Want to Air Condition Your Garage?
Here are Your Choices as well as Approximate Cost
Many find their two-car garage has everything EXCEPT a vehicle in it. They invest a great deal of time in the garage dealing with bikes and different home projects, and it may look a bit like a Home Depot storage shed.
A sufficiently cooled garage is perfect for a workroom, sewing room, wood shop, food pantry, even a safe haven for your large furry friends, when it’s not housing your car. Read on to discover the best way to air condition your garage!
Never Ever Attach Your Garage to Your Residential AC System
Before you make any decisions, it’s important you understand why that’s a really bad idea.
Using any residential ductwork to connect to your garage is essentially leaving the way open for harmful fumes to enter your home.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is poisonous, has no smell or taste and easily can infiltrate your home through connected duct work, even from just pulling your car into the garage and shutting it down immediately. CO is also emitted from gas appliances like a furnace or water heater. Bottom line, NEVER connect your garage through mutual duct work to your home.
Assuming we’re clear on what you shouldn’t do, let’s discuss your options.
Options for Cooling a Garage with A/C
The best option for you will depend on the size of the space, what’s in it, and what you’ll be doing there. You’ll also want to consider how well insulated the garage is, along with how air tight it may be.
Cooling down a Garage with a Ductless Air Conditioning Unit
A ductless a/c unit, likewise referred to as a mini split a/c unit or ductless mini-split, is perhaps the very best means to enhance your garage with air conditioning, nonetheless it is additionally one of the most costly choices.
A quality system will run low to mid $4000’s. The price should include installation of a high-end system and all the accoutrements, along with a warranty. You may find a somewhat less expensive system, but remember you get what you pay for, and a few extra hundreds of dollars are worth the expense.
Advantages of Utilizing a Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioning System in a Garage
The Pros of a correctly installed high quality ductless a/c unit:
- Should outlive your home’s central air system.
- Will enhance your home with “permanent” air conditioned square footage
- The system is extremely efficient. The SEER and EER efficiency ratings are much higher than most other systems.
- These systems run very quietly and take up very little space.
- Ductless systems do not require cutting a hole in the wall for installation, so are safer from a security standpoint as well.
- Capability to both warmth as well as cool your garage.
- When designed correctly, can maintain at temperature of 75 degrees even when the temperature is 110F, particularly if the garage is insulated well
The Disadvantages of a ductless a/c:
- Most pricey alternative.
- Needs specialist setup (beware of getting a system like this online– it could feel like you’re getting a deal, however seldom works out that way).
- Could be uninstalled, yet most of the time ends up being a long-term component of the house.
Air Condition a Garage with a Portable A/C Unit
Portable units typically last about 3 years, and while less expensive by far than the ductless system, there are drawbacks.
You’ll find a ductless system very reliable, quiet and powerful; not so much for a portable unit. Portables are good for emergiencies or small spaces, but not long term.
Possibly the most significant aggravation with a portable Air Conditioner involves the space they take up and also the need to run an exhaust pipe outside to eliminate the warmth the system is taking out of the space. They’re not pretty, and not all garages have a window installed allowing access, and cracking the door to provide the space for exhaust may just overwhelm the unit so it won’t perform well.
The Pros of utilizing a portable air conditioning unit to cool your garage:
- Much less expensive than the ductless system.
- Does not call for specialist installment.
- Could be plugged into a conventional wall surface electrical outlet (note: more than one unit will probably trigger a circuit overload).
- Pro: Quieter compared to many home window systems/ Disadvantage: Substantially louder compared to mostly all ductless devices.
- Could be transferred to an additional location for air conditioning if required.
The Disadvantages of utilizing a portable ac unit to cool your garage:
- Poor resilience. These devices just last 2-3 years under continuous usage.
- Really ineffective as well as costly to run.
- Takes up a lot of space.
- Needs someplace to exhaust the warm air taken out of the space.
