In the summer heat, it can be uncomfortable to do anything. You can’t work, can’t enjoy hobbies, and maybe can’t even sleep. So, what can you do about the heat? You really have three options for cooling the air:
When you compare these options closely, it will become clear that evaporative coolers are the best, and the benefits are even better in situations where you are looking for portable cooling.
Air conditioning works by utilizing the properties of certain chemicals, called refrigerants, that can condense and evaporate with changes in pressure. A compressor pressurizes the refrigerant, which turns it into a dense gas that is packed with heat. This heat radiates away from the condenser coils, causing the gas to become a liquid. Needless to say, you want these hot coils to be separated from the area you want to cool.
Then the refrigerant passes through an expansion valve, which lets the pressure drop. The pressure drop causes the liquid to cool because of the physical relationship between temperature and pressure. The cooled liquid absorbs heat from the air in the evaporator coils. This cools the air, and the refrigerant evaporates, becoming a cool gas at low pressure. Then it enters the compressor, and the cycle starts again. Meanwhile, fans draw air over both coils to improve the exchange of heat.
While there are situations where air conditioning is the right choice, it should not be the default cooling option. It is definitely a poor choice when choosing a portable air conditioner or in situations where the two parts of the air conditioner cannot be separated.
Misters work by atomizing water and dispelling it into the air as droplets. It’s like a large-scale spray bottle. This provides cooling by three different mechanisms. First, the water might be cooler than the air, which means it can absorb heat from the air. Second, some of the water droplets will evaporate, which takes heat energy from the air, leading to cooling. Finally, the water droplets can strike a person, evaporate from their skin, and provide cooling there.
Although misters are an inexpensive way to cool an outdoor environment, they are rarely the right choice. They provide little cooling and can get people and objects wet in the cooled area. Because of this, they are usually best for situations where people are already prepared and dressed to get wet, such as a splash pad or pool party.
Evaporative coolers use water evaporation to cool air. Instead of dispersing water droplets through the air, as misters do, they use an evaporative medium to evaporate water. An evaporative medium is like a specially designed sponge that efficiently soaks up water, then allows air passing through the medium’s channels to contact the water, evaporating it. The cool, humid air comes out of the evaporative cooler. This air does not contain droplets of water, so people and objects don’t get wet from an evaporative cooler.
For many situations, from home and patio cooling to outdoor events, the energy efficiency, simplicity, and portability of evaporative coolers makes sense as a solution. Evaporative coolers are also great options for industrial solutions where it is inefficient to cool large, open workspaces, such as automotive, aviation, and agriculture.
Legionnaires’ disease is a contagious illness that can be harbored and spread by cooling systems. Bacteria grow in warm, stagnant water around the system and are transported in droplets. When people inhale the droplets, they can become ill. The resulting pneumonia can be deadly.
Because of the way they work, misters have a relatively high level of risk. Water containing infectious bacteria can be spread through the air.
Air conditioners have a moderate risk of spreading Legionnaires’ disease. They were linked to the 1976 outbreak that led to the discovery of the disease. Water can accumulate around air conditioning systems and be spread by the fans on either side of the system.
Evaporative coolers have a relatively low risk of spreading Legionnaires’ disease because they are designed to handle water by evaporation. Evaporated water does not transport the bacteria. With standard maintenance, the risk of Legionnaires’ disease can be practically eliminated.
If you are trying to find the best cooling option for your home, work, patio, or hobby space, we can help. Our portable evaporative coolers can quickly and easily be set up to cool most spaces with good access to open air.