What exactly is a window-mounted swamp cooler? We’ve all heard of air conditioners and area fans. They’ve been around for ages, providing cooling needs at the height of summer. A swamp cooler, also known as an evaporative cooler, air cooler, or desert cooler, employs the use of evaporated water to cool the air.
A swamp cooler uses a process of forcing warm, dry air into the cooler. The air evaporates the cool water, resulting in cooler humid air at the other end. In some dry areas, so much humidity is added that it feels like a cool swamp.
A window-mounted swamp cooler works very much in the same way as mixing a hot glass of water with a cold glass of water. The result is cooler water between the two temperatures.
A Look at What a Swamp Cooler Is
Window-mounted swamp coolers come in three designs: direct evaporative cooling, indirect evaporative cooling, and two-stage evaporative cooling. Direct cooling, or open circuit, changes the warm air to cooler air directly into the room. Indirect cooling (closed circuit) is similar to direct but uses a heat exchanger to cool the room so that the humid air never gets to the room.
Two-stage cooling (indirect-direct) employs a process of first passing the air through a heat exchanger to cool, then this cooler air is passed through a direct cooler to add water and cool it further. This process is usually preferred, as it results in less humid air. Cool air carries less humidity than warm.
Window-mounted swamp coolers or those mounted on rooftops are often popular in dry desert areas such as Nevada, New Mexico, and parts of California. The reason for this is that since the effectiveness of a swamp cooler is dependent on the relative humidity of the air, the humidity has to be low for the cooler to work. The humidity added by the swamp cooler effectively cools the air by absorbing the heat as it evaporates.
Disadvantages of Window-Mounted Swamp Coolers
If there is already too much humidity in the air (usually over 60%), the change in temperature is normally minimal. This renders swamp coolers virtually useless along coasts where humidity and heat go hand-in-hand.
Other disadvantages stem from the increased humidity caused by window-mounted swamp coolers. The humid air could cause condensation and corrosion that bring more problems to electrical equipment or wood.
Also, if you live in a cooler climate where the temperatures drop below freezing in the winter, the water supply to the cooler could freeze and potentially burst. Draining would become a necessity.
Advantages of Window-Mounted Swamp Coolers
However, window-mounted swamp coolers do provide some great advantages over air conditioning in some areas. They are easier to install and cost a quarter of the price of air conditioning. They save energy, as the only real use for electricity is to operate the fan and water pump. Also, swamp coolers keep the existing air moving through a room much like a fan does. The home will rarely end up with stale air.
In short, window-mounted swamp coolers do the job of air conditioners in the right environment and at a fraction of the operating cost. In wet climates, an air conditioner would be the better alternative.