- Calls for draining a condensate pan manually or running a draining hose to somewhere.
- May battle to keep up with the heat when it gets particularly hot.
- Most contractors don’t work on portable systems, so most of the time it’s replacement when it goes bad.
- You’ll have trouble finding a system that provides heat as well as cooling. Most portable systems are cooling only.
Cooling down a Garage with a Window Air Conditioning Unit
Of the 3 means to air condition a garage we reviewed so far, this is possibly the least viable, however likewise possibly the least pricey to install. Setting up a home window a/c is alright if you simply wish to reduce the temperature level a couple of degrees, yet I would not anticipate investing any significant amount of time in the garage using this type of unit.
The primary factor making a home window or wall unit inappropriate, is that it needs you to make a big opening in the wall. Given that your garage wall is more than likely in the front of your house, it will certainly impact the appearance of your home negatively. Nonetheless, security is the bigger issue. Thieves understand that if they press the air conditioning unit through the hole, they have relatively easy access into your house!
Window air conditioning units are very inefficient, loud, as well as challenging to discover repair service components or technicians to service it should it break down.
The Pros of making use of a window ac unit to cool your garage:
- Less expensive than a portable unit, making it a small fraction of the cost of a ductless system.
- Does not need to be installed by a professional.
- A standard wall outlet can be used, however using more than one unit will most likely overload circuits.
The Disadvantages of utilizing a home window a/c unit to cool your garage:
- A large hole will need to be cut into your garage wall.
- Should you need to replace the unit, matching the size to fit the hole you’ve cut may be challenging, causing you to need to modify the hole one way or another.
- Security issues related to the hole, as mentioned before, they provide easy access to thieves.
- Their not particularly attractive from an aesthetic point of view, and noisy to boot!
- Usually don’t cool as well as expected.
Cooling down a Garage with an Evaporative Cooler, Also Known as a Swamp Cooler
Up to a certain level of humidity, evaporative coolers can be very effective and are often used in commercial spaces like garages and machine shops. Usually they’ll lose significant efficiency once the summer heat is in full effect.
With evaporative cooling you’ll also need to install a means for the hot air to escape or the door will need to remain open, which creates another security issue.
Additionally, they require a water source and are pretty high maintenance. There are specific start-up and shut-down procedures and other maintenance tasks specific to evaporative coolers like float replacement and media pad replacement.
Evaporative coolers aren’t really in the same category as the other solutions we’ve discussed, but there’s a place for them, worth mentioning here. Unfortunately, with their humidity limitations, their pretty useless during the hottest parts of the year.
Is Air Conditioning Your Garage Expensive?
Be aware that most of the time the majority of your garage walls will not be insulated. Probably only the one it shares with your home. Garages weren’t typically designed for habitation or general all-weather use. Furthermore, your garage attic space will almost never be insulated, and it’s most important that you fix that. It’s relatively inexpensive to insulate your attic; you’ll be able to get it done for hundreds, not thousands. Insulating the walls is probably not necessary, but it is possible with a spray foam using a “drill and fill” process. If your garage door is insulated, you’re ahead of the game, however if it’s not, it’s recommended you install a foam panel kit to ensure you’re maximizing the efficiency of your garage system.
Ductless systems are usually more efficient than even the newest central air systems and won’t cost you nearly as much as running any of the other options presented here. Other units aren’t required to meet safety standards and are typically expensive to run.
Where Can I Purchase an Air Conditioner for my Garage?
Portable or window units can be found on Amazon. Look for them at the end of the summer for the best deals. An evaporative cooler can be purchased and installed from most HVAC contractors. Ductless systems can be found on manufacturers web sites, where you can check dealer reliability and ultimately schedule installation through a certified professional contractor. Exercise caution when buying a system online. It’s not recommended to buy the system and find a separate installer. It’s important not to try to save money here. Finding someone to install the system at a discount may create a nightmare if it’s not installed properly.