Friday, May 26, 2006

Attack of the Swamp Cooler



No, the Swamp Cooler isn't a phoney looking
monster from a B-grade 50's movie...it's a
machine used to cool houses.



When we bought our new house, we knew that
we were going to have to replace our Swamp
Cooler, or as it is also called, Evaporative
Cooler.
For those not familiar with Swamp Coolers, they
are very popular in the American desert Southwest.
Even though I lived in Phoenix for a year, I had
no idea how they worked since I had air conditioning.
But I really don't want this to be a Swamp Cooler 101
class, so if you're curious about how they work, go
to this website Report on Evaporative Cooler Use
Anyway, in this climate they work...and work well.
After a few weeks of 90 degree temperatures, we
decided that it was indeed time to make the change.
After spending four winters on the Ice, our blood
has become pretty thick and it's darn hot.
But it's a Dry Heat!



So we called a local contracter, and off the roof
our old cooler came...off to the old swamp cooler
home I'm guessing.



The first thing that the contractors had to do was
install new ductwork since the old cooler delivered
air from the side of the unit and our new unit would
deliver air from the bottom. Easy right? Ha!
Roofers had to come in and tear out the old work, and
then re-shingle the area. Then the new ductwork would
be ready to install. Through this process, we got to
practice our Spanglish with the roofers and they did
a good job.



The Breezair unit that we bought is made in Australia,
and marketed in the US by a company in Phoenix. I feel
pretty comfortable that it's a good product, especially
coming from these two desert places that generally fry
eggs on sidewalks for kicks. If it was built in a place
like Florida that is as humid as a hot shower, that
would be a bad sign. Another nice thing is that it's
guaranteed for 25 years, needs little maintenance and
actually looks good. I think the contractors are glad
that it's very light, as they were able to bring it up
a ladder quite easily. Pretty amazing stuff.



So after popping on the final panels it is almost ready
to go. Tomorrow morning, they'll come back to hook it
up to the water and install it's own thermostat. Daytime
temps in our house will be a lot more comfortable as the
air can be up to 30 degrees cooler after installation.
We might just walk around in our parkas and bunny boots
instead of shorts and flip flops!



I'm glad that we've gotten the swamp cooler changed out
because it will definitely be a nice improvement to our
house that will last for a long time to come...even if it
does look a little like a mushroom or mothership rising
from the top of the house. We could have gotten maybe
another year out of our old cooler, but then we'd be
looking a lot like our neighbors...trying to fix the
unfixable.

2 comments:

citrus said...

We're in Phoenix, have a new generation evap and though it has been in the 100's for several weeks now, we haven't turned on our air conditioner. The $ savings are incredible and we sit bundled in blankets every evening. The key is the dew point. As long as it doesn't go over 55, the unit is wonderful. After that, go to the AC.
Roger
http://viewfromarizona.typepad.com/citrus/

Anonymous said...

I have worked on a swamp cooler before. I have scrubbed toilets at the bottom of the world. I have eaten at Main Steet Bagels many times. Lives collide.