we have a 2 car attached garage that is 580 sq ft with a 10 ft ceiling.
there is one window. ceiling has insullation.
this is in the tampa bay area and the garage turns into an oven during the
summer. can someone provide information on the least expensive way to cool
the area down. It doesn't have to be 72 deg. or anything. i could live with
80 or 85 deg. but, man, it had to be well over 100 in there today.
If you want the absolute least expensive way to cool it down,
then try this:
Dig a trench about 4' down and about 100' long, terminating
right beside the floor of the shop. Install 12" pipe in the
bottom of the trench so that you have 100' of piping going in
at floor level into the garage and the other end open to
atmosphere. Install an exhaust fan at the highest point
possible in the garage. Turn on the exhaust fan and the
cooled air will be drawn into the garage and hot air will be
exhausted out through the fan.
If you want to save even more on operating costs, then forget
the exhaust fan and install a 12" steel pipe, painted black,
straight up from the ceiling and out through the roof. To be
most effective, it must extend about 25' straight up. The
black painted pipe will naturally heat up with sunlight. This
will cause the heated air inside to rise, pulling the cooled
air into the room from your geothermal piping, thus cooling
down the room with no energy needed. 0 costs to operate.
Or you can install a window unit. 10,000 BTU should do it,
but it will cost alot more to operate.
Without looking at the thing, I can only give you some tips that made a big
difference in mine.
How's it oriented to the sun? If it faces east or west or south, it gets a
lot of sun. Some VERY cheap styrofoam insulation will take care of a lot of
that. Even if it's facing north, insulating the door is a cheap thing to
Put reflective film on that window, and get the highest number available.
Cheap at Home Depot and easy to put on.
How well is the crawl/attic space above insulated? Lots of times, builders
don't insulate that space to save a few bucks a house. If you DO insulate
it, do two layers of 6" deep at right angles rather than thick batts between
the rafters that will leave spaces. Blown in works good, too, as you can
push it out to the edges. Whatever you do, try to get it out there to the
edges where there can be a lot of air movement. You may want to put another
4" crossways on top of what's up there. Just because it's insulated doesn't
mean it's insulated RIGHT.
Vent the attic space. Lots of heat can build up there, and venting it can
help cool YOUR ENTIRE HOUSE by a couple of degrees. Go up there sometimes
and see if you can detect air currents. If you're a smoker, take a lit
cigarette, just be careful. If you have drafts, you'll find them quick.
Consider how much "stuff" and what kind of "stuff" you keep in the garage.
If you keep a car, that brings in a lot of heat and takes a long time to
cool off. If your garage lets light in through the door, the floor can
absorb a LOT of heat in a short time, and then the cooling apparatus works
all day trying to cool it off.
Examine wall insulation. Take a hole drill and make some holes if drywalled
to see just how good it is insulated. Depending on what you find, you may
want to add some. Shredded is easier to put into the holes than batts. If
the garage is not sheetrocked, insulating it good will be a quick deal with
the studs exposed.
Look at the bottom gasket on your garage door. A lot of air can get out
there. Also around all the cracks. Weatherstripping and rubber bulb is
cheap. If you don't use the garage for car storage, seal the door with
caulk or fiberglass poked into the seams with a screwdriver. If you have
more than one door, can you live with one sealed up?
Add a cheap ceiling fan. Find whatever's on sale or at a yard sale.
Examine lighting. Some lighting puts out a LOT of heat.
You say you live in Florida. I don't know if or how well swamp coolers work
there, but that will be the cheapest way to go. In the times when the
humidity is high, you might have to use an air conditioning unit, but then
the cost peaks quickly.
The insulation in the walls, the insulation in the ceiling, the venting of
the roof, filming the window, weatherstripping, and maybe even bringing in
some air from the rest of the house through a vent might make it tolerable
without a whole lot of expense.
After that, even if you do put an AC out there, you need to have it tight
and insulated or you're tooting in the wind. And then you have to analyze
the cost/benefit factor.
I know some of the things I mentioned might not apply to you, but this is
for everyone. Mine is tolerable enough now in Las Vegas summers that we put
in a doggie door, and they hang out in there a lot because it is noticeably
We did, though, put one fan about 1 square foot that brings air from the
interior of the house, and a vent to return it. It is on a switch so we can
control when it is on and off. That can be as simple as punching a hole in
a wall and putting a return grate on the door, although it destroys the fire
rating. NOT THAT I'D EVEN SUGGEST THAT YOU DO IT ON YOUR HOUSE, just what
Good luck, and please share what worked for you when you're done.
A simple exhaust fan will bring the temp down to what it is outside.
Could be as simple a box fan in a window. A bit of air movement
always makes it feel cooler. You cold pur a large industrial fan in
there to blow the air around before it gets exhausted. I never heard
of anyone using an air conditioner in a garage unless it was an
I installed a house fan in my 2-car garage. It is two speeds and I
installed a timer switch on the wall. This fan makes a big difference
in late afternoon summer heat. I also planted a deciduous shade
tree 12 years ago (on the south-west side) and now the garage gets
some afternoon shade.
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