Why Swamp Coolers are the Smarter Solution

Swamp Cooler

There are two ways to cool off industrial spaces (three, if you include standard ceiling/floor fans). You can either get an evaporative air cooler, sometimes known as a swamp cooler, or an air conditioning system. There are certain benefits and drawbacks to each, and your choice depends on where you live and how much space you have to cover. The upfront cost of each cooling device is the same: about $1,000 minimum for high-quality industrial-size units. (Smaller, home-use-only units cost around $350.) This means the true cost of the unit, regardless of what you pay upfront, is actually measurable by how much you spend over time. Think: a fuel-efficient car that gets 50 mpg is actually less expensive than a car with the same sticker price that only gets 20 mpg. Even if you find a “good deal” on the upfront cost of an A/C unit, you’re all but certain to spend thousands of dollars more to use it over time. We’ll examine both cooling methods to help you better plan for your needs.

Not a “squirrel cage” or centrifugal blower

If you’re familiar with HVAC, you know about centrifugal blowers. For whatever reason, people call them squirrel cage blowers, even though they look like hamster wheels. Go figure. These blowers aren’t swamp coolers or evaporative air coolers of any kind. Rather, they just blow air really hard, so it can go really far. They’re used to move air long distances through complex duct systems. They’re also susceptible to wear and tear more than axial fans, which is why the Cool Boss swamp cooler uses an “old-fashioned” axial blade rather than a squirrel cage. The fan on our air cooler is extremely durable, as is the single-piece, weather-resistant and thoroughly enjoyable polyurethane chassis. Just thought we’d clear all that up. On to the next bit!

Evaporative cooling

Portable air coolers are ideal solutions for cooling off huge spaces, such as auto shops, warehouses, machine shops and other industrial spaces with high ceilings and/or massive square footage. Their low operating costs make them preferable over expensive air conditioning units; typical electrical consumption with a swamp cooler comes out to approximately one dollar per day. Many of these units, such as Cool Boss, are portable and can be moved to various locations around the shop.

Evaporative cooling

Evaporative coolers work by drawing in hot air from outside, so they need direct access to an outdoor air source, preferably an open doorway. (Mounted units may be fixed on a window ledge like some A/C units.) Powerful 30” diameter fan blades push chilled air at great enough force to effectively cool a 2,000 sq. ft. area. If that’s not enough, multiple units can be added to increase both cooling power and effective range of use.

Because they constantly pull in fresh, dry air and cool it by pumping water through an evaporative media pad, portable swamp coolers never recycle the same dusty air over and over. In fact, Cool Boss features an air ionization device that adds negatively charged ions to the air. These ions cling to dust and trap it against surfaces, keeping crud and particulate out of your lungs. This also makes sweeping floors and wiping down surfaces faster and more effective. A/C units also feature dust filters, but these clog quickly and often require expensive service and maintenance.

The only real downside to air coolers is that the amount of available cooling is limited by the environment. Humid or cooler days will make it harder to cool your shop, and air conditioners can obviously reach lower temperatures—at a higher price.

Air conditioners

Air Conditioners

Air conditioning has revolutionized the way we live. It’s strange to think that just a few decades ago, air conditioning was a novel concept just being introduced into homes. It’s allowed us to densely populate regions that were previously rural and sparse. At the same time, modern A/C requires chemicals, coolants and a hefty amount of electricity to keep running. They also break semi-regularly and require expensive maintenance, especially when dealing with heavy-duty, industrial HVAC units. If the ducts to your building are old or inefficient, 50% of your cooling power or more can be lost, which means an even more expensive electric bill.

Industrial work spaces simply aren’t meant for air conditioning, so many are outfitted with large overhead fans. Unfortunately, these fans may just provide a hot, recycled breeze, which is why evaporative air coolers are often the preferred choice for non-A/C cooling. Still, if it’s pure cold temperatures you need, only true air conditioning can provide it. A/C significantly reduces the ambient temperature of a room to almost any desired temperature. They recycle cooled air and remove humidity through a connected duct. This makes them desirable for indoor locations in the Eastern and Southeastern parts of the U.S., which are often too humid to let you maximize the potential of an indoor swamp cooler.