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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a tack room in my barn that's about 16 x 12 feet or so. It has insulated paneled walls, an insulated door, concrete floor with stable mats on it. Has GFI outlets. I'm wondering how I would go about keeping it above freezing (45 to 50 degrees F) this winter without poisoning myself or burning down the barn or spending a fortune.

It can stay around zero or below for weeks at a time here.

Ideas?
 

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At my main barn they have two tackrooms--one has a built in baseboard heater and the other has a hot water heater in it for the horse washing station outside. So both rooms stay quite nice all winter. Another option is a portable indoor/outdoor fan heating unit that automatically shuts down if it overheats or tips over. It can just plug in to your wall outlet. I'm not sure it should be left unattended but it would help while you were in the tackroom doing stuff. I have one I've used at home quite often and never had any problems.
 

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I second the baseboard heater. Heat rises, so the lower the heat source the better it will keep everything warm and dry from the floor to the ceiling. Near the heater, though, you might want to put some heat protection on any wood paneling so that it doesn't crack. Be cautious about warping your stable mats, too.

I haven't tried this particular one, but perhaps something like this?
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Fahrenheat-58-in-1-500-Watt-Electric-Hydronic-Portable-Baseboard-Heater-FHP1500T/205164444
 

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Something like this we used in my bosses tack room...
https://www.homedepot.com/p/1500-Wa...iant-Portable-Heater-Grey-HD904-A7Q/205210318
It was never "warm" but it was do-able...
Leather felt comfortable to the touch, bits were not frigid cold...

Whatever you do, no open flames...
Nothing electric not UL tested...
I would also recommend heat tape for any pipes above ground and then insulation over the top to keep the keep in....
The tape we had had a built in thermostat on it...off above freezing, on as it went below.
We used this on our oil tank feeder line as it was a outside tank and did freeze = lost heat when no go juice available to feed the furnace...
Works on water pipes too!!


I think though when you refer to -0 Fahrenheit, you need to do a lot more than just a device such as this...
Serious insulating needs done walls, windows, doors and floors...then consider a heating source barn use safe.

:runninghorse2:...
 

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Are you worried about the tack or just want it more comfortable? I have used a heat lamp near my water spigot to keep that warm and have heat tape along the pipe that brings water to the barn which prevents it from freezing (it only kicks in when the temp dips below a certain level). My tack room is kept closed, so it is usually a little warmer than the rest of the barn which is open 24/7. I keep a space heater in there for occasional use when I need it while in the barn, but would never leave it on unattended. Maybe you can just add heat to certain areas without heating the whole thing? Because if you need to heat the entire room, I think it should be wired by an electrician who knows what he's doing and can be sure it's barn-safe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The tackroom IS insulated, which is why it is even possible to consider keeping it warmer. Walls, ceiling, even the door is.

I'm not worried about the tack, but it would be nice to not have to move all the liquids into the house over the winter, and to have a place to be even a little bit comfortable in the barn. It's only about 120 square feet, I think it's the same size as the stalls.

I think what I should do is get a good electric space heater and turn it on a half hour before I want to be in there. And move all the freeze-damageable stuff into the mud room in the house. Safer, cheaper, just a bit less convenient.
 

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I have one of those heaters that HLG showed and it does warm up our tack room pretty quickly but I’m not brave enough to want to risk leaving it on all the time.
I think the safest heating would be piped water heated from an exterior source. Is that what you call ‘baseboard heating’
We call them radiators in the UK.
 

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Hi Avna
I have used a small electric heater in our feed room during severe cold spells; negative degrees F for days on end. On a low setting it would keep the room above zero, but that's about it, and it was quite noticeable on the electric bill, too.
I have a small refrigerator in the room, and have observed that stuff in the fridge tends not to freeze. You might try something like that, and load the fridge up with thermal mass; bottled drinking water is what I use, the more the better.
Good luck!
 

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Dh has a shop that we just insulated and put in heat. We just did this a few last fall, and we used a heat pump. It is perfect.

DH's shop is 30x40 but even for a 12x16 he suggested a heat pump. In the shop are two smaller rooms for dive gear and compressors, and in there he used a small electric heater until the heat pump was installed.

We hired an electrician to install the heat pump, and it works really well.

My tack room is 6x12 and we are going to insulate it, eventually, after we install the French drains, level the paddock, and add gravel...

...and I am hoping to heat that room as well, just to avoid shlepping liquids. I don't know how people who have horses far away really manage in the winter, as any liquid could also freeze in their car, if it is really cold. Maybe they use a cooler with a warm thing inside. A hot brick or a Snuggle Pup...

I even considered getting a small fridge and putting in a lightbulb on a heat-sensing shut off switch, but the logistics were way beyond me.

When we lived in the shop, before it was heated, we used propane burners, and it was awful. And dangerous. It felt as though we were living in Siberia.
 

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That's a tough one for a cheap, easy solution especially keeping fire hazard to a minimum with tack and horses in the barn.

I haven't tried this yet so merely a suggestion...

I bought these infrared heaters last year to use in my poorly insulated house with a furnace that ran constantly yet barely heated. The wood stove was great but due to last year's weather getting enough firewood was tough to heat all the way through to May and I needed to keep enough wood on hand to heat and cook during power outages as they tend to be lengthy.


Anyhow, since moving into a more efficient home the infrared heaters won't be needed but thought about using them in the shed we will convert into the saddle house. They use less electricity and don't get hot to the touch or burn the place down like the old fashioned milk house heaters we all have used in the past.
While not a permanent solution it might work as a safer solution until a better heater is installed as winter is coming fast!

