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  • Shop heating and air conditioning question

    I need to tap the collective wisdom of the group. I am thinking about getting a metal or wood shop built to use as a carving studio, placement is the back yard. The climate here is very low humidity year round, temperature range in an average year is 105F to -5F. I need heat and air in the shop to tolerate it a lot of the time. My question is this: Obviously I will not heat or cool the shop when I am not using it (simple economics for a retired on a fixed income guy) so I am wondering what , if any, bad effects on wood, tools, paints, etc one would run into in having the studio at the mercy of ambient temperature most of the time? I suspect this is not a good idea, but want to know what you all think, have experienced, and recommend. Thanks a lot

  • #2
    Re: Shop heating and air conditioning question

    Temps here are similar- more like 10 to 95, I linve near the lake. I have two work areas, one in the basement and one in a detached garage. Wood and tools in both. Basement is occasionally damp due to high humididty and condensation. Garage is 'ambient' most of the time: I have a woodburning stove in there for cold days.

    Wood in the garage is fine, has been for years no noticeable degradation. Couple thousand board feet out there. Close to a thousand bdft in bass, been whittling on it for almost ten years now, still as good (or as bad) as the day I bought it. I have 20 inch wide oak boards, 6 and 12 feet long- no cracks no splits no warp. Had three trees cut- walnut, box elder, cherry- all fine. Tools are also fine, no rust, including an industrial table saw with a cast iron top.

    Small amount of wood in the basement, no issues. Tools rust down there tho. Humid days in summer, the cool basement gets moist. Turn on the dehumidifier and the cool basement gets hot. Lousy trade off.

    My point is temp matters far less than humidity.

    The good thing about ambient is the humidity is relatively stable- sure there are humid days, but the average is 72% according to a web search, and the range is 62 to 82%- only plus or minus ten percent. My garage is on the north side of 3 large maple trees, fully shaded all summer long- helps keep the temp down, and the humidity more stable.

    My conclusion- your shop will be fine, or even better than fine if you knock the high humidity down with A/C
    Buffalo Bif
    www.bflobif.com

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    • #3
      Re: Shop heating and air conditioning question

      I live in the middle of Ohio. No real extremes in temp or humidity. Winter cold would be 0 to a bit below. Summer heat 90's with humidity around 70 to 80 % or a bit less. Shop is 20x30 with lots of windows. No A/C, but an unvented propane on the wall heater. Shop is super insulated, so heater is fine when set on 55 degrees. Shop is always 10 to 15 degrees cooler than outside temps in the summer. Ceiling exhaust fan for summers when necessary. Wood storage no problems. Rust no problems. It's so nice in the summer without A/C that my wife comes out and reads there sometimes. I've even caught her getting warm by the heater,out there in the winter. I'm very happy with the shop, and my wife too.

      Tom H
      http://beginnerscarvingcorner.blogspot.com/

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      • #4
        Re: Shop heating and air conditioning question

        Originally posted by SlowMover View Post
        I need to tap the collective wisdom of the group. I am thinking about getting a metal or wood shop built to use as a carving studio, placement is the back yard. The climate here is very low humidity year round, temperature range in an average year is 105F to -5F. I need heat and air in the shop to tolerate it a lot of the time. My question is this: Obviously I will not heat or cool the shop when I am not using it (simple economics for a retired on a fixed income guy) so I am wondering what , if any, bad effects on wood, tools, paints, etc one would run into in having the studio at the mercy of ambient temperature most of the time? I suspect this is not a good idea, but want to know what you all think, have experienced, and recommend. Thanks a lot
        I'm on the Gulf Coast with temps from 105 down to about 20°F. I had a 12 by 24 stick-built well-insulated shop built in my back yard. Heating and cooling is by a through-the-wall unit to heat and cool. after about 3 1/2 years it is still doing well. It has remote control so I can turn it on/off and set heating/cooling and temperature while sitting at my bench. Just something for you to consider.

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        • #5
          Re: Shop heating and air conditioning question

          Slow I have aluminum siding on my 14' x 30' shop, insulated walls but no AC or heat. In central Florida, have on problem with tools rusting or any problems with wood or paints being stored in there.

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          • #6
            Re: Shop heating and air conditioning question

            My brother in law has a woodworking shop here in Kansas and he is quite happy heating his 30X40 shop with a natural gas tube heater. It is really efficient and he keeps the thermostat around 55-60 in the winter and it is quite comfortable when it is cold. He has a bathroom in his shop, so he has to keep it above freezing.

