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 Post subject: Garage Cooling
PostPosted: July 20, 2016, 9:18 pm 
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Always Moore!
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My garage is a brisk 100 degrees. The humidity is low but its still pretty warm for working. I've been contemplating getting a window air conditioning unit, making a plywood spacer, sliding the AC unit and spacer beneath the door when I'm working, and lowering the door.

All of the exterior walls around the garage are brick and there are no man doors or windows to use for the AC unit.

Thoughts?

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 Post subject: Re: Garage Cooling
PostPosted: July 20, 2016, 9:34 pm 
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Too much work and problems. Get a mini-split heat pump. One small hole in the wall for the lines. I bought a Mitsubishi and installed it myself. Had a refrigeration company do the start up. Worth every penny and very efficient.

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 Post subject: Re: Garage Cooling
PostPosted: July 20, 2016, 9:47 pm 
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Great minds think alike. I just installed a Mitsubishi mini split in our bedroom. In my case the AC guys wanted an obscene amount to do the work, including evacuating the lines. Saved myself enough to make the next set of sticky tires for the car free. Anyhow I really recommend them. Dead quiet and very efficient.

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 Post subject: Re: Garage Cooling
PostPosted: July 20, 2016, 10:52 pm 
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Location: Shawnee, Ks
If you have low humidity get a swamp cooler (Evap cooler). A lot cheaper to buy and operate than an AC unit.

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 Post subject: Re: Garage Cooling
PostPosted: July 20, 2016, 11:14 pm 
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Building a swamp cooler would definitely be the cheapest solution.

Is your water heater in the garage? Is it old? We just replaced out failing 20 year old water heater a hybrid/heat-pump water heater that cools the garage a bit while it heats the water. Not a final solution for garage cooling, but it could still help. After federal and local rebates it was roughly the same price as a conventional water heater, and supposedly should save a couple hundred bucks a year in electricity to boot.

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Last edited by Driven5 on July 21, 2016, 11:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Garage Cooling
PostPosted: July 21, 2016, 8:23 am 
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Always Moore!
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Kart/Kurt - are you guys talking something like this?
http://www.heatandcool.com/12000-btu-kl ... oC7RPw_wcB

I forgot to mention it's a 3 car garage and the single door isn't being used for a car (workshop).

This may be a dumb question but does a swamp cooler just run water through a coil?

My water heater is in the garage and it's about 10 years old.

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 Post subject: Re: Garage Cooling
PostPosted: July 21, 2016, 8:52 am 
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Location: Shawnee, Ks
A swamp cooler drips water over a pad and the air passes over that pad therefore cooling the air and adding humidity. The air then goes into the space to cool it down. The entire unit sits outside on a pad or on your roof. For a well insulated space figure 400-500 sq ft per ton of cooling (12000 btu's). Swamp coolers are all over the southwest and very popular. About the only thing you need to do is make sure the nozzles are clear and change the pads every year or so. Russ

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 Post subject: Re: Garage Cooling
PostPosted: July 21, 2016, 9:46 am 
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Mid-Engined Maniac

Joined: April 23, 2006, 8:26 pm
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Location: SoCal
We have a local Home Depot that's near the coast where the builder went with swamp coolers instead of air conditioning, figuring it would be sufficient because it's rarely hot in that area. In normal weather it works great and customers can't tell that A/C isn't being used. Then some really warm weather came and showed the shortcomings in the system. Outside it was around 100 degrees and 50% humidity; inside the swamp coolers diligently lowered the temperature to about 80 - at the expense of boosting humidity to about 80%. It was really bad, less comfortable than outside even. The humidity was so high that their concrete floors were "sweating"; the employees had to use squeegees to try and keep them dry.

My point is that swamp coolers only work in low-humidity conditions; as humidity rises and air conditioning becomes more desirable is when swamp coolers don't work well - you pick your battles. The Visitor Center at Zion National Park in Utah used a completely passive (other than the water pump) evaporative cooling system and it works great - because humidity stays low in that area. On the other hand, if you live somewhere that you get occasional humid and hot days - when you want cooling the most - is unfortunately when swamp coolers don't work. As far as operating costs go, while swamp coolers are relatively inexpensive, some of the new mini split systems have SEER ratings as high as 32, double what many low end window A/C units are.

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Last edited by KB58 on July 21, 2016, 10:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Garage Cooling
PostPosted: July 21, 2016, 10:06 am 
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Mid-Engined Maniac

Joined: April 23, 2006, 8:26 pm
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Location: SoCal
a.moore wrote:
Kart/Kurt - are you guys talking something like this?
http://www.heatandcool.com/12000-btu-kl ... oC7RPw_wcB
...

