How does an air cooler work?

Understanding coolers is easier than you think

How does an air cooler work?

With extreme heat and ever-rising summer temperatures becoming a common phenomenon, appliances such as air coolers have become a necessity. A mere ceiling fan is no longer apt to tackle the harsh summer in many regions. That is precisely why air coolers are being rapidly adopted to work in tandem with a ceiling fan to withstand the high temperatures and make the room liveable and pleasant during peak summer days.

Even though they have become a common sight, most users don’t actually understand how air coolers work. Whether you are an existing user of one or are looking to buy one yourself soon, a little understanding of the workings of an air cooler will help you get the most out of the appliance, also ensuring you’re able to use it as intended for a long time.

What is an air cooler?

An air cooler, as the name suggests, is a type of air cooling system that brings down the temperature of the room, office or any other enclosed area it is placed in. These are also known as evaporative coolers or a swamp coolers. Air coolers are a cost-effective and energy-efficient option for cooling dry and hot areas, but may not be the best fit for humid climates.

Air coolers come in different types such as portable, window-mounted, or central units. The portable units are small, compact, and easy to move around. Window-mounted air coolers are installed in a window and only cool a specific room. Central units are typically used to cool large spaces such as offices, warehouses, and commercial buildings.

How does an air cooler work?

An air cooler uses the principle of evaporative cooling to cool the air. There are three main parts to any air cooler – a water tank, an absorbent sheet, and a fan. It works by pulling in hot, dry air and passing it through a wet pad or filter.

As the air passes through the wet wick, it absorbs the moisture, and the heat energy from the air is used to evaporate the water as a result of which an air cooler cools the air. This is similar to how earthen pots use evaporation to cool down water stored inside. The cool air that leaves the machine is then circulated back into the room or building.

The wet wick or the filter is generally made of a porous material such as cellulose or synthetic foam, that absorbs and holds the water. The fan then pushes the cooled, moist air back into the room, where it can help to lower the temperature and improve air quality.

Most air coolers also have a water pump that circulates water through the wet wick or filter to keep it moist. The water is typically stored in a reservoir. The water can be cooled by adding ice or a refrigerant to it.

What you should know about air coolers

Air coolers are not as efficient as modern-day air conditioners and they typically work best in dry and hot climates. They don’t work as effectively in humid weather conditions. Even in areas where air coolers do work well, their cooling capacity is limited, compared to say, that of an air conditioner. Despite this, air coolers continue to be immensely popular due to their low-cost, portability and low-energy working.

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