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The Truths About Swamp Coolers That You Really Need To Know

Aug 17, 2007
There are various types of devices that may be used to help cool off a humid room. Most people today use standard airconditioning, but there are those who are fans of alternative tools and, instead, choose swamp coolers.

No, a swamp cooler is not in any way linked to dark and murky swamp. It is a new type of refrigeration system that makes use of the simple process of evaporation to give off cool air. Also called a desert cooler, an evaporative cooler, or an air cooler, the swamp cooler differs from the regular airconditioner in a way that the latter employs a compressor and a heat pump to operate.

A swamp cooler is best for environments with low humidity, where its installation is relatively cheap compared to traditional airconditioners. Areas with high humidity may also benefit from swamp coolers, like dry cleaners, greenhouses and industrial plants. But it is really best for environments whose humidities are relatively light.

There are two types of cooling mechanisms under a swamp cooler. One is the indirect evaporative cooling, which happens in a closed circuit and makes use of a heat exchanger. The other is called direct evaporative cooling, which happens in an open circuit, where warm and dry air is converted to cool, moist air by reducing the air temperature via the evaporation process.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Swamp Coolers

There are a number of reasons why swamp coolers are a better choice than traditional airconditioners.

First, they are a lot less costly to install. When compared with refrigerated air conditioners, setting up a swamp cooler costs about an eighth to half. Operating it is also cheaper, accounting for just a fourth of what is expended on refrigerated air. You are also more likely to spend a lot less on energy because a swamp cooler's operational system is based simply on a water pump and a fan. Patrons of swamp coolers also attest that the air is relatively fresher.

However, while it has its merits, it also has several trade-offs. One is that it relies on water to function. Thus, you will have to keep checking if it has enough in its tank and its pads are always wet. It is also more expensive to maintain, particularly during cold weather and winter, because it can easily freeze burst.

Another disadvantage to using a swamp cooler is that the air it gives off is very humid, at around 80% to 90%. It is therefore not very advisable in high-humidity environments because it will eventually corrode your electrical systems and moisten surfaces. The evaporated air will consequently condense, which becomes a big nuisance.

A swamp cooler is also not advisable if you have asthma because pollutants and other microbes from outside might be blown into the room if it has not ample filtering.

In sum, while this device provides a less costly alternative, it comes with a catch. If your priority is to cut corners, then this product is for you. If you've already gotten used to traditional air conditioners and really find nothing wrong with using them, then there's no reason to make a switch.
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