You’ve probably experienced evaporative cooling if you’ve ever tried holding a wet finger in the air to test the wind. A similar principle is responsible for cooling you off after a swim, and also for air conditioning, which is one of the oldest and most basic forms of comfort. Portable coolers, as they are called in the United States, have roots in ancient Egypt. You won’t be able to toss out your current air conditioner anytime soon, since they’re cheap, efficient, and green.

Air conditioning was paramount to ancient Egyptians. Royal dignitaries had servants to fan them across jugs of water if they had wet blankets hung across their doors. The air cools when it passes over water (or through it) when it is hot and dry. The cooling of the air by evaporation has remained the same for centuries, even though we use electric fans instead of servants.

Portable Coolers: How Do They Work?

There are four main steps involved in a swamp cooler’s operation. These are:

  • Portable coolers are supplied with water through a valve at the bottom

The water supply valve of your swamp cooler brings water into the bottom of the cooler when you turn its dial to the “on” position. The water in the cooler is at a certain level when the float, which sits atop the water, reaches its crest. The valve turns off if this happens.

  • Evaporative cooler pads are supplied with water by the pump.

A pump pulls water through the water distribution lines as soon as there is enough water at the bottom of the cooler. The top of the evaporative pads is attached to a water distribution line, which feeds water through them. If the air isn’t cool enough, the homeowner can turn on the pump to pump more water into the evaporative pads.

  • Portable coolers pads draw warm air through them.

The blower motor will begin pulling warm air into the swamp cooler once the evaporative pads have water on them. The moisture in the pads cools and cleans the air as it passes through them. Evaporative cooling is the process. Exercise causes you to sweat, and when you are blown on by a fan, your skin becomes cool.

  • To cool a home, blowers are used to cool the vents. 

Characteristically, a blower forces the cooled air into the house after it has passed through evaporative pads and cooled.