Evaporative air conditioning and central air conditioners are built to serve the same important purpose: keep the temperature cool. But the two machines work differently since they are built on different principles. Should you use one or the other? Answering this question requires understanding the underlying difference between the two.
Evaporative cooler works by filtering air through water, thus reducing its temperature. The humid air since it absorbs water during the cooling process results in some amount of humidity in the room. These systems are meant to operate in rooms where a small amount of outside air circulates into the home when it's running.
Central air conditioner units, work by removing humidity from the home. These systems produce chill, dry air and are best for areas that are airtight.
The advantages and disadvantages of evaporative cooling systems:
The first negative point that comes to mind is the cost of operation. It is typically half that of a central air conditioner. However, it is to be noted that during the monsoon season (between July and August) when humidity is at its high, and temperatures are high too, the cooler isn't as effective. Hence, if you live in an area that experiences high humid area, you would better try the air conditioner.
How do you improve cooler efficiency?
For your evaporative cooler, there are thermostats found easily at many hardware stores. These will automatically turn off the cooler when the air temperature reaches the desired point, reducing the time the cooler has to operate this making it much more efficient.
Those evaporative cooler models without thermostats are accompanied by separate switches for the fan and pump. If your unit came without a thermostat, allow your pump to run a few minutes before turning on the fan. This saturates the cooler pads.
Check for the right unit size:
Apart from the size of the space, the amount of air it can pump, i.e. how many cubic feet of air per minute (CFM) the unit can pump is important.
The CFM number is mentioned on the evaporative cooling system or in the owner's manual, in case it isn't, use the following formula:
Multiply the area of your home by the average height of the ceiling (in feet, it may vary throughout, hence average).
Divide the above by two (air changes per minute).
Example: 1,625 sq. ft. x 7.5 ft. (ceiling height) = 6,505 CFM/2
Points to note:
• Do not run an evaporative cooler and a central air unit at the same time. The systems work differently and will interfere with each other's operations.
• When using a central air conditioner, ensure the windows, doors are tightly closed and leak-proof to make the system more effective. Leakages if any, will make the system work harder and increase utility bills.
Regardless of the type of system you use, check it regularly for defects and maintenance. Systems that leak water make loud unusual noise, or that don't cool or heat the space as expected are not energy-efficient and need attention.
by Canto Heaux