If you have a backyard shed that you plan to renovate for a workshop or office space, you want to make sure the space does not get overheated in the summer to protect your precious electronics and other equipment. A space that feels like an inferno during the height of summer is also hazardous to your health.
You have a few options for equipping an outdoor shed with air conditioning. The following guide can help you decide what option is best for your needs.
Duct System AC
If you have a very large shed with more than one room and equipped with electricity and plumbing, a duct system might be the most efficient solution. This option requires you to hire a contractor to plan the duct system, choose the right materials and install the cooling system for you.
Licensed, experienced contractors should be able to install new ducts without making extensive cuts into walls and the ceiling.
Before beginning any work, the contractor will determine the heat-gain calculation of the structure. The heat gain is an estimate of how high the temperature increases inside of a building due to the sunlight, lights and other heat-generating items such as appliances.
Based on the heat gain and size of the structure, the contractor can choose the right type of energy-efficient AC unit.
Installing a programmable thermostat can also help the unit run more efficiently. Depending on the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) of the unit, you may be able to qualify for a rebate for your new AC unit.
Ductless Split System AC
A large one-room shed can be adequately cooled with ductless split AC system mounted on a wall. The shed must have an unobstructed wall and electricity. A split AC system consists of an indoor air handling unit and outdoor compressor. You can also install the indoor unit on a ceiling mount or drop ceiling.
As with a duct system, the contractor will use the shed's heat gain calculation to pick the right ductless unit.
The contractor will connect the two components via a conduit after boring a hole into the wall. The conduit contains a condensate drain, tubing and the AC power cable. The indoor component cools the home via a forced-air system.
Ductless splits systems can cool large rooms and are ideal if you have no interest in installing ductwork. They also include features such as programmable thermostats and remote controls. Some ductless units are also eligible for rebates.
If you have a window in your shed, you can install a window unit to cool a small space. You can use an air conditioning size calculator to determine the AC capacity of your shed so you can pick an appropriate unit.
Depending on the type of window you have, you may have to remove it and replace it with a frame and panel that is more suitable for an AC wall unit. Alternatively, you can hire a contractor to cut a hole below the window for the AC so you can continue to enjoy the view to the outside after the unit is installed.
If you install the window AC yourself, the unit should come with mounting brackets that you can secure with wood screws. Make sure to seal the edges around the brackets with caulk to prevent water seepage and air leaks.
If your shed is tiny with barely enough room for a desk or workbench but you still want to keep it cool during the summer, a portable AC will be the most economical solution. You can put the unit anywhere you want in the shed.
However, you will need electrical power for the unit. In addition, portable ACs are noisy and may require you to empty a drip pan if the unit does not remove condensation via vent exhaustion.
While you may need to dip into your savings to pay for a new AC system for a shed, once the unit is installed you no longer have to deal with hot, stuffy rooms or rely on inefficient solutions like ceiling and portable fans. In addition, you will not have to worry about succumbing to heat-related illnesses but instead can stay cool as you work.
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