Yes.

A bit of background.

Mini split systems are very popular in other areas of the world, especially where people live in apartments; most units are made in Japan or China simply because that's where they were developed. They're relatively new here and perhaps because of that, installers are wary of them and take advantage of customer's lack of knowledge, sometimes charging crazy amounts for installation (like, double the price of the unit itself).

Installing them is straightforward but can be challenging to snake the copper refrigerant pipes through the hole in the wall - it's REALLY helps to get assistance with that part of the install. About 90% of mini splits run on 230V and while there are 115V units, the selection is much less and the efficiencies tend to be lower. I did the entire install myself; most of the time was spend running the 230V line over to the installation site (and boy am I glad I did the attic work before the heat hit).

Mini split compressor units come pre-charged with refrigerant - neither you nor an installer has to mess with adding any. The copper lines are available in 10, 15, 20, and 25-ft lengths. The idea is that they're used as-is with their pre-flared fittings so installers don't have to mess with a proper flaring tool. Any excess is coiled near the compressor.

For that size garage you'd probably want a 12,000 BTU unit, a standard size.

Once the room is cooled off you can hardly hear them. Good ones are seriously quiet, like, you have to walk over to it to see if it's even running. I like that.

For price, it's much like anything else, go with a low-end unit and cross your fingers, or pay double for higher reliability, better efficiency, and they're also quieter. Be aware that if you install it yourself, virtually no company will give you a warrantee. For that reason I went with a higher end unit, figuring that the increased reliability would be wise.

You could compromise and do all the work yourself short of vacuuming out the lines and opening the valves. For the installation price - and because I'm stubborn - I bought a vacuum micron gauge, a hose, and a vacuum pump and did it myself. I rationalized it because I can use the vacuum pump for composite work, or at least that's what I tell myself.

Many of the higher end units are true heat pumps, which means in the winter, the same unit can heat your garage, something swamp cooler can't do.

FWIW, I went with this one http://www.ecomfort.com/Mitsubishi-MZ-FH09NA/p56553.html

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 Post subject: Re: Garage Cooling
PostPosted: July 21, 2016, 7:10 pm 
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Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Andrew,

We built an addition on our house some years ago and while our existing furnace was big enough, the ducting runs were too long and we could never get heat in there - there was about a 4C drop from the rest of the house. A couple of years ago we added a mini-split to that part of the house and solved the heat gradient problem. The new ones, like ours, will heat with outside temps down to -20C, and as a result our heating oil consumption has dropped considerably - and we get air in the summertime. I am with Kurt - mini-splits are WONDERFUL.

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 Post subject: Re: Garage Cooling
PostPosted: July 21, 2016, 7:35 pm 
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Joined: April 23, 2006, 8:26 pm
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As I type this it's about 90 degrees outside. I've got the mini split in the bedroom on with the door open. At 9000 BTU it's way too small to cool the entire house, but just getting the humidity out of the air helps a lot. It's shocking just how much water can be extracted out of a house-sized volume of air. Decreasing the humidity isn't something a swamp cooler can do and while I don't mean to be negative on swamp coolers, I just want to educate potential buyers on both the ups and downs of the units.

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 Post subject: Re: Garage Cooling
PostPosted: July 21, 2016, 8:46 pm 
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Swamp coolers do their best work in a very dry climate. I used to live out in the Mojave desert where 30% humidity was considered 'Muggy'! They worked quite well there. In highly developed desert communities (Las Vegas, Palm Springs), they will often enclose the HVAC units of very large buildings in "Huts" that are basically swamp coolers to cool the HVACs!

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 Post subject: Re: Garage Cooling
PostPosted: July 21, 2016, 11:32 pm 
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How expensive to run are those split jobbie thingies? Cheaper than a window AC I would hope.

And I use a portable swamp cooler that I bought at Lowes and it's fabulous even in humid weather, just not as good in humid weather as dry, but a several times better than just a fan. And of course nothing like an AC.

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 Post subject: Re: Garage Cooling
PostPosted: July 22, 2016, 8:02 am 
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I have no point of reference about heating or cooling a garage, but I would expect that a swamp cooler in the garage would increase rusting on any bare steel (and tools). Anybody have experience with this and can comment?

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 Post subject: Re: Garage Cooling
PostPosted: July 22, 2016, 8:24 am 
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Now you guys have me looking at mini splits. Wifey Dearest is all excited about the idea as she thinks it's way too hot in the garage for as much time as I spend out there.

I guess there's a little wiggle room in the car fund since I've sold the Mini, so now I have to ask myself what I want more, a post lift or AC.

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