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Nightfly
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last year I was over at a friends house who keeps his bike in a garage that is sometimes heated. I never gave a thought about the "sometimes" until I was over one night when he was working on something and had the heat cranked up.

I ask him if he noticed the condensation that was accumulating on his bike and he said yeah, but never thought much about it. I mentioned if your garage is cold, and your bike is cold as well, and then you turn on the heat, the warm air will cause a lot of moisture to lay on your bike, not a good thing. We talked about it and I suggested to him to take the bike outside if you're going to run the heating system for a couple hours. It's best to keep the bike cold at that point. Or if the garage is always warm then leaving the bike inside would not be a problem.

Agree or disagree?
 

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i keep my bike in a 8x12 unheated shed.i laid 4 mil plastic before i built it and it has a raised wood floor.i'm in northwest pa and it can go below zero in winter. sometimes i've seen condensation all over the bike, it doesn't seem to have an effect. i shine it in the spring and no rust or anything.i figure there's condensation inside the engine so i start it once a month to splash the oil around.
 

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Cold air can't hold much moisture, warm air can hold more.

Just heating the air that is already inside the garage shouldn't add moisture to it, unless it's getting the moisture from the fuel, like from an UNVENTED gas or kerosene heater. In that case condensation would be very bad, because it contains carbolic acid from the combustion. Another way to pick up moisture would be if the heat is coming by way of HUMIDIFIED heated air from inside the house. Radiant heat from electric calrods or a VENTED gas or wood burning heater, on the other hand, won't add moisture to the air.

A way to protect the bike would be to use an impervious cover over it, that drapes to the floor. The condensation would then be mainly on the outside of the cover. A very primitive dehumidifier is a 75 watt bulb inside the cover with the bike.

It may be that the condensation issue doesn't occur often. This is the kind of thing that depends on air humidity vs ambient temperature. It will even happen inside your house, under certain conditions. Condensation will occur on the toilet bowl and tank, due to the cold water entering when you flush. The solution in the books is to add a mixing valve so you add hot water to the incoming flush water, but I never had a single client who complained of a wet floor around the toilet to pay for this installation.

What kind of heater does your friend have?
 

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American Legion Rider
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i keep my bike in a 8x12 unheated shed.i laid 4 mil plastic before i built it and it has a raised wood floor.i'm in northwest pa and it can go below zero in winter. sometimes i've seen condensation all over the bike, it doesn't seem to have an effect. i shine it in the spring and no rust or anything.i figure there's condensation inside the engine so i start it once a month to splash the oil around.
I've never actually seen damage done by moisture accumulating in the oil reservoir of an engine but it does happen. So I wouldn't start the bike once a month unless you can do so to ride it for 20 minutes or more so it's up to temperature long enough to burn the moisture out. Not only good for the bike engine but good for you to get some wind therapy. Otherwise just let it sleep until you can in the spring. That moisture is still there starting once month in short bursts like you are currently doing anyway.
 

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Nightfly
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
FACt: Condensation will occur when warmer moist air comes in contact with cold surfaces, such as anything metal. Warm air does contain more moisture than cold air but loses that ability when it comes in contact with cool or cold surfaces and when that happens excessive moisture in the air is released in the form of condensation. One consequences of this is called corrosion of the metal.

When the air temperature drops below its dew point, excess moisture will also be released in the form of condensation. More likely to occur in climates where temperatures frequently dip to 35F or colder or an extended time..
 

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i know i should leave it alone, but the little amount of rust that could be created would be as fine as paint, very small particules.besides it shakes the shed which has a cool factor which can be measured.
 

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MOD / Rider / Mechanic
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my garage is set up this way and I keep the heat on constant so that this very issue does not become an issue. My house in Elwood had an attached garage and when I was not home I would leave the door from the garage to the house open so that heat/AC would get to my stuff and moisture would not attack everything, since for some reason there was a lot of moisture there from the basement that seemed to be always wet.
 

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Cold air that is heated will contain the same amount of water vapor that it contained before heating, unless some is deliberately added, or there's open water is in the environment. Most folks that use forced air heating in cold climates deliberately humidify the air because the outside air is so dry. Breathing air that has very low water vapor content is uncomfortable.

Burning fuel produces CO2 and Water vapor, so if you are using an UNVENTED heater, like a propane salamander or kerosene heater, in an enclosed space, it will produce a LOT of water vapor.

Also, if you are using a vented heater, and aren't providing makeup air for combustion, any vent gases that go up the stack will be replaced by infiltration, and that air will be as dry or humid as it was before it infiltrated. This can be a substantial volume of air.

