A portable evaporative cooler in a commercial home

How Do Portable Evaporative Coolers Work?

August 10, 2020 6:54 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Summer can be a pleasant time with starry night skies, ice cream runs, a sunny beach, or a nice swim, and maybe some travel to a great vacation spot. However, when you need to stay inside, it is certainly no fun to swelter in the heat. A cost-effective and eco-friendly way to beat the heat is to use an evaporative cooler (also called a swamp cooler.) Evaporative coolers use the evaporation of water to help cool the air, adding humidity back into the air at the same time. Compared to air conditioning systems, these coolers use no chemical refrigerants and can use up to 75 percent less energy.

How Does a Portable Evaporative Cooler Work?

An evaporating cooler is simply a device that uses a fan to pull in air, circulating the air over wet cooling pads. As the water passes over the wet pads, the liquid water turns into a moist vapor which is then blown by the fan out into the room. The moisture extracts the heat from the air, lowering the ambient temperature and making it feel cooler. This is like the natural cooling process of the human body. The body sweats in the heat and the sweat evaporates, thus lowering the body’s temperature.

Further, in dry climates, where these work best, they add humidity to the air which helps with the possible problems of itchy eyes, dry skin, and sore throats.
These are often installed on the roof of a home or commercial building and a blower is used to push the air down through air ductwork. They can also be installed in windows, built into walls, placed on the floor, or offered portable.

How Do Portable Evaporative Coolers Work

Are Portable Evaporative Coolers Effective?

Portable cooling systems are an effective cooling solution for a home’s living room, bedrooms, home office, or lounging area. Commercially, they can be used effectively in many factories, business, or office settings. A portable cooler takes up less space than a rooftop model providing a small footprint allowing them to fit into smaller spaces. Most of these are typically lightweight and require only electricity and water to function. They can even come with wheels, making it easy for them to be moved from room to room or place to place if needed.

Evaporative coolers can also be used in outdoor or semi-outdoor areas including, for example, garages, and covered porches.
The benefits of portable coolers are:

  • Super energy efficient
  • Zero chemical emissions
  • Prevent air pollution
  • Portable, flexible, and practical
  • Add beneficial moisture to the air

Evaporative units work well in regions of the country that have hotter and drier climates. In areas of high humidity, the cooler will not reduce the ambient temperature effectively. The general region of effectiveness is between the Rocky Mountains and the West Coast. Pacific coastal communities generally have humidity levels that make these units ineffective. Additionally, they may work in some areas in the Central Plains or along the Canadian border west of the Great Lakes.

The relative effectiveness of an evaporative cooler depends on how low the humidity is. The lower the humidity, the lower the resulting temperature can become. High humidity precludes effective cooling. An area that has a relative humidity below 70 percent will work. The optimum target reduced temperature after cooling is about 70 to 72 degrees.
It is important to select a cooler that has the capacity to cool the size of the space in which it is to be used. Units are rated in terms of CMH (Cubic Meters Per Hour) of air that is delivered.

Here are tips for effective use of evaporative coolers:

  • Use the cooler on dry days and seasons, so keep an eye on the weather.
  • Experiment with positioning the unit to get the most effective air movement and cooling effect.
  • When the cooler is first started it will take a little time for the cooling pads to absorb the water. So, prime the pads by filling the water reservoir, giving the pads time to be saturated so that when the cooler is turned on the machine is operating at full cooling capacity.
  • Use cool or room temperature water. Water out of the tap (at about 50 degrees) is usually fine.

Are Portable Evaporative Coolers Effective

Do Portable Evaporative Coolers Need to be Vented?

A portable cooler is also called a ventless cooler. The only requirements are access to an electrical outlet and a water supply. While traditional air conditioning operates in a sealed and insulated environment, these units simply need a steady supply of fresh air. As it runs it generates moist air in the cooled space as water goes through its evaporation process. However, as the air increases in humidity, the cooling becomes less effective. All that is needed is to keep some windows partially open to let the dry air in and allow the damp air to escape. Only a few inches of window opening is needed along with planning some cross-ventilation for continued airflow and cooling effectiveness.

Some features of portable evaporative coolers to consider:

  • A timer that can turn off the unit, particularly if it is not desired to have the unit run all night.
  • A remote control for comfortable and convenient operation.
  • Several types of cooling pads are available to suit your needs.
  • The water tank, including a hose connector (if desired to hook up an ordinary garden hose), and an automatic water level controller. Alternatively, there is a water level indicator.
  • Water inlet and drain valve for filling and then draining and cleaning the tank.
  • The fan for airflow.

Get a Portable Cooler for Your Needs

A portable cooler can be an excellent solution for many cooling needs.

When you are considering a cooling system for residential, commercial, or industrial applications, call the experts at Premier Industries, Inc., based in Phoenix, AZ.
Since 1983, Premier Industries, Inc. has been providing high quality evaporative cooling systems and accessories to industrial spaces, businesses, and homes in the greater Phoenix, AZ area. We take pride in having the resources, experience, and friendly service necessary to please any customer.

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This post was written by Mike Nicolini

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