Please share experience with Swamp Coolers

Swamp Coolers, Cooler Management, Dry Ice, Misting Systems, and just plain how to beat the heat.
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#john408
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Please share experience with Swamp Coolers

Post by #john408 » Thu Apr 07, 2005 2:59 pm

This year we will have a 10X20 wall tent and access to a generator.
I have purused the many forums and not found much discussion about swamp coolers...if I have missed a discussion thread please point me.

Please share experience with using a swamp cooler to keep the temp down. One person noted that it also kept the dust down.

Another noted that you better turn off at sunset otherwise water will condense in the tent...

Brochures talk about a max of 15 degree drop in dry climates.

Water use? Cooling effectiveness? Downside? Sizing of unit?

Thanks. ==John==

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Badger
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Post by Badger » Thu Apr 07, 2005 4:36 pm

Brochures talk about a max of 15 degree drop in dry climates.
Assuming your shelter is set up to prevent any cross flow. Otherwise the breeze will more than likely whisk the coolnees out of your shelter. Stationing the unit just a few feet above your head/sitting space might work but I'm thinking that part of the lack of info regarding these things has more to do with their pain-in-the-assness than anything else.
Desert dogs drink deep.

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Tiara
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Post by Tiara » Thu Apr 07, 2005 5:27 pm

Also, I believe the common advice is to shut down the swamp cooler *before* sunset to avoid condensation issues. But I don't imagine that will be a problem, because the temperature generally calms down to something quite enjoyable a while before sundown.

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TestesInSac
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Post by TestesInSac » Thu Apr 07, 2005 6:49 pm

I've used a small portable swamp cooler for the last three desert events I've attended, and they do work for cooling and dust abatement. A 15 degree drop or less is about what you can expect, but you do need the airstream directed at you. Still, at 550 kcals/gram, evaporating water is quite the heat transfer agent. By way of comparison, it takes 5.5 times more 'heat' to evaporate a gram of water than it does to change it from a solid (ice) to a liquid.

My playa environment is a 15' dome, and I also have a 20" pusher fan moving air along with the swamp cooler. Someone took a nap in my dome last year and reported that it was too cold to sleep without a comforter when both fan and swamp cooler were running.

I found that a gallon of water lasts about 1.5 hours, and the only downside is that you'll probably want to toss the wicking material after a weeks dusty use. I prefer the blue cellulose pads (like kitchen sponges) to the wood fibre pads. My unit is about 20" x 20" x 10", which is already just a bit on the bulky side.

I never ran it past sunset. No need.
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Elemental666
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Post by Elemental666 » Thu Apr 07, 2005 9:27 pm

So glad to see this topic pop up...

I'm building a 12' radius dome, approx area 440 sq. ft. It will be covered with a canvas outer covering that will be painted and a inner covering of shade cloth (60-80%). I was thinking of adding a small portable swap cooler for those especially hot days...

Here's some of the ones I'm looking at:
http://www.air-n-water.com/product/CV-AB1500.html

or 2 of these:
http://www.air-conditioner-home.com/product/SF608R.aspx

or maybe even one of these:
http://www.air-conditioner-home.com/product/FH778.aspx

the last one has an ionic air purifier, which I'm not sure how well will hold up on the playa, might be overkill. But anyway, if you could maybe discuss some of the features of these and give some pros and cons it might help us to understand more about what we shuld be looking for.


Thanks

Tafkah
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Post by Tafkah » Thu Apr 07, 2005 10:41 pm

We've used a 3000 cfm swamp cooler for our 12 foot radius dome the last 2 years. It works GREAT. Lots of air flow, no dust, and 20 degrees cooler inside. Just like this:

http://www.championcooler.com/eac/index_eac_res.htm

We use two 55 gallon barrels of water to feed it. We bribe the potable water truck guys to fill them for us. My Honda EU1000 generator didn't have quite enough power to start the swamp cooler, so we use our Honda 2000 watt generator.

Bring spare pads so you can change them when they get too dusty.

