Everyone knows it. The Arizona heat is intense at all times of the year, especially during the hot summer months. People can bake cookies on the dash of their cars or even fry an egg on the sidewalk! Here in the Phoenix valley, we start to see 100-degree days in May. May is a great time to prepare your belongings for the upcoming summer heat. In 2021, Phoenix, Arizona’s hottest day of the year was June 17th, and it was a sunny 118 degrees. As one might guess or know from experience, the hot sun damages anything sitting outside, and the high temperatures cause things to break quicker. You may be thinking, “do I really need to care for my garage and garage door when it’s hot? Wasn’t it made to take the heat?” Just like you might check on your home’s air conditioning, pool system, fridge, and extra freezer to make sure everything is working correctly before the high temperatures hit, your garage and garage door are just as important to pay attention to. Weather can damage your home’s largest and most important piece of equipment: your garage door. Fortunately, you can take steps to protect your garage and garage door inside and out from the hot summer sun.
Why is my Garage so Hot in the Summer?
Apart from stating the obvious again, the Arizona summertime is scorching hot. As the weather heats up, so will your garage, and unfortunately, that is a fact. Some garages are a lot hotter inside than others, and this is due to three simple reasons. The first reason is that the garage doesn’t have any windows. This leads to collecting hot air very quickly, especially during our triple-digit weather days. The second reason is that there is limited to no ventilation. Like our windows, garages without adequate ventilation keep hot air in the garage because it has nowhere to go. Without cross ventilation, the hot air cannot circulate out. The third reason is due to the location of your garage. If your garage is facing west or south, there lies your problem. Direct sun is shining on your garage, causing it to heat up all day and stay hot all night. Read on to learn six tips to protect your garage and garage door from the Arizona sun and heat.
1. Natural Ventilation
Natural ventilation is the easiest way to cool your garage. If your garage already has windows, perfect! If not, it might be worth adding some to your forever home. If you cannot add windows, you can still achieve natural ventilation. You can also add a vent near the garage roof to let hot air escape or even crack open your garage door and turn on a fan to push the hot air out. However, you do not want to keep your garage door open when you are not home. A highly efficient way to keep the garage cool is permanently installing an attic fan with a vent. The fan will work to draw the hot air up and send it out through the vent.
2. Plant a Tree
When you can’t help the location of your garage and which direction it faces (west or south especially), plant a tree between the garage and where the sun shines during the hottest part of the day. This simple tip will grow each year and provide welcoming shade. Just like a car parked in the shade is 20 degrees cooler vs. parked in the sun, your garage and garage door will be significantly cooler when it is in the shade. You can plant a low-water, low-maintenance Velvet Mesquite, Palo Verdes, Palo Brea, Aleppo pine, or a Desert Willow in your yard. Most of these all grow up to 50 feet in height and provide good shade for Arizona homes. Another benefit to planting large trees around your house is that you will save almost 25% of your air conditioning cost if you have at least two 25-foot-tall trees on the west side of your home and one 25-foot tree on the east side.
3. Update your Garage Door
Brand new garage doors come in many different shapes, sizes, materials, and colors. Some of these modern garage doors also come insulated on the inside to stabilize the inside garage temperature. If your garage walls and ceiling are already insulated, having an insulated garage door can be very effective in keeping the internal temperature cool, even in the hot Arizona summer. Additionally, owning a light-colored garage door is also effective as it reflects sunlight. On the other hand, a dark-colored garage door will absorb the sunlight into your garage.
4. Install Air Conditioning
The above options will reduce the temperature in your garage but will not provide a permanent solution in the summer to keep the temperature at bay. New innovations have made installing air conditioning easy and more affordable than ever. Air conditioning will make it possible to hang out in the garage at all times of the year in Arizona. This is an excellent investment for those who have turned their garage into personal gyms, workspaces, art rooms, collectibles storage, etc. Believe it or not, if your garage is too hot, you will not be able to store your sentimental personal things because they will warp and disintegrate over time. You do not have to install a permanent air conditioning unit, but you can purchase a portable air conditioner. Since they are self-contained and portable on wheels, they run a little more expensive and use more energy than a classic wired-in system. A portable AC unit is a perfect solution if you are only trying to cool your garage down in the hottest summer months and have no problem with the temperature the other months of the year. A final air conditioner solution is installing a mini-split system. This ductless air conditioner cools down small spaces and is more permanent than a window AC unit. They are installed in a few hours, and it uses a small unit outside that runs to a wall-mounted bar inside the garage.
5. Declutter and Organize
Another beneficial and simple tip to keep your garage cool is decluttering and organizing your garage. Piles of stuff and random storage not put away correctly will block airflow from circulating through the entire garage. Even if your garage doesn’t look like a hoarder’s garage, any clutter lying around will keep the heat in. An organized garage will also make it easier to install fans, vents, or even air conditioning and allow it to work to its fullest potential in keeping your garage nice and cool. If you don’t have cupboards to store away your saved items, buy clear tubs with lids, categorize your things, label them, and store them away. This simple process will make it easier to find your items in the future, and it will declutter your garage.
Insulation is essential in keeping out hot air in the summer and frigid temperatures in the winter. Even though we don’t see freezing temperatures in the Phoenix valley, insulation is still important. Like an insulated garage door, insulation prevents heat from building up inside your garage and is a reflected barrier against excessive heat infiltration. You could have windows, excellent weatherstripping, the right garage door, and even air conditioning. Still, if you do not have proper insulation throughout your garage, you might be leaking precious cool air into the hot air. Since garages are not considered a living space, standards in garages’ construction are different from the home. According to construction standards, gaps and leakages are ok, for garages are often built without proper insulation. An easy way to check if your garage is insulated correctly is if you have a room above the garage, notice if it gets too hot or too cold easily, along with your garage itself.
Implementing natural ventilation through windows or vents, planting trees outside, updating your garage door, installing air conditioning, decluttering and organizing, and ensuring proper insulation are great ways to ensure a nice, cool summer for your garage and garage door especially in the Phoenix valley. There are always steps you can take to protect your belonging and home from the intense summer sun, and you do not have to just live with it. Even though it’s hot in the summer, it sure is worth it to live in Arizona the other parts of the year, when it’s a steady sunny and 75 degrees. Don’t forget, to avoid future costs, make sure your garage and garage door are ready for the rising temperatures, and then enjoy the summer!