Garage Air Conditioning: How to Add an Air Conditioner to Your Garage

September 9, 2016
Ross and Witmer

Originally published July 2013, updated in September 2016
Learning how to air condition a garage may seem like a waste of time to some, but if you work in your garage a lot, air conditioning can be a big help during our hot North Carolina summers. This is particularly true if you’re the type of homeowner who has a garage workshop. But installing garage air conditioning takes some forethought. Extending your central A/C into your garage generally isn’t efficient or practical, so you’ll likely need a separate system. Here are some considerations for adding an air conditioner to your Charlotte, NC garage.

Installing Garage Air Conditioning

  • Portable unit – A portable air conditioner is a freestanding unit that uses a tube to take in fresh air and expel heat. To set one up, you’ll only need to find a location for the tube, such as a window, plug the unit in and turn it on. When you use the unit, you’ll need to periodically empty the built-in reservoir that holds condensation.
  • Window unit – A window air conditioner sits inside a single- or double-hung window. If your garage has no windows, you can prepare a hole in a wall. To install, just position the unit and plug it in. On the down side, these systems block light and leave your garage open to thieves who can lift out the air conditioner to gain entry.
  • Ductless mini split – A ductless mini split system works like a heat pump in that it uses an outdoor compressor/condenser and indoor evaporator/air handler. Because air is delivered directly from the air handler, though, this system doesn’t require ducts. All you’ll need is a 3-inch hole in the wall for the conduit line. Knowing how to air condition a garage with a ductless system requires training, so consult a professional if you’re considering this method.

Sizing Your Garage AC System

Correct sizing is one of the most important factors affecting your garage cooling system’s performance and energy efficiency. As a rough estimate, you’ll need around 25 Btu per square foot of floor space in your garage. So a 12,000 Btu air conditioner is usually enough for a 500-square foot garage.

If you’re wondering how to air condition a garage for optimal efficiency, consult with an HVAC contractor at Ross & Witmer. Around Charlotte, Mecklenburg, Gaston and Union, we help homeowners stay comfortable year round.

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