Sunday, June 26, 2011

Praise for Swamp Coolers (in Denver)

We've got a bit of a heat wave going in Denver right now, so I felt compelled to brag a little about my $400 air conditioning system.  If you look at this photo closely, you can see that the temperature of the top floor of my house was 59F this morning, after running the AC all night.  Doesn't this seem wasteful?  After all, the EPA recommends a 76F setting for your air conditioner.

Well, no, it isn't.  My AC is actually an evaporative cooler which is really just a ventilation fan that passes the ventilation air (3500cfm in this case) through a water-soaked pad.  It costs me only $0.80/day (7 kwh/day) to get my house this cold during 90F weather.  What many folks don't understand, however, is that when it's hot (over 86F), you shouldn't run the thing during the daytime.  It should be off from about 9am to about 8pm, with the windows in the house shut tight.  Apparently the swamp cooler manufacturers don't understand this either, or they'd be selling controls with timers at Home Depot.

And I'm not feeling guilty about contributing to global warming, because I'm actually cooling down my neighborhood when the cooler runs.