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Shops, cold weather, and gas


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#1 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted January 03, 2012 - 09:23 PM

I'd like some input from some of you knowledgeable guys on the topic of heating your shop and working on gasoline. I'm wanting to replace the engine in my Ranger, but it's gotten a little cold to be working out in the open even here in NC. Does anyone do any work involving gasoline in a heated shop? What sort of heater do you use?

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#2 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted January 03, 2012 - 10:43 PM

When it comes to flammables, the only way I know is to heat up the garage, turn off the heat and start working. I don't turn the heat on again until the fumes have dissipated and it's safe.

I'm sure a fluid radiator system, with the heat /flame in another room away from the ignitables would be OK, but I don't have that kind of setup.

#3 Cvans ONLINE  

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Posted January 03, 2012 - 11:04 PM

I heat with a home made waist oil heater. If combustible fumes are going to be in the area I open the doors to air things out. If you don't your going to be working outside anyway. :( I also do everything I can to catch any spilled liquids and remove them from the area.
Just be careful.

#4 coldone OFFLINE  

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Posted January 03, 2012 - 11:04 PM

I am in the same neck of the woods as you are. I would not use my propane heater near an open gas container but i would keep it running if my tractor has gas in the tank and no leaks. My shop is all wood, including the floor. I have spilled gas in there several times, a cup or less, and still let the heater run. Of course its 5-10 feet away and up about 3 feet off the floor.

#5 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted January 03, 2012 - 11:48 PM

Up off the floor is good, apparently, as NC code requires that gas water heaters in garages be located a minimum of 18 inches off the floor. I could also increase safety by draining the gas tank before starting to work on it. Some fuel pumps really don't like that, however.

So, no "ignition proof" heaters around. I suppose some of the oil filled "radient" type would be as close to ignition proof as I can think of. Running hot water through a series of coils sounds pretty safe, much more so than any type of propane or blower style heater.

#6 DougT OFFLINE  

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Posted January 04, 2012 - 10:54 AM

If you are just changing an engine, I wouldn't think you'll have that much of a problem. Just be sure to depressurize the fuel system if its fuel injected. Before I bought my own shop, I did lots of repairs at home with a torpedo heater. Something that scares me worse than a heater around gas is a trouble light. I would say there are far more garage fires caused by that combo than the heater. There was just a garage lost before Christmas when they were taking out a gas tank and it got away spilling gas and knocking off the light. When the bulb blew, it was over. Have cool gas dripping (or worse spraying) on a hot bulb and the glass will break. That causes the bulb to blow and POOF-instant fire. Been there, done that! It's nice to have an extinguisher handy. Good Luck
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#7 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted January 04, 2012 - 11:08 AM

Good point Doug, I have often thought of that myself and have switched to a LED type light when working on anything with flammables in it. You can also buy a special type of trouble light with a sealed metal enclosure and a tempered glass window for the bulb to shine through. I often find I can't get the light from the typical corded trouble light where I need it anyway.

#8 HDWildBill OFFLINE  

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Posted January 04, 2012 - 11:43 AM

I have a small metal shop with wood floors. I had been using an electric heater but recently switched to one of those oil filled heaters. It works well in the small shop but don't put your hand on it. as to a trouble light, years ago when I bought my cordless (Ryobi) drill it came with a flash light. It is the greatest because I can set it on the floor or a ledge and turn the head of the light to where I need it and it puts out a lot of light. The drill and flash light are about 20 years old and still going strong.

PS: This is a good thread because at this time of the year it makes you think about safety. Thanks for starting it.

#9 smasher OFFLINE  

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Posted January 05, 2012 - 11:02 PM

I had a neighbor who used to paint cars in his one bay garage with nothing but a wood stove for heat. That place was a haze of paint and solvent and it never blew up. the fire was just alittle brighter when he was painting lol

#10 Alc ONLINE  

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Posted January 06, 2012 - 08:24 AM

This was just in our local news of a fellow working on his car died when the gas tank he was working on caught fire from a space heater , Al
Bethlehem Township garage fire: Man badly burned at 4011 Wilson Ave. Bethlehem Township - mcall.com

#11 caseguy OFFLINE  

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Posted January 06, 2012 - 12:31 PM

Good question starting the thread, and a lot of good comments going along too! I would like to add that the enclosed radient type oil heaters have a thermostat with open contacts that arc when changing state. That said, I think it would take a lot of fumes to infiltrate the switch, but what is too careful? A simple light switch can cause an explosion in a saturated atmosphere. Gas fumes are nothing to mess with that's for sure!

#12 Michiganmobileman OFFLINE  

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Posted January 06, 2012 - 05:38 PM

:yeah_that::ditto:
To all of the above, lots of valid points. I think most any type of electric powered space heater is apt to have an open set of contact points to start and stop the unit. Start=spark Stop=spark, so most likely not safe in an explosive area. Now a unit with a digital control may have a set of enclosed contacts, but as said above why take a chance. Obviously avoid any thing with an open or exposed burner. Best bet would be a furnace located elsewhere(not open to the shop space, connected only by duct work) with a mercury style thermostat(if you can still find one) in the shop. But kind of an expensive way to go.
I think the key would be ventilation. Some sort of a plan to keep the vapors from building up to an explosive point where they could be an issue. Two openings on opposite walls one high and one low that could be opened when needed may be all it takes.
Above all anytime you are working in an enclosed area and gasoline could be involved, make sure you have an appropriate fire extinguisher within easy reach. Dont hurt to read the directions so you know how to use it if it is needed:confuse:.

#13 HDWildBill OFFLINE  

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Posted January 07, 2012 - 11:14 AM

This thread got me to thinking about Fire extinguishers because I didn't have one in the shop. So Now I have one at each end. Perhaps an bit of an over kill considering how small the shop is but I figured that if I had a tractor or several mowers in there I might have difficulty getting to the other end in an emergency. When I was in the Navy we use to have to go to fire fighting school at least every 3 years when you were on Sea Duty. One of the thing they taught us was time was of the essence the quicker you can start putting the fire out the better.
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#14 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted January 08, 2012 - 09:55 AM

On the subject of fire extinguishers, I was taught that your extinguisher always goes next to your exit from the space. That way, you are less likely to become trapped by a fast spreading blaze. Plus, you can run for the exit, and THEN make your decision about whether to fight the fire or not.
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#15 caseguy OFFLINE  

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Posted January 08, 2012 - 10:06 AM

That's great advice Howard! I've never heard that before, but it makes perfect sense. That's where mine is, but that's because the PO had it there and when I replaced the old one, I put it in the same location.




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