A garage is a desirable part of a house. Many potential homebuyers look specifically for a home with a garage. Not everyone is looking to use their garage as simply a place to park their cars, however. Even then, if you are parking your car in the garage, odds are you will be using that space for storage or an extra work or play area in your house. If that’s the case, you will likely be looking at insulating your garage and being able to cool and heat it.
Now, if you are just going to be parking your car in the garage, you don’t need to worry about air conditioning or heating. Simply put, your car doesn’t need to be air conditioned, and neither does your lawn mower. On top of that, adding air conditioning to your garage can be a big mistake. It can even be dangerous. If you are considering adding air conditioning to your garage, you will want to avoid these common mistakes, and think about whether your garage really needs to be air conditioned in the first place.
Mistake #1: Adding Air Conditioning
When it comes to mistakes in regard to adding air conditioning to your garage, the biggest mistake you could make is actually adding air conditioning to your garage in the first place. More often than not, you are going to be using your garage as just a garage. If that’s the case, adding air conditioning is a waste of time, money, and energy.
When it comes down to it, your car, lawn mower, and other household tools don’t need to be air conditioned. Most items that you would be storing in your garage don’t need to be air conditioned. And, if you do have items that need to be stored in a climate controlled environment, the best solution is to simply keep those items in your home. You don’t want to pay to air condition an area that doesn’t need it. On top of that, garage doors aren’t designed to be insulated or sealed, which means you garage will just be leaking all of that cool air outside.
Now, if you are going to be using your garage as something other than a garage, like a man cave, home office, or another kind of work or play space, you might want to consider adding air conditioning. But you’ll need to do it correctly.
Mistake #2: Adding Air Conditioning Incorrectly
If you are going to be parking your car in the driveway in order to use your garage as an entertainment space or a workspace, and if you live in a climate where the heat gets unbearable, then you are likely going to want to add air conditioning. However, you’re going to want to do it correctly. If you add the wrong kind of air conditioning system, you could not only be violating building codes, but you could also be putting your household in danger.
Air conditioners are designed to balance their airflow. That means that whatever air they pull in, they have to push out the same amount of air. For instance, if your air conditioner pulls in 1,200 cubic feet per minute, it has to be able to push out 1,200 cubic feet per minute. Your garage might only be big enough to take in 400 cubic feet of air, which means that other 800 cubic feet has to go somewhere. And that somewhere is likely your house. When this happens, it will depressurize your house, which will pull in air from the garage, or even pull air back down from your water heater flue. Either way, you have a problem. Your air conditioner will be pulling in potentially hazardous air from the garage, or pulling CO2 back into your home. That is not something that you want happening.
Adding Air Conditioning Correctly
The take away from those mistakes should be that unless you really need to, don’t air condition your garage. However, if you really do need air conditioning in your garage, there is a correct way. Don’t use a system that uses forced air and ducts. Not only is that likely against building codes, it can be dangerous.
Instead, use a small window unit or a mini system you can attach to a wall. These keep the air in your garage separate from the house while still providing enough cool air when you need it. Also, you can run the air conditioning in the garage separate from the house, which will save you money and energy costs.
So, if you are just using your garage as a garage, don’t air condition it. If you are using your garage as a livable work or play space, you can air condition your garage, but use a standalone system without ductwork.