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Thread: Shop Heating/Cooling

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    South Bend, IN
    Posts
    109

    Shop Heating/Cooling

    I just moved my shop into the garage. Fully insulated and now looking for an effective way to heat and cool the 550 sqft. Looking at several options. Does anyone have experience with the portable air conditioners that vent through a wall rather than a window. No window in garage. They also have a model that both heats and cools. Any experience with these is helpful.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Cary, NC
    Posts
    259
    I have been using a heating/cooling unit for about three years and it has worked great for me. I try not to keep my shop to cool in the summer nor to warm in winter. I got my unit from one of the big box stores. My shop is 24' x 36' and is comfortable year round.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    South Bend, IN
    Posts
    109
    Thanks for your reply, Joe. Can you tell me what brand you are currently running?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Bug Island, GA
    Posts
    153
    I have a similar shop space (about 500 sqft) and asked this same question a few months ago. It may come as no surprise that I received mixed reviews on the subject. So, I proceeded to do a lot of research on portable ac/heat units and came to these conclusions:

    a) If you live in a hot and humid climate, then these machines don't perform as well as other units (such as window units, mini splits or central air). That also includes energy efficiency.

    b) Portable units need to have drainage access. So if you want to run the unit continuously, you need either an indoor floor drain or feed a hose through a hole in the wall to the outdoors.

    c) Portable units need to have plenty of clearance around them in order to function properly (at least a 12" diameter). So, finding an 'out-of-the-way' place for one was quite impossible in my situation.

    d) Due to the clearance issue, the intake and exhaust hoses will get very warm and radiate that heat into your shop, thus forcing the unit to work harder.

    e) From what I've read, portable units seem to have a problem heating when the temperature outside falls below 47 degrees. Really? What's the point in having a heating function then? But, I digress.

    So all in all, I decided to call my favorite contractor the other day and have him install a mini split system (which should happen in the next couple of weeks). I'm a little bummed out, because I was hoping to avoid that expense and use it for better tools, but what good is having a nice shop if it's too uncomfortable to work in?

    But that's just my story. You may be perfectly happy with a portable unit, many people are. It just didn't meet my practical needs or personal comfort level.

    Just one piece of parting advise if you do decide to go with a portable unit. Get a unit that uses two hoses (intake and exhaust), because my research showed those units to perform much better than the single hose units.

    Good luck in your quest for climate control.

  5. #5
    Have you looked at the ductless split system? I copied this description from another website...Popular for many years in Europe and Asia, ductless mini split air conditioners and heat pumps are fast becoming just as popular in the United States, too. The system is composed of three main components: an outdoor unit, an indoor mounted evaporator unit, and a wireless remote controller. The outdoor and indoor units are connected via small refrigerant lines that run through a three inch opening in the wall or ceiling. Our ductless mini split systems deliver the unmatched comfort of a traditional split system to specific individual spaces in your home. Whether you're creating a quiet, comfort-controlled home theater room, or simply want to heat or cool an area in your home without ducts, the wide variety of ductless mini splits give you the efficiency, aesthetics and comfort of a traditional central split system.

  6. #6
    I was going to suggest cutting a hole and installing a window ac in it, but you need heat as well as ac. Maybe one of those through the wall units that motels use. Surely you have a local hvac company you can call and talk to, who could recommend either the mini split or a through the wall unit. My local guy put a furnace and 2 ton ac unit in for his brother in his brothers garage, which the brother uses as a workshop restoring antique cars. Said it cools the garage very well. Of course you are looking at at least a 4000$ installed cost. I purchased a new 95% furnace, 75000 btu, and a 2 ton ac, high efficiency, and the units with the lineset cost 3100. Installed it was 3800, and I helped the guy. Spent a summer helping him when I was a kid, so he knows I can do the work. Course now we're both a couple old coots.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Fredericksburg, TX
    Posts
    1,701
    I don't see where you are located and that would likely make a difference. I just built a 16 x 24 shop with gambrel roof (4'H x 10' W )attic space. I use a window type AC that is mounted into an opening in the wall (not a window). I purposely bought a fairly small AC unit and try to maintain 80 F here in Fredericksburg, TX. It has worked pretty well and I do have a fan to supplement air flow. I did not buy the AC/heat combo and instead have an oil filled heating unit that I keep in the area that I am working on cold days. I was able to maintain close to 60F after nights in the 20's and day in the 30's. I did insulate walls and roof joists, and there is no ceiling, just attic floor.

    The Home Depot rep talked me out of the combo AC/heat unit because of extra cost and also less efficient than the oil filled heater.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    523
    Dominic,

    All of these comments mean nothing if you don't live in the same area as the person who posted the comment. What works OK for them may not work at all for you. We need to know where you live to be able to help you with better information.

    I live in South Central North Carolina and heat pumps work well for heating / cooling for all but the very coldest days of the Winter (below 20 deg F) and they are ideal for the area where I live, but may not be so ideal for other areas. If the system also contains electric strip heaters it can still keep the room comfortable during these very cold nights, but at the cost of a significant increase in electric usage. My shop is an insulated 14 X 26' outbuilding and I use a 24,000 btu window style heat pump (through the wall mounted) to heat and cool it. The unit is only turned on when I'm using the shop or when the outside temperature will be below freezing, because I have a water connection for a sink plus glue and rechargeable batteries to protect. When I'm not there during the Winter I set the temperature down to 45 degrees, but run it at 65-70 while I'm there working. It has been 105 here this past week and the unit has maintained 78 degrees, but I have to turn it on before Noon or it can't hold that temperature.

