Heating and cooling large shop/eliminating dust

by Teresa
We just bought a new place that has a 3,200 sq. ft. metal shop. It's split into two sides. I'm using one side for my upholsetery/furniture finishing business and my husband is using the other for his office and other things. We are trying to figure out the best and most cost efficient way to heat and cool the area. There are 2 large garage doors that open on each side so we can get air flow through during the spring and fall but we both need to work in it during the summer and winter (we live in Central Texas - it gets HOT!). I also need to figure out how to keep the dust/dirt that gets in minimal since I'll be working with fabric and sewing machines. The photo with the stuff in it was from the prevous owner. This is the side that I will be using for upholstery etc. Any help would be appreciated!
  9 answers
  • Teresa Teresa on Mar 24, 2015
    Sorry - trying to add photos. Will keep trying
    • Jim Wreyford Jim Wreyford on May 16, 2020

      What did you end up doing?

      We are building a shop (50 x 40) here in Central Texas too.

  • Judy Judy on Mar 25, 2015
    We have the same problem. Can't wait to hear the suggestions. It cost us a fortune just to have minimum heating for the winter.
  • Ricardo Martinez Ramos Ricardo Martinez Ramos on Mar 25, 2015
    In Australia, where it also gets hot, I've seen the use of a double corrugated iron roof with vents on top. The sun heats the top layer heating the air underneath which starts to circulate so creating a convection and cooling the bottom layer. Also long "roof wings" ie, the roof sticking out further than flush with the wall, creating shadow over the walls, although I'm not sure how that would work out with strong winds. I'm not sure what to recommend for dust other than double doors and air filters.
  • Denise Eaton Denise Eaton on Mar 25, 2015
    I would look into spray foam. They can spray it directly onto the inside of the metal. It isn't pretty but we have it in our house so of course it is covered by drywall. We love it, our energy bills are low and because it fills every little crack, we never have a problem with drafts or dust coming in. It is more expensive than traditional insulation but it is worth it!
  • Darla Darla on Mar 25, 2015
    For the summer, you might try a lot of fans hooked into a solar cell system. You can make dust filters with house air filters taped to box fans. There are also quite a few plans for simple "swamp coolers" that work with fans. Fans don't take a lot of electricity, so they are useful. For the winter, you might make a smaller insulated room inside that you can heat with space heaters instead of heating the whole humongous building. You could build it out of rigid foam insulation panels.
  • Liliana Wells Liliana Wells on Mar 25, 2015
    Are you able to partition the two space with a door in between so you and you husband can go back and forth, rather than opening the tall garage doors?
    • Teresa Teresa on Mar 25, 2015
      @Liliana Wells There is already a wall between - it's actually two spaces with a door between them. I guess I should have said that.
  • Horsepower Horsepower on Mar 25, 2015
    You might partition and insulate a section inside of each side of the building into office or upholstery shop that would accommodate a lesser size work area for each of you. This would also minimize the dust. You might consider a walk in closet and shelving for fabric entered from a closet door from your upholstery shop. It might be nice to heat and cool the whole thing, but cost prohibitive. By compartmentalizing the interior you can minimize the amount of space necessary to heat and cool for the time that people are in those spaces. If the entire space isn't occupied by humans at all times, why heat and cool it?
  • Teresa Martin Teresa Martin on Mar 25, 2015
    Using an attic fan will greatly deplete the heat in the summer. Heating in the winter, I would suggest "used oil" heater. You can put a vat outside and offer free dumping for used oil for the do it yourself mechanics.
  • Ai Jaedee Ai Jaedee on Mar 25, 2015
    Youtube or Google - Waste oil burners or Rocket mass heaters then just funnel a vent outside. These are two good options for a workshop.