Hot Topics: Using a Dryer to Heat a Garage

The inside of a garage.

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Original post: Using an empty dryer to temporarily heat a garage

Rob.cich Member

I know that it is a bad idea to vent moist dryer heat to the garage, but does anyone have an opinion on using an empty electric dryer to occasionally heat a garage if I want to work on a project out there in the winter?

I would install a diverter and if I needed to work on my car or something in the winter (I live in Minnesota), I would turn on my empty dryer and warm up my garage a bit. I have an insulated garage with no heater, but my dryer vent already passes through my garage to the outside. How would this method compare to purchasing a garage heater?

Thanks for any input.


Pugsl Forum Topic Moderator

You will have a lot of lint in the garage. Not a very effective way to do this

Stickshift Group Moderator

I doubt this would do much to help a cold Minnesota garage in the first place.

Marq1 Member

The average dryer puts out around 20K BTU, a small garage heater puts out 60K BTU.

Assuming no clothing, so no lint, and no moisture, it could work, but it's not going to heat the garage very fast.

Rob.cich Member

Thanks, that is a very informative response. Just what I was looking for. Appreciate it.

Hal_S Member

I worked in an unheated 1.5 story garage for years, the most important thing I learned was to only heat the airspace you are working in.

Instead of installing a diverter to heat the garage, I'd get an additional 20 feet of exhaust hose so you can direct the warm air at yourself and the project, instead of trying to heat the entire garage.

I'd also suggest reducing the volume of space being heated, I used to drape a clear plastic drop cloth between the roof's collar ties to create a sort of 2 walls and a ceiling space which helped keep the heat from my small heater from going straight up to the peak of the roof.

If it was really cold, or the project would take a while, sometimes I'd lay a lighter plastic drop cloth at a 90-degree angle to drape down as right and left walls and create 4 walls and a ceiling. That helps quite a bit because you're only heating a much smaller space.

It also helps to accumulate a couple of large pieces of cardboard (like flat TV or refrigerator boxes) and lay them out so you're not laying directly on cold concrete to work under a car. It also seems to help keep the heat from being sucked into the cold concrete floor.

Better yet (if you can scrounge them), are the newer 4x6 feet corrugated plastic signs (usually for elections). I've got two. Since the plastic is a bit slippery, you can slide one over the other so you don't really need a creeper to slide around under a car.

GregH Super Moderator

One other thing you need to consider is that a clothes dryer uses a thermostat on the air outlet to control the heating element.

It will only put out its rated capacity with a tub full of wet clothes.

You would be better off using a 240-volt heater and just plug it into the dryer outlet with an adapter.

Airman.1994 Member

Code Code Code! If the dryer is in the living space it can not have an opening in the garage. This is for your safety. Fire, CO, gas, odors, etc.

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