Heat in Garage

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Ken10, Jul 11, 2008.

  1. Ken10

    Ken10 New Member

    I am preparing to re-enter the hobby and would prefer to work with HO scale. The most convenient location for the layout would be the garage -- I'm pretty sure negotiations with my wife for adequate space in the house would be unsuccessful. (Adequate means the space needed for the loops for continuous running.)

    However, I am concerned about using the garage: I live in the Arizona desert where the temperature in the garage can get to 110+ degrees. I don't want to start a layout only to see it destroyed by buckled track and whatever other damage the heat can cause.

    What do you think? Should I forget the garage and try to find some air conditioned space instead? I probably can get permission for enough space to operate N scale
    inside the house.
  2. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    My first layout in Phoenix was also in my garage. While I did experience the temperature swings between winter and summer, my track seemed to handle it allright. I did not glue my track down to the cork and only nailed it in every other hole or so. During the summer, due to expansion, it looked like a drunk laid my track though. I would imagine that if you were to ballast and then glue it all down, you would have some expansion problems. Currently, I have N scale inside and G scale in the backyard. Welcome to the site. Wherabouts in AZ?
  3. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Hi...Welcome to The Gauge...!!!

    How big a garage is it..?? I think you can insulate a couple of the outside walls (poke a hole as near to the ceiling as possible, between the studs), and inject that blower-enabled insulation, and also lay insulation in the attic above the garage. If possible, run a couple of outlets to the garage ceiling from the existing A/C distribution, and you're all set to go. That's what I did in my garage, and its about the coolest room in the house.
    If your current A/C unit won't handle the increased volume, you can stick a couple of wall mounted units.

    I couldn't have used the garage without the insulation & A/C...It'd be an oven in there....
  4. e-paw

    e-paw Member

    Here in north east PA we don't normally have extended periods of 110 degree days in the summer, but I would suggest an air conditioned space just for comforts sake.
  5. Kanawha

    Kanawha Member

    As another Arizonan, the garage layout can be a tremendous pain in the summer from may-august, but the rest of the year its actually quite nice. And since we have pretty low humidity most of the year, I never had much trouble with track buckling and other issues in the 3 years or so that my layout was in there. Now its in another room. The biggest issue is the amount of dust that will accumulate on your layout and trains when they are in the garage. Especially if the main door is opened and shut daily, you may as well run a track cleaning car on every train, it'll be that bad. If you can handle the dust buildup (consider modeling the old west, lol) then you should be fine. Welcome to The Gauge and back into the best hobby in the world! :)
  6. Ken10

    Ken10 New Member

    Thanks for the comments. My next step is to see if I need to rule out the use of N scale. I don't know if my hands and eyes are up to the challenge of N scale. There is no lhs here in Yuma, so a trip to the Train Show in Anaheim next week should help me resolve this concern.
  7. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    If it gets too hot, it can warp the plastic on your rolling stock. I have seen garage layouts here in phoenix, that apparently did just fine, other than being uncomfortable in the summer.

    I don't know the configuration of your house, but as mentioned here, adding extra insulation to the walls and ceiling of your garage will make a big difference. the garage door itself will be a huge source of heat gain, so it may be difficult to maintain a comfortable temperature, even with an a/c. Those master cool portable evaporative coolers work well if the weather is dry.

    By the way, if memory serves me correctly, there is a hobby shop in lake havasu city...

  8. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    I went a step further with the garage door.....I sealed it off, built a framed wall, insulated and sheet-rocked it, and put it right in front of the sealed door....That killed any heat from getting in....:mrgreen:
  9. thedowneaster

    thedowneaster Brakeman

    Have you thought about using the Kato track system? Its sort of like bachmann easy track only a little bit nicer. It think with the molded roadbed it might be more resistant to expansion.
  10. ocalicreek

    ocalicreek Member

    I was confined to setting up a layout on a glassed-in porch that, despite its location on the lot, open windows, box fans and being under a shade tree was still way too hot during the day. This was in SoCal. In the evening after the sun went down I could flush out the heat and operate a bit, but that was sometimes 10 or 11 PM before the outside temperature was cool enough to make a difference.