Electric heat is the best, in terms of not disturbing the water vapor balance. No water vapor is produced, and no vent is required. Electric radiant heat should produce no condensation in a sealed room unless humidity was added.
 

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I use one of them electric oil radiator style heaters sitting in front of a fan of the AC. Summer AC is on, winter heat is on with the fan of the AC only. So far so good, both fan and heat on low, kept it toastier than the house.

-BK
 

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I keep a modest amount of steel (4130) tubing in my shop for other project… no heat unless I’m working there for whatever time in the colder months, but I do keep a box-fan running 24/7 as the bare steel will gather surface rust like the dickens if I heat the shop (the steel, like any metallic surface) stays colder longer and will have its own condensation – but the fan all but eliminates the bulk of it…
 

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Visionary
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This is interesting, i bought a 5kw electric heater for my garage/ shop, I still have to run the power for it but then I should for the first time in my life have a climate controlled shop. I have not decided if I should install a low limit thermostat and keep the shop say 45F all winter or only heat it when I need it, what do people do? I wonder how much power that would use? I opted to save the money and effort on running gas out to the garage but i know the electric heat will cost more per hour to run.

It seems somewhat wasteful to keep it warm all the time, but it probably would help with condensation on metal, it never hurt my bikes but a few of my tools rusted in the old garage, the new one is much better even without heat but I'm sure keeping it a bit over ambient would help even more.
 

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Charlie Tango Xray
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I used to heat our 60' x 80' toy barn as needed, but as stated above, the moisture and condensation would cover everything, even causing mold to start growing on the walls. But when I sold my business several years ago, I installed an overhead door and converted my 20' x 30' home office (built off the side of the toy barn) into a work shop instead. It's heavily insulated, has hot water heat running under the floor, air conditioning and even a washroom. I've found it doesn't cost much more to leave that thermostat set at 60 degrees all winter instead of firing up the huge gas ceiling heaters whenever I'm out in the barn. No more moisture problems. And while working on something while sitting on the floor, I get a warm tushy. ;)
 

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Wonder if just a small electric fan would keep condensation at bay? This condensation is the same thing as dew you find all over your car/truck, left outside in the summer overnight, isn't it?

If there's a little wind, there's no dew all over the car or truck.
 

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American Legion Rider
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Mike721, I went with keeping mine at a temperature around 45. I figure if it would probably cost more to re-heat everything to a working temperature. But we don’t have the same weather you do. We have huge swings in temperature where I turn it off and on depending on forecast.

I think it would depend on your insulation myself. Mine is pretty well insulated. The windows are not and they stay wet just as about all winter. I heat with propane though. Might depend on what your lowest steady temperature is whether one is better than the other. That’s how much you will have to raise your if you shut down. It isn’t too bad here.
 

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On The Road Again!
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I try to keep my shop between 40 and 45 all winter. When I need to work out there, I'll fire up the wood stove and bring the temp up to a comfortable level.
The wood stove draws a continuous flow of air through the shop so condensation has never been a problem.
What HAS been a problem though.....
Once all that metal in the shop gets cold (table saws, drill presses, thousands of pounds of tools, a couple of motorcycles) it takes FOREVER to warm the shop up. All that cold metal is cooling the shop off faster than the stove can heat it up.
 

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FACt: Condensation will occur when warmer moist air comes in contact with cold surfaces, such as anything metal. Warm air does contain more moisture than cold air but loses that ability when it comes in contact with cool or cold surfaces and when that happens excessive moisture in the air is released in the form of condensation. One consequences of this is called corrosion of the metal.

When the air temperature drops below its dew point, excess moisture will also be released in the form of condensation. More likely to occur in climates where temperatures frequently dip to 35F or colder or an extended time..
This is my thinking too.
Humidity varies all over. Things do not rust as quickly in places with year round low humidity. The old planes are parked in Nevada type places. My belch mobile sat outside for about 20 years with no rust problems. Here on the coast, it is rusting everywhere.
The places that trapped moisture are the worst. Cold air allows the moisture to drop. Warm air holds it is suspension.
If I move one of the bikes from under a roofed cover in the morning, where it is dry. It gets wet within minutes. The dew / moisture is falling from above. A roof is the most important. Walls and no heat can trap moisture.
The air is dry in the sheds where I keep the temperature above the dew point. If a shed is not heated, I cover the bikes with a towel.
The saddle bags get damp inside. This is all changing as I am rebuilding my sheds with concrete floors, insulation and heat.
The bikes that get the most rust, are the ones used during the winter months. I am trying to spray water on the them after each use. I have been told that a propane furnace adds moisture. But when mine is on, the humidity drops. So says the gauge.

UK
 
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