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Keeping cool in the shop..what works and what doesn't

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  • Keeping cool in the shop..what works and what doesn't

    Considering that it has been one HOT summer in most of the country/world, I would like to hear what others do to stay cool in the shop.

    Having sweat run down your back tends to distract from the fun of working in the shop.

    I would like to hear what you have tried, the success or failure of the attempt and the volume of air, the temperatures and humidity that you are dealing with.

    Thanks for any suggestions.

    TMT

  • #2
    Fans, fans, and more fans. I have at least 3 fans hitting me at all times unless I am welding. Two from the front/sides and one right in the back. I limit my time in the shop to early morning, once it hits 90* outside I call it a day. I have been known to spend a few insomnia hours in the shop at 3:00am too. I generally use those hours for cleaning and organizing...makes the limited daylight hours more efficient.

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    • #3
      ...and fluids.I like ice tea unsweetened with lemon.

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      • #4
        Fan

        I have central air now. For 4 years I sweated it out though. I got a squirrel cage fan from a home heating furnace that was being junked. Put a cord and a plug on it. It was very quiet and moved a lot of air. It made life a lot better. I just sat it on the floor aiming slightly up.

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        • #5
          Iced tea and the swimming pool is 20 feet from the home shop. I can take a dip and go back to tinkering.

          At the workshop its fans and water.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Toolguy
            I have central air now. For 4 years I sweated it out though. I got a squirrel cage fan from a home heating furnace that was being junked. Put a cord and a plug on it. It was very quiet and moved a lot of air. It made life a lot better. I just sat it on the floor aiming slightly up.
            The boys in the fab shop have a squirrel cage fan like that and it moves lots of air. those things are the best and like you said its very quiet. I know I will never throw one away, I will rebuild it if needed.

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            • #7
              That's why I like my basement location. It sucks huge getting stuff down there at times but not working in the sweltering heat of my garage is worth it. I simply would not do it much in the summer if I was stuck out there.

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              • #8
                I go to the shop to cool off. It's in the basement and always cooler down there then outside.

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                • #9
                  Agreed!- Fans, fans, and more fans.

                  I spent my youth working in the Sacramento California heat as a welder. It was always a struggle. Being a youthful welder, many of my weekend activities involved drinking. I can attest, therefore, that not drinking alcohol is a first step, assuming you're the imbibing type.

                  In the 90's I worked in a semi-production shop located in a warehouse. Our air conditioning was the same as that in my car. Lots of air and sweat. So yes- fans, fans and more fans, and open all roll up doors. There was an 'old fart' working there who used to bring a block of ice to work every day during the heat and stick it into a low profile bucket (if you've seen a bus boy and his/her tub in a diner, it looked like that) with an inch of water in the bottom. Then he'd take an old shirt, wet it, and drape it over an industrial fan so that the icey waters might wick their way up and induce cooling upon the shop. I laughed. How stupid! It works. It won't chill you and it won't blow away your shielding gas, (the breeze being hindered by the shirt), but it works.

                  Fast forward to 2008 when I started my own poor boy shop. It turns out that, in a small space 1.5 gallon juice jugs, repurposed as it were, into ice blocks frozen over night, can bring down the room's temperature by, I'd say, 5 degrees. A few of these Really help.

                  Alternately, you can ask one of your rich friends for an r2d2 style robotic simulation of a compressed gas air conditioner. When he is so nice as to bring it over, make sure you've got heavy insulation and be prepared for massive waves of cool, noisy claustrophobia.

                  Wonderful!

                  -loose

                  p.s. plus Plenty of -lightly iced- water.

                  p.s.s. One more alternative is to move to Austria, where most shops need heaters, which brings up another distinctly similar, yet opposite, conversation.

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                  • #10
                    25Kbtu window mount AC unit works wonders.

                    I got it at the end of the season (about 2 days before they were gonna send it back) for something extremely reasonable - like 350ish I think. Money well spent!

                    The biggest problem with it, is standing in it's path it gets COLD.

                    It also needed a little drip cup for condensation on the inside.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jim Shaper
                      25Kbtu window mount AC unit works wonders.

                      I got it at the end of the season (about 2 days before they were gonna send it back) for something extremely reasonable - like 350ish I think. Money well spent!

                      The biggest problem with it, is standing in it's path it gets COLD.

                      It also needed a little drip cup for condensation on the inside.
                      You lucky dog , the only place we had AC was the inspection lab and the tool and die shop, I would bust my ass and get all my work done so I could go help them and stay cool.

                      The crap job was the folks running parts washers, bad humidity and hot.

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                      • #12
                        When I built my shop I included a 3 ton central AC unit.

                        Most of the time I do not need to use it as I have three ceiling fans and three skylights that open. Open the overhead door on one end and the 6' double door on the other and I get a very good cross breeze.

                        BTW, the central HVAC includes gas heat for the winter.

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                        • #13
                          My 24x20 shop has full insulation and a 12K AC unit. A timer kicks the AC on before I get home and on low it keeps the place 82~84F. If I turn it up, mid - high 70s is no problem even with outside at 100F+. I also have electric heat and can work in there year around. When I built it in 1997, I made it a point to be decently tight and condition-able.

                          Last week I shot a laser temp gauge through the access hole to the roof decking. Underside of the roof was 156F.
                          Chris
                          Merkel, Tx
                          http://raceabilene.com/kelly/hotrod

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                          • #14
                            No choices here.
                            We had a few 120 degree days this summer, it has cooled down to the low 110 area now so central air in both shops is mandatory.

                            I will only turn it on in the shop I am using tho. I have been cleaning parts in the open welding area lately so that gets done at 5 AM.
                            Guaranteed not to rust, bust, collect dust, bend, chip, crack or peel

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                            • #15
                              Thanks for the replies so far.

                              One issue this summer seems to be the very high humidity that so many of us are dealing with.

                              Evaporative cooling doesn't help when you have high dewpoints.

                              TMT

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