When choosing a system to reduce the ambient temperature both in a home and in a work center, the market offers the option of installing an air conditioning system or evaporative coolers. We will expose the characteristics of one and another system to choose the one that suits us best.
What is an evaporative air conditioner?
An evaporative air conditioner is a box-shaped device, similar to a portable air conditioner, with one or more porous surfaces that allow the passage of fan air. Air is pushed from the outside into the house inside the unit.
To produce fresh air, it has a porous material equipped with a pad of water-absorbent material. The water is stored in a tank at the bottom and a small pump moves the water to the top, towards the pads.
To cool effectively, you need to keep the pads moist (Type1). Humidity creates more evaporation and, therefore, more cooling.
The evaporative air conditioner inside a house depends on an adequate air balance. To limit the humidity, it is necessary to make sure that the same volume of air flows outside your home, on the outside.
You can achieve a balanced air flow by installing ducts, from the outside, in each room or open the windows when the refrigerator is in use, in this way you will get an adequate balance between the outside and inside air to maintain the environment cool.
What is an air conditioner?
Air conditioning or air conditioning is a process that involves a certain air treatment closed to generate a pleasant atmosphere for those in that space instead. Increasing or reducing the temperature and humidity level of the air are usually the most common objectives, although the process can also involve a renewal or filtration of the air.
To cool the atmosphere, air conditioning usually appeals to mechanical compression to perform a cyclic process of heat transfer from inside a space to the outside. For this, it promotes the evaporation of cooling substance that is in a liquid state at a low temperature and pressure and that evaporates when the air is extracted from the interior. A compressor is responsible for absorbing and compressing said steam and condenses it through the transfer of heat to the outside air (colder). Finally, the refrigerant, in a liquid state, returns through an expansion valve that reduces the pressure and temperature.
Air cooler vs air conditioner how are they different.
The best known and popular system for reducing the temperature of an enclosed space is air-conditioned, but sometimes it may not be the system that best suits our needs. The evaporative cooling becomes an alternative in part more ecological since it does not use refrigerant gases to work, it only uses water. Among the disadvantages of traditional air conditioning systems, we also find a higher installation cost and the higher electrical consumption that it entails.
However, although we are comparing both systems, we must say that their operation is completely different. While air conditioning bases its operation on thermodynamics by extracting heat from the air into a fluid (refrigerant gas) to cool it, the evaporative cooler uses the principle of water evaporation to produce fresh air.
Thus, the air coming from outside is passed through an evaporative cooler that humidifies it, thus getting it to cool down and then entering it into the space to be cooled. For this process to take place, an air current is needed. Therefore, a fundamental difference that exists with respect to air conditioning is that the evaporative cooling equipment has to have a series of outputs (open windows, open doors …) so that the air that has entered can escape.
This type of system has the advantages that it does not use polluting gases, its purchase and installation cost is lower and its power consumption is low compared to an air conditioning system. On the other hand, having continuous air circulation, it cleans the cooling air, thus improving the quality of the indoor air.
However, as a weak point, it should be noted that evaporative coolers increase the relative humidity of the environment, so its use is not recommended in places that have a high level of relative humidity during the hottest hours, giving better results in Dry weather zones.
In the case of portable evaporative coolers for domestic use, the disadvantage of noise generated by the engine, higher than that of an air conditioning split, must be taken into account.
Industrial evaporative cooling
At the level of industrial facilities, in some cases, it is necessary to be able to control the temperature and humidity throughout the year so that some high-tech equipment works correctly. The concept of the evaporative cooling system is on the rise as a cooling medium in industrial plants, farms, greenhouses or any room that requires cooling with a contribution of moisture.
They use the principle of water evaporation to produce fresh air.
Ecological: it does not use refrigerant gases, only water.
It increases the humidity of the environment, so it is better to install it in dry areas.
Achieve drops of between 10 and 15 degrees with a humidity of 60%
To operate requires a stream of air, open places.
Consumes up to five times less electricity than an air equipment.
Cheaper equipment with easier installation.
It uses the principle of thermodynamics to extract heat from the environment.
It uses refrigerant gases, although today there are gases that do not emit emissions.
Does not increase the humidity of the environment. Its installation does not depend on the external humidity.
Total temperature control without variation of ambient humidity.
Optimal functioning in closed places does not require drafts.
Higher electrical consumption.
Less economic equipment, requires installation and air inlet and outlet pipes.
Pros and cons evaporative air coolers
The evaporative air conditioners are ecological air conditioning systems totally unknown to most people, both for industrial and domestic uses.
The main difference between an evaporative air conditioner and a conventional air conditioner is that the evaporative air conditioners do not require compressors or gases to cool, they only need to generate a natural air current through a small water pump and a fan.
Conventional air conditioners recirculate the air and prevent doors and windows from opening, causing the air quality to decrease progressively. The evaporative air conditioners recycle the air constantly. Without a doubt, it is a new concept of health, well-being, and energy efficiency.
The evaporative air conditioners represent a saving of up to 80% on conventional air conditioners since their energy consumption is reduced to operate a fan and a water pump. The installation and maintenance cost is also significantly lower in most cases compared to conventional air conditioning. It is possible to heat between 150 and 250 m2 with only 1KW, the equivalent consumption of a hairdryer.
The evaporative air conditioner is installed outdoors, and it injects humid air thanks to dampened filters. The air exhausts the heat to the outside in a progressive way together with the humidity, producing the natural adiabatic process.
The evaporative air conditioners do not generate humidity problems, they only generate this type of problems when they have been installed without taking into account the overpressure calculation. When the overpressure is excessive, that is when the amount of air injected is much higher than the amount of air expelled, the humidity is trapped in the environment and that is when the humidity problems are generated. In most cases, it is sufficient to open a pair of windows or install an exhaust fan in industrial environments that require sealing.
Unlike conventional air conditioners, evaporative coolers generate a very healthy environment as appropriate overpressure removes dust, suspended particles and odors, even it can be said that the overpressure minimizes the entry of flying insects. In addition, the evaporative air conditioners maintain a relative humidity in the environment of between 50 to 60%, the right proportion and necessary to maintain the proper functioning of our airways.
Unlike conventional air conditioners, evaporative air conditioners are more efficient the hotter and drier the climate. In these cases the humidity will still have more capacity to drag the heat outside the environment, making it much cooler and more comfortable.
The evaporative air conditioners are especially indicated in spaces where either due to problems in the roof or due to problems of internal heat sources, the heat of the environment is much higher than the external heat. In these cases, there can be temperature reductions of up to 20 degrees with minimal energy consumption.
Disadvantages of the evaporative air coolers
- The control over the temperature.
- The air is not cleaned as well as with an air conditioner.
- Need to open the windows to the outside.
- Humid air can cause furniture damage.
- It requires more maintenance than an air conditioner.