Warm weather has arrived, and summer is around the corner. Children are out of school, so there are more bodies in the house. It’s hot, but you may avoid switching on the air conditioning because it costs so much in utilities. You may not know there’s an alternative.
Introducing the Evaporative Cooler
Also called the Swamp Cooler, the system of an evaporative cooler is not a new one. It’s thought that evaporative cooling has been used since ancient Egypt, but we know it was used in the Southwest states before electricity was widely used. Homeowners would hang damp sheets in the windows of their porches, and sleep there for the night. The air would blow through the damp sheets, resulting in cool air. This system has been refined and now exists in the form of evaporative coolers, which use water more than electricity, to cool warm, outside air.
How it Works
The evaporative cooler uses water, so the reservoir has to be filled to work properly. The machine, which can be the size of a standard air conditioner if not larger, pulls air in and through damp pads. The water molecules on the pad cool the air as it flows through, and out into the house. The hot air in the house is pushed out through a vented window.
Benefits and Drawbacks
Because evaporative coolers draw air from outside the house, homeowners benefit from fresh air circulation all the time. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, it costs about half as much to install an evaporative cooler as it does to install a standard air conditioning unit and uses about one-fourth the energy. Considering a swamp cooler or an air conditioner should last several years, these savings add up!
Unfortunately, because swamp coolers use water to cool the outside air, they don’t work properly in humid areas. For the highest efficiency and most savings, swamp coolers should be used in areas that have 15-30% humidity. As for the rest of the country, they’re stuck with air conditioners, unfortunately.
Air Conditioning in America
About three-quarters of American homes have air conditioners, and they account for 6% of the electricity produced in the United States. The cost? $29 billion to homeowners collectively and the environmental cost is even greater. Unlike evaporative coolers, air conditioners circulate the same air. This means if you want fresh air, you have to open a door and shut off the AC.
Additionally, air conditioners only continue to work up to a certain temperature, when they stall out and freeze up. Evaporative coolers, however, work better in extreme temperatures. Higher temperatures mean the air is less humid, and even if the water in the tank is warm, the science still works the same. The water cools the air as it flows through. Homeowners may like the versatility of an air conditioning system–either central air conditioning or a window unit. Swamp coolers are usually installed on the roof for large homes and commercial businesses, but sometimes are installed in a window and look much like an air conditioning unit.
If you’re interested in finding out how a swamp cooler can benefit you, call White Glove and talk to one of our experts today. Our service area in northern California is the perfect climate for evaporative cooling, and we sell and install the best swamp coolers on the market.