Swamp Coolers: What You Need To Know

A swamp cooler cools the air by using moisture. A swamp cooler (also known as an evaporative air conditioner) cools the air by passing warm outside air through wet evaporative cooler pads. A blower motor then blows cold air into a home through a vent.

How Do Swamp Coolers Work?

Compared to air conditioners, swamp coolers are very simple machines. They use evaporative cooling, which is a very simple idea that almost everyone knows. This is the same idea behind how sweat keeps you cool and why you feel so cold when you get out of the pool: when air moves over water, it evaporates, and evaporation is a process that takes away heat.

Let’s go into more detail. A swamp cooler is made up of a fan, a water supply (sometimes a tank, but permanent units will be hooked up to your home’s water lines), an air filter, and a grid that lets air pass through it like a sponge. The water supply keeps the grid wet all the time. The fan pulls air through the air filter and then past the grid, where it evaporates the water. This cools the air as it moves through and sends it into your home. This lowers the temperature inside and makes you feel more comfortable.

Downsides Of Swamp Coolers

But evaporative cooling has a drawback: it only works if the air is dry. There is a limitation to how much water vapor the air can hold. This limit is called humidity. The less water can evaporate, the more humidity there is in the air. Evaporative coolers stop working when water can’t evaporate because they can’t cool the air. This is why days with a lot of humidity always feel hotter than days with warmer temperatures but drier air: when sweat can’t evaporate, your body can’t cool itself naturally.

So, despite what their name suggests, swamp coolers are not the best choice unless you live in a climate that is almost completely dry all year round, especially during the hot summer months. On hot, humid days, when you need relief the most, your swamp cooler won’t be able to keep your house cool because the humidity inside will stop it from doing its job.

The high deserts and inland empire areas, which are often dry, hot, and have very low humidity, are all great places that could benefit a lot from a swamp cooler. Warm air will always have a higher level of humidity, which will make a swamp cooler less effective when you need it most.

Swamp Cooler Or Air Conditioning?

Swamp coolers can only cool your home when the conditions outside and inside are right. An air conditioner, on the other hand, can cool your home in almost any environment. In fact, air conditioners work in a way that is almost the opposite of how swamp coolers do. Instead of making the air humid to cool it, air conditioners dry out the air by making water condense. This brings cool, dry air into your home and relieves you of the humidity. There’s no doubt that a swamp cooler will save you money on your energy bills, but the fact that it might not work when you need it might cancel out the money it saves you.

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