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Old 06-23-2007, 08:27 PM
 
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Does such a thing exist? I know Colorado's dry climate is ideal for swamp coolers and they're a lot cheaper to run than traditional AC. But are there times when the swamp cooler doesn't cut it and AC really saves the day? Do they make units that can go either way at the flip of a switch?
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Old 06-23-2007, 08:34 PM
 
Location: Just south of Denver since 1989
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two separate things. I have seen several properties with both systems.

Our lack of humidity and cool nights are nearly perfect for a evaporative cooler.

But sometimes ya gotta have the a/c on
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Old 06-23-2007, 08:36 PM
 
Location: Las Flores, Orange County, CA
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Never heard of that. I suppose you could just have both and operate them independently.

A whole house fan would be good too to get the hot air out of the attic. Best to use it early in the morning to suck in the cool outside air. Problem with that is the noise, everyone is probably still sleeping when the air is nice and cold.

You could also get an attic fan on a thermostat.

Plant deciduous trees on the east and west sides of your house. Ideal to have windows on the south side of the house and few windows on the east and west side.
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Old 06-23-2007, 10:22 PM
 
Location: Avondale, AZ
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EC-
When we lived in AZ, there were HVAC systems that had both evaporative and refrigeration. The house would have 'up-ducts' vents that open with air pressure from the swamp cooler and close when the a/c was on. There were thermostats that sensed the humidity and temps(in & out), and you set the parameters for the changeover automatically. I even saw a house with windows that would open when the swamp came on.
Quote:
A whole house fan would be good too to get the hot air out of the attic. Best to use it early in the morning to suck in the cool outside air. Problem with that is the noise, everyone is probably still sleeping when the air is nice and cold.
We're not too far from Charles and have lots of pine trees. We use a whole house fan to draw cool air from the basement thru the house and into the attic. Works wonderful. I think a swamp cooler would work great in Colorado Springs where it's a bit warmer.
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Old 06-23-2007, 11:17 PM
Status: "Autumn!" (set 9 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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We have a whole house fan. We call it "the train". It's terribly noisy and recently my DH inquired at a home improvement store whether the new ones were quieter. In a word, "no".
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Old 06-24-2007, 12:15 AM
 
11,715 posts, read 37,149,761 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pittnurse70 View Post
We have a whole house fan. We call it "the train". It's terribly noisy and recently my DH inquired at a home improvement store whether the new ones were quieter. In a word, "no".
I heard about these in a thread in one of the California forums. It looks like a good alternative to installing a Sikorsky helicopter in your hallway ceiling.

Quiet Cool Whole House Fans - Installs in your attic
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Old 06-24-2007, 06:57 AM
 
Location: Avondale, AZ
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Quote:
We have a whole house fan. We call it "the train". It's terribly noisy
We had one of these in a house in TX. It worked great but was extremely noisy, even on 'low'. For our house here, I've made a replacement for our attic access panel, which is located in the master closet. I used a standard 20" box fan with custom flaps that close when the fan shuts off. The whole thing costs around $20 and is quiet enough to use whenever we want. It doesn't move as much air as the noisy, much more expensive fans, but enough to keep our house(3600 square feet, 2-story w/basement) in the low 70's, running only on medium setting. In the fall, I remove it and install the regular panel.
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Old 06-24-2007, 07:34 AM
 
2,755 posts, read 12,072,198 times
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Several people have mentioned some new technology that might combine the approaches. I'm not familiar with those.

However, I think a traditional swamp/evap cooler would probably not mix too well with an A/C, running them both at the same time. The reason why is that you have to have at least one window open when you're running the swamp cooler, whereas with the A/C you would generally want to close the windows.

I did grow up with a swamp cooler and can testify that they do work fairly well in in dry climates like ours, but it's also true that their performance depends on the relative humidity and that even under optimal circumstances they can only cool about 10-15 degrees. So, that's fine if the temperature is 90, but if it's pushing 100 then it's not so effective.
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Old 06-24-2007, 10:32 AM
 
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I worked with evaporative cooling for years, both in home and confined livestock operations. Unless the outside relative humidity is high, a properly operating evaporative cooling system is highly effective. Contrary to another post, I have regularly seen evap coolers drop the incoming air temperature by up to 30-35 degrees if the outside air is dry and the cooler is operating correctly. An evaporatively cooled livestock facility I worked in could maintain a 75 degree inside temperature with 100+ degree outside temps. I lived in a couple of the hottest areas in Colorado, and--excepting maybe one or two days each summer, evap cooling kept the house perfectly cool.

When evap coolers have problems is if the owner does not know how to properly maintain the system, or they mistakenly think that the windows should be closed. There needs to be unimpeded airflow to allow the air to move out of the house.
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Old 06-24-2007, 02:05 PM
Status: "Autumn!" (set 9 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
90,102 posts, read 108,052,808 times
Reputation: 35719
Thanks for the info about the house fans. I will share with DH.
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