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6 Minute Read

How to Cool a Garage: 13 Ways to Defeat the Heat

car sitting in an open garage

Depending on where you live, temperatures can climb over 100℉, and garages can get even hotter. 

This may not be much of a concern if you’re rarely in the garage, but if you use your garage as a workshop or place to relax, the heat may be unbearable during warmer seasons. 

Fortunately, there are several easy and affordable ways to keep your garage temperature low. We’ve rounded up 13 clever solutions to cool a garage and keep it comfortable.

1. Buy Floor Fans 

Having proper garage ventilation will help release hot air trapped inside and allow cooler air to flow. Floor fans are a quick and easy way to boost air circulation and promote ventilation. Not only does airflow help keep temperatures low, but also reduces the accumulation of hazardous indoor gasses.

2. Install an Air Conditioner

While an air conditioner is a more expensive option, it’s highly effective in cooling a garage with no windows. ACs are also a good investment if you redesigned the garage as an office or extra living space that needs cool air long term. 

Determining the ideal placement of an AC unit in the garage can be tricky. To ensure the job is done properly, it may be best to hire an HVAC contractor. They’re knowledgeable about building codes and can provide insight on the best option for your garage size.

quick tip about installing an AC unit

3. Use a Dehumidifier

High humidity inside your garage can still make the space feel hot even if the actual temperature is low. A dehumidifier can help remove or reduce excess moisture from the air indoors. 

Dehumidifiers can also be a good investment if you live in a tropical region, which is generally prone to high humidity levels. While they don’t necessarily lower the temperature, they help keep it comfortable. You can pair a dehumidifier with a fan to keep the garage cool in the summer.

4. Add Insulation 

Garage insulation won’t add cool air, but it does help preserve the temperature inside. If you have AC installed in the garage to use in the summer, proper insulation will keep the cool air in and the hot air out. It also helps block heat radiating from the sun into the garage.

target areas for garage insulation

If you already have insulation and your garage still feels too hot, it’s likely under-insulated. This is common with metal garages, as they do better with specific insulation for metal buildings, such as woven fiberglass, double bubble, and spray foam.

5. Keep Doors Open

Opening the doors is one of the quickest and easiest solutions for a hot garage. This will promote ventilation, allowing fresh airflow in and out of the space. 

Keeping the doors open is great if there’s a nice breeze, but timing is essential. For example, early mornings are generally cooler than in the afternoon when the sun is at its peak. Open doors may also not be ideal for garage security purposes, so use this method wisely.

6. Install Windows

man installing a window in garage

A windowless garage can stay intensely hot. If it’s within your budget, consider installing a window or two to help with natural ventilation. The average cost of installing a window ranges from $599 to $894. Not only are windows entryways for airflow, but can come in handy if you plan to install a window AC unit later.

7. Use Low-Energy Light Bulbs

Your light fixtures may be another overlooked culprit of a hot garage. Some light bulbs, such as halogen lighting, produce a lot of heat and can make small spaces feel warmer. They can also be a fire hazard if you’re not careful. 

This is why it’s important to choose the right type of garage lighting. LED lights are ideal for garages, as they provide bright light while remaining cool to the touch.

8. Paint It a Lighter Color

garage door with light gray paint

Do you have a dark garage door? If so, you may want to consider repainting the garage door a lighter color. Dark colors absorb heat and can make a space hotter. A lighter exterior color can help reflect hot sun rays from entering the garage.

9. Install a Ceiling Fan

A ceiling fan is a simple, cost-effective solution if you have a high garage ceiling. Fans can provide a cool breeze while also circulating the air. Most garages have a clearance of 8–9 feet—keep this in mind when choosing a ceiling fan size so there is enough space between the fan and the top of your vehicle.

illustration of ceiling fan installation

10. Park in the Driveway

truck parked outside of garage in the driveway

Cars remain hot after turning off the engine, especially during the summer. Since the garage is already hot, parking a hot car inside will make it feel even warmer. It’s better to park your car outside until it cools down. 

Having a carport in the driveway can definitely come in handy, providing shade and sun protection for your vehicle.

11. Plant a Tree

You can also create shade by adding a tree in the yard. Large, leafy trees can block the sun and help keep your garage much cooler. The exact location of the tree must be planned strategically, preferably by a landscaping specialist. They’ll know the best placement for shade while ensuring it’s not a safety hazard, such as during a storm.

12. Install an Awning

Like a tree, installing an awning on your garage door is another way to provide shade and relief from direct sun. Retractable awnings can also double as a carport, which you can adjust as needed throughout the day and close during rough weather.

13. Get Rid of Clutter

Storing a lot of items in the garage can block airflow from doors and fans if not well organized. Some appliances kept in garages, like refrigerators, also emit heat when running and may warm nearby items. 

Tool shelves, storage bins, and bike racks are just a few of many garage hacks to keep items inside organized and allow cool air to circulate.

steps to declutter a garage

FAQs on How to Cool a Garage

What is the most inexpensive way to cool a garage?

Opening the garage door and windows is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to cool a garage. Doors and windows allow fresh air to come in and hot air to escape.

Can a portable AC cool a garage?

It’s possible to cool a garage with a portable air conditioning system, but it’s not recommended. Garages typically aren’t well insulated, forcing the portable AC to work harder than normal. Portable ACs also need a window to release the hot air, and many garages don’t have traditional windows or a window at all.

Why does my garage get so hot in the summer?

The lack of insulation and ventilation are two main reasons a garage is much hotter during the summer. Most garages typically don’t have either since their primary use is for parking and storage.

Design Your Garage with Breeze in Mind

If modifying your attached garage is too costly, consider a detached one instead. Our prefab metal garages are fully customizable and quick to build and install. From entry doors to window additions, our 3D tool lets you customize your garage design for optimal ventilation.

Sources

  1. Homewyse. “Homewyse Calculator: Cost to Install Window,” n.d. https://www.homewyse.com/services/cost_to_install_window.html
  2. Sciencing. “What Colors Absorb More Heat?,” March 2, 2019. https://sciencing.com/colors-absorb-heat-8456008.html.   
  3. Home-Energy. “Which Home Appliances Give off the Most Energy by Way of Waste Heat, and How Much Do They Contribute to My House Being so Hot in Summer? What Can I Do about It? How Do I Know Which Appliances Are More Efficient and Give off Less Heat? – Home Energy,” July 30, 2019. https://home-energy.extension.org/which-home-appliances-give-off-the-most-energy-by-way-of-waste-heat-and-how-much-do-they-contribute-to-my-house-being-so-hot-in-summer-what-can-i-do-about-it-how-do-i-know-which-appliances-are-more/.
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Alan Bernau Jr

Alan Bernau Jr. is the founder and owner of Alan’s Factory Outlet. He has helped more than 75,000 homeowners design and install custom carports and garages over the last 20 years.

Alan Bernau Jr. is the founder and owner of Alan’s Factory Outlet. He has helped more than 75,000 homeowners design and install custom carports and garages over the last 20 years.

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