How to Cool a Garage

Whether you’re tinkering with a car, squeezing in a workout, or trying to watch the game, nobody wants to roast in their garage on a scorcher of a day.

However, you don’t have to be resigned to that fate. There are a wide variety of portable options, permanent solutions, and behavioral changes that can keep your garage cool in the summer.

Portable Options for Cooling Your Garage

If you don’t want to make a permanent change to your house quite yet, whether it’s because you don’t want to shell out the cash, put in the time, or something else entirely, there are still plenty of garage cooling solutions to choose from.

Portable Air Conditioner for the Garage

Your first option is to set up a small-scale air conditioner. Unlike most units that require expensive installation and expertise, portable units can be used with minimal effort and expense.

They won’t be able to cool as quickly or efficiently as larger and more permanent options, but they can come in very handy if you need to cool a different location at a different time since you can just transport the air conditioner there.

Lastly, you do need to make sure that you have some sort of ventilation available in order to use a portable air conditioner. Like all air conditioners, they need a place to dump the hot air, so you will need some sort of opening to the exterior that you can make use of.

Dehumidifier for the Garage

An alternative solution if you live somewhere with high humidity is to get a dehumidifier. As a dehumidifier takes moisture from the air, it can drive down the temperature. More importantly, it can make you feel much cooler since hot air tends to be more comfortable at low humidity than high, even if it’s the same temperature in both cases.

Unlike an air conditioner, a dehumidifier doesn’t depend on access to the exterior of your home. It can do its job without needing to dump excess heat somewhere else, which sets it apart from air conditioners and, to a lesser extent, fans.

Dehumidifiers are of particular value in garages because removing moisture from the air means less buildup of wet spots and mold. You can keep your tools, electronics, and food in much better condition if you don’t have a garage bursting with wetness.

Unconventional Cooling Solutions

Getting the latest and greatest tech to cool your home is one approach, but there are some tried and true methods that make use of the simplest components. For example, a swamp cooler can dramatically multiply the cooling effect of a fan. All you need is some ice and a portable fan to get started.

However, it’s important to note that swamp coolers work better the lower the humidity is. In other words, they’re pretty bad choices if you live in an actual swamp and are really effective if you live in a desert.

This is because they actually add humidity to the air, so if you’re in a desert, there is a big gap between the dry ambient air and the cold, refreshing, misty air being blown from the swamp cooler.

Garage Ready Upright and Chest Freezers

You can also buy an upright or chest freezer to indirectly cool down your garage. It won’t lower the temperature of the room, but it will give you easy access to ice and cold drinks that will make you feel colder.

Furthermore, getting additional freezer space in the garage can be useful when it comes to storage. In many cases, your standard fridge and freezer won’t be enough to hold all of your cold food products, especially if you have a lot of people living in your house.

Permanent Solutions for Cooling Your Garage

If you want to invest in the future of your garage and find a solution that will grow more efficient with time, then a more permanent option may be your best bet.

Ventilation Systems

If you don’t already have a ventilation system in place, then installing one can be one of the fastest ways to cool off your garage. The flow of air is critical when it comes to temperature control since it allows hot air to leave and cold air to enter.

Depending on your needs, a DIY garage ventilation system may be sufficient. If you have a bit of experience and know the job isn’t too much to handle, then setting up the ventilation yourself can save time and money that would otherwise go to experts.

However, if you aren’t too sure of your own skills or want to do complicated ductwork, then getting the pros to do it will likely be more economical and less stressful. Remember that if you do it wrong the first time, you will still need to pay an expert to come in and fix it, which may end up costing more than just paying a little extra in the first place.


Installing installation can have a huge impact on your garage. In fact, if your insulation isn’t in great shape, then it doesn’t matter how great your cooling methods are because that cold air will just seep through the walls and escape before you can really enjoy it.

At best, this means your air conditioner will need to work overtime to keep the temperature down. At worst, you’ll practically feel as hot as if you were standing outside.


Installing a fan is cheaper than setting up an air conditioning system, but can be just as effective if you have the right setup. If you have good airflow, then a fan can cool you quickly and efficiently without overheating the room over time.

On the other hand, if your garage’s airflow is poor, then a fan can end up being a net negative.

This is because fans actually slowly heat up rooms over time as the heat of operation is added to the room and nothing is taken away. This is why a fan may feel nice at first, but after a couple of hours, the room may feel even hotter than it was before.


A somewhat permanent solution is to paint the exterior of your garage. This may sound crazy at first glance, but the logic is quite simple when you get down to it. Darker colors absorb and lighter colors reflect, so you want a lighter coat of paint on the exterior of your garage in order to minimize heat absorption.

Of course, you also need to consider whether it would actually help your garage in the first place. This is mainly a measure that relies on direct sunlight, so if the walls of your garage don’t actually get much sun, then repainting them may not have a significant effect.

Behaviors and Habits That Can Cool Your Garage

Beyond installing portable and permanent fixtures, you can also change some key habits in order to cool down your garage.

Park Outside

One mistake a lot of people make is parking their cars in their garages. This isn’t always a mistake, but if you’re keen on cooling down your garage, it most certainly is.

This is because your car has been sitting in the sun and getting hotter every minute it runs.

Once it parks in your garage, that heat doesn’t just vanish. It dumps into your garage, driving the temperature up and making it even harder to cool down.

Capitalize on Daily Heating Cycles

If you can’t regulate the temperature of your garage to your liking, then consider changing your schedule instead. Your garage is naturally going to heat up as the day goes on, but that’s not going to align completely with the heat outside.

Insulation means that your garage is going to be a bit slow on the uptake, staying cool until late morning and retaining heat well into the night.

You can make use of this by using your garage as much as possible during the early and late morning. It’s going to stay nice and chilly for a while, so get your stuff done and then get out before the belated heat wave hits.

Minimize Clutter

Using your garage as a glorified storage space is a tempting opportunity to many, but if you want to keep your garage cool, it’s one you should ignore.

Stacking boxes can hamper airflow, trapping heat and not letting it escape. Naturally, this increases the temperature of your garage over time.

On a more immediately obvious level, poor airflow from a crowded garage means you won’t feel a refreshing breeze when you do decide to open up.

If your garage is attached to your home, then you may want to open it up to get some nice airflow in the evening and after the heat has died down, but if it’s too crowded, you can’t do that.

There are a variety of options to choose from and in many cases, using several in conjunction can be the most effective strategy. Get an air conditioner to bring down the temperature of your garage, but also install some insulation so that your hard-earned cool air doesn’t get wasted.

When picking solutions, the price may seem like the most important point, but you also need to take the long-term into consideration. A high upfront cost may seem like a lot, but if it dramatically increases efficiency and will save you a ton of money in the long run, it might be a better choice than the comparatively cheaper option

Scroll to Top