One of the challenges for dude ranches is keeping their guests comfortable while they experience the great outdoors. Many rely on air conditioners and shade to cool down their guests, but there’s another option that often gets overlooked: evaporative coolers.
Portable evaporative coolers keep guests cool both inside and outside. They can be used to cool guest rooms, dining rooms, patios, porches, pools, barns, lookouts, dance floors, shooting ranges, swimming pools, and cattle corals, and they’re perfectly suited to the American west.
How They Work
Evaporative coolers work using evaporation. They pump water into a specialized cardboard pad and move air through it using a high-powered fan. As warm air blows through the pad, the water evaporates and absorbs the heat in the air, exactly the same way evaporating sweat absorbs heat from your body, and produces a steady stream of cool air that gets blow out into the surrounding environment.
Why They Work Best Out West
The biggest obstacle to evaporation is humidity. The more water vapor is in the air, the harder it is for the air to absorb more. Low humidity conditions are common across the western United States, especially during summer. Most western states have an average humidity level below 30 percent and an average temperature above 80°F. Under those conditions, evaporative coolers can produce major temperature changes, sometimes cooling the air by as much as 30°F.
Cost-Effective & Great For Guests
Evaporative coolers can cool down large areas very quickly, especially high-end units like the Luma Comfort EC220W. It can cool 1650 cubic feet of air every minute over an area 650 square feet and they’re extremely cost effective.
Because they rely on natural processes and use minimal mechanical parts, a water pump and a fan, evaporative coolers use 75 percent less electricity than air conditioners. The largest can be run for less than three cents an hour. Smaller units, used for rooms and offices, use even less.
They’re great outdoors or in any naturally ventilated structure, like barns and lodges. The fresh air keeps the humidity from building up and lets the cool air circulate as widely as possible, so they cool more effectively.
If you want to learn more, check out our full-length article on evaporative coolers and dude ranches. If you have anything to add, let us know in the comments! We love your feedback.