Evaporative coolers are popular in dry climates like Arizona and California. They cool well and replace moisture in the air while costing less to run than standard air conditioners.
However, if used improperly, they can cause high humidity levels that promote the growth of mold and mildew in a confined space. It can also lead to respiratory difficulties, especially for those with allergies or asthma.
Evaporative coolers are air-conditioning systems that cool rooms by passing warm indoor air over wet cooling pads. This makes the water evaporate, lowering room temperature and adding humidity to the air. This simple process has been around for a long time, as bronze-age frescoes show slaves fanning jars of water to keep their homes cool. In dry climates like Arizona and the Southwest, more air moisture can help make people feel comfortable. However, high humidity levels can encourage mold and mildew growth in areas with poor ventilation.
Evaporative cooling systems are less expensive to buy and install than air conditioning. They use a lower amount of electricity too, as only the fan and water pump consume power. They also have a low carbon footprint and do not use refrigerants that deplete the earth’s ozone layer.
To determine whether an evaporative air cooler is suitable for your home, you need to know the area’s summertime temperatures and relative humidity. You can find this information from standard weather reports or by using a psychrometric chart. You can also calculate the outdoor dry-bulb temperature, which indicates how low an evaporative cooler can reduce it.
The size of your house and how much humidity is in it will also affect evaporative cooling performance. Larger houses need a duct system to distribute cool air throughout. Smaller evaporative coolers can be used to cool individual rooms.
When choosing an evaporative cooler, you need to consider its operating cost and maintenance requirements. You will also need to think about your water supply. Most evaporative coolers use a lot of water to operate, and this can be a concern in areas with limited water supplies.
Most evaporative coolers require regular maintenance to keep them running efficiently. This includes cleaning the filter, adjusting the humidistat, and checking for any leaks. It is important to maintain your evaporative cooler, as the lack of regular maintenance can lead to increased energy consumption and potential damage to the interior of your house. A leaking cooler can also cause roof damage, which is costly to repair.
Evaporative Cooler Installation
Compared to whole-house air conditioning, evaporative coolers cost less to install and use one-half as much electricity. However, they don’t work in all climates and require more frequent maintenance.
Evaporative cooling works by passing warm air over wet pads, causing the water to evaporate. The cooler fan then pushes this cool air into the room. The cooling effect depends on the starting outdoor temperature, with higher temperatures producing greater temperature drops. The cooling process also increases indoor humidity. This isn’t necessarily a problem in dry climates, but it can create problems in wet climates where mildew and mold can form.
Coolers are either installed in a central location, blowing air into the room, or connected to ductwork which distributes cool air throughout the home. The former is better suited to small houses and can be easier to maintain than a ducted system.
Installing an evaporative cooler is relatively simple and can be done by a qualified tradesperson, although some people choose to do it themselves. The cooler must be located where the water supply and drain lines can easily be accessed. The evaporative cooler should not be placed directly above the roof, as this can cause ceiling damage and water leaks. To avoid vibrations and noise, it must also be secured to the roof structure on all three sides. The cooler should not be placed on top of a pergola or veranda, as this may lead to instability and structural issues with the joists below.
Before installing a new evaporative cooler, it is important to make sure the existing pad surface is clean and free from mineral buildup. This is particularly important if the area is known for having high levels of hard water. It is also essential to ensure that the cooler is running on water that is low in mineral content (typically mains or boreholes). This will minimize the risk of a build-up of the potentially toxic legionella bacteria in the pads.
If you’re planning on purchasing a new evaporative cooler, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation. This will prevent damage to the pads and other internal components. It’s also important to change the pads regularly to prevent a build-up of dirt and minerals.
Evaporative Cooler Maintenance
Evaporative coolers use natural processes to cool spaces. They blow air through wet pads, which helps cool the space by evaporating water. It can cool the air up to 15 times more than normal and is a highly efficient system for cooling large areas. They are typically installed in a central location or connected to ductwork, which distributes the cooled air around different rooms of the home. The only mechanical parts of the evaporative cooler are the fan motor and the water pump, which is easily maintained by a homeowner or handyman, eliminating expensive service calls for repair or replacement.
Unlike an air conditioning unit, which uses refrigerant, an evaporative cooler needs to have its water collection tank and drain pan regularly drained and cleaned. This is because the system recirculates the water, so any bacteria that gets into it must be removed. This is why evaporative coolers need more maintenance than a standard air conditioner.
A regular cleaning routine for a swamp cooler involves emptying the water collection pan and draining it, then cleaning the pads. These can be removed and immersed in a water and lemon juice solution to remove mineral deposits that build up over time. It is also important to check the pad frames for dry spots, as these indicate they no longer distribute water evenly.
Other common issues include a slow-starting fan or clogged filters. If the pads are not changed regularly, they can develop cracks or become brittle and break. It is recommended to replace the pads at the beginning of each season and also regularly during the cooling season. Some evaporative coolers also come with optional air filters that remove dust and allergens from the air, which can improve comfort for asthmatics or people with allergies.
Keeping your evaporative cooler in good condition will save you money and keep your house cool. In addition, an evaporative cooler will reduce humidity in your home, which is ideal for those with respiratory problems and may help ease hay fever symptoms. Having a cinch home warranty can further protect your investment by covering the cost of repairs and servicing.
Evaporative Cooler Cost
Evaporative coolers use water to cool the air. They work by passing the warm air from the house over water-saturated pads, which absorb heat and lower the temperature before the fan blows the cool air into the house. The pads need to be regularly drained and cleaned. The cooling performance of evaporative coolers depends on the outdoor air temperature and humidity level. Coolers should be able to lower the dew point of the air by at least 5-7 degrees.
The cost of evaporative coolers can vary widely depending on the type and size of the unit, as well as installation options. Generally, smaller units are cheaper than larger ones. Additionally, if the evaporative cooler can be located close to a water source, the initial investment will be less than if a tank needs to be manually filled.
Most evaporative coolers have a small number of mechanical parts, and most can be serviced by homeowners with little or no training. However, they require regular maintenance, including a full draining to remove sediment and mineral build-up and a major cleaning at the beginning of each cooling season. An ice compartment or gel ice packs can increase the cooling power of a swamp cooler, but they add to the annual operating costs.
An evaporative cooler should be situated in an area with good natural ventilation. It should be installed low to the ground to easily drain and maintain it. Ground-mounted swamp coolers also have the advantage of being less obtrusive than roof-mounted units.
Residential evaporative coolers are usually rated by the number of cubic feet per minute (cfm) they can move. This is a measure of how quickly the system can cool a room. Coolers rated for homes with large rooms or multiple levels need to be able to achieve at least 15 cfm.
An evaporative cooler will also need to be connected to a safe, clean water supply. Water-based evaporative systems use a tank or continuous-fill water line, which can be hooked to a household plumbing system. A sanitary water supply is essential for safety and efficiency, as the system will use large amounts of water to cool the air.