Skip to content
Shed Heater & A/C

Shed Heater & A/C

Amidst the growing demand for personal space, mounting attention to outdoor living, and the increasing need to escape from the hubbub and drudgeries of daily life, more and more people are looking for a place to relax and recharge. But it seems that we need not look far. Home improvement is going outdoors; right in the backyard. With home space becoming more valuable than ever, backyard sheds have been getting a lot of second looks. And well, a range of retrofit activities, as a matter of fact.

Repurposed sheds are popping up in many backyards and it is a fad that has been going on for many years now. Across the country, many sheds today are turned into a multi-purpose facility—transformed from being a mere storage place into a new livable space where you can practically do anything. Modern sheds have become a home office, hobby hub, art studio, reading nook, workshop, entertainment room, and even as a small guest house. The options to convert this particular area are almost limitless. But as sheds are carved into a fresh, functional space for the family, it’s not always an easy undertaking. While structural modifications would be a breeze, there’s one thing makes the project always a little bit daunting—climate control.

Retrofitting Shed, Air Conditioning Challenges that You Ought to Know

Sheds, by design, are exposed to elements—from dusts to rain to weather. Inside, it could get so hot or cold, depending on the climate. The natural course during renovation is to fully insulate the shed and install an air conditioner. But it is important to realize that for you to successfully remodel and convert a shed, you should make sure that an effective climate control system is in place.

Just when you thought that you’ve hurdled the challenges, it’s almost certain that you’d get frustrated because you cannot really control the temperature that gets distributed inside the shed. The result is a wonderful room that you can never really use too often because it gets too cold at wintertime and too hot when summer hits its peak. Yes, the worst outcome would be temperature inconsistencies which will be the reason why you’d always feel helpless about when it comes to your retrofitted shed. Now, even if you install a self-contained unit, the lack of necessary efficiencies in any type of system would only result to having a system that does not really live up to its billing, except maybe raising your utility bills.

So, how to tackle these challenges?  The smartest move is to look for the best alternative cooling and heating solution. With that said, it boils down to the question of, “What is the most ideal air conditioner for your converted backyard shed?” There are many options aside from central air, so let’s try to identify a few systems and determine if each one will really suit your shed AC application.

Window Air Conditioners

Designed for single-room cooling, window air conditioners seem like a good fit for a shed. No question about it, window ACs are relatively low-cost, easy-to-install, simple to operate, and pretty reliable as long as you are using it in a small room environment. This explains why many sheds are installed with window ACs. They’re too common that you’d not have any problem at all in choosing the best model and the right size that fits your particular application.

The main downsides of window air conditioners, however, is they are loud, obtrusive and not efficient. But if you can find a way to make things work aesthetic-wise, then you would not have a problem whatsoever. Also, if you’re not willing to spend too much on your shed project, a window air conditioner is definitely the best choice.

Just keep in mind that you cannot really expect too much from this system except that it’s going to give you just the right amount of cool temperature. You can purchase a window air conditioner for a just a few hundred bucks; probably in the range of $150 to $700.  There are window ACs that are integrated with a heating function, but these type of systems are priced a little bit higher than the average window-type units.

Because window air conditioners are pretty easy to install, the labor costs would be very manageable as well. That’s right, it’s not going to break the bank - but you will want to make sure the opening is completely sealed off to make sure you're not wasting extra energy.  At the most, a window AC installation for your shed will only cost you an estimated amount of $1000 up to $1500. And that’s already for the whole thing.

Just don’t forget that it is only a rough estimate, which means it could still go down or up depending on a few variables, such as the type of the system that you’ll choose, the brand, the capacity of the unit, the labor cost, and the needed materials like the sleeve for the unit.

Through-the-wall Air Conditioners

Like window air conditioners, through-the-wall air conditioning systems are not too expensive and they are also pretty easy to install. It is a commonly used system for single-room spaces like a converted shed. Compact and non-ducted, a through-the-wall AC can be easily installed at the side or at the back of your backyard shed. Like its window-type counterpart, this system can definitely help you cool your single-room space, but this is a type of cooling that is just enough to give you the exact needed comfort.

