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5 Reasons You Might Need Air Conditioning for Your Garage
The garage is an essential part of the house for many homeowners. It can also be one of the hottest parts of your home during the summer months due to poor ventilation, little to no insulation against external heat sources, and a lack of air conditioning. One of the best ways to cool your garage is to install a mini split air conditioning system. By controlling the temperature, you can preserve stored goods, protect electrical and mechanical equipment, minimize sources of air pollution, and make your home a more comfortable place to live.
Why You Might Need Air Conditioning for Your Garage
There are several reasons to manage the inside temperature of your garage with a mini-split air conditioning system, including:
1. Your Own Comfort
The garage is more than a place to store your car or hand tools for many Americans — it’s a workshop, a recreation room, a place for gathering with friends, or a home gym. During the summer months, any of these activities can become intolerable in a garage that isn’t properly ventilated, air conditioned, or insulated against heat. Tools, sporting gear, and exercise equipment stored in your sealed-off garage during the sweltering summer months can become hot to the touch, potentially posing a burn risk, while wooden furniture can expand and contract due to the fluctuating temperatures.
Consider how often you spend time in your garage. If you spend hours working in your garage, whether that’s on DIY or restoration projects or automobile maintenance, you’ll be more productive in a cooler environment. It’s also safer to exercise in an air-conditioned home gym. Temperatures exceeding 90°F can exacerbate risks of heat exhaustion and dehydration.
2. To Protect Your Vehicle
While it’s crucial to keep your vehicle out of direct sunlight to preserve the paintwork, rapid temperature fluctuations in your garage can wreak havoc on your car’s engine and electrical components.
As the temperature falls in the evening, it can promote condensation. Heat also accelerates oxidation. When combined with increased moisture in the air, this can cause metal parts to rust. If you drive a car or truck in the hot sun all day, parking it in an already hot garage keeps the inside temperature high. High heat can deteriorate sensitive electronics and evaporate essential engine fluids.
3. Extending the Shelf Life of Chemicals
People often use the garage to store chemical solvents, fuel, motor oil, paint, and other gardening, automotive, and industrial supplies. Many of these products can deteriorate due to high temperatures, reducing their shelf life.
For example, to maximize the shelf life of motor oil, you should store it between a temperature of 40 and 85°F. The internal temperature of an unventilated garage with no air conditioning can easily exceed that recommended range.
4. Safe Storage
In addition to preserving chemical and mechanical products against heat, there’s another reason to control the temperature inside your garage — volatile organic compounds (VOC) and their effects on your health. If you store gasoline, chemical solvents, pesticides, hydraulic fluids, or paints and lacquers, these volatile products can emit harmful and odorous gases. A hot garage can accelerate the vaporization process, contributing to indoor air pollution.
5. Protecting the Garage Door
Consistently high temperatures and exposure to direct sunlight can cause the electrical components of your garage door to malfunction. The result can be a failure of the door to open or close, as it registers an obstruction, compromising security and access. Keeping the inside temperature low and reducing the heat conductance of the door can prevent this problem from occurring.
How to Cool Your Garage with a Mini Split Air Conditioning System
In contrast to a central air conditioning system, a mini split is designed to heat or cool individual rooms or zones. The mini split consists of two primary components: an indoor air-handling unit or evaporator and an outdoor compressor/condenser unit. The indoor and outdoor units are connected via a conduit that houses the power cables, refrigerant lines, and condensate drains.
How a Mini Split AC System Works
The warm air inside your home or garage is drawn into the indoor unit via inlets and sent to the outdoor unit, where it contacts a series of coolant-containing coils. The thermal energy from the warm air turns the coolant liquid into a gas, which the system sends to the compressor. The compressor recycles it, returning it to its liquid state. The condenser sends the cool air to the indoor unit, which delivers it to the inside of your home via outlets, lowering the air temperature.
Types of Mini Split Systems
Mini split systems can be divided into single zone and multi zone. A single zone mini split system consists of one indoor unit designed to cool a single zone or one room.
A multi zone mini split AC system consists of multiple indoor units connected to a single outdoor condenser for cooling more than one room. If your home lacks central air conditioning, you can install a 4-zone mini-split system that can cool multiple locations simultaneously using separate indoor units connected via refrigerant lines.
Mini split systems are among the most energy-efficient HVAC units and can adequately cool and heat your garage, ensuring that it remains at a livable temperature all year long.
As a ductless system, a mini split can save you the cost of installing additional ductwork to accommodate your garage and won’t lose efficiency due to energy transfers from ductwork.
How to Find the Right Size AC for a Garage
Air conditioning systems have BTU ratings. The BTU, or British Thermal Unit, is a unit of heat measurement. One BTU is the quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 lb. of water by 1°F. In the context of AC, the BTU rating indicates the extent to which the system can remove heat from the air and lower the temperature. In other words, the BTU rating indicates the cooling power of the AC unit.
The size of your garage determines how many BTUs you need to effectively cool it. If the AC system has a rating that’s too high for your garage, it uses more energy than is necessary. If the AC system has a rating that’s too low, it will need to run constantly to cool the area adequately. This contributes to higher energy consumption than is necessary and accelerates the wear on the system, resulting in increased utility costs.
One way to determine the necessary BTU rating for your garage is to measure your square footage. As a general rule, you need 20 BTUs per square foot. For example, if you have a 1,000 ft² garage, you’ll need an air conditioning system with a BTU rating of 20,000-25,000.
