You know how uncomfortably hot working in the garage can be, especially in the summer. The heat affects many of the items you’ve got stored in there, such as metal tools, paint, and collectible items. Most garages are well above the temperatures recommended for almost all of those things. Not to mention how it affects you if you have to spend any time in there. So, can you install AC in your garage? Should you install AC in your garage? Are there any safety concerns? Let’s dig a little deeper.
Let’s answer the first question right off the bat. Yes, you can install a garage air conditioner as long as it’s done correctly. But, just because it’s possible to install a garage AC unit doesn’t mean that you should. A more in-depth review will reveal there are many things to take into consideration.
Top 3 Things to Consider When Installing an Air Conditioner
First, a word about insulation. If your garage is not insulated (and most aren’t), your going to need to add insulation if you choose to install an AC for the garage. Without it, your garage air conditioning will be rendered ineffective. Installing AC for garage without insulation will be a waste of money and energy. Cool air from your garage AC unit will escape through uninsulated walls or the garage door, and you’ll only be able to keep the temp comfortable for a limited time. Most residential garage doors are not insulated the way commercial roll-up doors are. Your AC will be forced to work harder than it is designed for and your utility bills will suffer as much as the unit itself.
Before we discuss different types of air conditioners to cool your garage, here’s what you should consider when buying a garage air conditioner.
Most AC solutions are going to require proper ventilation. If you don’t have windows and it’s not practical to vent through the garage door, you’ll have to consider using an exterior wall to install the vent. Depending on the construction of your garage, this could be challenging.
You’ll need to know the dimensions so you can select a garage air conditioner that’s large enough to cool your entire garage. Consider the BTU rating of the garage AC unit and compare it to the square footage of your garage. An AC for garage will be able to cool a larger space if it has a higher BTU rating. This BTU calculator may be helpful.
Depending on the size of your garage and your AC needs, you might consider stepping up to a commercial unit. Even though this kind of garage air conditioning is a little more expensive initially, they are made with durable, heavy-duty materials. These units are made for areas where having a conditioner is not cost-effective or feasible, such as factories and warehouses.
Is It Worth It To Install A Garage Air Conditioner?
There’s no simple answer to this question as it will be different from person to person and each garage. For some, installing a garage air conditioner is not worth the effort, time, and money. While for others, it’s necessary to ensure they have the comfort they need that fits the way they use their garage.Try asking yourself these questions to help you make the right decision when considering a garage air conditioner:
- How hot does it get in your area?
- How long do you plan on being in the garage each day?
- How many months does the warm weather last?
Depending on how you answer these questions, it may be worth installing a garage AC unit to help you stay comfortable.
The Best Garage Cooling Options
So, if you’ve decided that installing a garage air conditioner is worth it, we can now get into learning the pros and cons of the different types.
1. Window Air Conditioners
This type of garage AC unit is your best bet if you’ve got garage windows and a smaller garage. They are usually easy to install and are affordable. Window air conditioners allow you to direct the cool area onto a specific location using directional louvers. They are a little noisy and bulky but are a good option for cooling small garages quickly.
2. Portable Air Conditioners
While portable air conditioners can be a great alternative for normal use inside your home, they may not be the best choice for a garage. They are not recommended when temperatures are above 90°, especially if you are lacking insulation. (See above.) At best you will get only short-term relief and those conditions will most likely overwork the unit. These units also take up valuable real estate on the floor.
3. Mini-Split Air Conditioners
Another garage air conditioning option you should consider is a mini-split air conditioner. This type of AC unit is split between the outside and the inside. They don’t need ducts and are energy efficient, making them a common recommendation as garage air conditioning systems. They also don’t interfere with floor space as they’re mounted high on a wall.The main con of these AC units is that they are costly and need a certified HVAC professional to install them. These two factors alone make them one of the most expensive alternatives. Plus, you will still need to consider properly insulating your garage to get the full value of this type of air conditioner. When you take everything into account, installing a mini-split AC unit may not be worth the effort, time, and money you spend on it. If you use your garage as an everyday workspace, it may be worth considering. Otherwise, the initial cost and other considerations may make the total cost too much for it to remain a contender.
A dehumidifier isn’t actually a cooling system but it could be an unexpected solution to your problem if you live in an area with high humidity. When humidity levels are high in a garage, the area ends up feeling a lot hotter than it is.You can remove moisture from the air using a dehumidifier, leaving your garage feeling dry and cool. Even though they don’t lower the temperature, removing the humidity can make space feel 5-10 degrees cooler than it is because of the reduction in relative humidity.Dehumidifiers are portable and practical, although temporary solutions for a hot garage. Dehumidifiers can also be used in concert with some of the cooling options we’ve highlighted above. A dehumidifier deserves consideration as you decide whether or not you need to cool your garage.
It’s Up To You
In the end, whether it is worth it to get a garage air conditioner depends on your situation. If you’re going to make the investment into cooling your garage, make sure you heed the recommendations about insulating and making your garage as energy efficient as you can beforehand. If you don’t, you’ll most likely end up very disappointed with the results and quite a bit poorer for it.