You may be one of those people looking to convert your garage into more of a living space. Whether you’re turning it into a woodworking shop, another place for entertaining, or even a man cave – repurposing your garage has become more and more popular over the years. However, keeping it as comfortable as the inside of your home can be a challenge, so that’s why many homeowners want to air condition the garage conversion – to keep it as cool as the rest of the house. Before you get started, here’s what you need to know about using AC to cool a garage conversion.
You’ll be throwing money out the window (or through the cracks in your garage) if the area isn’t insulated. Imagine how much wasted treated air will seep through your garage door, walls, or windows if you don’t take the effort to keep it inside. Insulated walls and especially an insulated garage door will ensure that you get what you are paying for and not just cooling the outside air in the process.
With insulation comes the need for proper ventilation. Since your garage will be soundly insulated to keep the cooled air inside, that also means you need to have a good ventilation system to keep stale, warm air and toxins out. If you have a stand-alone air conditioner, that means venting the hot air released by the AC out of the garage through a window, modified door, or actually creating a venting area so the hot air can be removed.
Pick The Right Size
If you have an attached garage, most experts wouldn’t suggest just opening the entry door to your home and closing the garage door to cool the area. That can cause an imbalance in the pressure in your home since it’s likely that your AC was designed to only cool your home’s square footage, minus the garage. That imbalance can be dangerous, according to Energy Vanguard. It can cause your home to depressurize and potentially pull exhaust gasses – like carbon monoxide – down the flue.
If you have to condition your garage, it is better to go with a room AC or ductless mini-split AC. Mini-Splits are perfect because they are smaller and easier to install since they have no ducts or ductwork.
Our resident expert, Keith Hill from Minnesota Air, notes that most garages are only conditioned when in use, so that adds even more complication to picking the right size unit.
“If it’s most often in use on the spur of the moment, it may be wise to oversize so you don’t have to wait hours for it to cool down, but there is a downside – oversized A/Cs do not dehumidify very well,” says Keith. “Since it’s not actually living space most are OK with a little higher humidity for the short time they are in ‘the cave.’”