What Temperature Should I Keep My Garage in The Winter? It Depends!

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At this time of year I tend to think about the same question: at what temperature should I keep my garage in the Winter? This time round I decided to do a bit of digging into the proper answer, and this is what I found. Here’s a summary, but to find out more, read on below…

If you live in inland States or regions, the ideal temperature for your garage is between 15oF to 40oF. In contrast, if you live in coastal States, the ideal temperature is between 50oF to 65oF. In general, it’s recommended keeping the garage temperature above the average dew point of your area.

What Do You Use The Garage For?

It may sound simple at first, but the ideal temperature for your garage depends upon the intended purpose. Do you intend to use your garage for only parking your car, or do you want to turn it into a part-time
as well? The intended purpose influences the ideal temperature for your garage.

So, if you’re working in your garage a lot during winter you’ll want to have the ambient temperature higher, on average, than if you simply use your garage for your car and / or storage.

Whatever you use the garage for, you’ll want to keep the temperature above the dew point if you can.

What Is the Dew Point?

here’s a very short video explaining the concept of dew point:

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How Does The Dew Point Impact the Ideal Temperature of Your Garage?

What Temperature Should I Keep My Garage in The Winter

How Do I find The Dew Point?

It is calculated by dividing the total mass of water vapor by the volume of the air. However, there is a much simpler way of finding out the dew point – look at a weather map.

In the US, a daily map is published by weather.com, showing the dew point in any particular area. I can be found at Ref 1 at the end of this article. The equivalent map for the UK is produced by weatheronline.co.uk; click Ref 2 at the end of the article.

What Temperature Should I Keep My Garage in The Winter?
Dew Points Map Image: Weather.com

The Garage Humidity Level

The humidity level in your area is critically important too – If it’s high, such as in sub tropical zones or wetter areas near the coast, any significant drop in temperature will cause more moisture to be condensed below the dew point.

In this case it may be wise to invest in a dehumidifier for your garage.

What Temperature Should I keep My Garage in The Winter?

Cold Temperatures Can Ruin Your Car’s and Other Batteries

Apart from moisture causing all sorts of problems with your precious equipment, the batteries used in cars and other equipment discharge more quickly at lower temperatures.

Type of BatteryIdeal Operating Temperature
Lead based Car Batteries-4oF to 122oF
Li-ion Batteries (Lithium Ion)32oF to 113oF
NiCd Batteries (Nickel Cadmium)32oF to 113oF
NiMH Batteries (Nickel Metal Hydride)32oF to 113oF

Electric vehicle batteries are not immune to the cold, either. They prefer operating temperatures between 40oF and 60oF and typically, an an electric powered car will cover around 20 percent fewer miles in colder weather.

If the garage temperature is outside of this range, the batteries will lose their power more quickly and eventually have to be repaired or replaced with new ones.

Moreover, if the garage temperature is consistently outside of this range, the batteries will also start taking longer to charge and shorter to discharge. Your best bet is to either use your car regularly, to keep the battery charged, or keep the battery on trickle charge if you’re not using the car for a while.

A Cold Garage May Make Your Home Feel Colder.

If you have a garage attached to your home, with access via an internal door, it may cool your home as you go in and come out, with heat leaking out of your cosy home.

On the other hand, an attached garage will insulate that side of your house from the weather, and keep it warmer.

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What Temperature Do You Feel Comfortable At?

If you intend to use your garage for your hobbies or a part-time workshop, you need to find the most comfortable temperature range
for yourself.

According to WHO (World Health Organization), the ideal temperature for human comfort is at 64oF. This temperature is not only comfortable for human beings, but it also helps achieve maximum productivity levels. When you feel comfortable, you will be able to do more in less time.

What Temperature Should I Keep My Garage in The Winter

Should I Heat My Garage?

Again that depends, unfortunately, and it’s not a straightforward answer. There is a danger that you may get your garage too warm.

Heat accelerates oxidation or rust. Any rain, snow or ice on your car when you drive it into the garage, particularly if mixed with salt from roads in winter, will rust unprotected metal work. Heat in the garage will speed up that process.

It’s best to keep the garage at ambient temperature in those circumstances, unless you can dry off the car before leaving it for the night. This could mean heating if it gets too cold.

But you may be better off heating the garage for other reasons – such as we mentioned above. for example if you use the garage for hobbies or DIY. Just make sure the car is dried off before the heat does any damage.

How Do You Achieve the Ideal Temperature for Your Garage?

If you want to maintain an ideal temperature in your garage without driving up the cost, here are a few ways to achieve this:

  • Make sure that the any garage heater is sized for the available square footage, such as a space heater.
  • Invest your money in fiberglass batt insulation and paneling for the walls.
  • Consider garage door insulation as it may result in heat loss.
  • Take care of any drafts in the walls or the ceiling – use draft strip or invest in better windows and doors.
  • Air leaks can bleed warm air into the cold outside. Again, make sure you use strip insulation around windows and doors, but make sure you do have a flow of fresh air – you don’t want to get suffocated by your car’s fumes.
  • Invest in radiant heat for your floors or ceiling.

What’s the Bottom Line?

So, what temperature should I keep my garage in the winter? There’s no straightforward answer, as it will depend on where you live, what you use the garage for, and at what temperature you feel comfortable. Maintaining the ideal temperature for your garage will help keep everything in pristine condition and help raise your productivity levels. You will be able to take care of your cars, tools, batteries, and other components and keep them free from rust or corrosion. Moreover, you will enjoy maximum comfort while working in your garage and make the best of your part-time hobbies.

Ref 1. 2.

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