Anyhow these are the exact ones I have. When I bought them they were $80/shipped, obviously, the price has increased.

LifeSmart 6 Element w/Remote Large Room Infrared Heater, Black/Gray https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F4BHC24/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_VYLRDbTSMV800

I would love to know what you end up using.
 

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I wonder if an electric wall heat plate or two like some people put in their chicken coops would be enough if they were on the wall near the supplies you’re trying to keep liquid? Not sure how warm they get as my girls manage without heat all winter.

https://www.amazon.com/Cozy-Products-Chicken-Heater-Brooder/dp/B01LX9K1JI

I do bring everything, tack included, inside for a few months as I don’t see any safe way to heat my little tack space.
 

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Back when I was young and naïve and thought that simple problems mush have simple answers, I looked at lots of building supply websites and boat building websites, searching for a heated cabinet. I figured that someone, somewhere, MUST have designed a heated cabinet that could be used to store paints, acetones, resins, etc.

Nothing.

There were some do-it-yourselfers who made such things using insulated cabinets or old converted refrigerators, and there is even a company that sells a kit to convert old fridges, but nothing pre-made. Well, I did find one toolbox that kept jobsite tools above freezing, but it cost a gazillion dollars plus change.

I also found some gun-safe heater/dehumidifier sticks, like the GoldenRod, but still a bit sketchy to figure out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Clearly a business opportunity for some enterprising entrepreneur ...

My husband informed me that any room heater would be a significant addition to our already eye-popping heating bill. So that is out. But the heated cabinet idea is interesting. A mini fridge with a heating mat in it, like they sell for reptile tanks (waterproof, rubber)?
 

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Would you have to drill a hole in the fridge to plug in the heater? I don't know if something like this might work, or if it requires a warm body on it to keep it going:

Screen Shot 2019-10-22 at 9.01.41 AM.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Would you have to drill a hole in the fridge to plug in the heater? I don't know if something like this might work, or if it requires a warm body on it to keep it going:

View attachment 998045
No, just redo the existing electrical connection. My husband being an electrician (well, he was at one time), this is not out of his area of expertise. He rewired a mini fridge to be a cheese aging box for me a few years back when I was milking goats.
 

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I live in NW IL and we get some days that the wind chill is below zero for days on end. My friend tried leaving things in an unplugged small refrigerator in her well insulated tack room and they still froze. Her barn is quite a distance from her house so she did not want to take her liquids or extra wormers to the house - they ended up freezing even inside the unplugged refrigerator (that was even set within a cabinet so it had extra insulation around it)

We bring our stuff inside to the basement. A Pain in the rear but money saving in the end
 

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I can't use home heating in my two animal rooms as some cages are by them and would cook my poor creatures! The portable oil heater/radiator pictured at the start of your thread is my go to. In winter my animal rooms can easily go close to freezing coz old house and not gotten round to double glazing on that side. For exotics! I HAVE to keep them toasty. For a decade. I have three of them and they are on round the clock for all of winter, set halfway. Aside from the odd fuse replacement & maintenance (they are old) all three are STILL going. I would never get an electric heater of any kind. I am petrified of fire and these are the only types of heaters I can actually sleep comfortably with. Fan heaters heck no. Electric convector heck no. These? heck yes and I wouldn't hesitate to use them in the manner you desire either. I trust my animals with them, while I'm at work no less. If I spill some water on them while going to and fro I don't need to worry about dying. I will note that I place them in the middle of the room on their own.

My only concern for you is making sure you find an outlet that wont be affected by moisture so some sort of bucket rig etc if that is a problem.

edit: they take a lot of ££ to heat up but are very low maintenance if you wanna keep running round the clock compared to the on/off drain of convectors/fans etc. I did the math once but that was ages ago.
 

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We're currently in the process of building a tack room, ours will be about 10'x12' but Id love to be able to make it warm enough to where I dont have to lug all my liquids/freezeables inside the house.....we're going to insulate everything but kind of bummed there isnt an obvious solution to a constant above freezing temp besides running heat thru the place LOL.....I have an electric heater that turns off if it tips or when it reaches the temp you have set, so far thats our only solution. Guess we'll start experimenting....thanks for the post OP! Quite a few good ideas throughout the thread!
 

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We did build an enclosed box around where our pipes come into the barn, and lined those from the inside with thick insulation. Then I added heat tape and pushed it down as far as I could underground. It keeps our water from ever freezing, and our temps go as low as -35C. So it seems to me that maintaining an enclosed area above freezing is much easier, and much more efficient than trying to heat an entire room.

As for liquids, they all go in a Rubbermaid bin and are brought in for the winter. My equine first aid kit is already in a tool box, so I just bring the whole thing in so that in an emergency, I don't have to dig around, I know exactly where all my supplies are located. It's not really a big deal, once a year, I bring everything into the basement in a big bin, and in the spring, I haul it back out to the barn. It keeps me on a good spring/fall tack room cleanup schedule (in the fall, I get into all the corners with my shop vac to give it a thorough cleaning, and in the spring, I usually rearrange some things).
 

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The portable, enclosed oil heater like what horselovingguy posted on the first page is what we use in the garage or tack room if we need it to be usable in the winter. It's not 'warm' per se, but it is warmer than outdoors, and the risk of fire with them is rather low. DH sets it up on a timer he can control from his phone to turn it on, and has it set to turn off after x amount of time so it's not left on accidentally.


I would just move all the liquids up to the house, though. The heater is nice for cleaning tack or working on projects on cold days, but to keep the room warm all winter, you're much better off having a baseboard heater, radiator, or heat pump/multi-pump unit installed. That's what people with heated garages do here, and it's essentially the same thing.
 
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