Q: How effective are evaporative coolers?
A: The effectiveness of evaporative cooling depends on the temperature and humidity of the environment. It can be very effective in hot, dry areas. In areas that have some humidity in the air, it can still be effective depending on your cooling goals. For example, in some climates, an evaporative cooler can meaningfully increase the comfort of workers in manufacturing facilities and other hot environments without being able to provide the level of cooling that many people would want for their homes.
Q: Do evaporative coolers use a lot of electricity?
A: Evaporative coolers are extremely energy efficient compared to traditional air conditioners that use refrigerant and a compressor. According to Energy Saver, evaporative coolers use about 75% less energy than traditional air conditioners.
Q: Do I need to open my windows to use an evaporative cooler?
A: Yes. Unlike traditional air conditioners, evaporative coolers work best when you're able to open windows or doors in the areas you want to cool, allowing warmer indoor air to escape.
Q: How far should I open the windows for an evaporative cooler?
A: Here are three different approaches to adjusting exhaust capacity within a building or space by adjusting windows, doors or vents:
Q: What kind of fan should I use with portable evaporative coolers in a warehouse or industrial facility?
A: One manufacturer-recommended technique is to place exhaust fans at the opposite end of the space as the evaporative coolers, drawing the cool air away from them and discharging warm air from the space. Avoid using ceiling fans, and avoid blowing other fans against the direction of the evaporative coolers.
Q: What kind of water should I use with an evaporative cooler? Do I need to use a water softener?
A: Manufacturers recommend using clean water in evaporative coolers to help prevent dirt from building up in filters, cooling pads, pipes and pumps, lowering the coolers' effectiveness and necessitating more frequent maintenance. Some manufacturers also suggest using a water softener in areas with hard water, because the dissolved solids from hard water can accumulate on the pads, reducing the speed of evaporation and making the unit less effective.
Q: How much humidity does an evaporative cooler add to the air?
A: It's not easy to estimate the amount of humidity that an evaporative cooler adds to the air in a space, because it depends on so many factors, including the temperature and humidity of the environment and the rate of exhaust ventilation. Evaporative coolers add humidity to air as they cool it, but some of this moisture escapes as air is ventilated from the space. One manufacturer estimates that using evaporative cooling in an appropriately ventilated space will increase the humidity about 2% to 5%.
Q: How often should evaporative cooler pads be changed?
A: The frequency with which you'll want to change your evaporative cooler pads depends on the kind of pad the unit uses. Manufacturers generally recommend changing aspen pads once or twice during a cooling season, depending on how long the cooling season is. Honeycomb pads made from cellulose (paper) or other rigid material are designed to last longer, and when regularly cleaned and properly handled are designed to last two to five years, depending on the manufacturer.
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