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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I live in Southwest Virginia and hope to build a new barn in the next year or two. (waiting for a farm that my husband inherited to sell)

The main barn will problaby be 36 x 60 or 36 x 72 (haven't decided if I plan to build and additonal inclosed lean to, but if I do, that part will not be insulated or heated)

I do hope to insulate the main part. But to finally get to my question, if I want to heat the barn...what is a good system to use? Or just use the blow heaters when I am in there. For the record the floors will be concrete and there will be no loft. Hay storage in the barn will be a 12 x 12 section.
 

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Why do you want to heat the barn? I live in SW VA too, and it rarely gets cold enough to warrant putting a heating system in the barn. Plus, horses aren't as susceptible to cold as humans.

If you just want to heat it for yourself the times you'll be working, those kerosene/propane blower heaters are great for that. You'll want to insulate any water pipes and lines and maybe use heated water buckets for the horses, but you definitely aren't going to need any kind of central heating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, it will be just for me, when I am working in there. I read on another forum (that I can't find now) about someone heating their barn and I was just wondering what kind of system people use.
I will most likely just use the kerosene blow-type heater. However I do plan on heating my tack room. But proabably with one of those electric oil type heaters.
 

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I agree--WHY would you want to heat your barn in SW VA? A lot of barns that heat them are metal Morton buildings up north in places like Minnesota, that usually feel colder than the outside temperatures.
 

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The forced air kerosene heaters are good for warming an area up fast but you have to be careful of the fumes.

If you are just heating a small room like a tack room, you could get away with a small electric heater with a fan or a base board heater. Most portable ones have a thermostat. I wouldn't use a kerosene heater in a tack room. The fumes would get into your tack and make them smell. Also, you could easily be overcome by the fumes in a small room.

Depending on how much you want to spend, you could have propane heaters installed in the larger areas. They have an exhaust to the outside but if you are only using them on rare occasions, they aren't feasible.

Edit: Propane heaters are probably the most common way to heat a barn. At least here "up North".
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I would not use a kerosene heater in the tack room or any small room. Like I said earlier, I would most likely use one of those electric oil heaters to just take the edge of in the tack room and keep things from freezing. We have several of those that we use for other things and love them
My original question began "If I wanted to heat my barn?" Which really doesnt require me to answer the "why would you want to?" HOWEVER, for those who seem to feel the need to know..it would be just for me while I am working there on teh really cold days and such. Which I know sometimes can be far and few between these days. So It will most likely once again, I repeat myself, be the big portable blowers.
However, I am interested to know just for educational purposes on my part. What kind of systems do most people that do heat or have heated barns USE?
 

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Most barns around here use the big propane heaters mounted from the ceiling. Only one barn that I know of uses geothermal heat.

The very first barn we boarded at used electric radiant heaters that hung above the horse in their stalls.
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you usandpets. That was what I was curious about, was what kind of heating systems people used in barns.
 

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We live in Alberta, and had our barn retrofitted for heat and water. We had two gas-powered ceramic heating tubes suspended from the ceiling and they work very well and aren't all that expensive to run. BUT if I was doing it from scratch I would have done radiant heat in the concrete floor (but not under the stalls) along with solar panels for heating rather than gas. Alas, it would have been crazy expensive to rip out the existing concrete floor and then put in radiant heating.

Even with the crazy temps we've had here, I just keep the thermostat set at 5 degrees centrigrade. And the worst part is that we've only had the horses in there overnight once. The rest of the time it is just keeping the barn cats comfy and avoiding freezing everything in the barn (including water pipes). Sure is nice to have a warm place to tack up the horses, though.
 

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If your barn is going to be "full" of horses stabled over night you might not need to make it as warm as you think you need to.
Unless you are sitting around doing basically nothing, even cleaning tack might make you warm enough from just the body warmth contained in the barn till you open it up for ventilation.

I would suggest you consider insulating your tack room area.
It would allow it to remain warmer longer and less wasted heat loss through the walls in winter if you do heat it and cooler in summer if you need to a/c it to avoid moldy tack or a cool place to hang out in.
The insulation will also help keep noises out and humidity levels lower...humidity might be more a problem in Va. than intense cold temps...
Planning ahead will allow you to build in a a/c in a wall and a safe place for any kind of heater to be used in a barn...also to dedicate a power line so it is the safest electrical situation possible.
Plan a lockable window and door for securing your tack room, a breeze and light allowance... don't forget screens so if the window is open the birds are kept outside and not try setting up house in or entering and pooping on your tack and floor.

Since it sounds like you will be building this barn I would go larger in size rather than smaller.
It is amazing how fast you can fill up all available areas and need more space and regret not building it in the first place.

Enjoy the dreaming process and then watching those dreams come true...

:wink:
 

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For my tack room, I had the area under a window framed out for one of the heat/AC combo units, like they use in hotels. DH's boss used to work in HVAC, and he recommended it. Mine is not installed yet. I need climate control for harness year round.

Good Luck!

Nancy
 

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Radiant heat under the concrete aisle way. I had that kind of heat in a home and it was the most comfortable I've ever been. Added benefit, when bare feet hit tile in the winter.....oooh toasty! No noxious fumes to worry about and you're heating your hot water anyhow.
 

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Radiant heat built into the concrete aisle slab is your best solution. Where you are it isn't economically practical to heat the entire barn. Insulation and horses will keep it much warmer than you think it will. Plus, if you plan on turning out during the colder months, think of the temp shock/change for the horses between 75 degrees in the barn and 45 degrees outside. Radiant heat in the slab will make you feel much warmer than just putting in a heater. You're warming your feet rather than pulling the heat out of them. There are different types of radiant heat, too, so you have options depending on your budget.
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When we mucked a large barn in -30 temps, the horses kept it warm enough that the manure didn't freeze. The ceiling was only 10' high and well insulated as were the walls. No vapor barrier tho. Frost was never a problem. Only the tack room was well insulated and heated. It wasn't warm in there but hands could be warmed above the heater. It was only 8' x 12' yet held a tremendous amount of tack. There was a cupola above the aisle which helped draw the moist air from the barn. More recently I was in a barn where the pump was in a well insulated "closet" There was room for several people to warm up in there. The problem with heating a barn as you have to use a non-flame source of heat because of barn dust which can suddenly ignite. This is dust that is continually in the air whether you see it or not.
 

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My husband and I have talked about putting in the foam insulation on the walls and ceiling. Then finishing the stall walls with heavy oak boards. The foam insulation will keep it plenty warm in the barn for the horses during the nighttime when we bring them in. I do have a small electric oil heater in the tack/feed room to help keep the hot water tank and water pipes from freezing. Other then that the horses have blankets on and have been able to keep warm in some of the worst weather we have had here in northern Pennsylvania. Minus 10 was the lowest we went.
 
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