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  #1  
Old 07-13-2018, 11:51 AM
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Garage too hot; Portacool versus mini-split A/C system?

The cars need a lot of work; heat index is north of 100 each and every day. The garage feels like 180 degrees; after only an hour working in the garage I feel like I descended into hades for an 1800 degree fire bath.

I've seen the portacool evaporative coolers for around $400, they look like an affordable option. I also read about the mini split A/C systems which seem like a nice option as well, although I'm sure the price is higher.

The bigger picture is the house A/C and heating system is quite old; eventually it is going to need replacement and the mini split A/C heating system is an option for the entire house, garage included.

Your thoughts or ideas are appreciated.....
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Old 07-13-2018, 12:10 PM
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Those evaporative coolers aren't real effective when the humidity is high. You didn't give a location, but the use of "heat index" says you are probably in a high humidity situation. AC is MUCH more effective in that situation.

If it's crazy hot, I just put a shop fan blowing directly on me and dampen my clothes with water, not dripping wet, but enough to know it's there. Only 100% cotton t shirts and jeans or work khakis. Same principle as the swamp cooler, but far more effective, as it is directly on your skin. Have to wet down every 30 mins or so.
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Old 07-13-2018, 12:38 PM
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Where are you located and what is the ambient humidity level? Look at the weather and see what the dew point is, that is the absolute minimum temperature that a swamp cooler can provide. High humidity (>40%) will make it useless or make the indoor temp WORSE (high humidity). You also need free flowing ventilation, preferably a cross draft for the swamp cooler to do its magic.

FWIW, in my area the humidity in the summer time is ~20-30%. On a 100˚+ day, the swamp coolers we have in our warehouse will blow in the mid 60s, keeps the overall temp in the warehouse in the upper 70s, lower 80s depending on the time of day and the humidity level. The key for successful operation is LOW HUMIDITY.
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Old 07-13-2018, 01:23 PM
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I'm in the same boat in Columbia, S.C. ...

Mini Split is the ticket. Less than a grand and it looks like something a DIYer could do. I've been talking about this for years and just maybe this month ...
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Old 07-13-2018, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by greazzer View Post
I'm in the same boat in Columbia, S.C. ...

Mini Split is the ticket. Less than a grand and it looks like something a DIYer could do. I've been talking about this for years and just maybe this month ...
Evaporative coolers will not do much for you this time of the year with the high humidity there. I used to do business in Charleston, went thru the same. A good ac is the way to go.
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Old 07-13-2018, 01:38 PM
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I'm leaning towards the mini split, they gave out a heat advisory today for older people to stay indoors and out of the heat.

When I walk out into the garage 2 - 4 hours after pulling either the diesel or the 560 into the garage, it is hotter than hades. The heat from the garage combined with the heat from the diesel engine turns the garage into a COOKER.
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Old 07-13-2018, 01:41 PM
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Weather.com indicates temps right now:

90 feels like 96, 0% precip, 49% humidity. weather.com indicates temps around 96 feeling like 102 around 3:00 PM this afternoon.

I use a dehumidifier in the house, I'm thinking of buying another one for the back bedroom. It holds around two gallons of water; I end up emptying it two to three times daily.
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Old 07-13-2018, 01:43 PM
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Evaporative coolers will not do much for you this time of the year with the high humidity there. I used to do business in Charleston, went thru the same. A good ac is the way to go.
I agree .... mini-split is the ticket. HD sells them for around $900 and refrigerant will be around another $90 and the odds and ends needed probably another $100 So, for around $1,100 you can be chilled ...
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Old 07-13-2018, 01:47 PM
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A few years back I was speaking with one of the men in a local lawn care service. He told me that awhile back, one of his men went home saying he wasn't feeling well. Apparently, the guy was suffering heat stroke, went home, laid down and DIED.
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Old 07-13-2018, 02:37 PM
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Yup, humidity is too high for much effect, and as said above, added humidity in the shop will make it feel hotter unless you are standing in front of the cooler.
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  #11  
Old 07-13-2018, 02:44 PM
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Is there a window in the garage? If so, a window unit from BLowe's or Home-Repo is a nice cheap solution. A 12K BTU should cool the garage down in a hurry and still be able to cope with the heat rejected from the cars.

A window unit will work just as well as a mini-split for the same BTU. A 12K BTU window unit is $200-250, a mini-split is more like $1200. Installation for the window unit is under 30 minutes, mini-split is several hours. If there's a window to slot a unit into, it's a no-brainer.
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Old 07-13-2018, 03:10 PM
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Sadly there are no windows in the garage nor in the garage door so I guess I am stuck with the mini split system. I'm already designing my next house in my mind; many things will be more user friendly.
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Old 07-13-2018, 05:17 PM
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In order for a Portacool to work in high humidity, you will need additional wind speed to give effective evaporation. We're talking nearly a wind tunnel experience.

Back in lean times, I installed multiple whole-house fans to provide sufficient cooling. It won't lower the temperature that much but is more tolerable. You will need to lower the garage door to about 4-6".
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  #14  
Old 07-13-2018, 05:25 PM
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I bought a mini split off eBay about 3 years ago for $550 delivered. My garage is 2.5 car detached with 10 ft ceiling- insulated and drywall. 12k btu unit keeps me toasty warm in winter and is more than capable at cooling.

It’s also nearly silent which is a big deal to me.
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Old 07-13-2018, 09:12 PM
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I have been having the same thought, sort of, except I am contemplating how to cool my 40x60 shop with 16' ceilings. It is insulated but thought about getting a 5 ton unit, run a line of ducting down the center with vents. It might not make it cold but surely it would cool it to a tolerable level for the few hours on the weekends I am out there.
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