Our shops MUST be comfortable. They must be warm during cold days and cool during hot days. Astounding statement…right?
Okay, after once you’re through laughing, let’s discuss the importance of heat/cool for our shops. Possibly, all of you believed the importance of the comfort of our shop is for us the woodworker.? If so, you 50% correct! That’s much better then being 10% correct, so congratulations. While we humans are important, our tools, the ones that transform the raw materials into our final products, they need to be comfortable too.
The conditions of our shops, weather hot/muggy or cold/dry just as they affect our bodies, and transforms us into lethargy and carelessness. Our equipment is affected similarly. Maintaining a comfortable shop helps our shops run smoother, resulting in great memories and projects.
While air conditioners and heaters would be our default sources to manage the comfort zone of our shops, there’s another element that is a bit more cost effective and would help in the overall cost of running our shops. Insulation, is the best defense to managing the heat and coolness of our shops. Insulated floors, ceilings and walls if vital to keep the conditions in the shop stabilized. The amount of insulation needed for your shop differs by your geographic location. Recommended R-values vary based on average outside temperature, relative to suggested conditions for our living spaces.
Once you have the correct insulation packed into the floor, ceiling and wall cavities, finding the correct size of heat and cooling unit(s) is the next step. Air conditioners and fuel heaters would likely be the next thought for managing air comfort. However, lets look at one more item before employing their uses.
Have you thought of fans!? Depending on the available shop space, a ceiling or wall
mounted fan would be very effective to managing heat and cool air by circulating and maintaining comfort. A ceiling mounted fan will push hot air down, helping with heat loss. Floor models, are very useful moving air too, especially if you’re limited on ceiling height.
Now, that we’ve looked at some great ways to maintain a comfortable shop with low cost ideas, we now need to look at ways to use alternative heat sources. I’ve always loved the crackling of wood, and our shops likely have wood scraps,
so why not put a wood stove in our shops? Outside of the risk of burning down our shops due to having an open flame near a lot of fuel, I personally feel its a great source.
Alternatives to wood stove units, there are a variety of electric and gas equipment to heat the air for comfort. They’re use can easily maintain a level of consistency, especially when used with a ceiling fan, and a thermostat.
Air conditioners, are awesome! I love their cold air! However, I hate their energy costs. However, theirs a high degree of comfort provided by their use. Like the heat sources, using a ceiling fan can/will help maintain comfort throughout your shop.
There are a variety of ways to maintain comfortable wood shops. Based on my experience, combining forces will help with shop costs and create an environment you and friends will want to enjoy while working on projects.
Thanks for reading!
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