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do swamp coolers really work?
Posted by: space-time
Date: July 09, 2012 08:33AM
just arrived at my inlaws (in Romania) and found a cooling device where they put packs of "ice" (those little plastic boxes you keep in the freezer). The thing is obviously designed to be filled with water, so I suspect it's a swamp cooler. I google online and I can confirm it is indeed a swamp cooler. Humidity here is very low, so there is hope we should see some relief from his thing...

it looks like this

[www.google.com]

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Re: do swamp coolers really work?
Posted by: lost in space
Date: July 09, 2012 08:49AM
I've seen them work really well, though not as good as AC. Low humidity helps a lot.
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Re: do swamp coolers really work?
Posted by: rgG
Date: July 09, 2012 08:49AM
Maybe not as good as a real air-conditioner, but it should help.





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Re: do swamp coolers really work?
Posted by: mjgkramer
Date: July 09, 2012 09:02AM
Where in Romania? My father's parents were from Nadesch. Came to the US in the early 1900s. Are your in-laws anywhere near there?
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Re: do swamp coolers really work?
Posted by: space-time
Date: July 09, 2012 09:07AM
Bacau

Forecast

Right now 36% Humidity. Is this too high for a swamp cooler?
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Re: do swamp coolers really work?
Posted by: JoeH
Date: July 09, 2012 09:19AM
It will provide some cooling, but not as well as if the humidity was lower. Swamp coolers work better when the dew point of the air is well below 60 F, otherwise they can raise the local humidity enough to offset the effect of the temperature reduction.
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Re: do swamp coolers really work?
Posted by: freeradical
Date: July 09, 2012 09:23AM
Quote
space-time
Bacau

Forecast

Right now 36% Humidity. Is this too high for a swamp cooler?

I would say the humidity is too high. Swamp coolers are used by some people here in Sacramento, especially for cooling greenhouses. However, at the hottest part of the day, the temperature is usually around 15-20%.
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Re: do swamp coolers really work?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: July 09, 2012 09:34AM
They work just fine, as long as you can stand the humidy increase.

After all, evaporative cooling is how the human body cools itself.
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Re: do swamp coolers really work?
Posted by: freeradical
Date: July 09, 2012 09:41AM
Quote
cbelt3
They work just fine, as long as you can stand the humidy increase.

Actually, no. A swamp cooler operating in Sacramento with a temperature of 90, and 15% humidity will cool the air a greater number of degrees than a swamp cooler operating in an environment that already has a 36% humidity.
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Re: do swamp coolers really work?
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: July 09, 2012 09:43AM
....so would you call that a SWAMP.....Thing......??



____________________________________________________

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Re: do swamp coolers really work?
Posted by: tuqqer
Date: July 09, 2012 09:55AM
I've had only swamp coolers in every house I've owned. I wouldn't trade them for air conditioners. However, the big caveat is as others have pointed out: you have to be in a dry climate for them to work. The dryer, the better. I live in Colorado, above 5,000 feet, where the average humidity in the summer is well below 30%, and they are amazing. They add cool moisture in the air, which is healthy for our sinuses out here.

One of the keys is to have them high enough (generally on the roof) so that the fans can flow downward. The other key is to strategically crack open a few windows where you want the flow to go.

The other key: get units that self flush their water tray a couple times a day. This completely prevents any mold from forming. They're then essentially maintenance-free.



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Re: do swamp coolers really work?
Posted by: space-time
Date: July 09, 2012 10:46AM
it doesn't seem to make a big difference sad smiley
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Re: do swamp coolers really work?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: July 09, 2012 10:49AM
free-
Well true, but there are relative definitions of 'sufficient'. If you're looking for air 20-30 degrees cooler than ambient, no. Ain't happening.
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Re: do swamp coolers really work?
Posted by: M A V I C
Date: July 09, 2012 11:09AM
[www.usatoday.com]

Humidity makes a difference. At 50% humidity, an evaporative cooler can lower the air coming into the cooler by about 10 degrees (6 degrees C). But at 10% humidity, the cooler can plummet temperatures by about 20 to 30 degrees (13 to 14 degrees C)

So, for example, if the outside temperature is 90 degrees F (32 C) and the relative humidity is 50%, then the swamp cooler can cool the house to 79 degrees (26 C). Moreover, at 90 degrees (32 C) outside and only 10% humidity, the house temperature drops to 67 degrees (19 C).

On the other hand, when the outside temperature soars to 100 degrees (38 C), we're in trouble if the humidity is much above 25%. When the swamp cooler doesn't work well depends both on outside temperature and humidity. The higher the outside temperature, the lower the humidity must be to drop the house temperature into the cool 70's.

By the way, the swamp cooler sends a breeze through the house so the air temperature feels about five degrees cooler that it is.


Plus, the model you're looking at is only rated for 150sf.




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Re: do swamp coolers really work?
Posted by: Uncle Wig
Date: July 09, 2012 11:25AM
Tuqqer has it right. Swamp coolers are great when it's dry, like it is most of the time in Tucson. They start struggling when the dew point reaches the 40s. But they are much cheaper to run than a/c, and you don't feel trapped in a sealed box.

