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Evaporative cooler doing its job, super cheap


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The thermometer says it's 89 F out (32 C) and the relative humidity reads 21% out. That means the air is super dry out,  just right for using a very cheap way to cool ones home. Instead of air conditioning using maybe 1,500 watts, I used an evaporative cooler (AKA swamp cooler) using less than 500 watts..

My swamp cooler is on low and the outside air coming into the cooler is 89F and the temperature coming into the house is 71.6 F. And this isn't a one room cooler but a rooftop whole house (more  or less) cooler where HVAC ducting feeds two bedrooms, and a TV room that has an open stairway where the cool air goes down to the first floor.

Trouble is should the humidity be high out as it sometimes is during the hot season, swamp coolers do not work.  Luckily, most of the  time when it is hot out down here, it's dry out. Sadly it is not always the case.

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I too just installed a mini split for one room, my bedroom, should it become too humid to run my evaporative cooler.

The major difference is that the mini split uses much more power and only cools one room, instead of a majority of the house by my evaporative cooler for a fraction of the amount electricity used by my single mini split.

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What size swamp cooler do you use~recommend for here for a 1000 sq ft   (95 sq m) area here?

Some swamp coolers use as much as 9 amps~1150 Watts    (like 5,000 CFM units),  which means they use almost twice more energy than a 12,000 BTU  modern   Invertor mini-split   that uses just 5½ amps~ 700 Watts,   making nice   dry   cool air.

As the modern inverters have become more & more efficient,   some now use very cool electronic tricks to outperform swamp coolers,   without the swamp cooler's damp blowing, especially when it's humid outside.

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I do not know the terms used with swamp cooler size. I only know that my motor has two speeds and the slow speed uses slightly over 500 watts. (That includes a very very small water pump to pump water to the evaporative cooling panels where the air goes through.

I only know that I have been using swamp coolers for 20 years in Ajijic, and that when the air is already too dry, I would rather turn on my swamp cooler that uses 500+ watts on low which puts out much much more cool air than my 18,000 BTU air conditioner.

However, should the humidity be high, my swamp cooler doesn't cool much at all and during those periods I turn on my very efficient brand new A/C and using more electricity can easily cool a much smaller area than by swamp cooler (under ideal conditions).

Everything I have read suggests that when the humidity is near 20%, that modern swamp coolers are much more efficient than the best A/Cs. And that during high humidity the reverse is so.

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My mini split is split between the outside and inside. And yes the two sides of the split are connected to each other via a small hole, perhaps 4 cm in diameter or smaller.. To learn more, go to Mr. Google and we will do a much better job of explaining to you how the two sides work than I could do.

The mini split cools the inside and sends the excess heat outside, like a window air conditioner would. Please check with Mr. Google for a more detailed and better explanation.

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They are often used when a home does NOT have a central ducting system to which A/C can be added.... as most homes in Mexico do not.  The unit outside is the compressor and the unit inside where the air blowing over cold coils cool the room. The inside unit is about 1' by 3' and is placed high on a wall about a foot from the ceiling. The system can be configured/sized such that the unit outside can support more than one inside unit.  They also can be ordered to be a 'heat pump' too so they can be used not only to cool but also heat a room(s) without using 'coil heat' . The outside unit is, these days, typically 'inverter technology' and uses less electricity than the conventional central unit we are used to NOB, and is much more quiet running.

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On 4/26/2018 at 11:34 AM, johanson said:

I do not know the terms used with swamp cooler size. I only know that my motor has two speeds and the slow speed uses slightly over 500 watts. (That includes a very very small water pump to pump water to the evaporative cooling panels where the air goes through.

I only know that I have been using swamp coolers for 20 years in Ajijic, and that when the air is already too dry, I would rather turn on my swamp cooler that uses 500+ watts on low which puts out much much more cool air than my 18,000 BTU air conditioner.

However, should the humidity be high, my swamp cooler doesn't cool much at all and during those periods I turn on my very efficient brand new A/C and using more electricity can easily cool a much smaller area than by swamp cooler (under ideal conditions).

Everything I have read suggests that when the humidity is near 20%, that modern swamp coolers are much more efficient than the best A/Cs. And that during high humidity the reverse is so.

 Our 12,000 BTU  inverter air conditioner also uses just 300W - 500W (continuously variable speed) to  keep the upper part of our home cool,  so it is difficult to understand how the swamp cooler is more efficient than a modern inverter AC with a SEER rating of 16 or 17.

The latest versions of modern inverter Air Conditioners using just 300W-500W to keep an area cool would seem to be  as efficient, and sometimes more efficient than a 500W swamp cooler blowing out very humid air. 
??

