Garage winterization will save you money on your energy bill.
According to the news, heating oil and natural gas are going to be heavily inflated this winter. Some estimates claim that you will pay more than twice what you paid last year for the energy to heat your home.
If your garage isnt attached to your house, then it will cost you even more to keep it warm because it doesnt share any walls with your house. If your garage is attached, you should still insulate any wall that hasnt been insulated. More on insulation in a moment.
As with any seasonal change, the first thing you need to do in your garage is get rid of clutter! Sell it, donate it, Freecycle it, or dump it. Next, group your seasonal items into different piles. Put all of your lawn and garden tools in one pile, your summer sports equipment another pile, etc. Wherever you decide to store those piles, make sure to keep all of your winter tools and accessories in the front or on top so theyre easily accessible for the duration of the winter.
Now that youve removed any clutter and youve organized your seasonal tools, its time to remove anything from your garage that could possibly freeze. This includes things like paint, caulking, putty, and distilled water. You can put these items in your basement or in a closet for the winter. If you throw away paint, make sure you let it completely dry out first because wet paint is considered a hazardous material. If you dont want to wait for it to dry, you can take it to your local recycling center.
Ok, back to insulation. In most newer homes, the builder likes to save money by not completely finishing the garage. They usually finish the walls that are attached to the house, but thats it. If youre in this boat, you can significantly reduce heat loss by insulating the remainder of your garage walls. I used Johns Mansville ComfortTherm for my garage insulation. The insulation is wrapped in plastic, so it protects you from irritating glass fibers. I live near the Mile High City, so I chose an R-factor of 15. Recommended was 13, 15, or 19. Your local home improvement center can help you choose the proper R-factor for your garage winterization needs.
Once you have all of your garage walls insulated, then you need to drywall over it. Garage drywall is the perfect compliment to garage insulation. Another garage winterization job you should do is insulate your garage door panels. At your local home improvement center, you can get polystyrene panels that you can attach to the inside of your garage door with liquid nails, or any basic tube-type construction adhesive. These panels are available from ¼ thick up to 2 thick. For insulation purposes, the thicker the better.
Of course, garage heat is essential when it comes to garage winterization. There are many options to choose from when it comes to installing a garage heater. Something else you may want to consider is a floor mat that covers the area you normally stand on by your work bench. It keeps your feet off the cold floor and its much more comfortable than standing on a hard surface.
Combined, a heater, drywall, and insulation will probably keep your garage from freezing unless your area experiences epic cold this winter. In that case, although your garage winterization efforts will help, youre just going to have to hunker down and ride it out.