Does An Evaporative Cooler Work In My Area?

Hot Summer Sun at the BeachIn short, yes!

The real question, though, is: How effective will an evaporative cooler be in my area?

Evaporative coolers, also commonly called swamp coolers, use the power of evaporation to cool the surrounding area. These air coolers typically consist of a fan and a water-soaked pad. As air passes through the pad, the water evaporates, which draws heat from the air. This cooler air is then re-circulated through the room. Being such simple machines, evaporative coolers are generally less expensive than air conditioners. They also use much less electricity to operate Рmaking them an economical and environmentally friendly alternative to air conditioning.

As a result of their cooling process, evaporative coolers also add moisture and humidity to the air. While this is beneficial in dry climates, it also means that evaporative coolers are not as effective in more humid climates.

Typically, evaporative coolers work best in areas in areas that are very dry, as well as hot. A perfect example is the Southwestern US, including parts of Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico. In these desert climates, not only are the summer months hot, but they are also quite dry.  Evaporative coolers can be just as effective as air conditioners in these areas- but at a fraction of the cost.

Evaporative cooler climate is not limited to this area, either! Throughout the US, many major cities have great climates for air coolers – including Denver, Salt Lake City and even San Francisco.

When trying to decide if an evaporative cooler will be effective your area, first look at the humidity level. Generally speaking, the lower your relative humidity, the more effective your evaporative cooler will be. The map below shows general areas in the US where evaporative coolers are most effective. Areas labeled “A” are optimum for evaporative swamp coolers, while those labeled “B” are less than ideal, but can still be good.

Map of ideal climates for evaporative coolers

-source: USGS Water Science School

Areas like the East Coast are unfortunately less than ideal conditions for an evaporative cooler. Evaporative coolers can still be useful here, however! Units like our EC45S Tower Cooler can act as a simple tower fan or even a humidifier, making it very useful – even on the East Coast.

The below chart shows the estimated temperature change you can expect from an evaporative cooler, depending on the relative humidity and current temperature. Just note that this assumes you have the proper size evaporative cooler for your room.

Estimated temperature change for an evaporative cooler


Using the above, you should be able to come to a pretty good conclusion about whether or not an evaporative cooler will work in your area. If you have any questions about evaporative coolers and your climate, let us know!

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