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Do Evaporative Coolers work? How Effective Is It?

Evaporative Coolers, Ventless or Swamp Coolers, call it what you want. There is no denying that it is a cheap (and good) AC Alternative for Dry environments. In this post, we will answer the age-old question, how does an evaporative cooler work, the cooling effectiveness, the pros, and cons. More importantly, is it a good buy? Read on.
Short answer
Evaporative/ Swamp Cooler does work!

 

How Does An Evaporative Cooler Work?

Also known as a swamp cooler or ventless cooler, an evaporative cooler uses water to circulate cool air drawn in from outside. Electricity is sent to the pumps filled with water to wet the pads/ wicks and spins the blower fan. The passing hot air loses the heat to the water and disperses as cool air into the room.

As you can tell, an evaporative cooler cooling mechanism is entirely different from a central air conditioner. A standard AC uses refrigerant technology to expel indoor heat and moisture to the outside of the room. It is powered by a compressor, built-in fan, condenser coils, and evaporator coils.

Will An Evaporative Cooler Work Effectively?

Evaporative coolers have many advantages over standard refrigerant-based air conditioners as such:

  • It is energy-saving and thus consumes less energy to cool the air. You will notice a much lower monthly electricity bill than a central refrigerant AC.
  • Natural evaporative cooling is much more eco-friendly due to its energy efficiency and non-reliant on chemical refrigerants. The lesser energy used, the lesser contribution toward global warming.
  • Release cool air and lower the home’s ambient temperature to a comfortable level, even on a hot summer day over 90°F.
  • Evaporative coolers provide fresh air and add moisture back to the room. It will add around 2-3% of moisture for every 1 degree of temperature dropped in the room. Perfect for a dry environment with low humidity.

Conversely, evaporative coolers have few disadvantages and are not suitable for all homes.

  • Swamp coolers do not work well in a high humidity environment of over 50 percent e.g. coastal northeast area, Boston.
  • Overhumidity of the room. It promotes the growth of mold, mildew, and other microbes that causes many allergic reactions. The muggy condition creates an unpleasant, sticky feeling because our sweat fails to evaporate to cool the bodies down.
  • It can be bulky that takes out a lot of the interior space, unlike a central AC that is securely mounted to the ceiling or wall.
  • Most critically, evaporative coolers do not cool as well as a refrigerant AC, particularly in a large room. There are no two ways about it.

References

EPA

ENERGY

Max Fernandez