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Topic: Suggestions on how to keep my shop cool... (Read 3305 times) previous topic - next topic

cr0sh

All,

Just looking for some more brains on this.

I live in Phoenix, Arizona; last night at about 11pm the outside temperature was hovering around 100 degrees F.

I have a shop attached to my house (but only accessible via outside doors) that I do most of my electronics in. Before the summer set in, I purchased used off of craigslist a portable A/C unit (not a cooler; its an actual air conditioner with a compressor, and a hose that carries away the hot exhaust).

I had planned on hooking the hose up to a hole cut in my attic access in my shop to exhaust the hot air into my attic (and out the attic vents, ultimately). This didn't work, though - the unit overheats and shuts down within a half-hour.

My only solution so far, then, it to run the hose out the door, and shut the door on it, propping it closed with a toolbox; this unfortunately leaves a gap about 7 inches wide, so I am unable to cool the room below about 90 degrees F or so, which is nowhere near enough.

I am trying to avoid cutting holes in the wall or the doors, for a couple of reasons: 1) I'm not the greatest carpenter, and it wouldn't look good, 2) My wife doesn't want to see a hole in the wall, 3) At some point, maybe this winter, I am going to have ductwork run to my shop from the house A/C and I don't want a hole in the wall to repair.

I also don't have access to the windows in my shop anymore (I put large gorrilla racks in front of them for storage purposes, and there's no way I am moving them until winter).

So - my question is: Where would you run the hot exhaust air?

The only solution I have been able to come up with is to try, once again, to run the hose up to the attic, but at the end of the hose, mount a high-speed 120 VAC muffin fan that can move as much air as possible; I have a feeling the overheating is being caused by the fan not being powerful enough to push the airflow up through the tube and into the attic at a rate so it doesn't overheat.

I am just curious if anyone else has a solution that would keep me as cool as if I were in the main house (where the temperature is set to about 75 degrees F - but for my shop, I would be happy with 80-85 F), that doesn't require the assistance of a contractor to set up...?

:)
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TchnclFl

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My only solution so far, then, it to run the hose out the door, and shut the door on it, propping it closed with a toolbox; this unfortunately leaves a gap about 7 inches wide, so I am unable to cool the room below about 90 degrees F or so, which is nowhere near enough.


Seems like the only viable solution to me with the current situation.  I'd give that a try and see how it works.

flyboy

Wow, that's a very non-standard application for an air conditioner.  I assume that by portable, you mean a "window shaker".

Have you considered an evaporative cooler?  That should work quite well in your environment.  I don't know how much water would be required, though.  I feel for you as I speak often with an A/C distributor or ours that is based in Phoenix.  He's a pretty imaginative and very experienced guy.  I could contact him and ask if he's willing to discuss some alternatives with you.  If so, I could PM the info to you.

I don't really have any ideas to help.  Only thing I can think of is to run water over the condenser coil to keep it cool.  This really doesn't deal with your door problem, though.  I'll keep you posted.

cr0sh

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Seems like the only viable solution to me with the current situation.  I'd give that a try and see how it works.


Well - that's what I am doing now, and it stinks as a solution; even with the air blowing straight on me, I am still sweatin'!  ;D

I've thought about trying to block the gap in the door with either some thin plywood cut to the width, so there would be a "hole" at the bottom of the door gap for the hose, but it doesn't seem like a very elegant solution, and I am having trouble coming up with a method to attach it so that it isn't permanent, and would still allow the door to be used (especially if I need to get out fast because of smoke or fire).

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Wow, that's a very non-standard application for an air conditioner.  I assume that by portable, you mean a "window shaker".


No - this is an A/C unit on wheels, with a hose that is meant to run out of the area being cooled; kinda like this:

http://www.cleaning-guide.com/images/portable-air-conditioner-window.jpg

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Have you considered an evaporative cooler?  That should work quite well in your environment.


Yes - I tried that last year; I have small portable shop cooler that I can hook the hose up to; It works ok, but I face the same problem in that I now need a way to get incoming fresh air; I would prop it in the door the same way, but it was hard to get around, difficult to hook up, and you were muggy. Plus, it didn't work well during the monsoon with its higher moisture (which is getting here quick).

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I don't know how much water would be required, though.  I feel for you as I speak often with an A/C distributor or ours that is based in Phoenix.  He's a pretty imaginative and very experienced guy.  I could contact him and ask if he's willing to discuss some alternatives with you.  If so, I could PM the info to you.


That evap cooler actually doesn't take much; we once cooled areas in our house when the A/C died on us (bad relay I had to replace). We ended up filling it using a pitcher.

I don't think I need the help of a professional - like I said, I plan to have ductwork run from my main A/C unit at some point in the future.

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I don't really have any ideas to help.  Only thing I can think of is to run water over the condenser coil to keep it cool.  This really doesn't deal with your door problem, though.  I'll keep you posted.


Good idea, but not possible (really) with this kind of indoor unit; I would then also have to deal with getting rid of the water, plus running the hose into my shop (no water access in here). Thanks for the ideas, though - its what I am ultimately looking for, and hoping maybe somebody comes up with something I haven't thought of.

BTW - you wouldn't believe how hot that hose and the air it moves out can get; it has no problem moving the heat, I just need a way to move it out of the area I am in, and not let more in (insulation isn't really a problem, as long as I can keep the door closed - which with the way I have it set up, I can't, so I can only cool it down so far).

:)
I will not respond to Arduino help PM's from random forum users; if you have such a question, start a new topic thread.

