76. Garage update


In a recent post I mentioned one of the perks of this new house was that I was finally able to upsize into a 3-car garage.  It’s been great being able to drive the SLC without having to pull the S5 out, lower the lift, drive the SLC off, then park the S5 back into the garage.  It also makes getting away in the mornings quicker.  I’ve been taking to rolling out between 5-6AM on the weekends to hit a round of the twisties before the family gets up for the day.  Not having to shuffle cars means I can make a quicker get away without disturbing my neighbors (for too long anyway, this thing is loud)!

It seems to be a common thing here that garages come partially insulated and without ventilation.  That makes for a particularly hot garage, especially when you park a hot car inside.  Apparently we get temps in the 90s throughout July and I was really beginning to get tired of the hotbox that is the garage.  If I had to do any real wrenching in here I’d be swimming in my own sweat.  So – I decided I needed to put some effort into making this garage a little more pleasant to work inside.

A fresh start.  The ceilings are 15′ high in here, lots of volume to trap hot air.  The interior walls are all insulated and the garage doors are also insulated.  Everywhere else and it’s just plywood and exterior paneling.
I didn’t think I had the energy to insulate and drywall the garage myself so I hired some pros to do the heavy lifting.  These guys came in and knocked out the insulation and drywall in a few hours, impressive!
Yeah, no way was I going to muscle a sheet of 5/8″ thick 4’x8′ drywall up a ladder myself.  I joked with the contractor that I was surprised he wasn’t using 4’x12’s, he said his guys refused to lift those.  Bob and I did 4’x12’s in the house in La Mesa, yeah that was a lot of heavy lifting!
As with the drywall, I hired out for the mudding …
… and texturing.
I did do some work myself, I installed these LED light fixtures – MAN do they put out!  It looks like daytime in the garage when these are on!
I also painted the ceilings and walls – oof, that was tough work!  I painted everything using an 18″ roller attached to an extension pole, my back and neck are still sore.
I needed a better storage solution for my QuickJacks than just driving over them with my S5.  QuickJack makes these nice heavy duty hangers.
They look awesome and hold the QuickJacks up and out of the way.
For tool organization I purchased a few panels of these Wall Control pegboards.  Putting my tools out on the walls frees my toolbox to store and organize some of the non-tools I’ve managed to acquire.  Yeah, it sounds weird not to have tools in the tool box, but those I’ve spoken to who use pegboards swear by them.  I think this will help me organize and access them easier than shoving everything into drawers in my main tool box.
The pegs have these plastic clips that keep them from falling out when you remove your stored tool.

With the garage going to full insulation mode that means the hotbox effect is going to be even worse when I park a hot car inside.  To help combat the heat in the summers and the cold in the winters, I purchased a 24k BTU MrCool DIY mini split air conditioner/heat pump system.  This is a really neat system – it comes fully charged and it’s about as DIY as you can possibly get when it comes to AC systems.  The interior unit is light enough and simple enough to install solo.  The exterior condenser unit is a bit heavier and requires a 2-person lift to get it into place.  Otherwise, some simple line set routing and a few wires later and you’ve got a really kick-ass system for the garage!

This 24k unit is recommended for a ~1000 sqft room; my garage measures about 660 sqft but with the high ceilings I figured the extra capacity was needed – I’m glad I sprang for the 24k unit!  With the fan on high, the throw is about 20′ (my garage measures ~30′ across), so it doesn’t quite have enough oomph to push cold air across all 3 parking bays.  To help circulate air I installed a 20″ oscillating fan.  Between the mini split and 20″ fan, I’ve got all the airflow and cooling I need to keep things pleasant in the garage.

A fan.  It’s surprisingly difficult finding a wall-mounted fan that has on/off oscillation capability in addition to moving a lot of air.  I read a lot of reviews on Amazon before pulling the trigger on this one, probably over-thinking my need here, but it works and I’m happy with it.
AC system as-delivered, it comes on a pallet.  I purchased this on Amazon – free shipping!
The system comes with a real handy 1:1 template for marking out the attachment points.  About the scariest part of the install is drilling out this 3.5″ hole for the line set pass-thru.
But the template makes this job pretty easy.
The exterior condenser.  It comes with 24′ of line set length, much longer than I needed.  In most YouTube videos I’ve watched people tend to just coil the excess and set it next to the condenser.  This unit is surprisingly quiet – you can’t tell it’s on unless you’re standing right next to it.  Bonus, it’s also rated at 20 SEER (my whole-house unit is rated at 14 SEER) which makes this considerably cheaper to operate than the system that came with my house!  I plan to spend more time in the garage.
The interior half of the mini split.  Looks pretty cool and it’s quiet to boot.  I just wish the fan throw was a *bit* stronger.  I might not have had a problem if I’d installed it above the middle bay but then the line set wouldn’t have been long enough to get outside.

A funny thing happened while I was having work done in the garage.  I needed to park the cars outside so folks could do the insulation/drywall/etc.  I parked the SLC on the driveway and my phone kept buzzing while I was at work, telling me something was tripping my security cameras.  Turns out I was getting a lot of drive-bys from people who’d noticed the SLC from the main road (we’re the last house on the end of an interior cul-de-sac, no reason to come down here unless you live here).

DING! Warning, activity detected!
DING! Warning, activity detected!
DING! Warning, activity detected!

Then I came across this photo on one of the local Facebook “car spotting” pages:

img_5995-1Seems the car caught more than a few eyes that day!

One Comment Add yours

  1. Kurt says:

    Love following your adventures and handy work (even when you are paying someone else to do it :P) Cam! Hope you are loving CO! I grew up there and am really missing the mountains after yet another central TX summer… especially when either stuck at home or outdoor activities while under quarantine!

    Liked by 1 person

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