Wednesday—Good forYou, Good for My New Swamp Cooler

The modern term for "swamp cooler" is "evaporative cooler."  Love this updated version by Honeywell



so cool!

Behold!  The Honeywell CO25AE 52 Pint Indoor/Outdoor
Portable Evaporative Air Cooler with Remote Control
$277.54 on Amazon


Welcome, Summer

  •   holds 6.6 gallons of water
  •   top-loading ice compartment
  •   non-compressor system (not an a/c)
  •   cools 300 square feet
  •   uses water to cool air
  •   light-weight (25.8 lbs) & on rollers
  •   remote control
  •   4 speeds
  •   up to 8 hours on auto-timer
  •   oscillating or non-oscillating fan
  •   low water alert
  •   energy-efficient, uses 230 watts of power 
  •   easy to move around the room
  •   strong air throw
  •   works best in hot, dry air with humidity 60% or less
  •  requires cross-ventilation & must be placed near an open window or door (about 3" will suffice)
  • easy to clean 


How it Works

An evaporative cooler works by pushing hot, dry air through a water screen.  As the dry air passes through the water screen, it picks up water particles, which cool the air.  Dry air comes in, picks up water particles, and the fan blows the cooled air out into the room.  You now have a room with humidified air.  

If you do not open a window, the humidified air passes through the water screen, but it picks up fewer water particles, and the air is not cooled as much.  The fan is blowing warmer, humidified air that raises the humidity in the room.

The purpose of the open window is to let in dehumidified air so that the evaporation process can efficiently cool the air. 


Benefits

Less Expensive Than A/C
It's a gazillion times less expensive than a/c, which uses a compressor and gobbles up tons of electricity.

Well, maybe not a gazillion times less expensive...but, certainly a noticeable difference.

To give you an idea of how much less expensive it is, we compared our energy usage with the a/c running for 4 hours to running the evap cooler for 4 hours with an overhead fan in the dining room and an oscillating fan in the living room. 

a/c  = 30.42 kWh
evap cooler + 2 fans  = 11.99 kWh

Cost-wise, this works out to be a savings of $7 per day.  For a 30-day billing cycle, that's $210 per month (based on our usage).  So, our unit pays for itself in 40 days. 

When the temps are up in the 95°F to 100°F range, the a/c runs off & on continuously, and very quickly, our charges move into the higher tiers.  It is not unusual to see 40 to 45 kWh days during a heat wave.

We still have to maintain the a/c once a year, but we will use it a lot less, so the unit will need less maintenance, and it will last longer.

We use energy-efficient low-watt fans, and we don't cool the whole house.  Rooms that aren't in use are closed off during the day.  Windows are opened at night to circulate cool air throughout the house.  We use passive cooling on the outside of the house (exterior retractable solar screens over large windows) to reduce exposure to the hot afternoon sun.


White Noise

This fan produces a very soothing white background noise.  It's just very relaxing!  Anyone who grew up with a swamp cooler knows what I'm talking about.  It sounds and feels like summer in the desert.    


Drawbacks

It is not an air conditioner.  

There is no refrigerant to cool the air, and there is no compressor to drive the motor that circulates cool air throughout the house.  It cools a room by only 5 degrees.  

Our house heats up to around 80 degrees on a normal summer day (around 90 outside).  The evap cooler cools our kitchen & family room to 75 degrees.  But, on really hot days (95 and above), it's uncomfortable inside.  The evap cooler will bring it down to 80, which is tolerable, but too warm without good fans to circulate the air and create a nice draft.

On days when we really want to cool the house, we can use the a/c, but we'll use it a lot less often because of this efficient little evap cooler.


Water Usage

One thing you need for this to work is water (and ice if you want to cool even more).  Even though Gov. Brown and the State Water Resources Control Board have relaxed drought restrictions due to plentiful rainfall earlier this year, there are still mandatory percentage cutbacks in some parts of California.  Reservoirs in Central & Southern Cali are still below their averages, and the snowpack was calculated to be 87% of normal overall.  

In Nevada, Lake Mead is up by 6 feet from its historic low in March, but the lake is currently at only 39% of capacity.  

So, we all want to keep conserving water.  Our current usage is about 3 gallons a day, with ice added a couple of times during the afternoons.  It's not a lot of extra water, compared to average every day household water use.  

Overall, it's pretty efficient both electricity-wise and water-wise.  


Check it out on Amazon!  


  • have • a • cool • summer •

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