            In the summer, he has a simple window A/C unit that cools the area he does most of his work.

            Our humidity isn't as low as yours, but he has no issue with his tools rusting due to moisture issues with the temperature swings.

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            • #7
              Re: Shop heating and air conditioning question

              Slowmover, I live in South Carolina, I can say the the temp. would be comparable to Texas, I have a Heat pump minus the optional electric heat, I turn my unit of when im not in the shop, have never had any issues with hand or power tools, I am also in the HVAC business so if you need any help on sizing, just PM me and ill gladly assist you.
              Mark N. Akers
              My Etsy Store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/KarolinaKarver

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              • #8
                Re: Shop heating and air conditioning question

                My shop is 12' X 16'.. I did insulate the walls and sealing with stander rolls of house insulation. I have 5 window. I have a small window unit air conditioner I got at Sam and I have a small room size ceramic electric heater. Both work well to handle our weather here in Mobile. Temps in summer a about the same as Amarillo, but much more humid. You may need more heat up there. But the small heater I have keeps the shop warm enough to work in with temps in the teens. But we do not have the wind you do. I'm from Amarillo I know how much colder the wind can make things.

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                • #9
                  Re: Shop heating and air conditioning question

                  I'm in southwest Missouri and had a 20x20 shop built when I moved closer to town 3 years ago. I had it insulated and it has 5 windows for good natural light. I put in a through-the-wall heating/ac unit that I keep off when I'm not out there using the shop. In 3 years, I've not had any problem with rusting of tools. With the good insulation, I don't have the extreme heat and cold that our weather presents.

                  Donna_T
                  From Missouri

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ann
                    If the humidity in the house is high, the air conditioner has a function to reduce humidity. I had a broken function in the air conditioner a month ago, which removed moisture from the air, and we were very worried about this moisture, we turned to different companies to helps us, but they all advised us to install a new air conditioner, and we came across these guys https://www.socool.sg/, they came and fixed the air conditioner. Then they told me so much about their firm. They seem to sell air conditioners, find out from them.
                    Are you interested in wood carving or selling AC units?
                    Every day should be unwrapped like a precious gift.

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                    • #11
                      Slowmover, I live in the south and I only run my AC or Heat when I'm working in there, haven't had any issues with humidity this far.Before retiring this was my field, I installed a thru the wall heat pump,it works great.
                      Mark N. Akers
                      My Etsy Store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/KarolinaKarver

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I carve inside my home, but have a separate shop building where I store and work on antique clocks. I have a wall unit A/C that I use only when working there, but have a dehumidifier that turns on and off automatically to keep the humidity no higher than 50% (our normal humidity in south Louisiana can run in the 80+ range). I don't keep the humidity lower than 50% because it is bad for the old wooden clock cases. I have many hundred year old clocks, hand tools, and a few pieces of expensive equipment there, and I have no problem with rust. I don't think temperature is a factor.
                        Arthur

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                        • #13
                          I have a 12'X16'. I live on the gulf coast, alot of heat and humidity winnter temps will reach the teens. The shope has wood with plastic siding. I insulated with standerd rolls of fiberglass insulation. aluminum roof. I have a small window unit airconditioner from Sams and a small ceramic room heater in the winnter. These do the job and I can carve all year and be comfortable. When a lack hondey do"s permits.
                          We live in the land of the free because of the brave!
                          https://www.pinterest.com/carvingbarn0363/

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                          • #14
                            My shop is about 20 x 25 in the upstairs of a bank building. It is aluminum sided and no insulation. Weather here is very humid temps from -5 to 100 or so. In the winter I use a wall mounted propane stove augmented by portable heaters. I use the propane to heat the space quickly and the portable heaters to maintain thereafter. In the summer, I use to window AC units. I have no issues with my tools in over 20 years in there. You just have to watch putting liquid bottles on metal tools. If the conditions are right (cool nights, humid days), you can get condensation on the bottles that rust the tools. I'm in habit of never leaving bottles on the tools. Other than that, no issues.

                            If I were build a shop, I'd insulate heavily and avoid really tall ceilings. I'd probably install a mini-split heat pump to both heat and cool it. If insulated well, that's all you would need. Today's heat pumps are really effective.

                            I do find my feet get cold sometimes. And if you are planning on concrete it'll be even worse. Might think about installing heaters in the concrete. They also make big heat mats that you put under a rug. I used one where I stand the most in the shop and it keeps my feet warm. They are safe to use.

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                            • #15
                              If the humidity in the house is high, the air conditioner has a function to reduce humidity.

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