    When I lived in Southern NY State, heat was the only real requirement for my shop. A wall hung 50,000 btu automatic kerosene furnace took care of the shop's heating needs. There were only a few Summer days when it was too hot to work, so I had a 12,000 btu window air conditioner that I would use for those days. Neither of these solutions would be good for you unless you live in one of these areas and have a similar size insulated shop. You will need to determine what is right for your area.

    With any forced air heating or cooling system you should all pay close attention to filtering the inlet air to these systems, especially if your system uses a refrigeration coil for heating and/or cooling. These coils will plug up quickly from the dusty air in the shop and they are hard to clean if the dust gets into these coils. I've been fortunate to find that a 12 X 20 X 1 pleated filter will fit behind the front cover of my unit. If I'm working in the shop every day this filter needs to be changed weekly or the system efficiency will fall off significantly. The mini-split system heat pumps may be a great idea for heating and cooling, but I don't know how you could filter the air intake on them very well. Adequate air filtering is a real problem that needs to be considered when installing any shop heating or cooling system.

    Dominic, please tell us where you live (edit your profile so it will display on all of your posts) if you want better help on this subject.

    Charley

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    No. Virginia and Fulton, Mississippi
    Posts
    171
    Quote Originally Posted by Dominic Carpenter View Post
    I just moved my shop into the garage. Fully insulated and now looking for an effective way to heat and cool the 550 sqft. Looking at several options. Does anyone have experience with the portable air conditioners that vent through a wall rather than a window. No window in garage. They also have a model that both heats and cools. Any experience with these is helpful.
    In Northern Indiana I'd expect record lows to be 20 below and record highs to be 110 above. If you want what I call a comfortable working range (45 to 85) year around your going to need a lot of heating compared to say South Carolina.

    I've used the European units in Europe, they worked just ok. I think for your workshop you should look at a small split system for April thru November that will heat some but mainly cool and a supplemental heater, electric, kerosene, oil, for those cold winter days. It's one thing to not be able to work because it's 100 in the shop like last week. It's quite another to worry about pipes, liquids, batteries etc. freezing. I lived in several houses in Northern Vermont in my pre-Army years and the most successful shops were always in the basement.
    Setting up a workshop, from standing tree to bookshelves

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    154
    I am smack dab in the middle of the same dilemma, and here is what I came up with.

    After having (2) seperate HVAC companies come out and quote me the same BTU's and unit, I was confident my research was confirmed.

    I have decided to go with a ductless mini-split, 12,000 BTU's. This will allow the unit to cool from 95 degress down to 75 degrees, and heat from 0 degrees to 65 degrees.

    This is based on the Mitsubishi Mr. Slim MUZ-FE12NA. I too have @ 500 sq.ft., R-19 walls, r-30 floors and ceilings.

    Of course, this is a shop, so the warnings about dust and fibers on the unit must be followed. regualr cleaning, and I plan on running one of those ceiling mounted air cleaners to go along with the unit, to filter the air.

    I am going to purchase mine from https://www.acwholesalers.com/

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    241
    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Jump View Post
    I am going to purchase mine from https://www.acwholesalers.com/

    If you end up going with them, let me know how they were with service, shipping speed, etc. I'm trying to decide where to purchase my system.
    -------------------------------------
    Adrian Anguiano

    "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future". Jeremiah 29:11

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Anguiano View Post
    If you end up going with them, let me know how they were with service, shipping speed, etc. I'm trying to decide where to purchase my system.

    I ordered a Mitsubishi Mr. Slim heat pump unit from ACWholesalers.com. Ordered it on Monday, July 16th and it arrived in my driveway the following Monday. Pretty quick I think. That's coming from Florida to me in Maryland.
    Jamie Bacon

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Jacksonville, FL
    Posts
    91
    All of the "containers" in Afghanistan use the split systems. They seem to work really well. I had about 20 in the area I was working in and the all performed well in -10 degree cold and up to 110 heat(Kabul). I live in Florida and have thought about getting one for my garage.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    1,597
    Dominic,

    Without understanding where you live (actually, what the temperature/humidity levels are outside), this is impossible to answer with any certainty.

    For example, a heat pump (AC in reverse) works really well warming a room to a comfortable temperature when the outside is 50*F with dry air. Now, if it's 33*F and high humidity, it'll freeze up. If it were -40*F and low humidity, you'd be better off with electric heat.
    One can never have too many planes and chisels... or so I'm learning!!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Rensselaer, IN
    Posts
    636
    I love my P-TAC... NW Indiana.

    Dead of winter, I have to dial it down, because I'm sweating.

    Heat of summer (even this year) I have to dial it up because my teeth are chattering.
    Used to be round. Looks like a 2 by 4. Thank you!
    -
    When they tell you it won't work, try tanacity and guile and make it work.
    -
    Practitioner of the notorious "Barbarian Build" philosophy

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