Need to cool off? If you don’t have central air conditioning or are looking for a more eco-friendly or affordable option, you may be considering evaporative coolers.
Knowing how evaporative coolers work is key to deciding if one will work in your home. There’s a lot to know about evaporative cooling. Learn how evaporative coolers work and if you should buy one.
Evaporative coolers use evaporation to cool air. Water evaporates into a gas. High-energy particles leave the water first, causing a temperature drop. A wet cloth on your forehead helps lower your head’s temperature as the water evaporates.
Evaporative Coolers Work How?
An evaporative cooling system automates evaporation to cool home air. The machine will have a fan, a thick pad, a water reservoir, and fine-tuning controls. The fan blows hot, dry air on the cooler pads. These thick pads have many layers to increase their surface area. As the hot air passes over the pad, water molecules evaporate, lowering the cooler’s air temperature by up to 20 degrees.
Swamp Cooler Note
Swamp coolers use the same science of evaporation as evaporative coolers. “Swamp coolers” is a colloquial term for a standard evaporative cooler. Size might be the difference. Swamp coolers are whole-house evaporative air conditioning units, while evaporative coolers can be portable.
Evaporative Cooler Pros
Evaporative coolers are more energy-efficient and sustainable than traditional ACs. Evaporative coolers use much less electricity than air conditioners, which can use seven times as much. Standard air conditioning systems use a compressor to compress the liquid refrigerant and move it across a heat exchanger to pull heat from the air.
Low Relative Humidity: The Secret To Success
If what you’ve read about evaporative coolers sounds good, there’s one more thing to know: Evaporative coolers work best in dry areas.
This makes sense when you see how they work. Because these coolers rely on water evaporating into the air, dry air improves their efficiency. Water molecules can separate and float off in dry air more easily than in humid air, which is saturated with water. To hold all that water, the air needs “space.”
Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your Evaporative Cooler
You’ll need to rethink how you use evaporative coolers to get the most efficient cooling. Try these tips for cooler air:
Unlike standard A/C, evaporative coolers need a constant stream of fresh air. An open window near the intake fan draws in warm, dry air for quick evaporation. Open windows let the humidified air from the cooler escape, making your home less humid.
Refill The Water
If you don’t use your cooler for a while, empty and clean the reservoir to avoid mold and mildew. This keeps your evaporative cooler running and your air clean.
Before you buy, measure your room and the cooler’s recommended square footage. You may need multiple coolers for a large space, or you may find that aiming the fan where you’re sitting is enough.
Adding ice to your cooler’s water can slow evaporation and make you feel less cool. Water needs to heat up to evaporate, so adding ice to your cooler won’t work as well.
Portable Evaporative Coolers
A portable evaporative cooler lets you test evaporative cooling in your home without making a big investment. Portable coolers on wheels provide extra chilling where you need it. You can use this outside if you can plug them in. This makes portable evaporative coolers welcome additions to a picnic, pool party, or another outdoor gathering.