Moving around the country with the US Coast Guard usually means I do not have a permanent shop. Each new location I move to means I have to find a new place for the shop. I have been lucky enough to have a garage big enough to call a shop. But I have always had to invest into the space to get it adequate enough to do build. Electrical and lighting are two of the first things that always get done because without sufficient power and lighting then I can run the tools or see the work piece to make things accurate. The one thing I have always wanted to invest into is Air Conditioning and Heating. It can be a costly expense for the shop and one that just has never been justifiable since the space never truly belongs to me. South Carolina heat and humidity is so bad that I tried to avoid working in the shop for a majority of the day. Missing that time out of my day consistently put me behind schedule. A place no one wants to be. So I recently decided to invest in AC/Heating but at a cost I could justify. Putting a mini split system in was a little too much plus I would have to pay for installation since I am not an AC person. There are a couple other options in the portable world. There are window units that sit inside a window, but this was a problem for me because I don’t have a window. There are portable units that are on wheels and vent through a duct out a window or door but again I don’t have a window or a separate door. Finally, there is a swamp cooler that doens’t require venting. However, you have to fill it with ice and the fan blows the cold air out. Like you guessed, it does increase the humidity and the humidity is bad enough here that it wouldn’t actually cool anything. I decided the best option was to use a portable unit and vent it to the outside through a wall. Richard and Kevin from This Old House put out a video explaining the differences between each.
1: Find the spot on the wall that you want your vent to go. Then make sure you use a stud finder or similar to ensure you are not going to drill into a stud, electrical wiring, water pipe, or anything else.
2: Drill a 4 ⅛” hole (or whatever size you need for your A/C) through the drywall. Remove the insulation if you have any. Then keep drilling through the side of the house until the pilot bit just pierces the outside. Finish drilling your hole from the outside. You will want to make sure you are using a bi-metal hole saw since you will be cutting through various types of material.
3. After you assemble your dryer vent you will want to slide it through the hole from the outside. Make sure you orient it the correct way so the vents will open properly. Once you ensure the fit accurate then you can drive in the screws on the outside and then caulk around the vent to ensure it is weather tight.
4: You can now hook up your A/C vent tube to the dryer vent. Then plug in your unit and turn on. I let mine sit for about and hour to make sure it was getting sufficient power and ventilation.
And that's it! Go enjoy your hard work and show it off. Now that you know how to install a portable A/C through the wall; there is no need to sweat all over your projects.
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