Saturday, August 02, 2008

Swamp coolers and ceiling fans

I got a lesson on the effectiveness of ceiling fans. I was laying on the couch watching my 3rd Rock DVD's, it was a warm evening and my living room gets the evening sun, so as always the swampcooler* was working at keeping the room cool. At least where I was laying, outside the flow of air. I leaned forward to grab the remote off the coffee table and noticed something I hadn't before; there was a cold breeze coming through the room. It was the cool air from the swampcooler, going right past the little nook the couch sits in. So I thought "Hmmm, maybe if I turn on the ceiling fan, it'll mix up the air a little bit and cool off the couch area." Less than 2 minutes later it was actually getting a little cold on the couch. Amazing what mixing up the air can do, now I know why I put ceiling fans all over the house...
*Swampcooler, also known as an Evaporative Cooler, is an effective way of cooling a house in areas like Utah where the humidity is low. Basically, you're pulling outside air through water soaked pads and blowing the cold air through the house. Unlike an air conditioner, you have to leave windows open because of all the air you are pumping into the house. I really like it because it's real cheap to run ($10 a month for the hottest months) and you're always running fresh air through the house.

8 comments:

A Paperback Writer said...

Swamp cooler: a device which defies the imagination of every Scot to whom I have ever tried to explain the concept. They stare at me blankly and continue to wonder.

A Paperback Writer said...

I just posted about my trip to Dunfermline today. Go check out my pics of the staircase and the chimney. I think you'll like those.

TM.Cavalier said...

You also have to remember to switch the direction of the ceiling fan twice a year. During the summer you want the fan spinning so that air is blown "down." And during the winter you want the fan spinning so that air is blown "up."

Either way you get the same circulation in the room, but in the summer the airflow blowing "down" on you from the fan will feel "cooler" because of a small "wind chill" effect. During the winter you do not want that effect so you reverse the fan direction.

But then again its probably all psychological and doesn't really matter one iota.

Max said...

Swamp coolers are a mystery to anyone who has spent their entire life in a humid climate. After having just moved here, I remember looking at the person explaining them to me and asking, in total horror, "You put MORE water into the air?" I pictured having to swim to the bathroom in the middle of the night. But, alas, I have come to know and love the swamp cooler.
TMC; see I figure it all depends on where you want to be in the room, after all what goes up MUST come down. Therefore, if the fan is blowing up you'll get the wind chill effect along the walls of the house, where the air must come down. If you have the fan blowing down you get that in the middle of the room, and the air is going up along the walls. Then again, no matter how you do it, the air is moving around the room so you're probably right; it don't matter one iota. (100 iota = 1 toyota, right?)

Jannx said...

An interesting concept. I like it, especially since I'm not really an air conditioner person.

Max said...

I'm not much of an air conditioned air fan either, or any stagnant air. I drive with the window opened at least a little bit no matter how cold or hot it is outside. One of the things I love about Utah is that every winter, in both January and February, we get a great little thaw where I can open up the windows and air out the house (the swamp-cooler has a fan only function just for those kinds of days). I love the swamp cooler because I get air flowing through the house 24/7 during the summer, water on depending on how hot it is outside.

Jannx said...

Your swamp cooler sounds like a good investment.

Max said...

And they're a pretty cheap investment at that; around $500 if you install it yourself, maybe $800 to have someone install it. Even less if you're just replacing an old one. (Mine's 13 years old, and I'll probably have to replace it sometime in the next 3 or 4 years).