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I'm considering installing a wall-mounted natural gas heater in my garage, to keep it warm in winter when I'm playing ping pong or doing some DIY work. I'm thinking to install something like this 30,000 BTU unit from home depot. It's a pretty big 3-car garage with some very deep areas.

I've done over a dozen electric projects and am very comfortable with these, but have almost no experience with natural gas work and will most likely hire a plumber for it. Having said that, I'd still like to understand all the steps involved if I were going to do the work myself, if for no other reason than to set expectations when seeking quotes.

Can someone help me understand the list of steps required to install this thing? e.g. add a new dedicated branch circuit, get a dedicated pipe from the gas meter, add some exhaust, etc...

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The instruction manual includes most of the details you'll need. It is quite a bit involved, particularly if you do not already have a vented gas appliance in that location. As I see it, basically:

  • Electric - that's the easy part. It uses 3.7A @ 120V (actually says 115V in the manual). If it doesn't actually say it needs a dedicated circuit then you could share it with something else that doesn't need to be dedicated, as this is only 1/4 of a 15A circuit. 15A or 20A circuit should be fine. Use standard methods to install the circuit to a junction box near the heater. From there, follow any specific directions, though I would recommend a wire whip rather than NM cable if it doesn't specify what you should use.

  • Mounting - the manual has a bunch of specifics for using threaded rods, pipes, etc. Don't skimp on mounting - make sure it is ultimately tied into the building frame and not somehow hanging from drywall.

  • Gas - this really needs a licensed gas-fitter (not all plumbers do gas) or, if your area allows DIY, some real skills. You will need to tie this into your existing gas piping, and of course when all is done you need to test carefully for leaks.

  • Vent - this may be easy or may be very hard. The manual gives a lot of detail. But basically you need to figure out how/where to run a 3" exhaust vent to the outside.

I would also highly recommend a carbon monoxide (CO) detector. That could get a bit tricky though in a garage. On the one hand, if you have the doors closed and are working on stuff or playing ping pong and the heater starts producing CO, you want to know about it. On the other hand, you don't want a nuisance alarm every time a car drives in and produces a little exhaust.

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    CO monitors can indeed be very sensitive- a few weeks ago I was running my car on a driveway to defrost and it set off a CO alarm inside the garage that I had removed from elsewhere for disposal... took me a minute to figure out that I didn't need to worry about the odd new beeping noise my car was seemingly making!
    – bertieb
    Nov 28, 2023 at 12:02

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