Installing a Mini Split in Your Garage
While it’s possible to install a mini split AC system yourself, this may void the manufacturer’s 5-year warranty. Instead, hire a licensed HVAC technician to perform the installation.
The air-handling or indoor unit needs to be attached to a wall, at a height of approximately 6 ft. from the floor to the bottom of the unit and away from any heat sources. The indoor unit’s electrical wires and refrigerant lines need to be connected to the outdoor unit through the wall.
The outdoor unit needs to be mounted to a flat, stable surface. You can mount the outdoor unit to a homemade or purchased pad on the ground.
Best Mini Split Systems for Your Garage
Once you’ve determined the BTU output and the number of indoor units you need, it’s time to find a suitable AC system. ComfortUp resells a variety of air-conditioning products, from Gree to LG ductless mini split systems, designed to meet your requirements.
Gree 9,000 BTU 16 SEER LIVO+
A single-zone mini-split system is ideal for cooling one room. If you have a single-car garage, your BTU requirements may be as low as 6,000 and 9,000. The Gree LIVO+ is a ductless, wall-mounted 115-V, 9,000-BTU AC system for the homeowner who only needs to cool one room.
The LIVO+ has a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) of 16, keeping your energy costs down. Featuring Gree’s patented G10 inverter technology, the compressor does not stop once the desired temperature has been achieved, ensuring that the LIVO+ provides continuous and reliable performance. Producing only 28 dB, the system is whisper quiet.
The LIVO+ also features a dehumidifier, so the cooling process will not cause condensation inside your garage. The LIVO+ has a cooling temperature range of 0–115°F and a heating temperature range of -4-75°F, providing you with the versatility you need to keep your garage climate controlled no matter the season.
With the Wi-Fi Kit, sold separately, you can control the LIVO+ remotely using a smartphone or tablet. The only requirement is a Wi-Fi connection.
Gree 30,000 Multi21+ Quad-Zone Wall Mount Mini Split
If you need to cool a larger garage, a minimum of four rooms, or want the versatility of choosing, you can purchase a quad-zone mini-split system. The Gree Multi21+ is one of the most energy-efficient mini-split AC systems on the market, with a SEER of 21. This ensures that you’re able to keep your energy costs low without sacrificing cooling power.
As with the LIVO+, the Multi21+ is powered by the company’s G10 inverter technology and is compatible with a Wi-Fi Kit for smartphone/tablet functionality.
How to Improve Your AC Efficiency in Your Garage
While an air conditioning system can improve the climatic control in your garage, it’s only part of the solution. You should ensure that you address other heat sources to prevent your garage from becoming uncomfortably hot in the summer.
The metal roller garage door can be heat-conductive, especially if it receives direct sunlight throughout the day. Insulated garage doors can reduce heat conductance, lowering the temperature in the process.
If you decide to install an AC system, it’s necessary to ensure that your garage is properly insulated to prevent cool air from escaping. Garages are more likely to leak than the rest of your house, so your priority should be locating and filling any holes or cracks that cause air to escape.
Garage windows should be tinted, reflect sunlight, or have black-out curtains to prevent the sun from raising the inside temperature during the day. Insulating garage walls that face the sun should also be a priority. Even the ceiling can be a heat source, especially if you have an attic.
The paint on your garage door can also be a factor. Dark colors are more heat-conductive than light, so if your garage door faces the sun, consider painting it white, cream, or beige instead of heat-conductive black, dark green, or brown.
Air Conditioning Systems to Avoid
There are several cooling methods that you should generally avoid.
Window air conditioners
Window air-conditioning systems increase your vulnerability to burglars, requiring additional security measures to compensate, such as metal flaps or braces. In addition, one of the primary disadvantages of this system is that it partially or completely blocks the window that it’s installed in.
Portable air conditioners
Portable air conditioners are less energy-efficient than mini split systems, require manual emptying of drainage tanks, and can be noisy.
Central air conditioning
There are two reasons to avoid connecting your home’s central air-conditioning system to the garage. The garage is home to numerous airborne contaminants, from paint and chemical solvents to gasoline, kerosene, and automobile exhaust fumes (i.e., carbon monoxide). These pollutants can pose a serious threat to the health and safety of you and your loved ones. You don’t want to risk these pollutants entering your home through the central air conditioning system ductwork.
If your garage does not have an air return to the central HVAC system, it can cause your garage to become pressurized and your home to become depressurized. The result is that the negative pressure in the rest of your house will draw in air from the outside. As the HVAC system does not filter this air, it can introduce allergens and other contaminants into your home.
A dehumidifier does not lower the temperature of the air inside your home — it removes moisture. While humidity can affect your perception of the ambient temperature, a high-quality mini split AC system can cool and dehumidify the air.
Choose ComfortUp for Your Garage Heating and Cooling Needs
There are various methods you can employ to control the temperature in your garage, improve your comfort, protect your supplies and tools, and reduce the risk of indoor pollution. For the budget-conscious homeowner, mini split systems are a cost-effective long-term cooling solution. Quiet, more energy-efficient, and less obtrusive, mini split systems are the ideal solution to controlling the temperature of your garage and making it a more enjoyable area of your home.
For more information on the best mini split system for your garage, contact ComfortUp or explore our full selection of air conditioners online.
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