Types Of Air Coolers
Just like fireplaces are the perfect thing to take the bite out of a cold Winter’s day, air coolers are just the ticket chilling out on a hot Summer’s day.
While fireplaces work to increase the temperature of the surrounding are, air coolers use various methods of operation to lower temperatures around them.
Air coolers can be big enough to cool an entire house, or small enough to wear on your person. They can also be powered by a variety of sources as well.
Types Of Air Cooler Operations
As mentioned, not all air coolers operate on the same basic cooling principles. There are, in fact, several different cooling methods that can be used by various air coolers to create more comfortable temperatures in the surrounding area.
Evaporative Air Coolers
An evaporative air cooler work on the principle that allowing a liquid to evaporate will, in turn, work to cool down any objects surrounding the area in contact with the evaporated liquid, including other liquid.
Stemming from patents filed as early as 1906, the concept of evaporative air coolers, also known as swamp coolers or water air coolers, is still frequently in use in environments prone to very dry heat with low humidity levels.
The technique was once used briefly to cool large airplanes, but was eventually disband for a more practical method.
Ironically enough, one of the most innovative uses for evaporative air coolers lies in the self-cooled beverage can. Inside each can is a small cartridge that, when exposed to external air as the can is opened, creates an internal chemical reaction causing sudden evaporation.
The evaporation, in turn, reacts with the surrounding liquid in the can to instantly decrease the temperature.
Other common uses for evaporative air cooler technology involve scientific uses, such as cryogenics. Large trees also use their own natural evaporative air cooling capacity to prevent overheating in warmer months.
This, in turn, makes trees one of the primary examples of a naturally occurring water air cooler.
Large buildings can also benefit from this types of cooling, as it can be extremely cost efficient to both operate and install. The primary requirements are a low relative humidity in the area and access to a large water supply.
Compression and Absorption Air Coolers
Using a similar method to evaporative air coolers, compression and absorption air coolers are also extremely effective at cooling surrounding areas.
While evaporative air coolers work on the properties of water evaporation, compression and absorption air coolers rely on other liquids, often referred to as refrigerants, for their evaporative process.
The primary characteristic of the refrigerant is an extremely low boiling point.
Common refrigerants for compression air coolers include hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), also known as freon, while absorption air coolers generally rely on liquids such as ammonia.
Both compression and absorption air coolers rely on a central heat source, often being solar powered or gas powered, in order to initiate the cooling process. As this heat source causes the freon or ammonia to reach its boiling point, the liquid, in turn, pulls heat from the surrounding areas as well.
Once the liquid evaporates into a gas, it is then converted back to a liquid so the process can repeat itself.
In compression air coolers, an electric compressor is used to force the gas back into its liquid state by passing the gas through various mechanical components of the unit.
An absorption air cooler relies on more natural process to change the gas back into a liquid, requiring no moving parts at all.
Most household air conditioners rely on a form of absorption cooling to operate. Car air conditioners also tend to operate on this style of cooling, relying on freon to control temperatures within the car itself.
Types of Air Cooler Units
Full Size Air Coolers
The most common types of air coolers are those installed on buildings or homes. While larger buildings often require multiple air cooler units to effectively control the internal temperature, most standard sized homes only require a single unit.
Multi-story homes, on the other hand, will often have separate small units operating on each floor. The key to selecting the best sized air cooling unit for your home is to correctly determine the correct square footage of the areas that will be cooled.
Most manufacturers will then provide reference charts which can be used to decide the best sized unit for your situation.
While many people thing larger units are always better, selecting a unit designed to cool areas larger than what you have is simply a waste of energy, as they often require significantly higher amounts of power to operate.
On the other hand, choosing a unit that is too small for your area may save money when purchased, but the fact that the unit is not substantial enough to cool the correct size area simply means it will most likely run non-stop, once again leading to higher electrical usage than needed.
Portable Air Coolers
For those looking to cool down smaller areas, such as individual rooms, there are a number of portable air coolers on the market as well. One of the most popular choices for portable home air cooling is window units.
Window units work particularly well for homes that either don’t have duct lines already run or only cooling in one or two rooms, such as bedrooms. Window units are designed to fit directly into the window frame itself, supplying cool air to the inside of the room, while venting outdoors on the other side of the unit.
While window units are considered portable air cooling units, there is some labor involved when moving them from one room to another, making them better suited for long term use in a single room.
When window units are not possible, due to the types of windows installed, or a more portable method is needed, there are still alternatives.
A true portable air cooler is one that can be easily moved from room to room with ease. Often light enough to lift by one person, portable units are ideal for situations when multiple rooms need to be cooled, but at various times.
In a small house for example, someone may have an office that needs cooling during the day, the kitchen or dining room that needs cooling in the evening, and a bedroom that needs cooling in the evening.
A portable air cooler not only provides the necessary cooling needed, it can also be taken from room to room, as needed, with little effort.
The only requirement is that the room the portable air cooler has a window, as portable units require the same ventilation needs as window units do.
Both window air coolers and portable indoor air coolers function in a similar manner to full size units with regards to size. In order to correctly choose the best size unit for your needs, you must accurately calculate the square footage of the room the device will be used in.
For outdoor air cooling, many people don’t think they have any options to choose from. One of the most popular choices for outdoor cooling, however, works on the very basic building blocks of air and water.
Often referred to as misting fan or misting units, these out door devices work on the same basic principle as an oscillating fan, commonly used for portable cooling needs.
What manufacturers have done, however, is improve the overall efficiency of oscillating fan units by incorporating a mister device into the fan itself.
When connected to a water supply, misting fans release a fine spray of water into the air which is then, in turn, pushed forward by the fan itself.
The mist is often fine enough to not damage or soak surrounding objects or people, but effective enough to create a substantially more significant cooling effect than a simple oscillating fan by itself.
In most designs, the fan can be run either with or without the misting unit in operation, offering an added level of versatility. These also require some type of air filter.
There are also larger units that can be used as permanent installations, designed primarily for warehouses, sporting arenas, and other large scale areas where a cooling mechanism is required.
For the extreme in portable air coolers, there are also a wide range of personal air coolers on the market. While many people view these as simply novelty designs, many styles offered are actually quite effective devices.
The most common type of personal air cooler works on the same basic principle of the larger misting fan. Often nothing more than a small battery operated fan mounted onto a standard spray bottle, these personal air coolers hang around the neck and allows consumers three methods of operation.
They can either choose to run just the fan component, creating a light breeze directed primarily at the face, or simply use the spray bottle for quick spritzes to cool off.
Ideally, however, the fan and sprayer work best when used in conjunction by spraying the water at regular intervals so it can pass through the fan device creating a cooling mist.