There's no question that air conditioning is an expensive energy hog, consuming around 15 percent of the electricity used in the average home. Despite the cost, many homeowners find it hard to live without air conditioning at home -- around 100 million American families rely on air conditioning to keep cool and comfortable.
To keep energy use and air conditioning costs at bay, some homeowners rely on evaporative coolers -- also known as swamp coolers. These units cost about half as much and use just one-fourth of the energy consumed by a standard central air system. These units work by drawing warm outdoor air into the home, then drawing it across a wet pad to cool it before distributing it through the house. While this certainly cools the home, it also adds moisture, making these systems a poor choice in humid areas like the southeast, or in areas with very high temperatures.
Fortunately, changes to evaporative cooling systems are opening this technology up to a wider market, making them more accessible to homeowners in humid climate zones. Read on to learn how to make a swamp cooler work for you no matter where you live.
Just Add Desiccants
Have you ever opened a new electronics package and found a small package labeled, "Do Not Eat?" If so, then you have come across a desiccant, which is a substance like silica or some form of salt that is capable of absorbing moisture. New evaporative cooling systems can benefit from this relatively simple technology to capture moisture using a revolving wheel filled with desiccants. This could allow swamp coolers to work in a wider area, and even keep homes cool in very hot or humid climate zones.
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Lab have taken this concept a step further, combining not only evaporative cooling and moisture-absorbing desiccants, but also special membranes and filters. While one common issues with evaporative cooling is that it adds moisture to the air, the liquid desiccants used in these systems trap that moisture and expel it outside, keeping it out of the home. These systems also solve another typical complaint associated with evaporative cooling, which is that the swamp coolers themselves are tricky to maintain. By combining special filters and membranes, these DEVap systems offer up to 90 percent energy savings, but are still simple enough for the average homeowner to maintain and operate. Contact a business, such as Gary Duncan Service Company, for more information.