    A portable workbench I had built a few years before was part of the solution. I was able to work on a project inside where it was cooler during the day (though we didn't have AC so even that was relative) and be on the porch early in the AM or late PM. I could also work on projects while being with the wife and the TV. You may find such an arrangement works for you, depending on what time of day will be available to you as train time.

    Now I'm in a nice insulated garage in SW WA where days in the 90's are infrequent and the garage rarely gets above 85. The door stays shut since it's mostly a pantry/storage/etc. room. I suppose we could get the car in there with a little bit more effort, but it's fine now like it is. I will say this however, keeping it straightened (a place for everything and everything in its place - even if that place is the middle of the floor) is important for me. I can't concentrate or feel like I can sit and model if the clutter is overwhelming. You'll have to decide on your own clutter tolerance...unless you're one of those neat freaks with more organizational skill and willpower than the rest of us.
  11. joslin527

    joslin527 Joslin527

    Living in the Midwest with heat and humidity, and being in a garage, I chose to make my bench work from polystyrene and plywood framing. I use sewing push pins to "nail" down the track, the small head is more realistic, and allows flex of the track. Its 90+ today with 65% humidity, and in the winter it can be below zero. So far no problems with buckling.
  12. Ken10

    Ken10 New Member

    It looks like I may be able to avoid using the garage after all.

    My wife just agreed to give me a few more square feet in a back bedroom. It will provide me with a 6' X 11.5' donut (surround) area, plus a a small extension for staging. I hope I can find a way to make this work. After seeing some N scale in Anaheim, I am going to try my darndest to make HO work in this space. I want a mix of continuous running and switching.

    I have promised my wife a lot of storage area being available for her under the layout; if I don't deliver, I am in trouble!
  13. seanm

    seanm Member

    I know you already resolved your problem... but I am not as lucky. I still need to use the garage for my layout and I too was worried about heat.

    I live in the Sacramento CA area and it gets pretty hot in the summer. This is an attached garage facing the morning sun and is a roll up metal door. The garage heats up pretty quick and gets warmer than any other room in the place. This weekend I went to Home Depot and bought 5 sheets of 1" foam. This is the stuff like in the ice chests. I cut it into pieces that would fit the panels door and attached it by hooking it under the lip of each section. Took 5 - 4X8 sheets of foam and about 2 hours to do and cost me $36. They had "kits" but they are for single car doors and cost $54 each... so I save a bunch of money besides! The garage heated up much slower on Sunday and though it got warm out there, it did not get excessively hot. I would say it was a success!
  14. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Sean, have you looked at "Another Heat In Garage" thread in the general forum? If you are going to use apart of your garage for a layout room and don't need to have the car in that area (not a lift up out of the way layout to park the car underneath), you could build an insulated room inside the garage for a layout room. Storage, if needed could be underneath the layout.
  15. seanm

    seanm Member

    Thanks! Yes, I did have a look. I don't need to put a car in it, but need to be able to open the door from time to time. The only real heating problem is that door side. The rest of the walls are finished and insulated... now they all are!
  16. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    How much space does the door take when it is open? How much space do you need for storage? How big an opening do you need when you open the door? If you can put an insulated stud wall behind the door between the door and your layout room, you will cut down on that morning heat tremendously.
  17. seanm

    seanm Member

    I think you are thinking of the other thread. This has all been resolvedfor me. I just had a hot metal door on the front of my garage. I unsulated it this weekend and all is well. I want to leave the door as is. My layout will be free standing infront of the door and will not interfeer with it rollling up at all. No need for me to go the extra mile and build walls etc.
  18. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    The only reason for extra walls is if the opening of the door results in excessive dust and creatures moving in to cover your layout.
  19. seanm

    seanm Member

    will have to see about that, I have been looking at item in the garage and dust is not too much of a problem. Spiders seem to be an issue though. I may need to do some spraying.

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