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Note that the latest modern technology in high efficiency inverter air conditioners do NOT supply electricity continuously to the motor, while in contrast the old swamp coolers run electricity~current constantly to keep the big alternating current fan motor running.

Modern Inverter technology instead interrupts (shuts off) the power to the inverter's armature, so current & voltage are only applied for 20% - 50% of a 60 hz cycle ...  By turning OFF the power very rapidly,  and by only applying just enough very short pulses of electricity to the inverter, to keep the armature spinning ....   and by operating the inverter with a Direct Current continuously variable speed motor**, the modern inverter can provide cool air using less electricity than an old-style swamp cooler running an old inefficient alternating current (AC) induction motor.

**The little pulses of electricity are specifically applied in small amounts, just enough to keep the DC inverter's armature spinning - exactly like how it only takes a little occasional push to keep a flywheel spinning.  Plus,  by using a more efficient DC motor  (vs less efficient `1 speed or just 2 speed old Alternating Current induction motors),  the direct drive DC motor's  higher efficiency + its ability to control the speed variably ~allowiing the DC motor to spin at lower   more efficient  speeds~   the latest technology modern inverters use sophisticated precise frequency controls + a more efficient DC motor to cool   an area with nice dry cool air ... using the same amount   or less   electricity than the very humid air from an old-technology  swamp cooler.

Technology & creative thinking~designs continue to make leaps that people never imagined in even the 1990's.
;)

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My 500 watt evaporative cooler has vents to three parts of the house, two bedrooms, and the large TV room also on the second floor that feeds air down the open stairs to the first floor. So it is basically for the whole house

Now if I were trying to cool only one room like my split inverter AC, I  would have chosen a much smaller evaporative cooler, one not for the whole house but one for the Master bedroom. I'm guessing here, but such a unit would only use perhaps 100 watts and would fit in a window, like my last one did in my previous lakeside home.

Now when I say my master bedroom it also includes the connected bathroom.

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Living in the hot humid PV area, I always shake my head when I see the displays of evaporative coolers at Home Depot and Costco here, since they don't do the job when you live in a place with about 90% humidity for 4 months. Whenever I pass by with my shopping cart some unaware customers looking them over and discussing between themselves whether they should buy it, I say "If you live in this area, don't waste your money- those only work in dry climates". I always get a big "Thank you!".

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That is a terribly important point, mudgirl. Usually but not always, when it is a little hotter than I like along the shores of Lake Chapala, I can use an evaporative cooler.  Today, the humidity was 40% to 50%. So if I needed to cool the air I would have used Not my evaporative cooler, but my air conditioner.  I turned the A/C on low for 15 minutes just to see how well it worked. (Great, of course)

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  • 3 weeks later...

I am up North now for a few weeks more and this year the rains lakeside have apparently been hitting every few days and keeping the humidity higher than usual for this time of the year but not cooling enough according to the Ajijic Weather web page http://www.ajijicweather.com/

So my great idea of saving money by running an evaporative cooler would not have been a good solution during the last couple of weeks. Oh well, when I return to Ajijic, I do have one smaller mini-split A/C above the bed near the ceiling in the bedroom, should the real rainy season be in effect and NOT be  cooling the air out more than today.  Looking forward to returning to what I now call home, Ajijic.

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I recently bought a portable evaporative cooler and filled it with ice water and let it run in the bedroom for a few hours as a test. The results... The room was More humid than the rest of the house and  NOT EVEN SLIGHTLY COOLER!  

Anyone want to buy a brand new cooler? It makes a decent bedside table top on wheels with storage below for an ice bucket!!

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It is only 3 feet tall and the fan sits well below the window. I positioned it so it was by the mostly closed bedroom door and pulling in air from tne living room. Opening the window seems to defeat the purpose but I do understand the concept. 

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Very good point made by Mainecoons. Also. remember that the air needs to be dry if you want the evaporative cooler to work well. Lately you have been having more humid air outside than usual and the whole point of my  post above was to mention that at this year until the rainy season really starts the outside humidity has been higher than average (because of the occasional rain you are getting down there).

Once the rainy season really starts it will be cold enough because of the rain and its evaporation to cool the outside air to a comfortable level and will help cool your living space.

When the air is humid, rather than trying to cool it more with an evaporative cooler, one should use an A/C.

The evaporative cooler only works well, when it sucks in air that is dry. The air is not very dry this May, not as dry as usual.

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I use my swamp cooler with ice when I go to bed and set for about 3 hours. Helps me go to sleep then the night temps are cool enough. I just started using mine since we had a few days of rain this month. I guess about three or four weeks more of heat.

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