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When Joe Sheffield, owner of Sheffield Pontiac/ Buick/GMC auto dealership in Johnson City, TN, was seeking a heating system for his 6,000 sq. ft service and repair shop, he considered conventional forced-air gas unit heaters, gas infrared heaters and electric heaters.

Sheffield consulted the local gas company and visited several area auto dealerships, looking at their heating systems. As a result of his search, he decided to install three RSTP17-L5, 175,000 Btu/hr LP gas tube heaters from the Space-Ray Division of Gas-Fired Products Inc., Charlotte, for enlarged view of Infrared Radiant Gas Heater

"Several of my customers installed Space-Ray radiant heaters in the past and were pleased with the results," stated Sherrill Parker of Holstein Gases. "All were impressed with the fuel savings, high radiant efficiency and comfortable work environment that the units provided. For these reasons, it was easy for me to recommend a radiant heating system."

Proven fuel savings compared to forced-air unit heaters made this investment very attractive for Sheffield, especially since most Space-Ray customers were averaging over 30% more fuel efficiency than forced-air units along with a corresponding savings of up to 50% on their monthly fuel bills.

Service Shop Described
Sheffield's 6,000 sq. ft (60 x 100) service area includes 14 service bays. The building consists of a metal roof structure, with the walls and roof insulated with 3 " fiberglass insulation. Each bay has access to one of fourteen 12 x 12 metal doors; 3" fiberglass insulation on each of the doors helps reduce the building's heat loss.

The three Space-Ray RSTP 17-L5 radiant LP heaters were installed on beams 16' from the concrete slab floor. They are aimed directly toward the bay areas, providing a comfortable heated environment averaging 65° F.

Because the heaters were installed according to Space-Ray recommended clearances for combustibles, Sheffield noted that there has been no problem with car paint exposed to radiant heat or cars being directly under the heaters.

Other Building Has Conventional Units

As a result of the installation and based on data from an adjacent building which Sheffield rents out, he feels confident that he has made the right choice.

"I also own a lot next to mine which I rent to a recreational vehicle dealership," Sheffield noted. "They were seeking a heating system for their metal building at about the same time I was. Instead of installing a radiant heating system, they decided to install three forced-air gas unit heaters in their service area, each with a rating of 250,000 Btu/hr."

Compared to Sheffield's 60 x 100 service area, the recreational vehicle dealership has a service area of 70 x 75. It also has only three 12 x 16 service doors compared to Sheffield's 14 doors of the same size.

According to Parker, whose gas distributorship sells LP propane gas to both dealers, fuel consumption for the Space-Ray units was 30-40% less than the forced-air unit heaters used by the recreational vehicle dealership.

Other Units Added
Based on his experience, Sheffield has already recommended Space-Ray heaters to several other area GM dealerships. In addition, Sheffield has also added eight more Space-Ray units to his dealerships.