The Benefit of Swamp Coolers

The Benefit of Swamp Coolers – Evaporative cooler swamp cooler

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Swamp coolers use approx. 75% less electricity than a central air conditioning system and under the right conditions will do just as good a job. The secret is to create air pressure by only opening one window per room, (or just one at each end of the house), by only 2-3 inches, (place a small piece of paper against one of the window screens and it should stay there, if it does not stay then you do not have enough pressure and either have too many windows open or they are open too much).

Our evaporative cooler will keep the entire house at 75 degrees even on 100 degree days but there are exceptions. One exception is on a very humid day, it does not work very well on humid days which is why they are not recommended East of the Rockies. The other exception is on a smokey day. Wildfires can be 30-40 miles away and the smoke can still settle where you are with the right air conditions making the swamp cooler unhealthy to use, (go to http://www.arb.ca.gov/capcoa/roster.htm to see what the quality of air is in your area). We use a portable, one room air conditioner on those days.

Swamp coolers take a little more maintenance though, ours seems to take about a month of fiddlin with to get it running just right. There is a float valve which always seems to stick first of the season allowing in too much water which empties out of the over flow, (wasting water), and that has to be fiddled with a few times each year to get it to work right, (and this is a brand new one). You have to oil the bearings periodically with a very light oil, (zoom oil is one brand and some professionals recommend 3 in 1 oil but not all professionals do so I’ll leave that  up to you to check into). You should check the belt for wear each year remembering not to make it either too tight or too loose and you should check the media, (straw in our case), for mold. We also put in a water freshener cube twice a season to keep the water fresh, (they are made specifically for swamp coolers and go for around $5 at your local hardware store or online).

Being “evaporative” coolers means that they use water. Depending on the size of the cooler anywhere from 3-15 gallons per hour which is another drawback but all things said, they do a pretty darn good job. One thing we did last year to help was to replace two dome skylights in our vaulted, (no insulation), living room with manual opening Velux skylights. This allows the pressure to push the hot air back out. Other things you can do to help with Summer heat are; insulation, dual pane windows and whole house fans. We even added a “kiddy” pool..;)

Evaporative cooler swamp cooler

We would like to give a HUGE SHOUT OUT to the “Swampinator” our evaporative cooler!! Luckily the forest fire smoke did not lay down here in Grass Valley or I would have spent the day in the kiddie pool but…throughout the Summer, day after day, sometimes running through the night (like probably tonight), the Swampinator has more than done the job. We hit 106 today on our covered front porch and our entire house never got above 77! (yes I did have to pour in a glass full of white vinegar mixed with about 15 drops of purification oil to combat the swamp smell yesterday) but all in all, Good Job Swampinator 😉

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