5 Best Way To Heat And Cool A 40×40 Shop

Comfortable shops help attract several customers. Introducing heating and cooling systems can help with that. Different shops require different requirements, and today, we shall discuss the best heating and cooling methods for a 40×40 shop. 

The best way to cool down a 40×40 shop is by installing a 2.5-3 ton air conditioner or portable air cooler. For heating a 40×40 shop, you need a heating system that releases BTU between 48,000 and 96,000, based on your USDA Zone. Furnace and electric heaters are some common choices. 

The size of the air conditioner and the type of heating system will change based on factors like the climate and shop quality and material.

This guide can give you detailed information about the right ways to heat and cool the shop and the best units. 

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How much is BTU required for a 40×40 shop?

BTU stands for British Thermal Unit. 

The unit is used to measure the heat volume needed by an area. 

Generally, you need around 20 to 30 BTU of energy per square foot. 

So, you will require at least 32,000 to 48,000 BTU of energy for a 40×40 shop. 

But, the BTU keeps changing based on the heating and cooling systems and your living area. 

For example, if you live in a very hot climate, you need a heater that releases enough BTU to keep the space slightly warm in the winter. 

But, if you live in colder climates, you need a heater that releases the maximum BTU to keep the space warm enough. 

To find the exact BTU for your 40×40 shop, you need to get the square feet and then multiply it with the BTU required per square foot.

If your shop is 40×40, it measures around 1,600 square feet. 

If your shop requires 30 BTUs per square foot, your shop needs a unit that releases around 48,000 BTUs of energy. 

Factors determining the heating and cooling system for 40×40 shop

There is no exact BTU required for heating or cooling a 40×40 shop.

Some factors will require consideration when deciding the right unit for heating and cooling the shop. 

These factors will highly affect the BTU figure and change according to your shop’s requirements. 


The weather in your living area is concerning as it will let you decide on the right unit for your 40×40 shop. 

The zones highly affect the BTU figures. 

For example, in zone 1, you need a heating BTU to be 48,000 per hour, but in zone 5, you need the heating BTU figure to be around 80,000. 

Heavy lights can also affect the heat. 

The heavier your lights are, the lower the BTU figure will be. 

However, exterior lights can reduce the heat effect. 

You might have to increase the BTU. 

Shop quality and structure

You must have heaters or cooling systems if your shop is very old. 

The insulation of the old shops will deplete over time. 

So, the outside temperature can make your shop uncomfortable, so you must install the heating or cooling systems. 

If your shop has enough windows, that will also affect the heating and cooling units and BTUs. 

Several windows can allow the sunshine to enter the shop. 

It will make your shop warmer in the hotter months and comfortable in the colder months. 

So, heaters are more important here in the summer than coolers in winter.

That is how the BTU figure will differ, and the heating and cooling ways will also differ. 

What is the best way to heat the 40×40 shop?

Using suitable heating systems is the best way to heat a 40×40 shop. 

There are two options while selecting the heaters for a 40×40 shop – heaters and furnaces. 

1. Furnaces 

Furnaces are a traditional and best method of heating any space to date. 

It never fails to keep an area warm and comfortable, especially during winter. 

The furnaces burn gas or propane to spread the heat around the area. 

For your 40×40 shop, you require a furnace with BTU between 48,000 and 96,000, based on the climatic zone. 

Furnaces are available for all shop sizes. It is the BTU that you should check before buying the furnace. 

2. Electric heaters

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These heaters are popular as you can run them with your house’s electricity. 

The famous electric heaters are radiant, forced-air heaters, and infrared heaters. 

The radiant heaters are meant for smaller areas. 

It would be great for a 40×40 shop measuring around 1,600 square feet. 

If you need a powerful one for your shop because of the weather, you can opt for the forced air heaters

It generates a high air volume and spreads with force throughout the shop. 

You may not require this, but you will if your shop is located in a very cold region, no matter the size. 

Infrared heaters generate heat by turning the electricity into infrared heat.

It releases a high volume of heat and spreads it throughout the space.

This heater will be a good one if you live in a very cold climate.

However, you must be careful about these units as they can burn if they become too hot.

The best heater for your 40×40 shop would have a BTU value of around 72,000 to 88,000. 

It will give your shop enough warmth in all the seasons. 


You must handle all types of heaters carefully. 

You might burn them if you avoid the guidelines. 

Make sure to place the heater at the proper location and maintain proper ventilation. 

Keep flammable and combustible things away from the heater.

Other methods to keep the shop warm

Insulation helps both in cooling and warming up the shop, mostly in keeping the shop warm.

Adequate insulation in your shop will prevent the cold air from entering and making the shop cold, especially during winter. 

You can also use a door draft blocker on the doors and windows. 

These will block the gaps at the base of the doors and windows and keep your shop warm.

Insulation also does not let the sun’s heat enter your shop, therefore, keeping it cool. 

What is the best way to cool a 40×40 shop?

Air conditioners are one of the best ways to keep a shop or any other area cool. 

There are many air conditioner options, like split or mini-split air conditioners, window air conditioners, or portable air coolers. 

You can choose anyone suitable for your 40×40 shop. 

1. Split air conditioners

It is a multipurpose unit that can heat and cool the surrounding space. This unit would be a perfect addition to your 40×40 shop. 

You can even control the unit with a remote or smartphone application. 

These air conditioners can also give your shop an authentic look. 

It consists of two parts – one is kept outside, and another inside. 

The problem is with the price. Even a mini-split air conditioner is quite pricey. 

