This sweltering summer has made me think a bit more about cooling the
shop a bit. I have about 1,024 sf with a 10+ foot ceiling and lots of
insulation; and I can do the capacity calculation. I should not need a
huge machine. In addition to comfort it should help with surface rust
a little, but I will only be running it when in the shop. I have
several windows so the conditioner will be a window unit.
The obvious drawback, in my mind, is dust. I am adding dust
collection this fall so that should help.
For those who have installed air conditioning, can you provide
downfalls or suggestions.
look into a minisplit. i put one in my garashop for my wife's ceramic work
area. since i have a 4.5 car garashop with 12' ceilings, and didn't want to
condition the whole place, i rigged a thick plastic tarp that drops down
from the ceiling to block off 1 car space. she turns it on a while before
she's going to use it, and it can keep it down to comfortable temps. also,
it doesn't kick up too much of a breeze since it's mounted about 8' up the
wall, and is a LOT quieter than a window shaker.
You may want to look into a portable A/c unit. it is on wheels costs about
600. the big advantage is that you can build a small filtered box (to
protect against dust) and it vests via a window. when not in use you can
keep the window locked(and in the winter not have the window unit in there
eliminates the cold from getting in)
My lower level shop was heated and cooled by a central HVAC unit that also
cooled the bedroom wing of the house. When I incorporated the shop into it,
I added a 12" duct to the return air box and (2) 8" ducts from the
distribution side. The A/C had a filter between the return air box and the
fan, which would have collected the new dust, but instead, I added a filter
in the return air grate I installed in the ceiling. While adding
restriction to the airflow, it stopped most of the dust from the shop from
entering the house.
Probably should have elaborated that the "shop" is actually a 2-car
garage that was enlarged, during house design, to accommodate the
shop. Thus the 10+ foot ceiling. I would not have raised the ceiling
that high otherwise which in itself raises the heat/cool
requirement. The two 9' wide doors don't help either. The garage is
insulated to the same standard as the house with 6" walls and about
I have already installed a radiant heater which handles the heating
well. I started thinking window unit because it seemed t make most
sense -- stick it in the window and go. However, the minisplit looks
affordable, shouldn't require a major rework, and keeps stuff off of
the floor. I am trying to minimize floor footprint because the shop
does share space with two vehicles.
If you saw the garage now I might suck less. Pending construction of
a garden shed in the back yard, my "shop" also shares space with a
garden tractor/mower, towable spreader, garden trailer, roto-tiller,
generator, garden tools, etc. etc, etc. Getting from the bench to the
band saw is an acrobatic feat :^}
Good comments so far and I do appreciate them.
I cheat, I work as a HVAC tech.
Living in North Dakota I wanted heat first, AC second. I installed a
residential horizontal furnace up on the ceiling near the overhead door
which otherwise was wasted space. I added a new "A" coil at that time. I
waited and scrounged around and eventually came up with a good condensing
unit for free. The line set was scraps from work. I had a window unit I had
gotten for free, and sold it for $100 to offset the few components I bought,
but I have maybe $150 in the AC setup. It is probably not up to currant
efficiency ratings, but I really use the AC maybe two weeks a year so I
don't worry about the cost of operation.
I installed an Air Bear air filter,
http://www.trioninc.com/images/pdf/Supreme.pdf on the return. We sell allot
of these filters, and service many places the use them so I get slightly
used ones that customers wanted changed out that would hit the garbage
otherwise. They do a great job of filtering and the internals of my furnace
and AC stays clean. If you get allot of time in your shop you may have to
change them monthly. I get maybe 3 months on a filter. If your shop is as
well insulated as you say 1-1/2 tons should more more than adequate. I have
a 900 square foot shop and the 1-1/2 ton AC I put in is a bit large.
Mini splits are also an option, some off brands exist that are good units.
Sanyo is probably the best, but expensive.
Do you know any residential techs? You may come up with a used setup good
enough for the shop.
I have a portable unit myself - sets near my desk in the shop.
It blows on me and the computer - if I use it in CNC control.
I think I got it at Home Depot perhaps Lowe's.
It is a 120 unit stands upright and has a 10' hose running out the back.
Water drip line out the back. I have both outside.
I have 4 roll up overhead doors. I always have two open - unless it is
winter. Then I turn the unit into a heat pump and have a warmer.
Martin H. Eastburn
@ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net
"Our Republic and the Press will Rise or Fall Together": Joseph Pulitzer
TSRA: Endowed; NRA LOH & Patron Member, Golden Eagle, Patriot's Medal.
NRA Second Amendment Task Force Originator & Charter Founder
IHMSA and NRA Metallic Silhouette maker & member. http://lufkinced.com /
On 7/28/2010 3:18 PM, RonB wrote:
Here's a good thread on the subject from about 5 years ago that discusses pros
and cons of several approaches. If you can get by with a wall unit, you'll save
some bucks. I couldn't because of the biddie society (HOA) here. I don't
regret spending the money though!
Have had an air conditioner in the shop most of the time I've had a shop.
1) Don't undersize the unit, shop space is not as efficient as home space,
especially if you have high ceilings and/or equipment running. My first air
conditioner in my shop in Dallas was too small, I had to run it starting
early in the morning to keep the shop cool. If I let the thermal load get
too high by waiting until mid-day, the shop would never cool down to a
comfortable level. My unit for a 720 square foot shop is a 2 ton unit, I
wouldn't want to use any less.
2) As far as dust goes, just plan on cleaning the filter very regularly and
blowing out the coils at least yearly. If you do a lot of sanding (I mostly
plane and scrape), then you might want to make that a monthly activity.
That never really caused significant problems for me even when I was sanding
work. I'm on my second A/C in the current shop, the first one died a few
weeks ago. The failure was in the fan motor, not related to any problems
with dust, this motor was outside. Unfortunately, this was a Fedders unit
-- Fedders went bankrupt 3 years ago and the only motors available were
going to be upwards of $300 for the motor alone, before labor. It's too
bad, the compressor still cools fine. Bottom line, as long as you exercise
reasonable care, dust shouldn't bother you.
There is never a situation where having more rounds is a disadvantage
Equally, if not MORE important, is not to OVER-size the unit. It will
short-cycle, and you'll be in a nice, cool shop that's brutally humid.
An HVAC contractor can do the calc's for you. They just need a bunch
of info about construction, orientation, sun exposure, etc.
I'd pay somebody, or get demo software, or ... in some other way to
get Manual J load calcs done, for YOUR space.
This is definitely a place where bigger is NOT necessarily better.
Thanks again for great comments. I am still leaning toward the Window
unit but the minisplit will get serious consideration before I do
anything -- probably next spring.
I had to step away for several days. Our daughter-in-law had our
latest grandson this past week. A good thing yes, but he showed up
several weeks early and is going to be in NICU for 2-3 weeks. Needs
the time to get all of his little systems up to speed. They were
thinking she might go early so they started her on some steroid shots
a couple of weeks ago to build his lungs. It must have worked because
he did not require oxygen and his suck instinct is up to par with an
full term. Still needs a little incubator and tanning booth time to
keep jaundice at bay.
Congrats on the new grandson; glad all are doing well. Our son arrived 8
weeks early over 14 years ago now (and he still has no patience). That
early arrival was a complete surprise. He spent about 3 weeks in the
hospital, he had to develop that sucking instinct, your grandson is well
ahead of the game.
There is never a situation where having more rounds is a disadvantage
One thing to remember is the 30% tax rebate. It's only good this year. I'm
going to try like hell to get my shop put together enough to put one in before
the end of the year. Our covenants don't allow window units and I need heat
anyway, so a mini-split will be perfect.
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