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  • Cooling a Shop/Garage

    My workshop is in my garage, and I live in Arizona. I've spent the winter (such as it is) insulating, sealing, and doing everything I can to make the space usable in July. Now I'm ready to address the cooling. I'm not sure whether to do regular air conditioning, or use a evaporative (swamp) cooler. As far as cooling, I think the latter would work fine, but I'm concerned about the increased humidity levels, and their effect on the wood. Does anyone out there have any experience with this?

    Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    forget the swamp cooler

    I too live in Arizona and if you insulated the garage etc then go for air conditioning. you can then work in July and August in comfort.

    check out home depot and Lowe's one or both carry a portable type unit where you don't require to mount it in the wall. I forget the details but if you have the typical 2 car garage here or about 350sq ft the portable unit is so that a hose is placed outside etc. the thing runs on 120vac too! so no special wiring. You may also want to visit Fry's electronics as they often carry summer fans and systems.

    If you prefer the swamp cooler ..which is worthless when the dew point gets to 45 or higher they also make portable evap fan systems, again, no permanent installation. This too keeps the neighbors happy as you are likely in one of those damn HOA neighborhoods!

    marty in Glendale AZ today it was 82 and sunny

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    • #3
      Will summer ever get here?

      My shop/garage is 24 x 32 with 10' ceilings, also super insulated. I cool it with a 16000 btu thru the wall A/C. Of course I don't live in Aridzona. Those portable units are real expensive compared to conventional units.
      Lorax
      "Did you put the yellow key in the switch?" TOD 01/09/06

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      • #4
        Evap coolers will give significant swings in moisture content. You will get some expansion, then contraction when you move the mtls indoors.

        I live in NM where coolers are commonplace. A benefit, the moisture is good for most woods and its good for your skin. For those of you from the humid parts of the world, an evaporative cooler blows outside air (with humidity as low as a few percent) across a wet pad which cools the air as the water evaporates. The resultant air is still dry by many standards, with a relative humidity generally below 50%. The air is not recirculated. There must be a vent to allow the incoming air to replace escaping air.

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        • #5
          Thanks for your help

          Thanks for your responses, I'm thinking that the AC is probably going to be the way to go, I keep worrying about wood not knowing where to settle at, ie building it in a high moisture environment, and then putting into such a low humidity (usually less than 20%) atmosphere in the house.

          Marty, I too live in Glendale, 43rd & Peoria area.

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          • #6
            StevenD, I live just down the road from you and used a portable evap last summer in the "shop". It really was worthless in the real heat and I would not recommend it. Also had some issues with rust on the TS wings (mostly because it sat closer to that area of the shop). Lorax is right that the portable A/C units can be more spendy and if you are not to adverse to it installing a wall unit can be cheaper, depending on the labor involved (i.e. if you have block walls and such, which I do). I'm lucky enough to be getting the heck out of this state this summer (hopefully before it gets much hotter!) so I gave up on buying anything else for now.

            Good luck with your decision and AC is definately the way to go.

            WWS
            Still enjoying all 10 fingers!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by wwsmith
              StevenD, I live just down the road from you and used a portable evap last summer in the "shop". It really was worthless in the real heat and I would not recommend it. Also had some issues with rust on the TS wings (mostly because it sat closer to that area of the shop). Lorax is right that the portable A/C units can be more spendy and if you are not to adverse to it installing a wall unit can be cheaper, depending on the labor involved (i.e. if you have block walls and such, which I do). I'm lucky enough to be getting the heck out of this state this summer (hopefully before it gets much hotter!) so I gave up on buying anything else for now.

              Good luck with your decision and AC is definately the way to go.

              WWS
              Dumb Question.

              Where you heading WWsmith ?
              Not responsible for speeling mistakes
              Jeff

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              • #8
                Big Sky Country

                Originally posted by Reef12
                Dumb Question.

                Where you heading WWsmith ?
                Headed back to my roots. Back up to good 'ol MT. My wife and son have never seen snow before so I am sure they will be in for a surprise! Now I will be back to heating my shop, which is so much easier than cooling one in Phoenix!

                Now if I could just get someone to buy this house.....

                WWS
                Still enjoying all 10 fingers!

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                • #9
                  Steven

                  I too live in AZ and need to cool down the shop in the summer

                  I saw at Sears this week 16000 btu on sale for $431.00
                  dont know if thats a good deal or not but might have to check it out



                  mrlttlman

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                  • #10
                    $431 is too much.
                    WalMart carries Fedders.
                    12000 btu-115v-$238
                    18000 btu-230v-$324

                    http://www.walmart.com/search/search...ico=0&ref=null
                    Lorax
                    "Did you put the yellow key in the switch?" TOD 01/09/06

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                    • #11
                      Thanks Lorax

                      you just saved me some bucks.....
                      I appreciate that..
                      thanks
                      Mrlttlman
                      Last edited by mrlttlman; 04-21-2006, 07:32 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by wwsmith
                        Headed back to my roots. Back up to good 'ol MT. My wife and son have never seen snow before so I am sure they will be in for a surprise! Now I will be back to heating my shop, which is so much easier than cooling one in Phoenix!

                        Now if I could just get someone to buy this house.....

                        WWS
                        Great move MT Big Sky Country.
                        Beautiful up that way.
                        Not responsible for speeling mistakes
                        Jeff

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                        • #13
                          Re: Cooling a Shop/Garage

                          Have you checked out www.airzee.com? It looks interesting here in Arizona.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Cooling a Shop/Garage

                            Be sure to install a good exhaust fan and motorized inlet shutters near the roof of your shed on each end wall. Up near the roof is where the real heat is. The idea is to have the fan suck in air in one end and blow the hot air out the other end. Have it setup so it stays running a few hours after sunset and starts up an hour or so after sunrise. You could do an attic fan type thermostat control. Depending on the size of the shed you most likely will want a good size belt drive wall mount fan. If you stink up the place, leave the walk-in door open and let it bring in fresh air. The motorized inlet shutters must be open before the fan starts so you don't draw a partial vacuum in the shed. Doing such will suck the air out of your lungs. It can implode (bust up) the building in extreme cases.

                            Depending on your setup, you may need to install some type of shutters or a window in the ceiling. This way you can have the exhaust fan move air above the ceiling and the AC cool the work area below. I think you really would do well to call in an HVAC contractor. They will have many ideas on what and how to best do all of this. You may want to hire a general contractor to help with the shutters and fan installation work.

                            Living in MD, I'm very glad I have a good exhaust fan and windows in my attic. Without such my attic would be a real oven in the summer here. Out in AZ it's got to be worse yet.
                            Last edited by Woussko; 04-07-2008, 12:58 AM. Reason: corrections

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                            • #15
                              Re: Cooling a Shop/Garage

                              one of the tricks of making a evaporate cooler work is to have AIR flow, if you jsut blow it into a closed room all you do is raise the humidity, but if you have at lest an equal exhaust area as the blower intake you will not notice much humidity and better cooling, but the problem is your probly only going to lower the temp by 10 to 20 degrees, but a lot of that depends on the relative humidity in the air, http://www.wescorhvac.com/EvapWhitePaper.htm

                              I use evaporate coolers on both the tractors and the combine, and yes some times it seem warm in the cab, but when you step out it is amazing on how well they do work.
                              Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
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