A scorching garage can dramatically increase your energy costs and make summer activities incredibly uncomfortable. You shouldn’t break a sweat on the way to your car in the morning!
Whether your garage is primarily for storage, or it dual-functions as a hobby shop, it shouldn’t feel like an oven all summer long. Heat from your garage diffuses directly into your home, leading to more strain on your A/C system.
Try these garage insulation tips and hacks from cooling experts at Lennox.
1. Insulate your garage
Temperature regulation is key for a comfortable garage. We all know how important insulation is during the winter, but quality insulation also keeps the heat out. Instead of drastic highs in peak daylight and lows at night, an insulated garage will stay consistently at a happy medium.
Whether you actively cool your garage (with an A/C or mini-split) or hope to hold onto cool night air, insulation helps prevent heat transfer from the outdoors.
• Foam insulation boards
• Insulating panels for walls and ceiling
• Garage door foam insulation
• Weatherstripping along the all door edges
2. Seal air leaks
Just like in your home, it is essential to seal up any leaks so your cooling efforts don’t go to waste. Cool air escapes your garage via cracks and gaps around doors, windows, and openings. These crevices also make it easy for heat (or bugs) to creep in.
You can use:
• Window and door caulking
• Garage door bottom threshold seal
• Insulating foam
• Weather flashing tape
3. Declutter your garage
A garage full of junk isn’t just ugly to look at—it can cause your cooling costs to go up! Boxes and clutter cause your garage to retain more heat. The volume of stuff can also prevent air flow, creating stagnant, hot, or damp conditions that just sit there miserably.
As part of your spring cleaning, you may want to:
• Invest in wall-mounted organization
• Give away unneeded or unused items
• Host a yard-sale
• Remove anything that is blocking a window, door, or vent
• Get boxes off of the ground
• Add organizational shelves
Feeling overwhelmed by cleaning out your whole house? Use our free Spring Cleaning Checklist to tackle things one room at a time!
4. Use reflective surfaces
It’s no secret that sunlight beating down on a metal surface is a recipe for blazing temperatures. Reflective paint coatings, panels, or a reflective garage door can dramatically reduce the heat transfer into your garage. This works because a reflective surface causes light to bounce off rather than absorb into the metal.
5. Avoid heat-generating appliances
Warmth from the afternoon sun is enough to scorch your garage to triple digit temperatures! You don’t want to make things worse by heating it from the inside. Heat sources like water heaters, dryers, hobby equipment, grills, or other appliances can exacerbate the sweltering conditions.
If possible, move any heat-generating appliances outdoors. If you can’t move them, make sure they have proper ventilation to the outside.
For example, your home’s hot water heater is usually locked in place, but a professional Lennox dealer can help you address the thermal efficiency, insulation, and ventilation of the unit so it doesn't add unnecessary heat to your garage.
6. Let your car cool down before parking
An idling engine is a major heat source. If possible, move your car out of the garage immediately after starting the engine and let it cool down before parking again. A carport is a great option for older vehicles.
7. Plant a tree
Trees aren’t just for aesthetic landscaping. Research shows that a single tree can reduce surrounding temperatures by up to 25°F. The Department of Energy recommends strategically planting trees as part of energy-conscious landscaping.
Even a small tree can make a big difference! Trees not only cast shade on nearby structures, but they also release water vapor (through evapotranspiration) and encourage cool air to settle on the ground. In areas with cold winters and hot summers, deciduous trees (the ones that drop their leaves) are ideal because they cast lots of shade in the summer and allow warmth to hit your house in the winter.
All science jargon aside, a few trees can reduce your cooling costs and make your landscape more pleasant. Contact a local arborist or landscaper to help you find the best low-maintenance varieties for your garage area.
8. Shade the garage
If you can’t plant a tree, consider adding man-made shade with an awning or a drawstring shade over doors and windows. A carport, arbor, or even a portable tent can detract hot sun rays away from your garage, creating a shadier, cooler environment.
9. Choose lighter paint colors
The color of your garage door and house siding is not just for aesthetics—it directly impacts how much heat accumulates inside.
Dark or dull colors can absorb up to 90% of the sun’s radiant energy, which means all that heat is transferring directly into your home. Fortunately, light colored surfaces reflect sun rays away from your house, resulting in lower temperatures.
Consider repainting your garage door with a light, reflective paint.
10. Improve ventilation
Ventilation keeps cool air flowing in while encouraging hot air to exit the garage. While insulation and sealed cracks are important, ventilation is the icing on the cake. The combination of these three factors can dramatically reduce your garage temperature without adding any air conditioning.
It can help to:
• Add fans near the entrance to draw in cooler air. Fans can be on the floor pointed upward to funnel cool air to the center of the garage.
• Install vents or fans near the ceiling to expel hot air. Remember, hot air rises.
• Install a ceiling fan in the garage.
• Open your garage door in the evenings to allow fresh air to flow in. This is especially important if you are doing any painting, sawing, or other hobby activities that could cause an accumulation of indoor pollutants.
11. Install a mini-split
A mini-split is the best way to cool a garage and save up to 63% on energy costs. This portable, wall-mounted air conditioner unit allows you to control the temperature of an individual room (like your garage) without tapping into the whole home’s HVAC system.
Better yet, a mini-split can save you thousands of dollars per year on cooling costs. A lot of these savings occur because the heat of your garage won’t diffuse into your home, which means less strain on your main air conditioner. The Lennox MLB Mini-Split Heat Pump works in both summer and winter to efficiently cool or heat your garage without breaking the bank.
Your local Lennox dealer can help you find the right cooling solution for your garage.