How to Use Air Coolers Correctly & Efficiently in India

Air coolers, also known as evaporative coolers, or swamp coolers, offer an economical and natural way to cool indoor and outdoor spaces. In India, they are mostly used to cool rooms, small shops, garages, warehouses, and other indoor spaces.

How Do Air Coolers Work?

These coolers use the power of evaporation to turn hot air into cool air. They pull in hot air that is passed through moist pad. The pad absorbs the heat and the moisture in the pad evaporates, cooling and humidifying the air by up to 15°C.  This cool air is then circulated into the room, generating a breeze that is similar to what you experience when sitting close to a river.

Best Environment for Air Coolers

Air coolers work best in hot and dry weather conditions like we see in western, Northern, eastern, and central India. They’re not an ideal cooling solution for cooling coastal areas, like in south India, where we see humid climate.  In such areas, you can use air coolers in outdoor or semi outdoor spaces but not indoors.

Some people will use coolers without water in humid climate, this is a good jugaad but then you can achieve the same result with a cheaper pedestal fan.

Types of Air Coolers

There are four main types of Air Coolers that suit different environment and needs. These are Window Air Coolers, Desert Coolers, Personal Coolers, and Commercial Air Coolers.

  • Window Coolers: These were called desert coolers originally, but over time the definition seems to be changed. Now days, they are called the coolers that are installed outside the room, mostly in the windows. Such coolers usually need installation by a plumber and/or a carpenter. But you can also avoid installation if you are OK to fill cooler tank manually, and not care much about the proper fitting in window. They are the most convenient, efficient, and ideal air coolers. I recommend these to all. These are the best room coolers amongst all types for domestic use.
  • Desert Coolers: They are the coolers that are ideal for desert like weather conditions – Hot & Dry. Such coolers are best suited for large rooms. These air coolers themselves are large in size and will occupy a large space in your room. Desert Coolers are portable and are placed inside rooms, ideally close to a window.
  • Personal Coolers: These are similar to desert coolers except for their size. These are suitable for smaller rooms.
  • Commercial Coolers: As the name suggests, these are large size coolers, that are used in outdoor events, garages, workshops, warehouses, etc; where air conditioning is not possible, or not commercially viable.

Correct Method of Using an Air Cooler

Old Fashioned Air Cooler
Woman fixing an air cooler in a rustic cabin.

It is often a misunderstood fact that air coolers work efficiently in closed door spaces. This is simply not true. In fact, this will increase the humidity indoors to a level that you will start feeling like sweating.

The correct way of using an air cooler is to allow for proper ventilation of air in the room. Position your air cooler right in front of a window and open few windows or a door in the opposite direction. It is essential to create good ventilation in the room to push the humidity out.

Benefits of Using Air Coolers

Indian middle-class families are fast replacing air coolers with air conditioners in their homes. Yet there are still several takers for air-coolers, who are fascinated with their natural & holistic cooling, cost effectiveness, and few other advantages. Let’s now look at the main advantages of using an Air Cooler.

  • Cost-Effective Cooling: Evaporative Coolers not only cost less upfront, they also save energy/electricity cost and maintenance cost.
  • Adds Moisture to Air: Air coolers are natural humidifiers, that add moisture to air, thereby reducing dry air symptoms such as itchy eyes, and itchy throat.
  • Environment-Friendly: The refrigerant used in air conditioners, irrespective of its type, is harmful to the environment. Air coolers on the hand are completely safe for humans and the environment.
  • Fresh & Breathable Air: Unlike air conditioners, that circulate the same air repetitively, air coolers pull fresh air from outside, humidify and cool it and then circulate it in the room.

Also Read: Air Conditioner Vs Room Coolers

Maintenance of Air Cooler

Air-coolers are easy to maintain. Usually, you only need to replace cooling pads every two years or so and are easily available online and at the neighborhood shops. Other parts that might need repair or replacement are the water pump and the fan motor, which again are easily available and replaceable.

Final Words

Before you buy an air cooler, make sure you live in an overall dry climate, purchase one that is the right size, and ensure that there is proper ventilation in the room where you want to use the air cooler.

Riya Menon
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