Evaporator Coolers: Could They Be For You?

Evaporator coolers can provide a great alternative to conventional AC systems, especially in hot, dry areas. These systems are growing in popularity because they are often portable, affordable and suited for controlled cooling in varying rooms.

How evaporator / swamp coolers work

Evaporator cooling utilizes a simple, yet highly effective mechanism. The cooler consists of a fan that pulls outside air into the unit, forcing it through a series of wet pads that are supplied with water from an in-built pump. As warm air passes through the wet pads, heat is absorbed, causing the water to evaporate. The pads also double up as filters that take out dust and other debris from the air, ensuring that chilled, clean air is circulated in the room or building.

The temperature can be lowered by increasing the speed of the fan, allowing more air to be pulled into the unit. Since air is not re-circulated within the system, windows or doors need to be opened to allow it to escape after it has finished cooling.

How evaporator coolers differ from central AC units

Evaporator coolers are often portable, window mounted appliances that are best used to condition smaller spaces such as individual rooms. These tend to be energy efficient as they utilize a simple, natural process that uses motion and water to cool air. Conventional AC units depend on circulating coolant, which takes up a lot more energy. Furthermore, the evaporator cooling process in an evaporator does not produce ozone-harming pollutants or use harsh chemicals as a conventional AC unit would.

The simple set-up of a portable evaporator cooler, which usually entails mounting it on a window or wall, makes installation costs much lower than with a conventional AC unit. Although it may be less effective at cooling your entire home, an evaporator cooler can provide personal and controlled cooling in different rooms according to your needs.

These coolers also work best when there is a window or door open to supply fresh air, unlike central AC units that recycle air within the system. This eliminates the chances of dust and other contaminants from being re-circulated in the home, resulting in cleaner air.

Where can an evaporator cooler be most effective?

Evaporator coolers are best suited to hot areas with low humidity. This is because the cooling mechanism generally depends on hot, dry air passing through a wet surface and absorbing some moisture, thus achieving a lower temperature. As the chilled air is released, it creates a constant breeze that keeps the home cool, while the vapor from the unit humidifies the air, keeping indoor conditions comfy and preventing your skin and eyes from drying.

Talk with your local HVAC contractor, such as Arlington Heating & Air Conditioning, for more information.