Slightly Off Topic - Heating Pole Barn

I wanted to take advantage of the lull in RTV traffic on the site to ask if anyone has suggestions.

I need to heat an uninsulated 36x30 pole barn with 12ft walls. It would be heated for 6-8 hours at a stretch and maybe overnight once or twice during deer season. It has a ridge vent.

I have a lifetime supply of firewood, just have to drag, cut and split it so a woodstove is what I have in mind.

My question is how large a wood stove (BTUs) would provide adequate heat. I don't need to walk around in shorts and a t-shift. Probably overalls and a long sleeve shirt. Need maybe 60 degrees or better. I do have a couple of low speed fans that could help circulate.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
 

aurthuritis

Site Supporter
we used a curtain fashioned out of tarps or that black builders plastic to contain some heat. the old stove was huge and would burn anything but never could heat the barn and we didn't have a vent. finally used those small portable infrared heaters that attach to a bottle.
 

bczoom

Senior Member
Staff member
Several thoughts running through my mind at the same time so just going to type them out as I think of them.

You didn't mention why you need it heated but assume it's a work shop.

If you're sure you want to use a woodstove, check with your insurance company. Most have restrictions or an outright ban when used in a shop that contains flammable items.

When determining how many BTU's the building size is only part of the calculation. With what sounds like no insulation coupled with an open ridge vent, a massive stove may still not deliver good results if the heat just leaks out through walls and or ridge vent.


I have a 32x48' (with 10'ceilings) building and here's what I did when it was first built and wide open which sounds like your situation. Get a roll of 6-mil plastic and cover the walls/ceiling for the size area you really need (instead of doing the whole building). Something like what's pictured below but also do the ceiling. The 6-mil doesn't provide a lot of R value but if you can stop most of the air movement, you'll be way ahead of the game. Once that's in place, you can use just about any kind/size of heater. Let's say you plastic in 1/2 of your building (18x30'). If you do a wood stove with the plastic in place, I'd say even a smaller stove would be more than enough. You can buy a barrel stove kit for about $50 that's "theoretically" rated to heat close to your entire building. Here's an example.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/US-Stove-Barrel-Camp-Stove-Kit-BSK1000/202398323





 

bordercollie

Senior Member
Ohio Pawpaw, We heated our entire 40x80 work shop in La with wood. It was lightly insulated but not air tight around the sliding doors. It was also tall - around 16 ft. and on a slab. Daddy used 2- horizontal 55 gallon barrels stacked one on the other with about 6 inches in between. . Imagine the bottom barrel with a steel door (homemade ) on the front bolted to the barrel face . the door had a lift up latch to hold it closed and I think just old steel door hinges. The smoke went out the top on the back of it into the bottom of the second horizontal barrel. with a piece of stovepipe connecting them the heat and smoke then went through the top barrel at the front top thru the other stove pipe going to the roof.-Since the smoke had to go out the opposite end it circulated and acted just like a big heat exchanger and doubled the output of the heat. Daddy did make a rack for the 2 barrels out of pipe with" flat" iron used for the barrels bellies but he did contour it to fit the barrels. .. I remember one day, my feet were so cold that I propped up my feet on the frame and my shoe bottoms actually melted a tiny bit in a place or 2 - crepe soles back then. Oh yes, he also added a little door to the bottom to draw out the ashes and set the air intake. Also had a damper (pancake type) that fit in the stove pipe to the roof. I loved that stove and still miss it. We didn't have to worry about carbon monoxide because it was still plenty of air leaking around the doors. bordercollie

edit: Daddy's design was much like Zooms link but Daddy added the second barrel and built a frame to set them up on top of one another so that they could never fall over .One week when it never got above freezing out side we were nice and warm and just placed a boxe fan on the setup and it really did get toasty in there. :)
 
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avantiguy

Senior Member
Your fighting a loosing battle up here in the north in the winter if the pole barn is vented and uninsulated. Any wood stove will take a hour or two to produce heat and it will be fighting the heat sink of the floor and the flow up the vent. You'll never see 60 or 50 or close to that if it's 30 and lower outside.

My pole barn is 32 X 48 steel sided and ridge vented. I work in it in the winter by using an LPG forced air salamander heater that gives me heat directed at the area I'm working in and wearing a set of insulated coveralls, head gear and light gloves. The activity generally keeps me comfortable enough but if you use bare hands on steel it's boarder line.

BTW I'm 77 and been doing this for years but seldom do I do delicate or precise work under these circumstances.

If you really want to use the barn for delicate work, build a temporary enclosure of framing and foil covered insulation boards. Then you can heat it how you want and be warm.

The second story 16 X 40 in my pole barn is enclosed with framing and fiberglass insulation. I use that area for most of my smaller projects and heat it with Williams 35,000 BTU LPG space heater that needs no power, although I have power in the barn, and use less than $300/winter to keep it at 60 deg 24/7. I do turn the heat off in March and start it generally in late November.

If you don't plan to build an insulated space I think any money spent on a heater will be wasted unless you want to keep it fired 24/7. Just to much mass and heat loss to overcome in our temps with a wood heater that take time to heat up.

