Evaporative Cooling

Maintaining a cool atmosphere indoors when the outdoor temperature is high during the hottest months can be taxing even for the best HVAC system. Problem is that level of comfort comes at a high cost in energy usage. Evaporative cooling provides a much more economical solution for those living in relatively dry air climates like here in Arizona.

In this article I'll be looking at this low-cost, efficient and easy to install and use cooling solution that is friendly to the environment while providing you and your family with a comfortable climate indoors and out.

Ventless Portable Air Conditioner?

Often, these economical, go anywhere evaporating cooling devices are referred to as vent-free or ventless portable air conditioners (see: http://ventlessportableairconditioner.intervalinc.com for a full explanation) which is not really correct. They might look like the AC room coolers you can buy in hardware stores, but what's inside the box is completely different.

Where AC uses an energy-hungry refrigeration process including a big compressor to chill the internal gas that chills the air put out, evaporative coolers only use a water-soaked medium and a fan to push air through and evaporate the moisture, thus creating the cooling effect. These ecological coolers work in a similar way to your skin using perspiration to cool its surface when a breeze blows!

Humidity: The Arch Enemy

There is one major flaw in what would otherwise be a perfect replacement for AC. Evaporating cooling devices do not work well when the air is particularly humid. At humidity levels of 60% and above, their effectiveness is reduced until they stop producing any cold air at all.

This is because in order to chill the air, the evaporation process must transfer water vapor into the atmosphere, where the heat it absorbs is transferred to the air and creates the cooling effect. That works fine when the air is dry, because it can accept a large volume of vapor before becoming saturated. But when the air is saturated, it will not accept any more moisture and the cooling process stops working.

Fortunately we live in a state that has predominantly dry air even during the summer months, so there is no problem using swamp coolers to replace traditional air conditioning to keep us cool in our homes and places of work. In fact, a lot of people who have been seeing their utility bills keep going ever upward are recognizing the potential savings they can make and are replacing old and worn-out AC equipment with evaporative technology to cool the air.

Indoors and Outdoors

One major benefit of portable swamp coolers is they can be operated both indoors and outdoors. You simply wheel the unit to where you want cool air, fill it with water and turn it on.

I get some funny looks from people who don't know about swamp coolers when they see my big Portacool operating on my patio. People have come up to me because they were worried I might be wasting so much energy running that big AC to blow cold air at people.

Of course, I just smile and set them right by explaining briefly that it is not an AC, but a swamp cooler that runs on about 1/10th the amount of electricity that a comparable air conditioner would use. So it's actually a pretty cheap way to stay comfortably cool outdoors as well as indoors!

If you're reading this and are getting ready to pay yet another monster size electricity bill thanks to your old, inefficient energy hog HVAC, you might want to take a look at augmenting your cooling system with one or more portable swamp coolers so you can turn down the thermostat and save a ton of money next quarter.

Or replace the whole thing with evaporative technology to do the cooling and just have a modern central heating solution that is probably way more efficient than older systems. Your choice.

Additional Pages

I'm adding more articles on ways to keep cool without spending a whole bunch of money in this section of the website. Take a look below at the titles to see if anything grabs your attention!



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