Here's How to Keep Your Garage Cool
Garages are great, aren't they? The first time you move to a house that's got one, it can feel like you've graduated from, well… something. It just feels very grown up to store your car inside its own little sheltered area.
And to have a spot for all your tools, bicycles, and other doo-dads. That, too.
But when the car isn't in there and you've got a project to work on, you might be wondering how to keep your garage cool. After all, it gets hot in Georgia during the summer! It's hard to enjoy an afternoon at the workbench when you're sweating like crazy. And we all know box fans only help so much.
Thankfully, there is a way to make your garage feel cool and comfortable.
Add air conditioning to your garage
If you want a surefire way to keep the garage cool, your best bet is to somehow add air conditioning. Here are a few ways to do that, ordered from worst to best.
1. Integrate your garage into your home's central AC (don't ever do this)
We only include this option in case you're already considering it. If you've ever thought about just running some ducts, a return vent, and a supply register or two from your home's HVAC system, please stop thinking about it right now.
It's just a monumentally bad idea.
For one thing, your central AC may lack the capacity to cool another large room, such as a garage. To effectively cool the garage, you'd have to hire a pro to perform a load calculation for the whole home, including the garage, and determine the right size for a new HVAC system. Then you'd have to buy one and have it installed.
Unless you were already planning to buy a new AC, you probably don't want to do this.
But there's an even more compelling reason not to go this route: indoor air quality. An air conditioner works by taking in air from your home, removing heat and humidity, and then pushing the (now cooler) air back into the home. Since it's taking in air from pretty various places, the air from different rooms gets mixed around and recirculated throughout the house.
And you don't want to circulate garage air inside your living space.
That's because garage air is laden with things like:
- Chemical odors from paint, cleaning products, and fuels
- VOCs from manufactured products, like plywood
- Carbon monoxide (!) that lingers from car exhaust
You don't want any of those odors or pollutants blowing around inside your house. That's why you keep that stuff in the garage!
And let's not forget about the hot, humid air in the summer and cold, dry air in the winter. You'd be dealing with that any time you forgot to close the garage door.
2. Add a window unit AC
Ok, you know you're not going to add the garage to your central air conditioning system. How about a window unit instead? This could be a viable option in some situations, but most people probably shouldn't go this route.
For starters, you've got to have an accessible window that's the right size. Lots of garages don't have one. And if you do have one and stick an AC in there, you've got a security issue on your hands. A window with an AC in it is a window that's open 24/7. The AC usually isn't difficult to remove.
There's also the question of aesthetics. Many people find window units unsightly. And if you've got an HOA, they'll probably stop you from installing one.
And don't forget how noisy they are! If your plan is to put on some Thin Lizzy while whittling away at the workbench, you might find it hard to sing along.
3. Install a mini-split air conditioner
Now this is the best way to keep your garage cool!
A mini-split air conditioner provides reliable cooling with none of the downsides of the options discussed above. When you install a mini-split, you're getting efficient, quiet cooling for your garage. And you won't even have to worry about ducts.
We've written about the different types of mini-split systems you can get, but here's the nitty gritty. Most mini-split systems are ductless. There's an indoor unit that brings in air on one side and pushes it back into the room on the other side. As the air passes through the unit, it's cooled just like with any other air conditioner. There's also an outdoor unit that lives on the backyard side of your garage or on the side of your house.
The indoor unit and outdoor units usually look like this, but there are different varieties available.
Mini-split systems should be serviced regularly, just like your central HVAC system. They've got a compressor, a blower fan, a refrigerant line set… all the stuff your existing system's got (sans ducts, of course).
Oh, and if you get a complete, all-season heat pump mini-split, it will heat your garage in the winter as well! Basically, you'll be able to spend as much time as you want in your garage at any time of year. Comfortably.
Remember to keep the garage door closed
This is key. If you're serious about keeping your garage cool, you'll need to be serious about keeping the garage door closed.
A garage door is huge. Any time you open it, it's like removing an entire wall from a room and letting in all the hot, humid outdoor air. Needless to say, keeping the door open all the time can completely wreck your plans for a cool, comfortable garage.
Even with a solid, properly sized mini-split that cools your garage effectively, an open garage door can really throw a wrench in things. Just remember that when you add that system to the garage, you're also committing to keeping the door closed except when you absolutely must open it.
Ready to keep the garage cool? We've got you.
If you live in Metro Atlanta and think it's time to outfit your garage with a reliable air conditioning system, we can help!
At PV, we're Trane-Mitsubishi Ductless Pro certified contractors. That means our team has completed dedicated mini-split installation and maintenance training at the Mitsubishi factory. We're one of the few HVAC companies in Atlanta with specialized mini-split expertise! When you work with us on your mini-split installation, you know you're getting someone who's done it before — and done it a lot.
Get in touch today to set up an appointment! We'll come check out your garage and point you toward the best solution for keeping it cool.