Air Conditioned Shops
Issue: Issue 1.03
Posted Date: 5/23/2000
It's that time of year when you start spending so much time in the shop, you begin to wonder about making the space more livable. And as it gets hotter, some of us may be putting air conditioning into our shops. One of the lucky inhabitants of rec.woodworking managed to get his hands on a free, very large (three ton) air conditioner that he's going to have installed in his uninsulated shop. He asks the group:
- Is condensation going to be a problem?
- The unit is definitely too big for the space. Will this create problems?
- Would a dehumidifier help?
- Would it pay to insulate the shop?
One respondent worried that, since the unit is so big, it would cool the shop down too fast, creating condensation. Some comments mentioned that the air conditioner would remove a lot of moisture from the air in the shop, but others countered that because it was so big, it wouldn't take very long to cool the area and thus wouldn't eliminate much moisture. A later respondent, a guitar maker, added, "Strive to keep the humidity somewhat constant. Constant changes in humidity will have a negative impact on your projects (especially the finish)éhumidity changes affect the wood rather dramatically and in a short period of time."
Another respondent did some quick math on the economy of insulating versus electrical rates. Admitting that his calculations were based on assumptions, he came up with about $2 in saving per month if the shop was insulated, so he advised against it. The insulation would also, he added, cause more moisture buildup in the shop.
Buying a humidifier was recommended. At this point someone wondered aloud whether this air conditioner wasn't overkill? He suggested it might make more sense to get a window unit, which would run longer and remove more moisture, and thus forego the humidifier. That begs the question "Is free always free?"
Finally, someone in a similar situation chimed in. He had a huge air conditioner in his shop and it worked great. It eliminated moisture "dramatically," it kept the place comfortable, and it didn't jack up the electricity bills.
The only real danger is, if you make your shop too comfortable, your spouse may not see you for months.