Unlike the window units with a “slide out chassis” and installed in a window, through-the wall air conditioners are normally flush-mounted or recessed through a wall-frame and supported in its weight by a chassis sleeve. Basically, the wall opening and the bracket are intended to properly to secure the unit. And insulation work around the unit is needed as well to keep the air from leaking out. Considering that sheds have a very small square footage, a through-the-wall AC system gives you a better option if you like to avoid losing a window or good view from your backyard shed.

With regard to cost, a through-the-wall AC is priced just as much or a little bit higher than the window air conditioner due to the need for extra stuff like bracket, sleeve and insulation materials. The labor would be a little bit challenging as well because of the requirement to bore a hall in the wall. Through the wall units are also a bit obtrusive, a little loud and not too efficient, but overall, this is a decent option for your shed as long as it works for you and suits your specific situation.

Portable Air Conditioners

Also a unitary system or a self-contained unit, a portable air conditioner is also a convenient cooling option for your converted shed. The only downside to this unit is the limit on cooling capacity and the need for ventilation. With regard to the latter, you should know that a portable air conditioner needs to be vented to let out the exhaust heat that it normally discharges. You can always do it through a wall or near the door. If you think that this is going to work in your particular shed, then you’d not have any problem.

While average portable air conditioners have lower capacities than typical window or through-the-wall units, there are more advanced models that can cool just as much. You would have to remember that portable ACs are really designed for spot cooling, so it can actually only cool a targeted space. In other words, if you are looking for a system that you can use as effectively as any other system, especially during extreme climate condition, then this might not be the best option. But if you will not be using the shed too often, there’s no reason that this system would not work. The best thing about a portable air conditioner is its portability. You can use it anywhere and anytime you want to. Additionally, you can also control your energy use because you can simply turn it off when you need to.  However, if you need heating as well, you'll have to find a separate unit to offer heat.

Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioners

There is no argument here; a ductless mini split system is the best system for your shed or any type of renovated space. Compared with traditional systems, a mini split unit is more energy-efficient, more powerful, and definitely more cost-saving.

Ductless mini split systems can work as well or better than central air, but without the typical limitations. Very easy to install, quiet, space-saving, and highly unobtrusive, it can work perfectly as a system of choice for your shed.

With regard to features and functionalities, mini split systems are topnotch, owing to better technology and advanced components that are integrated into the system. It operates quietly as well, which is a great advantage to have especially in a space like a shed that is intended for relaxation or entertainment. Unlike other systems, ductless mini splits are a little bit more expensive, but they are simply too good to be passed on especially if you are looking for a system that really suits your requirement for a shed climate control project.

If we’ll sum up the advantages of choosing a ductless mini split system for your converted shed, then here are the specific benefits:

  1. Highly energy-efficient
  2. Can work both as a cooling and heating solution
  3. Powerful cooling and heating
  4. No need for costly and complex-to-install ductwork
  5. Direct and easy installation
  6. Versatile application
  7. Environment-friendly
  8. Independent temperature control, providing individual comfort
  9. Sleek, stylish, elegant, and can blend into any interior design environment
  10. High-quality and advance airflow control and filtration systems

Get the Right Climate Control System for Your Shed

Due to certain challenges, cooling or heating a converted shed requires innovative solutions that are not only effective in terms of installation, but also efficient and powerful enough to give you the maximum level of comfort that you need. When traditional systems like a central HVAC unit is not an option, choosing a single-room air conditioning solution is oftentimes the best way to go. Ductless mini split systems are the ideal choice, but it doesn’t mean that other single-zone cooling options such as the window air conditioners, through-the-wall air conditioners, and portable air conditioners would not offer you much. If you will really opt for any of these systems, your success actually hinges on getting the right system with the right size for your particular space.   


Previous article Are Mini Splits Cost-Effective? 5 Reasons They Are
Next article Mini Split vs. Central Air: 5 Things to Consider