Garage Workshop Planning: Heating, Cooling and Ventilation
A garage workshop is a wonderful place, but you need to pay close attention to the way it’s heated, cooled, and ventilated. When spending hours working in the garage workshop you need to be comfortable. It’s also important consider the wood you work with, too. If the humidity is too high, it can affect the wood so this can be an important factor.
Insulating your garage workshop will not only make your workshop much more comfortable in the winter, it will also cut down on your heating bills. This is important. At the very least you should insulate the ceiling which will have the largest effect on the comfort of the place. Ideally you should insulate the walls, too, and put caulk all around the windows and install weatherstripping on the doors. However, doing that can create a problem with sawdust so any insulation needs to be done along with thoughts about excellent ventilation.
The more you insulate, the more effective your heating will be. Every component works with every other component so having the balance between them correct is important.
Heating your garage workshop is going to be an important consideration in fall and winter. Unless you’re building the place from scratch you won’t be able to use the best option, which is underfloor radiant heating.
Failing that, some of the best options include baseboard electrical heating, solar heating, and a heat pump/heater and air conditioner combined window unit. Using a wood stove of any kind isn’t recommended. Using a wood stove can be good for finishes as well as allowing glue to dry. More than that, having fire around sawdust is never a good plan.
In warmer climates, cooling the garage workshop is going to be an issue. There are several possible solutions, ranging from a window air conditioner to running central air ductwork from the house. This latter is only possible if the workshop adjoined and the central unit is powerful enough.
An evaporative fan, also known as a swamp cooler, can work well, although it can create very high humidity in the garage workshop. Humidity can affect joints in the wood and if the workshop becomes too dry you can end up with stored lumber cracking or shrinking. To add humidity to the air, use a humidifier. To remove it, a dehumidifier is the best solution. Both are portable and can be moved around within the workshop if needed.
Ventilation is important in a garage workshop. You should install at least one sidewall fan and also take care to clean up all the sawdust every time you work. A good fan will help eliminate much of the sawdust from the air, but not all of it. In hot climates install a roof vent, too, so the rising hot air can go out of the building. Some vents, such as those used in greenhouses, will open wider as the temperature rises. When working, wear a respirator so you don’t end up breathing in the sawdust. Your lungs will thank you for it.