for in California.


    As to the original topic, we always heated our shop to the best of our ability, and cooled too. If it went over 40 deg. C (104 F.) I just sent everybody home. It's hard to do precision work with sweat in your eyes.

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  8. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by EPAIII View Post
    I seem to recall back in the 50s there was a big thing about going all electric in homes. It didn't have anything to do with the present concerns about the environment, just a push by the electric appliance manufacturers. And in some areas electric power was cheaper than gas or coal or diesel or other sources of heat. I can remember a bit of a push for heat pumps in the South back then. It may have taken a while for that to be felt in the guys who designed commercial buildings. Or not. Most of the homes that I knew about in those days were heated by gas.
    housing booms.. and the hype of nuclear power being "too cheap to meter"

    of course you needed heat pumps in the south, for air conditioning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EPAIII View Post
    I seem to recall back in the 50s there was a big thing about going all electric in homes. It didn't have anything to do with the present concerns about the environment, just a push by the electric appliance manufacturers.
    I think you are right ... remember the ads with the fifties dollies in striped aprons smiling over their electric range ?

    Dad didn't go for it. He complained that electric stoves have two speeds : off and burn.

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  12. #28
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    We heat our machineshop, but I will say that it costs us dearly to do so. If it were purely for the comfort of the guys on floor I doubt I'd be able to make a case for it.

    Our shop is about 60m x 25m with a high roof for overhead cranes. The roof is insulated but the walls are not. Our heating costs are around £3500 a month during the winter using electric space heaters. Obviously electric is about the least cost efficient way to heat a space, but I could previously never get the owners to agree to install oil or gas. We had a management shakeup recently which has left me with a lot more authority, so we will be on oil next winter, but it will only just about halve our heating costs, still a significant cost, especially considering the initial outlay to install oil heaters.

    I'd suggest that it's not about greed in most cases, but simple economics and viability.

    Maybe heating is cheaper over there in the States, but there is no truly economical way to heat a large space over here.

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    Its funny- I am the boss, and I always like a warm shop. I heat the shop with wood, and first thing in the morning, I build a fire in the wood stove. Then, for 20 years or so, my employees would proceed to not feed the fire, and, if the sun was even vaguely visible thru the clouds, open the big shop doors.
    In the Pacific NW, there is this whole sun worshipping thing, where people put on their shorts at 40 degrees, assuming you can see the sun for five minutes at some point during the day.

    I was always the one wanting more heat, and my guys, left to their own devices, would freeze me out.

    I always wear long johns after September, thru May, and a hat...

    Nowadays, I work alone much more of the time, only hiring employees on a project by project basis, and can have the shop nice and toasty whenever I want.

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    For those of you who think it is too 'spensive to pay for heat, how do your machines like that? I'm not talking 50 deg, I'm talking the 20-10- and negative (F) temps?

    When I was up north I worked at one place where the heat was off all weekend, and at the end of the day (one shift place). The winters sucked. Every Monday you could expect to wear your coat and hat until about 11am, and during the week you might wear it an hour or so each morning. Nothing says productivity like guys congregating under the heater and drinking a 1/2 gallon of coffee.

    And to be fair, the opposite with AC. Same job, they didn't want to turn it on until it was 80 (comfortable for me now in FL, but used to be hot! ) which might be noon, or 10am, so alot of times not enough time to even get it cooled down. Then off at night, rinse and repeat. We had this old Polish guy that worked the HBM that was right in front of one of the overhead doors so he was always wanting to not run the air and leave the door open. Great for him, but the majority of the building did not have good circulation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Limy Sami View Post
    Something else I noticed on this topic,

    Ever noticed how those who won't spend money on heat, spend it like drunken sailors on air con in the summer?
    Either end of the spectrum kills.
    But with cold, you can put ON more clothing.....

  18. #32
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    Big truck line has a 50+ door shipping dock here in town.

    There's no way to keep doors shut all the time, so wind will howl right through it while guys load and unload via forklifts.

    They built that place with hydronic heat in the floor. They burn waste oil from the trucks to fire the boiler.

    Floor stays same temp all the time... shut the doors, it's right back up to temp.

    Sheet metal shop I used to work at .... metal building... not much air flow through meager amount of doors in building.