As a side note, those barrel heaters throw a ton of heat, we had one in the old log cabin we used for deer hunting and it was over kill.
 

Keifer

Senior Member
Pawpaw;
Sounds like quite an ambitious project to warm up such a large uninsulated and open ridge-vented building.

I also have a steel sided pole building of similar size. Also non-insulated and not heated. However I did construct a 8x18x8 insulated "tool room" inside. Sort of a room inside the pole building. It is insulated on the walls and ceiling. The top of it, about 4 feet, is used to store stuff. I easily maintain 60 degree in this room with a small electric 'milk house' heater and a window fan. Both on a timer and thermostat. I have a work bench, tools, grease and oil ( in proper fire proof cabinets). Good space for benchtop projects.

Being in sw pa, we experience similar weather temps.

Not sure what you want to accomplish in your building. I have used a floor mounted kerosene torpedo heater with limited success when the temps were below freezing. However, these heaters are smelly and make a lot of noise. Sort of last resort when I had to work on a tractor.

Seems like feeding a wood burner will occupy a lot of time and require much effort. LOL, and I love the heat from a wood stove.

Now the last of my rambling... If you have to work in your building, put in a wood stove and tarp off the portion you need. Use a fan to circulate the heated air. Trying to heat the entire building will be time consuming and frustrating.

Keifer
 

geohorn

Site Supporter
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Yes, please check with your insurance co. I had intentions of installing a wood stove in my shop this winter (concrete floor and block walls) but my insurance broker said solid fuel burning appliances are not permitted in a non-residence on my policy and they didn't have any insurance carriers that would permit this. I do have a wood stove in my house, and that is OK. I submit to the insurance co. the inspection and cleaning report from a certified chimney sweep every fall so that they have a record of proper maintenance (they don't require this, but I figured it is better for them to have more info.) SO, now we are getting prices on a Reznor ceiling mounted, vented, propane heater (which IS permitted by the insurance co.). I'm also getting prices on spray foaming the roof deck and rim joists to help seal up gaps and hold heat in. Not planning on heating full-time.
 

BiffNH

Site Supporter
My workshop/garage has the potential for radiant floor heat - I helped install it for a fiend as his dream shop for retirement, but he died before it was finished. I purchased the shop and now it is mine. I didn't want to heat the slab all the time as I don't use it much during the middle of winter other than keeping my plowing equipment dry and ice free. I ended up installing a small Hot Dawg propane hot air unit. It is on a thermostat at 40 degrees and when I do want heat I put it up. It works well. I generally hate using propane, but this is the best solution for me. My F350 plow truck, Kubota B7800 with bucket and rear blade and X900 with Boss Plow are ready to go and dry when I need them. I recommend looking at the direct vent Hot Dawg as a good solution for quick heat. I hung it about 9 feet off the floor so it is out of the way.
 

Doc

Admin
Staff member
My workshop/garage has the potential for radiant floor heat - I helped install it for a fiend as his dream shop for retirement, but he died before it was finished. I purchased the shop and now it is mine. I didn't want to heat the slab all the time as I don't use it much during the middle of winter other than keeping my plowing equipment dry and ice free. I ended up installing a small Hot Dawg propane hot air unit. It is on a thermostat at 40 degrees and when I do want heat I put it up. It works well. I generally hate using propane, but this is the best solution for me. My F350 plow truck, Kubota B7800 with bucket and rear blade and X900 with Boss Plow are ready to go and dry when I need them. I recommend looking at the direct vent Hot Dawg as a good solution for quick heat. I hung it about 9 feet off the floor so it is out of the way.
Approx how much do you spend on propane to run the hot dawg for a winter season?
 

BiffNH

Site Supporter
I use approximately 300-400 gallons of propane. I keep the shop (30' x 60') at 38 degrees all the time and boost it up right after I come in from plowing and when I know I will be working in there for the day or so. Heats up quickly (except the slab and tools!). The shop is insulated and has an insulated ceiling which is 11 feet high. There are three overhead doors -
Hope this helps.
 

Doc

Admin
Staff member
I use approximately 300-400 gallons of propane. I keep the shop (30' x 60') at 38 degrees all the time and boost it up right after I come in from plowing and when I know I will be working in there for the day or so. Heats up quickly (except the slab and tools!). The shop is insulated and has an insulated ceiling which is 11 feet high. There are three overhead doors -
Hope this helps.
Good info. Thx. Sounds like a good setup. And it gets a whole lot colder in NH than here in southern Ohio.
 

bczoom

Senior Member
Staff member
SO, now we are getting prices on a Reznor ceiling mounted, vented, propane heater (which IS permitted by the insurance co.).
That's what I'm using. I split my building into 3 sections with walls, insulation... I have 2 of the sections being heated with Reznor FE-75 heaters. I only use the heat in the section I'm using. Each heated section is about 15x27' with 10' ceilings. The Reznor will raise the temp about 1 degree every minute.


PS - Reznor heaters were made in Mercer PA until about 10 years ago. Being in NW PA yourself, you may find a lot of used ones as they were used all over the place in our area.
 

man00

Member
I wonder if wranglestar pole barn is like the rain forest ? No insulation that I see, condensation got to be a issue..I would think
 
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