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Old 07-28-2008, 03:09 PM
 
12 posts, read 159,205 times
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We are looking at listings for houses in the SFV area, and some of them have evaporative cooling/"swamp" cooling. We live in Florida, and we do not have these.

What is the deal with these? I know they are cheaper than a/c but i can't understand moist cooling, wouldn't that lead to mold?

I've noticed a lot of houses with these units, so it makes me think that they are normal for the area, and it's not a big deal.

Please shed some light.
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Old 07-28-2008, 03:56 PM
 
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They work really well in the desert with single digit humidity. I don't think the SFV is quite dry enough for them to be effective except during Santa Ana winds.
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Old 07-28-2008, 09:10 PM
 
Location: South Pasadena
688 posts, read 2,355,498 times
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These coolers work by blowing dry air over a medium (like a sponge or paper mat) that is soaked in cool water. As the dry air passes it gives some of it's heat to the water and picks up some of the cooler moist air. To work properly you need very dry air and alot of air volume. They can cool reasonably well if air is dry enough but they do make the conditioned air kind of clamy. An evaporative cooler uses less electricity because it is basically a big blower motor and a small pump to circulate the water as opposed to running a condensor on an AC unit. I wouldn't rely on one anywhere in the valley or LA basin, the air is just not dry enough. They also make alot of noise with the huge volume of air blowing around, especially on the older ones.

It is common in the valley to see an old swamp cooler system replaced with a central HVAC system mounted on the roof.
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Old 07-28-2008, 09:13 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles, CA
236 posts, read 736,125 times
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When there is a good off shore flow, the humidity level can drop low enough for these to be effective. You can google to get info on these. There are actually charts that will show you how effective they are at specific temperatures and humidity levels. Generally said, the hotter and dryer it is, the better they work. These types of coolers are pretty common in desert areas.
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Old 07-28-2008, 09:55 PM
 
Location: Las Flores, Orange County, CA
26,345 posts, read 85,983,539 times
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All of these posts above were good information. The other thing I might add is probably 85% of the time that it is hot enough to want cooling (other than opening the windows) it is just about dry enough for swamp coolers to work. Those swamp coolers were probably installed in 1200 to 1800 sqft homes built in the early 1960s. I wonder if there are any swamp coolers in 2500+ sqft homes. I guess someone would have to decide if it was worth spending several thousand dollars to upgrade to central A/C with 3000-5000 watt energy demands (vs maybe 250 to 500 watts for swamp coolers) for the other 15% of the time.

There are typically one or two monsoonal events in late July/August when it is both hot and a little humid - not like Florida though.

Here's a good, much more detailed thread on swamp coolers from the Denver forum:
Swamp Cooler vs Air Conditioner
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Old 07-29-2008, 10:02 AM
 
Location: RSM
5,113 posts, read 18,032,329 times
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this website has a table that shows you what type of output you'll get with an evaporative cooler(scroll down).

Evaporative Cooling Humidity Index

where i am located(a few miles from the beach), a hot day is typically 80-95 with humidty from 35-55% or so. so lets take 87F at 50% humidity and the output is 74F. Not as efficient as lower humidity, but it changes it from hot to comfortable, which is really all air conditioning is all about.
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Old 07-29-2008, 10:17 AM
 
Location: Malibu/Miami Beach
1,070 posts, read 3,030,692 times
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Is this when you put the hose on your sofa?
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Old 07-29-2008, 10:51 AM
 
Location: in a house
5,835 posts, read 4,345,532 times
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Swamp coolers suck big time. Grew up with one in my parent's home and all it does is add humidity along with the heat. My parent's replaced it with an A/C right after I moved out, wouldn't you know it
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Old 07-29-2008, 11:59 AM
 
Location: los angeles
5,031 posts, read 11,634,776 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puffle View Post
Swamp coolers suck big time. Grew up with one in my parent's home and all it does is add humidity along with the heat. My parent's replaced it with an A/C right after I moved out, wouldn't you know it
Agree that swamp coolers are only effective in very dry heat. I also grew up w/ coolers but the Central Valley has very low humidity during the hottest part of the day. However, the San Fernando valley is coastal & much more humid than up in northern California. It can become quite muggy at times in the summer & swamp cooling would just add more moisture into the air
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Old 08-01-2008, 02:04 AM
 
10 posts, read 38,820 times
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Air con is much more reliable - even though it can be more expensive.
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