A garage is more than just a place to store your car. It's sometimes an extension of the living spaces inside your home, with family members often carrying out projects, hobbies or even band practice inside the garage. The only problem comes if you live in a particularly warm environment, since your garage could get very hot very quickly. There are several other things you can do to help keep your garage cool so you and your family can more comfortably make use of it. While air conditioning is an option, it's not necessarily a perfect solution.
Benefits of Garage Air Conditioning Systems
Adding an effective cooling system to your garage will allow you to maintain a comfortable temperature inside it so you can get on with whatever you're trying to do. It also has the advantage of keeping any chemicals, paints or art materials you might store inside your garage at a more stable temperature. This helps you minimize the chance of any fire breaking out in your garage. The problem is finding a way for the air conditioner to be effective in a drafty garage.
Garage Cooling Options
Below are some of the options you have for cooling your garage:
Portable Air Conditioner
Many people choose to use portable air conditioners in their garage, but this isn't necessarily the best option. For one thing, since garages are usually not insulated, you'll be losing a lot of the cooling you'll be creating to the outside. Given that portable air conditioners are already less effective than other types of air conditioning systems, this makes them even more unsuitable for a garage. Another reason why portable units don't work well in most garages is that a garage is a large, empty space with high ceilings. Portable air conditioners are intended for small rooms.
Window Air Conditioner
Again, because garages are very leaky spaces, a window air conditioner (assuming you have a window in your garage) will really only be effective in smaller garages. If you do choose to install a window air conditioner, you should adjust the temperature higher to avoid wearing out the compressor, since it will otherwise constantly be turning on and off.
You can take advantage of the high ceiling in a garage by installing one or more ceiling fans. This can be a very effective way to circulate air in your garage, pulling the hot air to the top. If you can tolerate slightly warmer temperatures and want a relatively inexpensive and simple solution, ceiling fans might be your best option.
High humidity levels can often make it seem hotter than it actually is. One way to deal with this is to install a dehumidifier in your garage. Removing a portion of the moisture floating around in the air can make your garage see much cooler. In fact, combining dehumidifiers with ceiling fans can be a very effective and inexpensive way to cool a hot garage.
Many of the problems outlined in the above options (such as the limitations of both portable and window air conditioners when used in garages) could be alleviated if you choose to also add insulation to your garage. By insulating your garage and sealing any cracks or gaps, both window and portable air conditioners can suddenly be much more effective than they would otherwise.