Quote
cbelt3
free-
Well true, but there are relative definitions of 'sufficient'. If you're looking for air 20-30 degrees cooler than ambient, no. Ain't happening.

That does actually happen if the humidity is low enough. In May & June I often get air 25+ degrees cooler than outside, measured at the wall register.

Part of the problem with space-time's device is that it's self-defeating: it's adding moisture to the air that it's drawing in so the longer he leaves it running, the worse it will work.



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Re: do swamp coolers really work?
Posted by: Forrest
Date: July 09, 2012 11:29AM
I've never seen installed swamp coolers that require bags of ice.
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Re: do swamp coolers really work?
Posted by: M A V I C
Date: July 09, 2012 12:02PM
Quote
Forrest
I've never seen installed swamp coolers that require bags of ice.

It's probably because that one isn't big enough to cool the area.




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Re: do swamp coolers really work?
Posted by: rz
Date: July 09, 2012 01:50PM
Not sure why they're called swamp coolers when it seems like a swamp would be the least effective place to use one due to the humidity...
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Re: do swamp coolers really work?
Posted by: Uncle Wig
Date: July 09, 2012 01:58PM
Quote
rz
Not sure why they're called swamp coolers when it seems like a swamp would be the least effective place to use one due to the humidity...

Because the ones that don't dump the water overboard a couple times a day can smell really musty after the water sits awhile. Things begin to grow in there...



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Re: do swamp coolers really work?
Posted by: Avenger
Date: July 09, 2012 05:21PM
>> Because the ones that don't dump the water overboard a couple times a day <<

Water is in constant circulation and evaporation. There is nothing to "dump". In fact, you need a steady inflow of fresh water.
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Re: do swamp coolers really work?
Posted by: IronMac
Date: July 09, 2012 05:31PM
I have one here in Singapore where it can be really humid and I have to say that it works to a degree.

BTW, how do you keep the thing clean inside? Would a couple of drops of bleach help?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/09/2012 05:31PM by IronMac.
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Re: do swamp coolers really work?
Posted by: M A V I C
Date: July 09, 2012 05:49PM
Quote
IronMac
Would a couple of drops of bleach help?

NO! The last thing you want to do is aerate bleach and be breathing it in. Is the problem you're having with hard water deposits, mold, dirt...?




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Re: do swamp coolers really work?
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: July 09, 2012 07:12PM
The dew point might be a better metric. A swamp cooler will typically not cool air within 8°F (~4°C) of the dew point. If the dew point outside is over 70°F, it might not seem like the cooler is doing much.



in tha 510.
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Re: do swamp coolers really work?
Posted by: IronMac
Date: July 09, 2012 09:49PM
Quote
M A V I C
Quote
IronMac
Would a couple of drops of bleach help?

NO! The last thing you want to do is aerate bleach and be breathing it in. Is the problem you're having with hard water deposits, mold, dirt...?

Wow, good thing I asked! Thanks MAVIC. The problem is algae.
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Re: do swamp coolers really work?
Posted by: AllGold
Date: July 09, 2012 10:47PM
Quote
IronMac
Quote
M A V I C
Quote
IronMac
Would a couple of drops of bleach help?

NO! The last thing you want to do is aerate bleach and be breathing it in. Is the problem you're having with hard water deposits, mold, dirt...?

Wow, good thing I asked! Thanks MAVIC. The problem is algae.

I can't see a couple drops of bleach being a problem but what do I know? I think you would inhale more chlorine from a swim in a chlorinated pool.



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Re: do swamp coolers really work?
Posted by: space-time
Date: July 10, 2012 04:39AM
I don't think it works. Another day with 90F weather ahead sad smiley
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Re: do swamp coolers really work?
Posted by: tuqqer
Date: July 10, 2012 09:57AM
Quote
Avenger
>> Because the ones that don't dump the water overboard a couple times a day <<

Water is in constant circulation and evaporation. There is nothing to "dump". In fact, you need a steady inflow of fresh water.

There is something to dump, and it's where the mold problem comes from: it's the small open pool tray reservoir that the pump sucks water from. It's generally located at the bottom of the unit, usually running the length of the box and about 4-6" deep, just deep enough to allow the small pump to bring up water in and over the top of the rigid "media" that the fans blow over.

You're correct that swamp coolers need a steady inflow of fresh water. But that water does sit in the pool tray reservoir. It's that reservoir that gets drained twice a day on the better systems. It completely prevents mold from forming.



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Re: do swamp coolers really work?
Posted by: M A V I C
Date: July 10, 2012 10:58AM
Quote
AllGold
Quote
IronMac
Quote
M A V I C
Quote
IronMac
Would a couple of drops of bleach help?

NO! The last thing you want to do is aerate bleach and be breathing it in. Is the problem you're having with hard water deposits, mold, dirt...?

Wow, good thing I asked! Thanks MAVIC. The problem is algae.

I can't see a couple drops of bleach being a problem but what do I know? I think you would inhale more chlorine from a swim in a chlorinated pool.

Chances are, you don't spend ~10hrs/day in an indoor pool.

This sounds like it might work against algae [www.instructables.com]




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