There are a lot of things to know about portable swamp coolers. So here is a collection of frequently asked questions with some helpful answers:

How effective are portable evaporative coolers?

A question on how effective portable swamp cooler are can be answered by this:

An evaporative cooler can reduce the ambient temperature in a room by 5 to 15 degrees successfully. This is according to the US Department of Energy (DOE).

However, it should be pointed out that the DOE also points out that the evaporative cooling process works only in low humidity climates.

Do portable swamp coolers need to be vented?

No. Portable swamp coolers do not need to be vented like portable air conditioning units do.

Evaporative coolers are often referred to as ″ventless″ coolers since there is no requirement for a hot air exhaust vent as traditional air conditioners do.

This is because there is no refrigerant air production or mechanical heat exchange mechanism as there is in AC units. Evaporative air coolers use the evaporation of moisture to produce cooled air.

What are the drawbacks of evaporative cooling?

There are a number of drawbacks of evaporative cooling, with the main disadvantage being their need for a constant fresh, dry air supply to prevent the air in the room becoming damp.

In a closed room, the humidity in the air will rise with continuous running until saturation point is reached (100% humidity) where the cooling effect will be gradually reduced until it stop completely. Condensation will form at very high indoor humidity levels, leading to problems with mold and damp.

To remedy this situation, it is generally agreed that opening windows to create a cross-draft will prevent this problem from occurring. The cooling effect inside the room will not be diminished by having windows open a little, as the evaporative cooler runs most efficiently when the air is driest.

Another drawback is that swamp coolers do not perform well in humid conditions, meaning they need to be operated where the climate is predominantly dry.

Do portable swamp coolers use a lot of electricity?

Portable evaporative cooling units do not use very much electricity and typically use as little as 60 watts of electricity to produce a lot of cold air.

Depending on the size of the unit, the fan, water pump and other electrical components, this figure can rise to up to 700 watts for huge industrial size evaporative coolers. However, most larger domestic size units rarely exceed 200 watts maximum electricity consumption.

If the question comes up whether it is cheaper to run a swamp cooler or an air conditioner, it is clear that a low consumption stated above represents a considerable saving on energy consumption compared to traditional air conditioning units.

So swamp coolers are economical to run!

Can I run a swamp cooler all day?

A common question is whether a swamp cooler can be run continuously all day. Thanks to its low energy consumption, a swamp cooler is economical to run all day and all night if it is needed.

This is possible as long as you ensure the unit has sufficient water in its reservoir tank.

Many better quality units are able to run with continuous water flow thanks to a standard hose hookup point that allows water to constantly fill the tank from a convenient outlet.

Evaporative coolers automatically run all day without any problems.

Swamp coolers without a hose connection require the user to add water periodically to the reservoir to enable it to keep running for prolonged periods. This can usually be done through an opening that allows the cooler to stay running while being filled.

Can I use a swamp cooler outdoors?

Yes you can use a swamp cooler outdoors, as they make a perfect cooling solution to porches, patios and terraces when its hot outside.

You can hook up many evaporative cooling units to a garden hosepipe for continuous cooling without needing to refill the tank manually.

Since these coolers use so little electricity, they don't cost much to provide a cool breeze for your family when enjoying the sunshine!

What happens if you run swamp cooler with windows closed?

When asked if you can use a swamp cooler in a closed room, the answer is that windows should be open to allow hot, moist air to escape and to maintain low humidity levels inside.

This is the opposite way of thinking when using air conditioning, as it cools and recirculates air indoors. In this case it is essential for windows to remain closed to prevent cooled air from escaping.

How many windows should be open with a swamp cooler?

Since some windows need to be open when running an evaporative cooler, a common question is now many windows must be open.

The answer is that between 1 to 2 sq ft of window or door space should be open per 1,000 CFM (cubic feet per minute) of cooling unit airflow.

For example, a 2,000 CFM swamp cooler needs 2 sq ft of window space to the outside when opened. You need 2-4 sq ft of space, equating to 1-2 windows open for optimal airflow to minimize internal humidity increase.

Can a swamp cooler cool an entire house?

Some people are curious to know whether or not an evaporative cooler can cool an entire house.

The answer is that the more powerful evaporative coolers are capable of cooling as much as 2,200 sq ft, so if your home is mostly open plan, these coolers will keep that area of living space cool.

Whole-house swamp coolers are generally connected to a continuous water source in order to maintain the water level in the reservoir tank. This allows them to run non-stop to keep larger areas cooler than outside.

How do you prevent calcium build up in a swamp cooler?

A common problem in areas with hard water (high alkaline/calcium content) is it tends to leave calcium deposits in appliances that have water passing through them.

This affects evaporative coolers too, so it's important to know how to prevent calcium build up in a swamp cooler. Here are some tips:

Use quality pads on your evaporative cooling unit to reduce the instance calcium deposit accumulation. Even so, pads will need to be changed at regular intervals, depending on the hardness of your water.

Clean the unit regularly and especially at the end of the hot season when it should be drained and thoroughly cleaned. Vinegar and plain water for rinsing make the best cleaning product combo as vinegar will help to remove odors and avoid the introduction of unpleasant chemical smells from chemical cleaning products.

Introduce water filters into the water feed line to filer out alkaline content that causes deposites.

Avoid using softened water as the high sodium content can leave a different kind of deposit where it's not wanted.

Can I run vinegar through a swamp cooler?

You can run vinegar through a swamp cooler by adding a cup of vinegar to the cooler pan to help eliminate odors, the formation of mold, mildew and calcium deposit build-up.

Allow the vinegar to cycle throughout the system for no more than an hour, then refill with plain water and use as normal. The vinegar smell will disappear quickly.

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