As the weather warms up, most of us will be looking for ways through which we can keep our living and working spaces comfortable and cool. If you live in a low-humidity area and you have not invested in an air conditioning unit, you might want to consider buying an evaporative cooler. Also referred to as swamp coolers, evaporative coolers work on the principle of evaporation to cool your home.
According to the U.S. Department of energy, evaporative coolers are cheaper as their installation costs are about half of the amount you’d pay to install a central air conditioning unit. Their energy consumption is only a quarter of an average air conditioner.
How Do Evaporative Coolers Work?
An evaporative cooler consists of a fan, two motors, a water reservoir, porous pads, and a few controls to fine-tune the extent of cooling. One motor draws water from the bottom of the cooler to the top. The water is then absorbed by the porous filter pads, which are on the sides of the cooler.
The second motor runs a fan that draws in hot air. As the hot air passes over the water-logged pads, the water evaporates, dropping the temperature by as much as 68°F. The fan then blows the cooled air out into the room. The best swamp coolers have a large surface area, which allows for the cooling of a huge amount of the hot air that is drawn in.
Evaporative coolers can have additional parts that enhance their functionality. For instance, your swamp cooler can be fitted with air filters that are meant to improve the air quality within your home. These air filters minimize the chances of mold and mildew growth and reduce the number of allergens in the air. Such a feature would be ideal for homeowners who have respiratory and allergy issues. Others are fitted with an ice pack that further cools the cooled air. Some have oscillating functions, while others have remote control features.
Evaporative coolers are different from air conditioning units as they do not use chemicals to cool the air in your home. Besides, they do not recycle the air within your home. Instead, fresh air is drawn in on every cycle.
However, they can only be used in a room with natural ventilation, or if there is a mechanical air extraction system in place. In essence, these units require a steady stream of hot, dry air to hydrate. As such, if a room is not adequately ventilated and keeps recirculating moist air, the unit’s efficiency is significantly diminished.
Do Evaporative Coolers Work for Large Spaces?
Under suitable conditions, an evaporative cooler in a large space would be as effective as the one installed in a smaller room. Commercial evaporative coolers are meant to cool a large area. Evaporative coolers meant for large areas can use either direct or indirect evaporative cooling. In direct evaporative coolers, the hot air comes into contact with fibers that are one to twelve inches thick. These units can have 55% to 90% cooling effectiveness.
Indirect cooling systems use an air-to-air heat exchanger to cool the air, which means that they do not add moisture to the cooled air. Once the hot and dry air is drawn in, it passes through several horizontal tubes. Another stream of cool air blows on the outside of the tubes, thus absorbing the warmth of the air within the tubes. This air is then expelled on the outdoors. Indirect evaporative coolers are about 75% effective.
Before buying one, you will need to research on what size would be suitable for the square feet you intend it to cool. Measure your room and ask your local supplier to recommend a unit that befits your space. If none is effective, you might want to supplement your evaporative cooler with a portable air conditioner.
What Do I Need to Pay Attention to When Selecting a Unit?
Some of the factors you should consider when buying an evaporative cooler are:
The Local Climatic Conditions
Swamp coolers are most effective in hot, dry air conditions. You might want to use your unit if the relative humidity levels are below 50% or during the hottest time of the day. Humidifying dry air not only cools it but also reduces such symptoms as itchy eyes, skin, and throat.
Will you be using your unit in an outdoor, semi-outdoor, indoor, or a commercial setting? Outdoor evaporative coolers are used in backyard parties, festivals, sporting, and tailgating events. They can be used in any humidity. Semi-outdoor units can be used in patios, decks, and garages. Indoor units are recommended for low-humidity areas and are ineffective in humid weather conditions. A commercial evaporative cooler can be used in loading bays and warehouses. It needs to be correctly sized.
The Evaporative Cooler’s Size
For your unit to be effective, you need to ensure that it suits the size of your room. You need to pay attention to its CFM, or Cubic Feet per Minute, rating. This is the amount of fresh air your unit recycles through your space every minute. A unit that’s too huge for your space could over-cool your space resulting in dampness while one that’s too small will work extra hard to cool the room.
The Unit’s Maintenance Requirements
Compared to air conditioners, evaporative coolers are fairly easy to maintain. However, they need to be maintained more frequently. Before the onset of summer, you will need to ensure that the water pump is operating optimally. When the unit is in use, periodically with its housing with a damp cloth. Also, clean the evaporative pads at least once a month using lukewarm water and a small amount of detergent. After the summer season, drain your unit, clean it, and cover it in readiness for the next hot season.
Before settling on a unit, consider its specifications or features. One of the most critical features is the thickness of the evaporative pads as this affects how well the unit cools the air. It would be a good idea to buy a unit that allows you to regulate the fans’ speed. The remote control feature makes it convenient for you to operate your evaporative cooler.
Evaporative coolers are an effective way of adding moisture to the air in your home and thereby cooling it. As they result in zero carbon emissions and do not use chemicals, they are considered kind to the environment. Also, they require minimal running and operational costs. Nevertheless, evaporative coolers are only ideal for dry climates. Remember that even in such areas, your unit will be ineffective once it rains.
At Premier Industries, Inc, we manufacture high-quality evaporative coolers with a 98% cooling efficiency. Our 30-years industry experience enables us to handle a versatile range of cooling needs and tailor-make our equipment to match these needs. Get in touch with us today and let’s discuss the ideal evaporative cooling solution for your spaces.