Summer is Coming | Tips for Cooling Space?

We have a venue in Burbank, CA, and we reach temperatures over 100 degrees. The studio is a retail space that I remodeled for my own photography, but it has been an active rental space for over 2 years.

Does anyone have tips for keeping your space cool?

We have a 1,900 sq ft space with a 13’ ceiling. When it’s crazy hot outside, and you bring 100 people inside, it just gets warm. It’s actually cold in LA right now, but the heat is coming.

One challenge is that we fire up the a/c early to keep the space cool leading up to an event, and then people leave doors open while loading in. Bye bye cool air.

  • REVIEW: I’m going to have the existing A/C reviewed to ensure it is optimized to do its best;

  • EXHAUST: We have a vent in the ceiling/roof, planning to add an exhaust fan on the roof to suck out the heat that lingers around the ceiling;

  • FANS: is there an optimal placement for fans to keep the air moving?

  • HUMIDITY: suggestions for lowering the humidity in the space?

  • ADDED CHARGE? Does anyone charge for running the a/c all day/night during the really hot days? How much?

  • UNDERSTANDING: Do you feel guests understand that it is going to be warm in the space when it is insanely hot outside?

  • WIFI THERMOSTAT: It is nice having a wifi thermostat as I can wake up and turn on the a/c, set the temp, monitor remotely.

Appreciate any thoughts/tips for your experiences handling this in your own spaces, thank you!

  • Brad

Hi Brad
I similar challenges when it comes to the summer heat.
A good tip regarding (on stands or table top) fans: place them across from each other to get a ‘cross breeze’.

:slight_smile:

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We have very similar problems in our warehouse, which is on the 2nd floor of a two story building with a flat tar and gravel roof with no insulation. When it’s hot outside, it’s hotter inside. We installed two large intake fans to bring in outside air from above the roof and duct it to exit at our floor level. We also installed four 24" passive turbines (our square footage is about 4000 sq ft) in the ceilings/roof which we leave open in warm weather and when it’s hot we turn on the intake fans and this forces the hottest air out the roof. We also open doors to the interior of the building if the common areas (we open onto an interior loading dock that gets a lot of air circulation from downstairs) and this air is drawn into our space when the passive turbines are pulling out the hot air as it rises. We can’t afford AC for such a large area (our ceilings are at 22 feet) but this just makes it tolerable and in really hot spells, it remains just too hot to do much else. Fortunately most of our events are evening so as soon as the sun is off the roof, our space can be significantly cooled. We also provide half a dozen standing and desk fans that people can place around the studio to provide localize wind cooling. This helps someone who is mostly stationary but if people are moving around, it provides less perceived cooling.

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As summer temperatures will soon be upon us, I wanted to share my recent Air Conditioning adventures (short version).

On hot days, with and event in my space, I can’t cool it sufficiently. I had my rooftop A/C inspected. Good news: works great! Bad news: not big enough. 3-1/2 ton unit, technician said needed to go to 4 tons, his boss said I needed 5 ton. Spitball estimate to upgrade, $7,000. Actual estimate: $13,500. Not interested in that.

Looking at options, I was surprised that you can get portable units rated at a ton (12,000 btu) that still run off 120v, just plug it into the wall. Units less than $600, figured that might be the answer. Buy one or even two and I’m good. Main downside is that you have to vent the hot air to the outside via a window, door, or other opening. And you have to store the devices when not in use. But your guests would appreciate your attention to their comfort.

Enter the Mini-Split, or “ductless” system. Took me a while to grasp the concept, but essentially you have an outside condenser that cools the refrigerant, which is sent through a small pipe to the air handler/fan mounted inside. You can read more about these online. After a bunch of research, I found a 2-ton unit (giving me a total of 5-1/2 tons of A/C) for $1,500 that I can install myself. I will just need an electrician to run a 220V line to it and I should be good to go. Have ordered and should be here in the next week or so.

So for anyone looking to cool their space, look into these units as an option. Happy to answer any questions!

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Thank you, Brad, for the wonderful information! I will be in touch after your install.

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