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Stephen

evaporative cooler/AC in garage

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OK working on getting a garage comfortable to work in. I have a 10,000 BTU portable ac which really did nothing in our 500' garage with the temps hovering around a 100. Was looking at options. I have spent a small fortune over the past couple of months relocating my equipment from the NW to our garage in SA Texas. Not being able to afford some of the more expensive AC options such as a split one etc. I need to be looking at solutions in the hundred, not thousands. 

No windows that open in garage so going to vent an AC out through the kiln vent as the two will never run at the same time. I am trying to decide if I should upgrade the portable AC to a 14,000 btu or keep the 10k one and add a evaporative cooler.

OR 

Putting 2 10k units on one vent (actually own 3 from NW) and running one on my dedicated 20amp for test kiln and the other on a different circuit. Not sure if the vent would work right though?

My concern with the cooler is that is says they run best under 60% relative humidity and SA is 67%. I also wonder how it will affect drying pottery. 

Would appreciate any input?  

Edited by Stephen

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first question: is the insulation in the garage up to the household standards or non-existent.  if the walls are covered with drywall, that does not mean there is anything between the studs.

my 24x24 twelve foot ceiling studio in virginia was cool with an 8,000 BTU window ac.  granted, texas is at the edge of he--.

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ha, ha yes h-ll is a good description for us this time of year. I grew up in Houston but have spent the last three decades in the NW so having to get used to it again. 

Yeah the garage is attached and finished out. I assume they put insulation in but don't know that yet as I haven't torn into any walls so it might just be empty. I ran the 10,000 btu init yesterday, all day and it really did very little. I did have the garage door up a foot with blanket on the bottom to get the vent out and that opened up gaps on both tops so that might have been some of the reason it was so ineffective. 

We just bought the place and want to use the garage for a year or two to keep expenses low until we are somewhat established here before paying for a spot. I am just part time but my better half is full time and will be working out there daily and I want to get the temperature comfortable on a thin budget. I don't have any windows other than a row across the garage door or would definitely go that route.

I do have to cut a hole in the side wall to vent the two kilns and I have a dedicated 20amp for a small test kiln and also a regular circuit so I am thinking   maybe just rig up a joint vent for two 10,000 BTU units. That seems like it would do the trick but cost a lot as these thing cost $60-$70 a month to run.  

The cooler sounds like a great idea and could also be run when the garage doors are open but I am worried it would make the room moist and that is probably not the best thing for drying. Have surfed around but while I find a lot of people use them for shops I can't find anyone talking about them for pottery studios.

 

 

 

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29 minutes ago, oldlady said:

first question: is the insulation in the garage up to the household standards or non-existent.  if the walls are covered with drywall, that does not mean there is anything between the studs.

my 24x24 twelve foot ceiling studio in virginia was cool with an 8,000 BTU window ac.  granted, texas is at the edge of he--.

ha, ha yes h-ll is a good description for us this time of year. I grew up in Houston but have spent the last three decades in the NW so having to get used to it again. 

Yeah the garage is attached and finished out. I assume they put insulation in but don't know that yet as I haven't torn into any walls so it might just be empty. I ran the 10,000 btu init yesterday, all day and it really did very little. I did have the garage door up a foot with blanket on the bottom to get the vent out and that opened up gaps on both tops so that might have been some of the reason it was so ineffective. 

We just bought the place and want to use the garage for a year or two to keep expenses low until we are somewhat established here before paying for a spot. I am just part time but my better half is full time and will be working out there daily and I want to get the temperature comfortable on a thin budget. I don't have any windows other than a row across the garage door or would definitely go that route.

I do have to cut a hole in the side wall to vent the two kilns and I have a dedicated 20amp for a small test kiln and also a regular circuit so I am thinking   maybe just rig up a joint vent for two 10,000 BTU units. That seems like it would do the trick but cost a lot as these thing cost $60-$70 a month to run.  

The cooler sounds like a great idea and could also be run when the garage doors are open but I am worried it would make the room moist and that is probably not the best thing for drying. Have surfed around but while I find a lot of people use them for shops I can't find anyone talking about them for pottery studios.

