How to Heat a Garden Shed Without Mains Power

  • By: CarlBroadbent
  • Time to read: 8 min.
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Many people have a garden shed out in the yard, and it is useful in a lot of different ways.

You get extra storage for hobbies, gardening supplies, and more.

Farmers use them for farm equipment or feed and hay, and some people consider converting them to a tool shed or a greenhouse.

Often, garden sheds don’t have mains power. When it is cold in the winter, there are ways to heat them anyway. You can use solar power, insulate it, add a window, or use a propane heater. Some people install a wood burning stove or a rocket stove. You can also add hot water pipes that work similar to a radiator.

1. Add Insulation

Garden sheds are usually just a frame without much insulation.

They aren’t designed as a living space, and they store items that don’t need climate control.

They are used to protect tools and equipment from the weather, but most of the items can handle cold temperatures.

In the winter, it can be very cold inside the garden shed. If you plan to spend any time there, you will want to warm it up.

Unfortunately, people often don’t have any electricity running to the shed, so they need to find another way to make it more tolerable.

Most sheds aren’t insulated, so you can add insulation. This will make the shed more useful because you will be able to spend time in it comfortably in the winter.

Even if you plan to use another method to heat it up later, you will want insulation to make sure that the heat stays in.

Make sure that you run insulation around the walls and the ceiling. If it has an open stud construction, it is easy to do, and you will notice a difference right away.


Always Good Idea: This is a good first step toward making your garden shed warmer because you will need insulation if you plan to add another form of heat later on.


2. Add a Window

The sun can add a lot of warmth to any space, and a garden shed is no different.

You might not have a window, or the windows could be small.

Heating garden shed without mains power is not hard
Heating garden shed

If you add a large window, it will let light in along with heat from the sun. The glass will magnify the intensity of the sun, as you may have noticed inside your house.

Glass causes the light and the heat from the sun to be more intense on the other side.

If you plan to spend time in the shed during the day, consider choosing a wall where a lot of sun will come in during the day.

You can set your worktable up on the other side of the window, and it will be a lot warmer when you are inside there working.

3. Use a Solar Heater

You may not be able to run electricity to your shed, but you can harness the power of the sun to create a heater.

A solar heater doesn’t require any electricity.

You can actually make it yourself using things you probably already have.

You can make your own solar heater with:

  • a window
  • empty aluminum cans
  • a drill
  • and duct tape

Start by painting the cans black because black absorbs heat. Then, you need to drill holes in the bottom.

Take your duct tape and tape the cans together. You are going to place the cans in the inside of the window.

This works because hot air rises, and the air inside the cans will get hot after they absorb heat from the sun.

As the hot air rises, it will come out of the holes in the cans and move into the shed.

Colder air will enter the cans and rise as it is heated. It will warm your garden shed as long as the sun is shining.

4. Use a Portable Propane Heater

If you just want to warm your shed up while you are working inside, you can use a portable propane heater.

This is easy, and all you need is the heater and a canister of propane.

You place it wherever you want it in the shed, and run it on. It will warm up the shed quickly.

This is where your insulation will come in handy. If you have insulated the shed, it will hold the heat in much better.

It is important that you only use the propane heater when you are present in the shed.

It is also more expensive than other methods because you have to buy the heater, and you will need to refill the propane when you run out.

Propane heaters work on propane instead of electricity, so they will go through propane over time. However, they are portable and easy to use, and they warm the shed up easily and keep you warm.


Good News: They are easy to find, and they aren’t too expensive.


5. Install a Wood Burning Stove

Some people love the idea of a wood burning stove.

Not only will it heat the garden shed, but you can feel as though you are sitting in front of a cozy fire.

A wood burning stove can heat a garden shed that is as large as 1,000 square feet.

Once you install the wood burning stove, you just need firewood to keep it going. You can cut wood outdoors or buy it, and you add wood to the fire to keep it going.

Make sure that you install the stove with a flue that can carry exhaust out of the shed. You can build a chimney, or you can get one with a pipe that goes up and out the roof.

This is a great way to heat a shed when you don’t have electricity, but it is a larger project. However, it is worthwhile if you plan to spend a lot of time in the shed during the winter.

6. Use a Rocket Stove

The rocket stove is a less common option, and many people don’t know what it is.

It is similar to a wood stove, but you can build it yourself.

A rocket stove basically works because it is insulated with a special feed slot that you use to place logs or other items inside to burn. It also has a wide chimney that takes the heat out.

The fire gets hot because the burn chamber is insulated. You can use small items such as twigs in a rocket stove; you don’t need larger logs.

You can make it with a number of different items, including oil barrels, tin cans, and more.


Be Creative: You can find recycled materials and make this a sustainable item in your shed. It puts off a lot of heat, so it is a great option in the shed.


7. Install Hot Water Pipes

When you have an electric radiator, it works by sending hot water through the pipes.

The heat comes off the radiator and heats the air in the room.

Garden shead without mans power
Warm garden shed

Hot water pipes work the same way. As the hot water runs through the pipes, it will heat the air around them. The hot air will rise, so it warms up the shed.

You will need to heat the water outside; otherwise, you will have cold water in your pipes. Cold water can freeze and ruin your pipes in the winter months.

One way to heat the water is by having it run through a barrel, and make a fire under the barrel.

Although this method will add heat to your garden shed, you need to make sure that you can create it safely.

8. Make a Pot Belly Stove

Another type of stove that burns wood is called a pot-belly stove.

It stands up vertically, and it is thick through the middle. You can use recycled materials, such as an old metal barrel or an old propane tank.

You need to install a flue as well to get the smoke out of the shed.

You need to have an opening in the middle of the stove where you can add materials to keep the fire burning. You can burn coal or wood, and you can gather the wood around the shed.

You can also have a flat surface on top where you can cook. You start the fire the way you would a wood burning stove, and you can add fuel to keep it burning until you are finished with it.

It is important to make sure:

  • that you make a flue and vent the smoke out of the shed
  • that you place the pot belly stove on a surface that isn’t flammable

It is important to take every precaution to make sure you are safe when you build any kind of wood-burning stove yourself.

Final Thoughts

When you want to heat a garden shed without mains power, you have quite a few options.

You should always make sure that you start by insulating the shed.

No matter what method you use to heat it, if you don’t have insulation, it will not hold heat in.

Once you insulate the shed, choose one of the methods above to add heat without electricity.

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