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Evaporative Cooler

Discussion in 'TUG Lounge' started by natasha5687, Jul 1, 2012.

  1. natasha5687

    natasha5687 TUG Member

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    Hi All,

    I am in need of some advice regarding the potential purchase of an evaporative cooler. I have never had an experince with one so I am unfamiliar with how well they do or dont work. I have central air but 2 rooms on the top floor of my 3 story home dont cool as well as the rest of the house. I thought about getting 2 small $99 air conditioners but I have very large vertical sliding windows in my house which means I need to buy a casement air conditioner. Unfortunately, they are much more expensive, starting around $400 each. The evaporative cooler seems like a decent alternative. I live in MD and while I dont consider it humid I also wouldnt consider the air here dry. I have read that they work best in drier climates. Please share your thoughts and experienes.

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. Steve

    Steve Moderator

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    Just Say No

    I grew up in Virginia, and I now live in Utah. You do NOT want an evaporative cooler anywhere east of Colorado! They put humidity into the air and would make your house in Maryland truly miserable.

    Even in dry climates like the Rocky Mountain West, evaporative coolers are slowly on their way out. A lot of older houses have them, but they are very rare in newer homes. Almost everyone now puts in refrigerated air conditioning.

    The reasons? Evaporative coolers are not very efficient. They don't cool the house evenly. They spring water leaks. You have to keep your windows open slightly in order to pull the air into your rooms. In order to try to get the place cool, you have to have the fan on very high speed. They literally blow any loose papers around. Even in dry climates, they aren't effective on more humid days such as when we get monsoon moisture in August. They can cause damage to artwook, paintings, and antiques as they put too much moisture into the air.

    I lived in several places with evaporative coolers when I was in college, and I would never have one in my house...even in Utah. You don't want one in Maryland.

    Steve
     
  3. ricoba

    ricoba TUG Member

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    Steve is right, you don't want an evaporative cooler in Maryland, it's too humid for the cooler to work effectively.

    Here in the desert they work, but not in places with higher levels of humidity.
     
  4. Passepartout

    Passepartout TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    +1 on what Steve said. There is a reason people call 'em Swamp Coolers. And you especially don't want one to run in conjunction with another refrigerated a/c. The additional water in the air would just freeze up the a/c leaving you with no cooling at all until it thaws out.

    I can't offer anything but sympathy and moral support for your dilemma with the casement windows.

    In view of everyone who has no power, no a/c, no TUG!, Be happy for what you have. :)

    Jim
     
  5. JulieAB

    JulieAB TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    I have a whole house AC and evap, and I love the evap for it's extremely cheap air. It's half to a third of my bill when I run the ac in the extreme summer. But I'm in the desert, so it works most the year. Also, you can't run the AC and the evap at the same time. They'll work against each other, the AC pulling the humidity out and the evap putting it in. In your situation you'll have to choose one or the other.
     
  6. SmithOp

    SmithOp TUG Member

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    How about some fans to move the air? You probably do not have a return vent on 3rd floor so the hot air is trapped. A portable ac unit would be better than evap cooler on east coast as others have stated.
     
  7. zinger1457

    zinger1457 Guest

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    While I would agree about not using one in Maryland or any area with high humidity I do disagree with your general description of evap coolers as they were designed and intended to be used in dry climates only. I live in Arizona and have had one in my house since it was built (14 years). Evap coolers are very efficient, my electrical bill is a fraction of what someone with AC pays, my water bill might increase just slightly ($1-2/month) during the months I use my evap cooler. It does increase the humidity inside your house but that's what you want in a dry climate. Even during the monsoon season the humidity inside my house never gets above 50% and I never heard of an evap cooler causing damage to household goods (about 70% of homes out here use them). If anything they provide a benefit by stopping wood floors and furnishings from drying out. If your evap cooler was sized correctly and the duct system designed correctly you will get adequate cooling throughout the house. It is true you have to keep some windows open but that's a plus, an evap cooler replaces the air in your house with fresh outside air roughly 4x per hour whereas an AC constantly recirculates the same stale air inside your house. It sounds like you haven't been in a house with a properly designed evap system. It's extremely quiet and I can only feel the air when I'm right next to a vent, it certainly doesn't blow papers around the house.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2012
  8. Lets Get Going

    Lets Get Going TUG Member

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    Loved my evap cooler...in the desert

    I agree with Zinger. I lived in the California desert for 15 years and rarely used my A/C. We had a whole house cooler and it was everything Zinger said, cooler, more comfortable and alot less expensive than an A/C. We ran it all summer except when the humidity got high, usually August and then only for a few weeks.

    If we ever get back to the desert (hope so, hope so....) we will definitely do the swamp cooler again.
     
  9. JulieAB

    JulieAB TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    Totally agree with zinger! Yeah, it gets leaks, but it's so much cheaper and easier to fix than my AC! I can do it myself! I have an old mastercool, no longer manufactured, but I keep it hobbling along because I save a good $1500 a year!

    Just had to replace the AC condenser at $3000, that was painful. :rolleyes: But for the 2-3 months I can't use the evap, I had no choice.
     
  10. MichaelColey

    MichaelColey TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    We tried using an evaporative cooler in our garage once (here in northern Texas where it's not very humid), and it was pretty miserable. It dropped the temperature a bit, but increased the humidity considerably. It was cooler, but not much more comfortable.

    I could see it being great in the dessert, where a little bit of humidity wouldn't hurt.
     
  11. ampaholic

    ampaholic TUG Member

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    We have a whole house evap here in Spokane and it is wonderful. But don't try to run it with an A/C unit as others have said it will fight with the A/C.

    Calling them "swamp coolers" is like the misnomer "common sense" - they are not for "swamps" and there is nothing "common" about it.:p
     

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