Air conditioner to cool only me in the shop?

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Forum topic by JonW posted 05-20-2012 05:00 PM 2331 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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8 posts in 3083 days

05-20-2012 05:00 PM

Topic tags/keywords: air conditioner garage shop

All the posts I’ve seen deal with cooling down the entire shop. I would like to just cool the area I work in. I have a 3-car garage plus an extra six feet (on the house side). The “shop” is the area closest to the house, extending slightly into the one-car space. There’s a six foot workbench on the house wall with a radial arm saw at one end, and across a four foot “aisle” is a table saw. So I typically work in that space between the bench and the table saw: about four feet by ten feet.

Since it’s not practical to cool the entire garage, I would like to get a portable AC which will blow cool air into that area where I am: and I’ll duct the exhaust hose out through an outside wall. Have any of you done this? How well did it work, and what size did you use? The range for these units seems to be about 7,000 – 14,000 btu.

I have a standing fan at one end of the bench now, which helps some, but it’s no match for Texas summers.

16 replies so far

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2657 days

#1 posted 05-21-2012 02:40 AM

I tried a small window unit blowing across the workbench towards me. Didn’t make an appreciable difference. Now I use a BIG fan. It has made a big difference and it blows all the dust my DC misses out the door. I bought one of those circular fans on a tall adjustable stand at Atwood’s when they went on sale in the fall. Love it!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View CarlosJD's profile


3 posts in 2167 days

#2 posted 05-21-2012 02:47 AM

I have a two car garage for a workshop that has a door two steps up into the kichen. I put a fan on the kitchen floor point out the door and crack the garage door slightly. This blows cool air from the house and keeps me cool enough during the long hot Las Vegas summers. This also helps blow dust up to my air scrubber.

View Remedyman's profile


47 posts in 2164 days

#3 posted 05-21-2012 05:34 AM

Carlos, It sounds like you are describing my shop. Sadly it is far from dedicated to wood. And the summers aren’t too bad in Denver. But the summers do get kinda rough for a northerner like me. I might look into a portable AC unit.

-- As long as our customers are happy, we have done a good job. Even if we are our own customer.

View PutnamEco's profile


155 posts in 3253 days

#4 posted 05-21-2012 01:47 PM

I deal with the heat here in Florida with a fan as well. Sometimes even two fans, a large fan to set up for a cross wind and a smaller fan directed at my back. works out surprisingly well for me. I would be concerned with how much dust an AC would collect.

-- “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt

View Bertha's profile


13521 posts in 2660 days

#5 posted 05-21-2012 01:57 PM

I bought a little window unit and it cooled my tiny shop really well….for one season. I fired it up the other day and it was dead in the window. I think I bought it at Lowes for $300-400 but I don’t recall what kind of warranty it might have. Regardless, I’d have to wrestle the stupid thing out and return it.
Anyone know anything about recharging these little devils?

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View waho6o9's profile


8165 posts in 2544 days

#6 posted 05-21-2012 02:06 PM

I know I couldn’t get anyone to recharge the window unit I had, it wasn’t worth their time. I bought one at the big box store and it worked well for a long time.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15283 posts in 2586 days

#7 posted 05-21-2012 02:07 PM

Any possibility of pulling A/C from the house side into your space?

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View Brett's profile


660 posts in 2650 days

#8 posted 05-21-2012 02:19 PM

A fan works well enough for me during my Texas summer as well.

-- More tools, fewer machines.

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3276 days

#9 posted 05-21-2012 02:28 PM

My shop is not attached to my house but I do use a window A/C unit and it does a great job of keeping my shop comfortable during those extremely hot days. My best investment was the spray foam insulation because it keeps the times needed for running the A/C to a very minimum.
When you do use an a/c you definitely need to have very effective dust filtration in your shop since all the dust remains in the shop with the cool air…

View MrRon's profile


4719 posts in 3211 days

#10 posted 05-21-2012 04:56 PM

A/C is too expensive for me to operate in my 1200SF shop. I ran out of money and have not completed the insulation. The A/C I have installed was originally installed in the house and when I upgraded the house A/C, my shop inherited the old one, so I also have air and heat. Until I get the insulation finished, I depend on cross ventilation using a big fan. My shop gets into the 80’s, but the fan makes it bareable down here in South Ms.

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2232 days

#11 posted 05-21-2012 04:57 PM

We have a portable AC unit (over 12000 BTU) in a 2 car garage at my partner’s homeshop. It does very little to keep us cool in the wet Mississippi air. The problem is the garage isn’t insulated. That and it’d get way too dusty if we just closed the garage at all times (no dedicated dust collection).

My advice is get a big fan and have it blow over your work area and out the door. It’ll keep dust out and keep the air moving over your skin (pulling heat away). Plus, it will probably last a lot longer than most AC units.

If you plan on keeping the doors closed, I’d put as large of a portable AC unit in there as possible. Even with that, I’d get a large enough fan in there to circulate that cool air around.

Also, make sure you insulate as much as possible. Garage doors, walls, and ceilings aren’t usually very well insulated.

You could get a Mitsubishi ductless unit to permanently solve your problem (if that’s in your budget). Some go higher than 30,000 BTU and carry 14+ SEER ratings.

Some more tips:
1. Work in the morning or later in the day.
2. If you do work in the morning, crank the portable AC down at night to cool the garage as much as possible. That way, in the morning, the surfaces have “soaked in” some of the coolness and will cool the garage for a while until it reaches ambient temperature again.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View Brett's profile


660 posts in 2650 days

#12 posted 05-29-2012 02:50 PM

A large fan can work wonders.

I had a summer job once working at a factory that made oil oil pipes and fittings out of fiberglass and epoxy resin. The factory had a metal roof and was located near Wichita Falls, TX, where daily summertime temperatures are frequently over 100 degrees. We wore longs pants and long-sleeve shirts, and worked with several large ovens that hardened the pipes and fittings. The only “air conditioning” were several large strategically placed fans. Surprisingly, tough, the fans made things quite bearable. We weren’t exactly “cool”, but we were comfortable enough to work.

(By the way, I made about $5.45 per hour in 1983 and thought I was rich.)

-- More tools, fewer machines.

View Scot's profile


344 posts in 3363 days

#13 posted 05-29-2012 03:47 PM

I installed two ductless, mini split heat pumps in my shop, (total of 3 tons). I’ve had them for almost a year now, shop stays at 76 degrees and my highest power bill has been $115.

-- If the old masters had power tools, they would have used them. So get off your damn High Horse.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4185 days

#14 posted 05-29-2012 03:56 PM

I agree that a portable ducted unit isn’t going to help much unless you stand right next to it. I think your best options are to either find a way to cool the entire space (split unit idea is probably the best), or make do with fans large enough to circulate air through the whole garage.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View poopiekat's profile


4349 posts in 3702 days

#15 posted 05-29-2012 04:34 PM

If possible, mount the A/C as high as possible in the room. Never mind putting it on the window sill. With a double-hung window, mount it as high as you can in the upper opening, by installing brackets outside directly into the window studs. It makes an incredible difference, especially when using an AC unit that you think is not powerful enough. It will do a lot more work when drawing from the hottest, most humid air in the room.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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