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.
As I said - these are fairly custom doors - so a lot of rework (which isn’t going to happen in this heat!) would have to be done to get one to work. More trouble than its worth, ultimately.
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.
Hmm - that’s a pretty good idea; I’ll take it under consideration.
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?
That’s the problem - when I reorganized my shop over the winter, in order to maximize my storage space I put up a series of “gorilla racks” in front of my windows (I never looked out them or opened them, so it didn’t matter to me - at the time). No way to change that now…
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?
That’s a fairly good idea, but I don’t know if my wife would go for the look; I could probably do that as a temporary thing like you said, though.
Could you not extend the hose directly to the attic vents? Would size a lot of trouble
Not with the unit I have; I tried that at first (just going into the attic via a hole in my attic access panel; the soffet vent is only a few feet away from the access in my shop) - the AC unit overheated. I tried adding an extra fan to help pull the hot air out; it overheated, then the AC overheated.
Later (as in yesterday) I downloaded the manual to the unit and found that you have to keep the exhaust pipe as horizontal as possible, which really limits its application.
Here’s the strange thing, though - on Friday night, I tried an experiment; I put the hose out the door like I normally do, and extended it away from my shop entrance. Then I propped up a board over the hose to close off the gap, and added another board on top of the door to close that gap. It wasn’t perfect, but I just wanted to experiment to see if I could drop the temperature further by closing up the gap. I turned the unit on; it ran fine for about an hour and a half, then shut down - overheated. I found this odd because I could normally run the unit for hours if I didn’t cover those gaps (how I normally run it). I am not sure what I am doing wrong, or if I just have a bum Craigslist “special” (very possibly). I am trying to get in contact with the manufacturer of the unit to find out about having it checked for repair.
In the meantime, I have my portable swamp cooler - but right now, that thing is near useless because we are heading into our “monsoon” season (high humidity and sweltering temperatures - swamp coolers don’t help much).
I do have a plan, though - and its going to cost some, and I probably won’t be able to put it into action until this winter at the earliest (or next spring). They make A/C units called “ductless mini-splits”, in which the condensor is on the outside of the house (on the roof or next to a wall), with the power and refrigerant lines run inside the building to the heat exchanger, which can be hung on the wall or from the ceiling. The only problem is, while these units will run on regular house current, they typically draw a lot of amperage; more than what I have available on the circuit to my shop. So I am thinking I need an upgrade there to support it. But I wanted an upgrade anyhow. Where I might run into trouble, though, is the sizing of my upgrade, because if I have such a thing done, I would want a dedicated circuit for the A/C (20-25 amp), plus one for the shop (15 amp), plus a third for my server closet (15 amp) in my shop, plus a 40 amp 220V outlet for a future AC/DC welder - all in all, around a 100 amp upgrade for my shop - but I think my house is at its limit for its main panel! If that’s the case, then it would depend on what the service level is to my house; it might be impossible without spending more money than I am willing to do (heck, it might be impossible without the power company doing upgrades - which I doubt they would do - the area I live in is older, dating from the early 1970s).
I guess we’ll see what happens; for now, my activities in my shop are limited to short stints mainly late at night (when its cooler - like around 100 degrees or so!)…