The unit and installation price for a 40×40 shop can be $600-$1,000. 

It depends on the size of your air conditioner and the shop’s requirements. 

Split air conditioners have their pros and cons. 


  • You can operate them with external compressors situated outside on the ground or hung on the exterior wall brackets. 
  • The sleek design easily blends with your shop decor.
  • These units are noiseless. 
  • Since you can use it for cooling and heating the shop, you do not have to use separate units. Besides, they last longer, therefore saving money. 


  • The price is at least 30 to 40% higher than the traditional air conditioners. But, since it gives so many advantages, the price is worth it. 
  • You have to hire professionals to install this unit. So here, the price will jump a bit due to the labor cost. 
  • The interior and exterior units must be within 30 meters of each other. The tube length connects the two parts. So, you cannot use this air conditioner if you live in a tall building or apartment. 
  • Though the interior parts of the air conditioner are quiet, the outside parts make quite a lot of noise. 

2. Window air conditioner

This one is another multipurpose unit that can heat and cool your shop. 

The unit may seem old school, but it can benefit your 40×40 shop. 

These air conditioners are great for medium-sized shops and, therefore, would be a good one for a 40×40 shop. 

Generally, these types of air conditioners are specifically made for offices, garages, and shops. 

For your 40×40 shop, you can get one between $600-$800. 

The problem is with the appearance, as it may look slightly disoriented after installation. Besides, it creates a slight noise. 

3. Portable air coolers

These are good for warmer climatic regions as they are easy to use and give comfortable, cool air. 

Besides, you do not need any installation process. You only need a standard electrical outlet to operate it. 

The price is also cheaper than the other units, around $700 to $800 for a 40×40 shop. 

Other methods of cooling a shop 

Besides these cooling units, you can try many other methods to cool down your shop during the hot summers and keep the high temperature in control.

Shade with trees and vines

You can prevent the heat from entering your shop with the help of shade trees, bushes, and vines. 

Plants near the shop can give adequate shade to your shop and prevent the heat from reaching it and warming it too much. 

If your shop has no trees in its surroundings, you can bring a trellis and place it near the direction that gives too much sunlight. 

You can grow some quick-growing vines that help in blocking the heat. 


Installing awnings on the doorway and window will reduce the solar heat during summer by around 65%, especially at the south-facing windows. 

It can also help block the heat from the west-facing windows by around 77%. 

Awnings are made of acrylic and polyvinyl laminates that are water-repellent, resist fading, and have a longer lifespan. 

Pale paints and roofs

Painting the shop can highly help in keeping the shop cool. 

It will mostly help the shops located in a very hot climate. 

Use a white or light-toned color and add a reflective or light-colored roof. 

It will help prevent the heat from entering the shop. 

The shop size does not matter here, as you can do it for any size. 

These methods won’t be enough to keep the shop cool, so introducing an air conditioner is necessary. 

If the air conditioner is insufficient, approaching these processes can help a little in controlling the high temperature. 

What size of an air conditioner is required for a 40×40 shop?

Knowing the right BTU for a 40×40 shop can help you find the right air conditioner size. 

For a 40×40 shop, you require a 2.5-ton air conditioner to cool down the shop properly. 

It can change slightly based on the weather condition. 

For example, if the shop is in zone 3, a 2.5-ton air conditioner is enough. 

If you live in zone 1, the air conditioner size can be either 2.5 or 3 tons.

The house story can also affect the air conditioner’s size. 

If you have a detached two-story house, you will require a 1.5-ton air conditioner. 

Cost to install an air conditioner for a 40×40 shop

For your 1,600 square feet, you need a 2.5 to 3-ton air conditioner. 

To install an air conditioner for your shop, the average cost to install is about $3,200. 

The installation of the unit alone will cost around $1,285. 

Final thoughts

It is vital to keep the shop comfortable for customers throughout the year. For that, you must have good heating and cooling systems. 

There are several ways to heat or cool a 40×40 shop.

Using furnaces and heaters is the best way to heat a 40×40 shop. 

Whatever you choose, ensure the BTU of the heating system remains between 48,000 and 96,000. 

The figure changes based on factors like the climate and shop quality. 

The best way to cool a 40×40 shop is by introducing air conditioners, like window air conditioners, split air conditioners, and portable air coolers. 

The air conditioner size for a 40×40 shop would be around 2.5 to 3 tons. 

Besides air conditioners and heaters, there are other ways to heat and cool the shop.

Trees, awnings, paintings, and roofs can control the high temperature and keep your shop cool. 

Proper insulation will help do both. Door draft blockers will keep the cold air from entering your shop and keep it warm.


Can I use heat pumps for a 40×40 shop?

Many people suggest using heat pumps for heating a shop as they are equally efficient in heating and cooling a shop. 

You can have one as an alternative to traditional furnaces. 

The pumps draw heat from the surrounding air through geothermal and water-based sources. 

You need to inform the contractor about the BTU required for your shop and ask him to help you get the suitable one.

Reference: HVACDuct Flow, ScienceDirect Research Paper, HVAC System ResearchFlorida’s Premier Energy Research Cente.

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Arthur Smith

Howdy! I am Arthur Smith, an electrical engineer who is extremely passionate about electronics. I have lived in different parts of the US and currently reside in Wisconsin. I am one of those rare children who knew what he wanted to study and do in life right from the start. I was a curious child who wanted to know how switches work and how the AC works, and I would always observe my dad whenever he would handle the wires and fix things around the house. I currently work as an electrical engineer at a reputed company and write for this blog. And I read loads of books or play video games in my free time.

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