The principle of evaporative cooling was discovered by Ben Franklin in the 18th century. He found that the faster a liquid evaporated, the colder the surrounding area became. When he dipped a thermometer in ether and blew on it with a pair of bellows, it froze in the middle of summer. If you live in the right place, you could see similar results when you switch on your evaporative cooler. Continue reading
As the temperature increases in the summer months, the need for cooler air does too. To fight discomfort from the heat, homeowners use an assortment of appliances including fans, air conditioners and evaporative coolers. Fans work to an extent, but do not actually cool the air. Air conditioners and evaporative coolers both work by cooler the surrounding air, but many homeowners would prefer to use of an evaporative coolers because it costs significantly less to run than a standard air conditioner does. However, where you live might render an evaporative cooler useless.
Where Can I Use My Evaporative Cooler?
An evaporative cooler works by drawing dry, hot air through wet pads.
- The evaporation process that occurs cools the surrounding air.
- The evaporative cooler then uses a fan to blow the cool air out.
The science behind the evaporative cooler has been used for hundreds of years, but it has limitations:
- The climate cannot have high humidity levels for the cooler to be efficient.
- If you reside in an area with a typically humid climate, an evaporative cooler will not function properly.
- Residents living in a typically hot dry climate will find much better use of an evaporative cooler.
Evaporative Cooler Ideal Climate
For an evaporative cooler to work properly, humidity levels need to stay below fifty percent. For optimum performance, it should be used in climates below thirty percent humidity level. Evaporative coolers work best in hot dry climates because the evaporation process cannot work if the outside air has too much moisture. Arid regions will have the most success when using an evaporative cooler because dry air is needed to pass through the wet pads of an evaporative cooler in order to cool the air. Mixed regions will still find an evaporative cooler useful at times. Cold regions will not benefit from the use of an evaporative cooler if the temperatures do not reach high enough. Tropical and humid regions will not benefit from the use of an evaporate cooler. Many areas of North America contain average humidity levels that are too high for an evaporative cooler to function properly.
Some of the areas in the United States rank as follows for evaporative cooler use:
- South Western areas in California, Western Texas, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico all have a typically hot dry climate that would be conducive to using an evaporative cooler.
- States like Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon all have a semi-arid climate that an evaporative cooler would work well in, providing the temperatures reach above eighty degrees.
- Northern states from North Dakota to Main have cooler summer climates. Although, not humid, the temperatures should reach above eighty degrees for an evaporative cooler to have results.
- States like Pennsylvania, Illinois, Delaware, Kentucky, and West Virginia all have humid climates that would cause an evaporative cooler to work less efficiently.
- Most southern states like Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina all have a humid sub tropical climate that would render an evaporative cooler useless.
Damage Caused by Humid Environments
In addition to an evaporative cooler not functioning when used in improper climates, humid environments can actually cause significant damage to an evaporative cooler. Although, regardless of location, an evaporative cooler does require frequent maintenance, in humid environments the damage to an evaporative cooler can be much more significant.
- Humid environments can cause the cooler to rust and erode prematurely.
- Corrosion can cause the cooler to stop working as well, or can cause it to stop working all together.
- High humidity levels can cause the filters to grow mold faster, and can break down the mechanical parts of the cooler.
Using an evaporative cooler outside of the recommended areas can be useless and expensive, since the cooler will require much more maintenance than if it were to be used in a recommended environment.
Using an Evaporative Cooler
The use of an evaporative cooler can be very beneficial. They are designed to use an evaporation process to cool the air. This works by bringing fresh air into the cooler, passing the dry hot air through wet pads, and pushing cooler air into the home. When doing so, an evaporative cooler also adds moisture to the air. This is favorable in a dry hot climate because moisture in the air will make it more comfortable. However, if the air is too humid already, adding more moisture to the air is counterintuitive. Areas with high humidity levels have too much moisture in the air, which will cause an evaporative cooler to not work properly because the evaporation process will be hindered and the air will not get cooler — the evaporative cooler will simply blow warm air into the home. It is important that an evaporative cooler be used properly, and in a climate that will benefit from its use.