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Point Air-Conditioning for Shops

Advice on providing cooling to work stations rather than to the entire shop. September 17, 2014

Do any of you have any experience or ideas on the practicality of setting up just a few work stations with A/C? Do you guys have any other ideas or suggestions on how to make the unbearable heat somewhat bearable in a cabinet shop setting? I realize anything is possible with an unlimited budget, but obviously that抯 not the case. I am looking for some ideas on how to help beat the heat without breaking the bank! I looked at a few options and sheesh! It gets expensive when you start trying to drop the temperature.

I received a quote on two warehouse exhaust fans for my building for a total of $9,000. I looked into those Mist-Fans like the NFL uses on the sidelines for hot outdoor games and they are $3,750 each! I am not spending $10,000 to move the hot air faster! If this is going to turn into a $10,000 plus project, my investigation is going to go into the direction of taking a 1,500 to 2,000 sf section of my shop and closing it in with insulation and central A/C.

I figure I could move some operations into that area like edgebanding, line boring, hinge drilling, fabrication benches, hardware installation, etc. Perhaps the prohibitive operations like cutting, sanding, spraying, etc. could maybe work at night? We are in the south so in July and August it抯 unbearable! June and September are very uncomfortable as well. The heat index today was 115!

Forum Responses
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor W:
Those big ceiling fans will help in a massive way. Go to a Lowes outdoor area and stand under one for a few minutes. If you can get a little cool going and move it, it can break a 95 degree day to say 85 and below - this makes a world of difference.

From contributor E:
I put in a central air system and it worked great for a while until the coil was clogged with dust. If I were able to start over it would be a mini-split system such as Samsung or Mitsubishi, great for smaller areas. It still has an outside compressor, but inside just one blower similar to a window unit, easy to access and clean.

From Contributor O:

Any forced air system - A/C or heat - must have heavy auxiliary filtration in a woodshop. The easiest way to do this is to add a frame that will hold two-three standard size furnace filters over the air intake to prevent dust from entering the unit. Double thickness filters may be recommended if there is enough dust. Then, clean those filters every day, maybe even twice a day, as they get covered with dust. Do this outside, with an air hose or brush. The dust will reduce the efficiency in A/C quickly and will build up to be a fire hazard in a heating unit. My current shop is only the second one that has had A/C in it in 42 years in various shops. I simply could/would not be able to work without it. The work is difficult enough, why add a burden that can be eliminated? Talk about building employee loyalty! Nothing beats it as a benefit. The shop will be at 68 degrees, 40% RH, while it is 92 and 92 outside. The monthly cost is small, lumped in with the rest of the electrical. It抯 about the same as the electric heat in the winter.

From Contributor G:
I put an AC in my shop and running 68F is cold. I keep mine at about 76F and I find it very comfortable. I agree with making sure you have correct filtration for the intake of the unit. I made a cube for mine and put filters on five sides. It keeps the air nice and clean and keeps the static pressure low. You shouldn't have to clean them every day, once a week should be fine. If you need to clean them every day then you have a dust issue in the shop.

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"Photo by Leo G"