What Are Evaporative Coolers? Here’s Everything You Need To Know

Looking for a method to beat the heat? If you don’t have a central air conditioning system in your house, or if you have but are looking for more environmentally friendly or cost-effective solutions, you might be thinking if evaporative coolers are perfect for you.

Understanding how evaporative cooler function is essential for determining if one will perform successfully in your house. There is a lot to learn about evaporative cooling if you are new to it. Here’s everything you need to know about how evaporative coolers operate – and how to decide if you should buy one.

What Are Evaporative Coolers?

An evaporative air cooler is a type of air conditioner that uses evaporation to decrease air temperatures. When water evaporates, it transforms from a liquid to a gas. As it does so, the highest-energy particles leave the water first, causing the temperature to fall. This is why a wet towel on your brow feels cool on a hot day – the water evaporates and helps to cool your head.

When it comes to the air in your house, the same scientific principles apply to the evaporative cooling process. In a dry atmosphere, the simple process of evaporation can assist reduce the temperature of the air. You may have experienced this for yourself if you’ve ever misted the air around you to feel cooler on a hot summer day. An evaporative air conditioner works on the same principle, but it incorporates technology to make the process more effective β€” and less dirty β€” than just sprinkling a room with water and hoping for the best.

How Do Evaporative Coolers Work?

An evaporative cooling system automates simple evaporation to efficiently reduce the temperature of the air in your house. In general, the machine will have a fan, a thick pad, a water reservoir, and several extra controls for fine-tuning the results. The fan sucks dry, hot air into the machine and across the cooling pads. These thick pads absorb water from the reservoir and have many layers to maximize surface area. As the hot air passes over the pad, the water molecules on the surface evaporate, causing the air temperature within the cooler to decrease – sometimes by as much as 20 degrees. The fan then blasts the cold air into your room, where you may enjoy the cool air on a hot day.

Many use air filters and pads that are meant to enhance air quality by lowering allergens and preventing mildew growth – an essential consideration for anybody who suffers from allergies or other respiratory issues. While not necessarily essential, a water pump can help to speed absorption into the cooling pad. Some models allow you to add an ice pack to further chill the air that the fan blasts out into the room. Variable fan speeds, oscillating functionalities, and remote control are additional essential features.

A Word About Swamp Coolers

The phrases “evaporative cooler” and “swamp cooler” are sometimes used interchangeably, and a swamp cooler operates on the same principle of evaporation. Nobody knows where the name came from, although evaporative “swamp coolers” are just a colloquial term for a conventional evaporative cooler. If there is a difference, it may be due to size. A swamp cooler is frequently used to refer to a whole-house evaporative air conditioning device, but evaporative coolers can be of any size, including tiny, portable evaporative coolers.