Known by the humorous name of “Swamp Coolers,” cooling systems based on evaporation have been around forever. Here’s a primer on evaporative cooling. No swamp is needed.
Swamp Coolers – A Different Way to Cool Your Home
Swamp coolers are based on the natural process known as evaporation. Importantly, they only work in low-humidity areas. If you are living in Miami, swamp coolers aren’t going to cut it. So, how do they work?
The idea behind swamp coolers is evaporating water is cooler than the air around it, typically 20 to 40 degrees cooler. Given this fact, swamp coolers work by sucking air from the exterior of your home in through a window and across pads saturated in water. As the cooled off air enters the home, it sinks and pushes the rising hot air out of the house. Yes, it really works.
There is a certain amount of creativity involved in using swamp coolers. You have to play around with window openings till you find setting that creates a cool, consistent breeze in your home. Windows high on walls should be opened to let heat escape as the sweet, cool breeze comes flowing in. You don’t need fans or recirculation equipment, because the natural physics of hot and cold air will create currents.
Swamp coolers are tremendous options when you don’t have an air conditioner, are in the middle of heat wave or the utility company is having problems supplying electricity. You can actually buy swamp cooler systems, but they go by the more attractive name of evaporative coolers. “Swamp” apparently didn’t cut it with the marketing team. They cost about half as much as electric systems, but require more maintenance since you have to swap out the pads.
If you suffer from allergies and the like, you may be concerned about sucking exterior air into your home. Fortunately, most swamp coolers come with optional filters that can remove pollens and dust. Surprisingly, the filters don’t seem to have much impact on the efficiency of the coolers.
All and all, swamp coolers are a cost-effective method to beat the heat if you live in a low humidity area. You don’t even need a swamp.
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