The most common type of air conditioning system found in homes uses chemical refrigerant to transfer heat from inside the house to the outside. But this isn’t the only option available for a home when it comes to summertime comfort. There are also evaporative coolers, which work in a different way.
The basics of evaporative cooling
The term evaporative cooling means the loss of heat through evaporation. You’ve felt the effects of evaporative cooling before. If you’re standing next to a body of water, such as a lake, an ocean, or a fountain, on a hot day and then feel a breeze from across the water, the air feels cooler against your skin. This is because evaporative cooling has caused the air to lose heat to the cooler water. Evaporative cooling has been used for millennia to help cool down areas. Ancient Egyptians used to hang wet reeds over windows the cool down the air passing through them, and the Romans built fountains for similar effects.
The modern evaporative cooler
The specific installation that we’re talking about, the evaporative cooler, is a mechanical comfort system that uses water to cool down air from outside a building and then sends it into the ventilation system. An evaporative cooler is usually placed on the top of a house, and a fan draws the hot outside air into it. The air passes through the cooler and over a series of pads kept saturated by water by a set of pumps. The hot air loses heat to the water and the blower fan then sends this conditioned air into the house.
Are there advantages to using an evaporative cooler?
Yes. Compared to the standard air conditioning system, which uses refrigerant rather than water to cool the air, an evaporative cooler uses less power and can significantly reduce utility bills over the summer. Evaporative coolers also add moisture into the air, which is helpful for a home that has trouble with arid conditions.
Is an evaporative cooler different than a swamp cooler?
No. Swamp cooler is only a different name for an evaporative cooler. It’s a misleading name as well, because a swampy environment is the last place you would actually want to use a swamp cooler. The higher the humidity levels in the air, the less effective an evaporative cooler is, since it’s hard to saturate the incoming air with cooler water when there’s already a large amount of moisture saturated in it.
So is an evaporative cooler right for our climate?
Yes! Although we experience humidity during our summers, it’s not at the levels of, say, Florida (or a swamp) that would make an evaporative cooler ineffective. However—and this is important—an evaporative cooler is not right for every household. Although evaporative coolers have a great appeal because they use less energy than standard refrigerant-based air conditioners and help to balance humidity, they may not be able to keep up with cooling demands in the same way. Therefore, always allow an HVAC professional to install a cooling system for a home to make sure that it’s the right one.
We work with evaporative coolers in Katy, TX, as well as standard air conditioners. If you think an evaporative cooler may a, well, cool way to keep your house comfortable, we’re glad to help you find out.
Learn more about your comfort options in Katy, TX. At AC Comfort, your comfort is our business!