Keep the Garage Warm In Winter with These Tips and Tricks

Keep the Garage Warm In Winter with These Tips and Tricks

Garage
How To
By Alex Mikayelyan February 17, 2022

Even in areas that don’t get much snow or cold during the winter, winterizing the garage is still a very important task for homeowners who want to keep their homes in one piece all throughout the year. The changes in temperature and climate can have a slew of negative effects on the structure, such as water damage, cracked foundations, frost, malfunctioning plumbing, and so on.

This is why there are a number of things you can do to prevent your garage from being damaged in the winter, preventing unnecessary complications that could cost you time, energy, and a lot of money to repair. With these preparation tips and tricks, your garage will be ready to take on the coldest winters, the harshest blizzards, and all the frost that the cold season throws its way.

Plugging Up Holes

How Will Keep Your Garage Warm?

How Will Keep Your Garage Warm?

Homeowners spend a lot of money heating up their homes but to no avail. No matter how long the heater in the garage is on and at what intensity, after turning it off, all the warmth seems to disappear immediately. In an enclosed environment, this should not be the case, so this means that there is something that allows the warm air to escape. Air leaks are very common and they are the result of the damage your garage takes over time. 

First, you should perform an air leak test which should give you an idea of where these air leaks are concentrated. It could be around the garage door, where some of the casing has been cracked, around the windows if your garage has those, or even simple penetrations and holes in the ceiling and walls. Once the test has been conducted, plugging up air leaks with caulk or spray foam should do the trick. Keep in mind, even in a structure as small as the garage there may be dozens of air leaks, so it may be best to hire a professional home inspector to perform the test.

Wall Insulation

What Wall Insulation Can Do for Your Garage

What Wall Insulation Can Do for Your Garage

After the air leaks have been plugged in, garage wall insulation should be your next step in getting your garage ready for the winter. With the walls, garage door, and windows secure of any air leaks, it’s time to turn the interior into a more controlled environment. That is essentially what insulation does: gives you more control over the interior temperature and allows the garage to stay warm for long periods of time without requiring you to keep the heat on for extensive periods of time. Even with a state-of-the-art HVAC system, if your walls are not properly insulated, no amount of heat is going to stay inside.

This is where fiberglass insulation comes in. It is one of the most famous types of wall and ceiling insulation and works perfectly in garages by adding an extra layer that prevents the heat from escaping during the cold winter days. The installation of fiberglass insulation is also quite simple and can be done without specialized equipment or tools. It’s easy, convenient, and relatively cost-effective considering how much money you’ll save on heating.

Door Insulation

Insulating Your Garage Door Is Important

Insulating Your Garage Door Is Important

Aside from the walls, insulating the garage door for the winter is also a great way to keep the cold outside and the warmth on the inside. The garage walls may have more square footage of surface area than the garage door, meaning that they are more likely to exude heat from the inside of your garage. On the other hand, unlike the walls, garage doors are quite thin and not particularly air-tight, meaning they are also capable of letting out as much if not more heat than the walls. 

This is why garage door weather stripping is a common practice for many homeowners who are getting their garages ready for the cold winter. By adding some extra insulation to the garage door, you can significantly increase the heat retention in your home and reduce the amount that escapes. Weatherstripping tape is widely accessible, but, more importantly, is very versatile. So, regardless of what type of garage door you have, you can apply door weather stripping to the various openings of the threshold allowing the garage door to fit snuggly into place which prevents heat from escaping. 

Floor Insulation

How Flooring Insulation Will Keep Your Garage Warm

How Flooring Insulation Will Keep Your Garage Warm

The most utilized surface in your garage is the floor. Take extra care to insulate it and prevent it from reducing the heat retention of your garage’s interior. One of the most widely used garage floor sealers is epoxy. You’re more likely to find epoxy in more industrial settings, where there is a high chance of heavy objects falling onto the floor. So, an epoxy flooring sealer could come in handy for homeowners who use their garage as a DIY workshop where they regularly work with heavy tools and equipment.

But even if you use your garage for nothing more than parking your car and occasionally sneaking into it to have a little privacy, epoxy flooring has the benefit of being a great insulator. Thanks to the sealer’s heat retention, your garage flooring will stay warm even in the winter, which is especially useful if you’re looking to turn your garage into a more liveable space. 

Keeping Plumbing In Check

Why Your Plumbing Is Potentially Vulnerable During the Winter

Why Your Plumbing Is Potentially Vulnerable During the Winter

Whether you have some of your waterlines running through the garage, a simple drainage system installed, or even a fully functioning bathroom in your garage, the plumbing needs to be kept in check. First and foremost, you should install waterline insulation for any exposed pipes. While underground pipes tend to be insulated during installation and also rest comfortably under the frost line, exposed pipes don’t have this privilege and are exposed to the cold. 

Insulate the exposed plumbing, be they waterlines, the garage drain pipe, or anything else that’s connected to the plumbing system to keep it from freezing and cracking open during the winter. When pipes are not properly insulated, the water inside may freeze up and misshape the pipes themselves. And before you know it you have a giant crack in one of your mainline pipes and now it has to be replaced, cutting off water for the entire house. So, be more proactive in this case and take the easier way out with pipe insulation. It’ll save you the trouble of having your landscape dug up during the winter, which is as much of a pain to deal with as it sounds. 

Choosing the Right Heater

Which Heater Is Best to Choose for Your Garage?

Which Heater Is Best to Choose for Your Garage?

If your garage is not hooked up to the main HVAC system of your home, it’s best to invest in a heater. Even if your garage is not a living space, you may spend some time in there working on your car or perhaps rummaging through your items. In any case, you will need heating unless you want to put on several layers of clothing every time you enter the garage. Anything from the cheapest to the best garage heaters must provide a steady flow of warm air in your garage that circulates throughout the room and creates a warm enough environment for you to work or even live in. 

The gas garage heater is quite efficient in spreading out heat throughout the interior. These work best when they are installed on the ceiling as this allows them to spread out the heat more efficiently, without certain objects getting in the way. Also, if there are no cars parked inside, even the floor will be warmed up by these heaters depending on the setting. Electric garage heaters are also very good at keeping the interior nice and toasty. Though they are not always as efficient as gas heaters, electric heaters have the benefit of producing less noise, which is ideal for garages that have been converted into living spaces. The downside of electric heaters is their energy consumption, especially during cold winters when they have to be turned on for long periods of time on the highest setting. 

Garage Organization and Declutter

Why You Should Organize Your Garage for the Winter

Why You Should Organize Your Garage for the Winter

While this step will not directly impact the heat retention or the toastiness of the interior throughout the winter, organizing the garage is a great way to prepare for the winter regardless. When the garage shelving is stuffed to the brim with all kinds of junk and various boxes and containers are scattered all over the floor, you’ll have a harder time parking your car or putting snow-clearing equipment back in the garage. This means that the garage door is going to be open for a longer amount of time, exposing the interior to the freezing cold of the outside world. Also, if you do want to organize your garage for a long time, at some point it’s going to get too messy for you to use freely. However, unlike in the warmer months when you can reorganize or declutter your garage, during the winter it's going to be much harder to do so without catching a cold.

Before the cold months come around, invest in a few garage storage systems to help you keep the interior tidy and decluttered. A popular storage system many homeowners use is the garage wall organizer which allows you to hang all your things from hooks, keeping them in plain sight and also decluttering the floor and walls. Also, make it a general rule to not leave anything on the garage floor to open up as much room as possible.

Written by
Alex Mikayelyan

Written by Alex Mikayelyan