When it comes to staying cool, people have tried just about everything. In the past, people would use giant blocks of ice placed in front of fans, cold water from wells, and plenty of other alternatives to try and keep a building cool during hot summer months. Today, air conditioning is by car the most prominent form of cooling, but it isn’t the only one. In fact, you have more than likely come across other types of cooling, such as a swamp cooler.
A swamp cooler performs essentially the same function as an air conditioner, but it goes about doing so in an entirely different way. This makes them ideal for certain applications, and may even make them the solution to a unique and niche cooling need.
How Swamp Coolers Work
A swamp cooler operates on a similar principle to an air conditioner, but in some ways it’s also almost the exact opposite. Sound confusing? Let us explain. With an air conditioner, air is forced over a coil filled with ultra-cold refrigerant. The refrigerant absorbs heat from the air, cooling it off. In doing so, it also causes water vapor in the air to condense, turning it from a gaseous state into a liquid state once again. This water then drips off of the coil and drains away through a drain line.
A swamp cooler, conversely, doesn’t have a drain line. Instead, it has a water line that directly feeds water into the system itself. This water is then run into a permeable grid that air is forced through (sort of like an air filter). As the water evaporates out of the grid, it sharply cools the air and causes the temperature to drop. Simultaneously, the increase in water absorbed into the air through this evaporation increases indoor humidity, and that could bring about much-needed relief from the brutally-dry and sweltering summer air here in Southern California.
When Are Swamp Coolers the Right Choice?
Swamp coolers are not the most common choice when it comes to cooling, but they do have their uses. In a dry environment such as ours here in the Los Angeles area, evaporative cooling is actually a great choice for energy-efficient temperature control. Because the air around us is so dry to begin with, it has the capacity to absorb a ton of additional water, and that makes them remarkably effective.
Swamp coolers are an energy-efficient choice because they generally only rely on one fan to perform the entirety of the cooling process. Unlike air conditioners that require a compressor, condenser, and a number of other electrical components to perform a cooling cycle, swamp coolers can get by on only a fraction of the energy cost. That’s music to the ears of almost anyone who has been forced to deal with the unpleasant experience of opening a summer electric bill.
The other great benefit to swamp coolers is that they take up considerably less space than a standard air conditioning system. Central air conditioning requires both an indoor and an outdoor unit, and while ductless mini split systems have greatly shrunk the amount of space needed for cooling, many swamp coolers come in considerably smaller packages. Likewise, because a swamp cooler is water powered, you can plug many smaller, portable coolers into virtually any outlet anywhere and get refreshing cooling power wherever you need it.
Whole-Home Swamp Coolers
Some homes utilize whole-home swamp coolers as their primary source of cooling. This is typically found out in the desert regions of our area, where brutally hot days lead to extremely dry conditions with very little moisture to be found in the air at all. In general, the less moisture you find in the air, the more effective a swamp cooler will be.
Whole-home swamp coolers offer the same convenience and ease of use as a central air conditioning system. For example, they are installed with a water line, giving them a direct connection to an ongoing flow of water so you never have to worry about refilling them. They need very little maintenance, and they still offer a great energy-efficient alternative to traditional cooling. However, they are not as efficient as central air conditioning in more humid areas, such as in the areas along the coastlines.Need help with your cooling this summer? Make the call to the team at Moe Plumbing! Dial (818) 396-8002 to schedule your appointment today.