Osgeld

what about making a skirt out of canvas or heavy plastic, could even go nuts and sew a pipe in the bottom so it stays down  (or just use some machine screws nuts and washers for weight)

you could roll it up when not in use and secure it with some velcro, and it could all be attached with adhesive tape so no damage later on
http://arduino.cc/forum/index.php?action=unread;boards=2,3,4,5,67,6,7,8,9,10,11,66,12,13,15,14,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,86,87,89,1;ALL

graymalkin

I think you can buy little electric fridge plates, from sparkfun (ironic eh?), put some of these in your seat for additional cooling. I'll hunt down a link...

cr0sh

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what about making a skirt out of canvas or heavy plastic, could even go nuts and sew a pipe in the bottom so it stays down  (or just use some machine screws nuts and washers for weight)

you could roll it up when not in use and secure it with some velcro, and it could all be attached with adhesive tape so no damage later on


I actually like this idea. If I set things up, maybe using a blackout roller shade, and made it wider than the door opening, with a hole to allow me to lead the hose out. Hmm - something to definitely mull over!

Thanks Osgeld!

:)
I will not respond to Arduino help PM's from random forum users; if you have such a question, start a new topic thread.

retrolefty

#7
Jul 15, 2010, 01:27 am Last Edit: Jul 15, 2010, 01:35 am by retrolefty Reason: 1
Just move to a cooler location. I can recommend the California coastal areas. The summer fog in the San Francisco bay is like having free AC. Even on hot days the air cools down quickly once the sun sets, even when there is no fog. Of course that is all possible because of the very cold ocean current running south from Canada. ;)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:San_francisco_in_fog_with_rays.jpg

Lefty

copiertalk

Get a heavy curtain to hang up.

or as osgeld points out you can put on a skirt. Air things out so to speak.


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what about making a skirt out of canvas or heavy plastic, could even go nuts and sew a pipe in the bottom so it stays down  (or just use some machine screws nuts and washers for weight)

you could roll it up when not in use and secure it with some velcro, and it could all be attached with adhesive tape so no damage later on  
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cr0sh

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I can recommend the California coastal areas. The summer fog in the San Francisco bay is like having free AC. Even on hot days the air cools down quickly once the sun sets.


My wife and I like Cali as a state, but we hate the government. We've often talked about "moving" to Washington or Oregon before. Honestly, though, we both love Arizona (we're not too happy about the government here, either - but at least we can still open carry).

The heat is really only a "problem" in the July/August time of year, it tapers off on months before and after that; heck, up until the end of May, we would turn our A/C off (even then, it was only set to 78-79 F), open up the windows, and put some fans in to blow in outside air (night temps during those times are mid 60s to mid 70s generally).

I am pretty sure my A/C unit would work great if I could just figure out a good way to get the exhausted hot side air out of my shop without leaving such a large gap open in my door. Osgeld's suggestion of a "skirt" of some sort is making me think of possible options. Part of the problem with idea is the arrangement of the doors and what I have near them (double doors, shelf directly above, and they swing inward).

I am sure with enough thought, a solution can be had (probably figure one out that works just as it starts to cool off here)...

;D
I will not respond to Arduino help PM's from random forum users; if you have such a question, start a new topic thread.

cr0sh

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or as osgeld points out you can put on a skirt. Air things out so to speak.


I think you misinterpreted what he was suggesting, copiertalk!

;D

But I have been known to wear a sarong around the house (and at Burning Man). Maybe I need to wear the sarong, then run the cold vent output up into it? Chill the boys down, so to speak...

;D

My wife might not like it, though!
I will not respond to Arduino help PM's from random forum users; if you have such a question, start a new topic thread.

Ran Talbott

Go to someplace like Habitat's recycled building material store and buy a second-hand door.  Once you have your more-permanent arrangements,  you can re-sell it to someone with a cat ("Comes with a starter hole for installing your pet door at no extra charge!"),  or put it on sawhorses and use it as a temporary outdoor work table.



cr0sh

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Go to someplace like Habitat's recycled building material store and buy a second-hand door.


Can't; they're not standard sized. We had this same problem when we needed to replace our back doors (two full mullioned french doors) after our dog ate through them (long story, but true); we couldn't find doors that would fit; they were apparently custom made (the doors exit from an addition to the original house that was put on before we moved in). It was going to cost over a grand to have them replaced, so we decided to wait until we could afford new windows and insulation put in.

We finally had that done last year, but having that door custom replaced was still going to be an expensive proposition, plus we wanted a way to be able to open the windows when it was cool out (before, we opened the whole door, which let in insects). That meant we had to buy new standard doors, and it was cheaper to do that than having the french doors custom made to fit - even though they had to redo the opening to make the new frame fit. To have this same process done to my shop would be more money than I want to spend right now.

Thanks for the suggestion, though!

:)
I will not respond to Arduino help PM's from random forum users; if you have such a question, start a new topic thread.

ill_switch

I second the notion of Habitat, or a secondhand building supply shop, for a door. Worst case, get one that's too big and cut it down to size. You will be surprised at how cheap a door can be.

My other thought - put a "cat flap" in the shop door. This won't be as ugly or home-made looking as a hole you cut, and it's not an outrageous thing to have on a door, either. The kit to install it will cost $20 and will come with trim to hide and seal the ugly cut edge. Then when you need the AC, just stuff the hose out the cat door. When you don't need the AC, it's not a big deal.

daveg360

You got any windows?  people use those type of A/C units in the UK as it's not worth installing a permanent unit for the 3 days per year that it's worthwhile.  I've seen a cludge on the market that is basically a board that goes over an open window then you shut the window against it so that it seals and stays in place.  It has a hole the same diameter as the A/C hose.  Perhaps you could make one from Ply+ some pvc pipe and glue?  If you have no windows - you could get a big sheet of foam board insulation cut it to door size +hole for A/C.  Leave the normal shop door open and push your makeshift one in place?  you could even add hinges and have it as a kind of screen door?
If your system involves lethal voltages/life critical/flamable elements - you probably shouldn't need to ask.
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