What You Need To Know About A Swamp Cooler!
If you live in a fairly dry climate, a swamp cooler – or evaporative air cooler – is a great way to keep your home cool when the weather turns it into an oven. As a bonus, they’re much less expensive to operate than the typical air conditioner.
In this article we're going to looking at everything you need to know about a swamp cooler, like how do you know if it's the right one for you, determining the size you need, and how to install it once you have chosen the right one.
How Do You Know if a Swamp Cooler is Right for You?
Before you invest in a swamp cooler, you need to figure out if it would work for you. You should start by checking the average humidity, keeping in mind that these units work best in high temps with low humidity. If the average humidity in your area is over 60%, it’s not going to work very effectively.
Keep in mind that you need lots of water for your swamp cooler to function properly because it works by evaporation.
Since these units will increase the humidity in the area that you’re using it, you’ll want to ensure adequate ventilation in the area. Homes that have been built for these units already have ductwork in place.
However, if your home is being retrofitted for a swamp cooler, you’ll want to make sure to keep windows/doors open. So, forget about what your parents said about keeping windows/doors closed because you’re not “cooling the whole neighborhood;” you need that extra ventilation for a swamp cooler to work.
What Size Swamp Cooler Do You Need?
In order to ensure that your swamp cooler is effective and efficient, you want to make sure to get the right size. Start by calculating your CFM, which is cubic feet per minute. You’ll find that swamp coolers are rated according to the amount of air they can move.
To determine the CFM you need, you’ll use the following formula:
Square footage of space you want to cool x ceiling height ÷ 2 (120 cm if you’re using European measurements)
The result of this calculation will tell you the CFM rating of the swamp cooler you’re going to need. For example, if your home is 1500 square feet and has eight foot ceilings, your calculation would look like this:
1500 x 8 ÷ 2 = 6,000
Therefore, you are going to need a swamp cooler with a CFM of 6,000 or higher.
How to Install a Swamp Cooler
Now that you’ve decided that a swamp cooler will work for you and you’ve decided the size that you need, it’s time to go make a purchase. Start by visiting your favorite home improvement store and picking up your swamp cooler. Again, make sure it has the proper CFM rating. After all, you don’t want to get it home and find out it doesn’t effectively cool your space after you’ve gotten it all set up.
Now, take the time to set up your swamp cooler. One thing to keep in mind is that there are several different ways to install units. Perhaps your home already has a spot for one. If that’s the case, it’s pretty easy – put it there.
Since cool air sinks, you’ll find that your swamp cooler is most efficient on the roof, but you may have problems with placement, leakage, or supply. If this is the case, you may consider a portable unit or one that can be installed like a window unit AC or in the wall.
Be sure that you carefully follow the instructions from the manufacturer in order to maximize the output of your swamp cooler.
In order to direct the cool air through your home, you’ll want to create a “vent.” During the day, you’ll want to open a window in the living area and keep the other rooms closed off. This will keep the space that you’re using cooler because you’re not cooling the entire house.
At night, close your living room window(s) and open one in each of your bedrooms that are being cooled. Keep in mind that you don’t want the windows wide open, but just enough to let some of the humid air out without letting too much hot air in.
In addition, venting keeps the moisture from accumulating in your home. If the air inside your home becomes too humid, you’ll reduce the efficiency of the swamp cooler and also could cause your furniture, musical instruments, and other things in your home to become ruined. Plus, if there’s too much moisture in the air, the swamp cooler is not able to cool the air like it’s meant to.
Try to avoid using your swamp cooler until the outside temp is 85° or higher. After all, a swamp cooler is much more efficient when it’s warm outside. The evaporation process works best when there’s a major difference between the water, air, and cooling pads. Of course, the outdoor relative humidity needs to be under 60%, if not much lower.
Finally, you must take the time to properly care for your swamp cooler. This means that you must regularly clean the filter of any impurities. If the filter is clogged, the impurities will slow down or even stop the evaporation process. If that’s not enough to get you motivated, keep in mind that they got their fun name from the algae growth problem in some of the earlier models.