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forgot the most important question.  what direction does the door face?  if it is west, you have a real problem.  insulating the door will not be as effective as closing in the whole wide doorway with real studs, insulation and drywall.  

all of this is dependent on what you plan to do with the house.  since it is your own, you can leave the door in place and work inside its opening to put in a wall.   that would preserve the look of the house in comparison to others on the street.

i do not understand "paying for a spot."  

adding a normal window to any garage should be a desirable upgrade.  have you considered that option?

i have been inside a greenhouse in virginia that had a huge swamp cooler and it felt like i was in a swamp.  wet and sticky.  would have been awful 20 degrees hotter!

determining the insulation inside the walls is as simple as drilling a hole between 2 studs and inserting a  straightened out wire coat hanger that can tell if there is resistance.

Edited by oldlady
correction

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ya know the garage door is insulated but I am sure its not great but it will have to do as we want to be able to open it. When I put in the kiln vent tomorrow I should be able to tell about insulation. A window is not really in the budget right now and unfortunately we are in an HOA neighborhood that might balk at an AC unit, although it would be somewhat obscured from the street. Had an acre property before with less restrictions and got spoiled but it is what it is.

I think you're right that the cooler is probably not the way to go. The ductless split AC units sound like the best way to go but they cost about $1500 and another $1500 to get installed and just not up for another three grand right now. Have spent around six just getting everything here and with the electrical I am tapped outB)

What I meant by "paying for a spot" was that to save dough we are using the garage for a year or so and then either renting or buying a studio space.  

Edited by Stephen

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We used evaporative cooling extensively in northern CA - Sacramento Valley and nearby foothills - where temps occasionally reach 110F+ and will hover 90-100F for weeks. That said, 20%+ humidity was a "wet" day, and even so, evap just takes the edge off - drops the temp some 10 or more degrees... When it's cooling off at night (not always), we found the main benefit in flushing the house in the evening and early morning, then shutting up the house to keep the heat out.

...which brings up insulation. Is the garage insulated at all? An insulated garage door is better than a skin of sheet metal, but not by much, and the backside of your roof sheathing will simply bake; is the overhead dropped and insulated? Are the walls insulated? My guess would be that 500 sq. feet that 10k btu doesn't touch isn't insulated; looks like you'll be cold in the winter, hmm.

Right now your humidity is 39%, hence a wet breeze would feel pretty good, ya.

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Yeah I think the cooler is out. Apparently most folks around here use them on their patios to make them more bearable but in a garage they call them just overprices fans.

My brother-in law in Dallas just extended an AC/duct into his garage and it cools any time the house AC comes on. I read that was a bad idea because it would pressurize the house and draw air from walls and vents. Not sure if that's correct and he had no ill effects that has been apparent. So I am thinking about just doing this and also run the 2 x10,000 BTU portables. That will likely cost me a hundred or so to run the AC's a month and increase my regular bill as well, say by $50 (my current elect is about $100). It will start cooling off around here in Sept. That will get me through the summer with hopefully at least a somewhat comfortable (read not sweating) studio and then I can pop for a good ductless mini-split AC system if it looks like the garage studio is going to be more permanent.  From what I am reading that is the real solution. They do have DIY install models of these systems but you have to find an HVAC company bring it up and that apparently is not easy or necessarily cheap.    

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You probably don't have a basement in your house since your located in Texas.   We have a basement and it is cold all of the time,  I also put a stairwell in the garage that goes down to the basement.   My husband works on cars so it is kind of like a pit  that has stairs.   He kept complaining about the heat, so I decided to put a turbo fan  (the kind they use to dry out flooded houses) in the stairwell and blow it upwards.    It lowered the temperature from 100 to 80 in about and hour.    If you have a basement maybe there is a way to make two openings where they can create a breeze way.   I have the ac extended into my studio from the house,  it was against code unless we uses special vents that would close  automatically in the event of a fire.   I use a couple of fans to move the cool air around.   Good luck with your cooling challenge.  Denice

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Thanks Denice! Yeah no basement. Just sitting here feeling guilty because we can't muster up the motivation to get out there and work today, over a 100 and just awful. whatever I come up with it needs to happen soon, wasting good weekend studio time.:(  

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Swamp coolers do add humidity no question but how much more and will pots dry? I cannot say for sure but a good humiidity meter us cheap and easy.Look around and see what others are doing-you could always let the dryer air in at night when sleeping to dry out work . Swamp coolers are cheaper to run than AC but as you said the air is damp.

Texas has its own issues-I suggest you PM Marcia as she made pots in Brownsville TX up until she moved last year to a state that has a better climate. Of course its a smaller state.

Edited by Mark C.

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