It’s 44 degrees in the shop today. Let’s do something about that. As part of the recent shop improvements that I’ve been trying to make, one of my goals has been to make the shop comfortable year round. And it just so happens that, right now, it’s unseasonably cold, especially for southern California, so the shop is really cold. That’s why today, I’m gonna be installing this NewAir electric garage heater.
The folks over at NewAir sent me this 5,000 watt garage heater. It comes with a bracket that you can either hang from the wall or from the ceiling, and it puts out 15,000 BTUs of heat. Especially since my table saw accident, my hand tends to really stiffen up when it gets cold. So having a heated shop is really beneficial this time of year. I rank these projects by how many F bombs you’re likely to drop while tackling the project.
This one is pretty (jackhammer) difficult. The installation of the heater itself is not particularly difficult, but if you don’t have a dedicated 220 volt circuit to run the heater, you’re gonna have to install one. And that’s what makes this project challenging. I wanna add a special disclaimer to this video that I am not a licensed electrician. So this video is supposed to act as a guide to show you some of the steps that would be involved if you were to tackle this on your own. However, if at any point you are not 100% confident in the steps that I’m taking or 100% comfortable tackling this on your own, please hire an electrician to install the power supply for you. I want you guys to be alive to watch my videos. So it doesn’t do me any good if you electrocute yourself.
So that said, let’s get started with this project. The first thing that I’m gonna do is turn off the power at the breaker. In this case, this is the main breaker for the house. It’s important to make sure you have available space in your panel to install a new breaker before moving forward. Next, I’ll remove the cover panel to expose the breakers and the wiring. Fortunately in this case, the main breaker panel shares a wall with the shop. So I can drill a hole through the wall to install the conduit that I can run my new breaker through. Unfortunately, where the hole came out ended up not being where I thought, and I drilled straight into the back of the work top on my bench. So I had to pull the cabinets out of the way to access it.
I find it funny that in nearly an entirely blank wall, I managed to hit square into the back of a one and a half inch space that the work top takes up, which I suppose is why you should run electrical before building cabinets. But I seem to like to do things backward sometimes.
After I pulled the cabinets out of the way, I could start running the conduit. I have some half inch EMT conduit from other projects lying around. So I cut a small piece with a pipe cutter to feed through the wall. On the inside, I added a 90 degree elbow to bring the box up onto the back splash of my work bench, so I can access it if I need to. I’ll just need to notch the work bench around the conduit when I push it back into place.
For the wiring of this project, I’m gonna be using 10 gauge wiring in red, black, and green. Because this is a 220 volt circuit, the red and black will be alternating phase hot wires, and the green will be the ground. A white neutral wire is not required. I’ll be connecting the wiring to a 30 amp breaker, because the heater’s average draw is 21 amps, which is listed on the unit. But you could also do the math yourself, because you know that this is a 5,000 watt heater at 240 volts, and we know that watts equals volts times amps. So if you do a little bit of math, you figure out that the draw for this heater is 21 amps. So a 30 amp breaker is plenty.
The green ground wire will attach to the ground bar in the panel, and the red and black wires will attach to the two terminal screws on the breaker itself. Then I’ll snap the breaker into place and try to keep my wires tucked off to the side nice and neat.
Then I can close this side up, and I can turn on the main power to the house. However, I need to make sure to leave the power off to the newly installed breaker. On the inside, I’ll cut the wires off so I have about three inches to work with, and then I like to cap the hot legs, even though they’re not live, just for added safety. So next, I can move on to installing the remaining conduit to where the heater is actually gonna be located.
Now I’m a little bit limited as far as where I can install the heater because of the garage door, and a lot of the overhead lighting, and things that I have mounted through the ceiling. So I have to try and find a place to hang the heater that is both kind of out of the way but also accessible. So I’ve decided I’m gonna put it as close as I can to the garage door when it’s open without it hitting it and try to keep it out of the way of everything else. So I’m running the conduit up the wall and onto the ceiling using a combination of elbows and fittings. And then I’m ending the conduit into another junction box on the ceiling. With the conduit in place, next I can run the wiring inside.
I’m using a fish tape to slide it down from the ceiling into the lower junction bar. Then I can slide the spools of wire onto a spare piece of conduit and attach the wires to the fish tape. I didn’t have anyone to hold the pipe for me, so I clamped it in place and then pulled the wires back up the conduit with the fish tape. Once I had enough wiring exposed out of the junction box, I cut off the excess.
Next, I’m taking off the plate to expose the wiring for the heater and then installing the adjustable heater arm before hanging it on the bracket. Attaching it to the bracket is really simple. You just use the included carriage bolt and spacer and then attach the nut to the carriage bolt and tighten it down. To run the power from the junction box in the ceiling to the heater itself, I’m gonna be using a flexible appliance whip, which I picked up at the local hardware store. All I need to do is run my wiring inside of it. They have fittings on the end that connect to the junction box. And then to connect it to the heater, I just pop out one of the tabs in the back, run the wiring through and connect it. The color scheme of the heater wiring doesn’t match the color scheme of the wires that I’m running. But the black and the white wires are the hot legs, and the yellow with the green stripe is the ground wire.
Then lastly, I can connect the wiring in the junction boxes with some wire nuts, put the cover plates on, and then flip the power on at the breaker. So I crank this thing up, and within about two minutes, the heating element has kicked on, and it’s heating the shop up extremely well. It’s got an adjustable temperature knob in the back. So if I only need a little heat, I’ll put it on low. But if I really wanna warm things up in here quickly, I can turn it up on high for a little bit. Having this heater in the shop is not something I’m gonna be able to use all the time, but it’s definitely gonna be nice when I do need it.
So that’s it for this project. I hope you guys enjoyed it, and I hope you learned something. And at the very least, I hope it showed you some of the steps that are involved in running your own 220 volt circuit. It’s something that can be done yourself if you have a little bit of confidence, a little bit of knowledge, and you take your time to do things safely.
Thank you guys so much for watching. I’ll see ya next time.
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