Summer often brings miserable heat. Garages tend to be the most neglected part of a home when it comes to comfortable conditions. While many homeowners only spend minutes at a time in their garage, those of us who work on our cars or projects can literally spend all day in there.
Running HVAC ducting through the garage would provide the best cooling effect but has too many downsides. Luckily, there are several low cost ways to help control the heat in your garage making it bearable for everyone.
Circulate the Air
Garages with a window: You can put a one-room air conditioner in the window to bring cool air inside. A more economical way is by the use of fans. Ventilation fans, exhaust fans, and oscillating fans are a few types.
Position a box fan at the window to suck hot air out of the garage or install an exhaust fan in the ceiling. Mount a ventilation fan high on the wall opposite the garage door to directly suck out the hot air.
Even if you don’t have a window, an air mover (or simply a box fan) is still one of the best ideas as the goal is to simply keep the air moving.
Light Reflects Heat
Light colors reflect heat. Dark colors absorb heat. The heat from the sun setting in the west is highest around 3:00 to 4:30 pm. A westward facing garage door is exposed to the sun’s blazing heat.
Painting the garage door a light color such as white, off-white, cream or beige will keep the heat out. Painting the exterior walls a light color will also aid in keeping the garage cool.
For detached garages, installing a light colored roof over your garage will be of significant help. Cool Roofs are made of materials that reflect the sun’s energy to reduce the roof temperatures between 50-60ºF (28-33ºC) cooler in the summertime. The “cool roof” pigments allow metal roofs to be EnergyStar rated even in dark colors.
Insulation comes in various forms that can be used to keep your garage cool enough even for cookouts during the hottest time of the year. Insulation can be installed around window and doors, inside the garage door or the interior walls and ceiling.
A garage door is the largest opening of a garage. Doors are made of a variety of materials. Some are made to be good insulators while others have no insulating properties. When searching for a garage door, be it a new construction or replacement, choose insulated doors or wood.
Wood is a natural insulator and can easily be painted to the color of your choosing. Install reflective insulating panels on the inside of metal or fiberglass doors. Cut the panels to fit your garage door and secure them between the garage door panels or with painter’s tape.
Caulking is the process of applying a waterproof sealant to joints or seams in various structures. Seal visible gaps between garage doors and window frames with a silicone caulk. Be sure not to get any caulk along the garage door track which will prevent it from opening properly.
Weatherstripping is the process of applying a one-sided sticky strip used to seal openings such as doors and windows. Weatherstripping helps to seal air leaks by keeping the cool air in and the heat out. Identify all openings in your garage. Aside from the obvious doors and windows, search for holes and gaps along the pathways in your plumbing, wiring and HVAC system.
Weatherstripping includes, but is not limited to:
- Felt rolls which are inexpensive though last only a year or so.
- Tubular rubber, vinyl, or silicone.
- Foam Tape made from EPDM rubber sold in various widths and thickness.
- Door Sweeps made of aluminum or stainless steel.
All the above ideas are great ways to keep your garage cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. In addition to more comfort, these improvements may also increase the value of your property.
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