If you want to stay cool in summer but not use a lot of power to achieve it, swamp coolers are the most economical cold air makers evaporating moisture to create a chilling effect similar to the way perspiration cools the body in a breeze.
They can do this while consuming only a small amount of electricity because unlike air conditioners, there is no energy hungry compressor and refrigeration process to power.
Swamp (evaporative) coolers are perfect for people who like to enjoy some cool respite from the heat of the summer while being kind to the environment and reducing their carbon footprint in the process. However, they have one problematic restriction that prevents everybody from enjoying their benefits, as we'll cover in this article while explaining the ins and outs of this type of air cooling device.
How do Swamp Coolers Work?
These appliances work by using a regular, albeit high-power fan to draw room temperature air into the back of the device. The air is passed through a water saturated membrane and the moisture laden air is then blasted out the front of the unit (by the same fan) which reduced the ambient temperature of the room.
Since the only energy consuming part of the device is the fan, which typically draws 100-200 watts of electricity, energy consumption is extremely low when compared to a comparable sized air conditioner that would typically use around 2000 watts to create a similar level of cooling.
It is exactly because of the way in which these devices produce chilled air by evaporation that they will not work effectively in a humid atmosphere. When the level of moisture in the air rises above around 50% or so, the saturation makes it more difficult for further moist air to be dispersed into the air while still keeping its chilling effect.
That cooling process only occurs when the air is relatively "dry" and you create a breeze that contains evaporated moisture (water vapor), which can reduce the ambient temperature in a room by as much as 20-30 degrees depending on how hot it is to begin with and how dry the air is. As more moist air is released into the atmosphere in the room, its humidity rises and the chilling effectiveness is reduced.
That problem can be gotten around in part by keeping a window or two open to create a through-draft which will carry the moist air out of the room and allow the fixed or portable swamp cooler to keep producing chilled air as long as the air replacing it from the outside is sufficiently dry. If the outside atmosphere is also very humid, the cooling capability of the device is reduced in proportion to the level of humidity in the air.
On the other hand, people living in areas that have naturally dry air during the hot summer months can absolutely take advantage of the low power consumption of evaporative coolers to keep cool because they have a limitless supply of dry air to keep replenishing the indoor space with. That means cool comfort for low cash cost in power consumption, which can be considerable if you've been used to running with expensive air conditioning for any length of time.
This is also true of the smaller single or dual hose portable air conditioners that are often quoted as being "energy saving" or "energy efficient" despite their 2-3 kilowatts power drawing needs. Even that is an enormous amount when compared to an average sized swamp cooler that will run on less than 200 watts!
Aside from the humidity problem, the advantages of this type of cooling device are many. And don't forget these are coolers that don't need an exhaust hose to expel hot air like AC units, as they don't produce any hot air!
The energy saving aspect is especially important when you consider that low electricity use means not only cheaper utility bills but a much lower impact on the electricity power stations. This highly agreeable situation results in lower use of natural resources to generate electricity is less is being used by not just one household, but a whole community in any locale.
When it comes to creating a cool and comfortable atmosphere indoors, the choice of device is ultimately yours to make. If you live in the right climate to use one of these evaporating cooling machines, the cost and environmental saving is surely a major consideration in their favor.
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