    Sweltering hot in the humid Kansas summers and fall... Everyone had fans at their work stations...
    The shop foremen had a "crows nest" office accessed by stairway that they hung out in. Air Conditioned, of course... and the hot air from the window AC Condensers blows right out in the shop, adding insult to injury!

    It was bandied about, more than once, that someone should put a BB right through that condenser and put the AC out of business and let them suffer like the rest of us!

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    A study in Russia found that workers who are cold and slightly unhappy are more productive but they also get vodka breaks through out the day! Being on the cold side (not freezing though) makes you want to keep moving and being on the hot side will make you want to relax and take it slow any extreme temp is counterproductive. Got to love bean counters they really seem to care about people��

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    I would imagine the cost to heat a good sized shop could be pretty pricey. Especially if you don't have natural gas. Between kerosene and electric I spend $4 an hour to heat 1,000 sq ft. The shop is stick built with open walls and no insulation. Where I moved from and all the places I worked in Cali rarely would a shop dip below 60 unheated. It was rare to see a temp outside below 40. I had no idea of the effects of cold on machinery, I just knew the effects of too much heat. I also found as I get older I don't like touching metal objects when they are cold. I would say I want the temp 55+ for me. That is also minimum temp for the oldest CNC to not constantly alarm out.

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    There must be a difference from state to state. There’s no way in hell you're getting good skilled help in the Metro Detroit area to work in the middle of winter without heat. I’ve bounced around a few places (non -union) starting in 1990 and all but one provided 100% company paid health care, vacation time, HEAT in the winter, matching 401K and decent wages. Somewhere around $25-26/hr in 1998.

    At one place, they turned the heat down to just above freezing for the long Christmas holiday. We took the propane tanks off all the fork trucks for the space heaters and opened the office doors. The look on the owners face was priceless when he walked out and seen 20 guys huddled around those heaters...He walked up and said: Move over, it’s freezing in here, who’s stupid idea was it to turn the heat down?

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    "There must be a difference from state to state. There’s no way in hell you're getting good skilled help in the Metro Detroit area to work in the middle of winter without heat. "

    That's cuz the Michigan economy is so strong, workers get to make the rules...

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    I got spoiled for a while, during my time at a GE die plant, 70 degrees year round. Almost too warm in the winter and would give you "thermal shock" going outside on a scorching hot day..................A lot of years of suffering since then.

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    Natural gas really is “dirt cheap” these days.

    If there is any way possible, that’s the only true economical, clean, easy way to heat a shop.

    My shop is insulated 4K sq. ft. metal building, we heat it with a 175k btu natural gas unit heater. 68 degrees during the work day, 52 at night. Flat-pay plan is about $100/month, all year round.

    Hard to beat that....

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    Quote Originally Posted by gregormarwick View Post
    We heat our machineshop, but I will say that it costs us dearly to do so. If it were purely for the comfort of the guys on floor I doubt I'd be able to make a case for it.

    Our shop is about 60m x 25m with a high roof for overhead cranes. The roof is insulated but the walls are not. Our heating costs are around £3500 a month during the winter using electric space heaters. Obviously electric is about the least cost efficient way to heat a space, but I could previously never get the owners to agree to install oil or gas. We had a management shakeup recently which has left me with a lot more authority, so we will be on oil next winter, but it will only just about halve our heating costs, still a significant cost, especially considering the initial outlay to install oil heaters.

    I'd suggest that it's not about greed in most cases, but simple economics and viability.

    Maybe heating is cheaper over there in the States, but there is no truly economical way to heat a large space over here.
    Greg, if you have some money to install heat, I would not just install gas heaters.

    I would install some form of a boiler, steam, hot water, or oil for the xfer medium.

    That way, you can use a couple of different fuels in the central boiler (preferably outside)
    Natural gas, propane, oil, waste oil, Firewood, wood chips, etc.

    As the price fluctuates, you can "roll with the punches".

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    Quote Originally Posted by cnctoolcat View Post
    Natural gas really is “dirt cheap” these days.

    If there is any way possible, that’s the only true economical, clean, easy way to heat a shop.

    My shop is insulated 4K sq. ft. metal building, we heat it with a 175k btu natural gas unit heater. 68 degrees during the work day, 52 at night. Flat-pay plan is about $100/month, all year round.

    Hard to beat that....
    Natural gas? I am lucky to have electricity. Modern utilities don't stray too far off the beaten path around here.

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