Monday, May 26, 2008

Air Conditioners and Swamp Coolers

Since it's summer, one of the topics I've been writing on is air conditioners. If you've got one, it's time to tune it up. If it's too far gone, it's a great time to install a new one. The SEER ratings are high, Energy Star abounds, and if you live in the U.S., you've probably got a tax rebate.

Another thing to do in the spring or early summer is tune up the thermostat. Hardly anyone does this.

The thing about A/C units is that there's many options. Do you want to cool just the living room during the day but the bedroom at night? Get a portable air conditioner. How about cooling just one room all the time? Consider a window-mounted unit.

During my research, I delved into the world of swamp coolers, or evaporative coolers, as they're also called. I've never lived in the desert so I didn't have first hand knowledge of them. But I was surprised to learn how closely they resemble the cooling towers that I've worked with.

A swamp cooler is very simple compared to a central air conditioner. A central unit has a condenser unit, evaporator coils, and a closed system with refrigerant and oil. A swamp cooler is just a box with water soaked blanket pads hanging inside.

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