Summertime seems like an excellent opportunity to get a lot of home projects done. Unfortunately, many people find that the season for using their home workshop is far too short. Your workshop won’t stay comfortable for long unless you take steps to deal with rising outdoor temperatures.
So how can you keep your workshop cool to make it a place you can enjoy working all summer long? Here are a few strategies that can make your workshop a cool, comfortable place to be all summer long.
The odds are good that your workshop is adapted from a garage, shed, or another outbuilding. If that’s the case, the building likely has little or no insulation. One of the first steps in making your workshop a better place is to add some insulation. This is often just a simple afternoon’s work and not very expensive.
Don’t forget to add insulation to a large door such as a garage door or a barn door. When you’re insulating the attic area, make sure you leave space for air flow to exit through roof vents.
Sun striking your workshop or entering through the windows to shine inside can dramatically heat the space. Adding shade can substantially reduce the temperatures in your workshop. Since you can’t grow a shade tree on demand, try adding an awning or other source of shade outside. This not only helps keep the shop cool, but it can also be stylish. Sometimes it even creates a comfortable area outside your workshop, which can be an enjoyable place to take breaks from your work without putting a full stop to your day in the shop.
The benefit of an awning over curtains is that when the sun heats the awning, the heat is still outside, whereas a hot curtain radiates that heat inside your shop.
So far, we’ve focused just on ways to keep your shop from picking up additional heat from outside. However, for most of us, that’s not going to be enough. After all, there are probably a few heat sources inside the shop that you have to deal with, such as power tools.
There are three common approaches to cooling down a workshop:
Fans work well for cooling your shop if the outdoor air isn’t too hot. Then you can draw in cool air or exhaust heat depending on what you need more. Fans also work best if you don’t mind sweating because the moving air increases the evaporation of sweat from your skin. But if you don’t want to sweat, a fan isn’t a good choice.
Air conditioning uses a compressor to cool down refrigerant gasses, which then cool the air. It’s an energy-intensive process and creates a significant amount of waste heat. An air conditioner can work well if your shop can eliminate the waste heat. It’s also good to seal the shop so that the conditioned air can be re-treated to drop the temperature further. Finally, you have to be aware that dust can clog up and damage an air conditioner fast, so make sure your either provide an additional filter or clean the AC unit often.
An evaporative cooler works by drawing hot air in from outside and running it over evaporative media – similar to a sponge – soaked with water. This evaporates the water, cooling the air in the process. This can immediately drop the air temperature by up to 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Essentially, the machine sweats, so you don’t have to. This is an energy-efficient process, and it doesn’t promote rust or corrosion. In fact, professional metal shops often use it in their facilities.
If you are tired of not finding enough good days to spend in your home workshop, it’s time to take action. A Portacool evaporative cooler is a great way to cool your shop, and our light, portable models are ideal for wheeling around your space or even taking with you to sell your wares at a farmer’s market or fair.