#john408
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Post by #john408 » Tue Apr 12, 2005 11:08 am

Thanks for the replies so far. I have sent e-mails to a couple of companies asking for more info and recommendations. I will share. I was looking of course for my needs but asked for rules of thumb. Our tent is 10x20x ?ave 6.5 feet high = 1300 cubic feet. How large a unit to cool that?
Amperage draw?... the spec's I have seen so far are in Watts dividing by 110 I come up with a 4-5 amp draw.
Filter cleaning or just replace?

I am concerned about water usage...on one of the units I calculated 9 days at 8 hours per day- as absolute max usage- (they say a 10 liter tank will run 8 hours on that much water and the unit is for 1380 Cubic Feet per Min)...= 22.5 gallons. Please critique my logic on this. Here is the web site http://www.air-n-water.com/product/SF609R.html it may be on the small side, but does say 200 sq foot cooling.

By the way, whatever unit we get, we will likely use in our house also. So we will probably over size a bit (above the tent spec).

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Post by bullD » Tue Apr 12, 2005 2:15 pm

umm, this is a camping trip in the desert. embrace the elements, it's part of the experience.

you want to cool off, find the water truck, woo hoooo!!!

disclaimer: this disclaimer is here just because I want it to be, it has no value whatsoever...

Tafkah
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Post by Tafkah » Tue Apr 12, 2005 3:34 pm

John,

You might be very dissipointed with this one.
http://www.air-n-water.com/product/SF609R.html

I reccommend one that moves a lot of air through your structure, instead of recirculating the air already inside. Swamp coolers work by taking dry warm air and evaporating water to make cool, somewhat wetter air. Without moving a lot of air thru your structure, the heat gain from the sun will probably be more than the cooling capacity of your swamp cooler. Unless you put reflective material outside your structure or insulate it somehow.

I generally agree with BullD about embracing the elements. However we don't really know what your personal needs are, health conditions, etc. So you are the best judge of whether you really need a cooler or not. In my case, a cool, dust free environment is an integral part of my art project (Shambala Dome).

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bullD
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Post by bullD » Tue Apr 12, 2005 3:41 pm

Tafkah wrote: I generally agree with BullD about embracing the elements. However we don't really know what your personal needs are, health conditions, etc. So you are the best judge of whether you really need a cooler or not. In my case, a cool, dust free environment is an integral part of my art project (Shambala Dome).
yeah, I know, just funnin with some serious undertones...

#john408
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Post by #john408 » Tue Apr 12, 2005 5:11 pm

One of our constraints is that one of our party had a very difficult time with heat last year and it was not even that hot. But Ok, so we are spoiling ourselves a little ...cause....we can and we want to be fresh for the evening events.
Our plan was to have a White wall tent with a silver tarp over the top (some separation for air flow) to maximize reflection. Flap doors are at both ends.
I would tend to agree on a bit of overkill on unit sizing, cause you can always run it at half speed - and I can use it at home.

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Post by theCryptofishist » Wed Apr 13, 2005 9:32 am

You've checked out underlieing health conditions and all that?

Possible to spend some serious time in the valley pre-event to up tolerence to heat. When I lived in Chico, I was much more heat tolerant than the year after I moved back to the Bay Area and almost gave myself heat stroke by driving to Folsom Lake in the middle of the day in the middle of July.

Of course, you may have a life beyond preparing for burningman.
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#john408
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Post by #john408 » Mon May 16, 2005 4:51 pm

My quest for swamp cooler knowledge continues. As indicated in some of the posts, a swamp cooler is most effective with circulating air. So I believe we would have to have outside air come into the tent, get moisturized throught the swamp cooler, cause a reduction in temperature due to the cooling effect of evaporation (target 15 degrees) and then ??? get circulated out of the tent? So just opposite of an air conditioner, we would want to circulate the air from outside.

Any comments or corrections on this...any anyone else using swamp coolers. And if it is 110 degrees on the playa, would we only be able to get the inside tent down to 95 degrees? (If so this is where would scurry to our RV friends with A/C's.

By the way we have zero'ed in on an army 16 X 16 tent with a silver tarp as a deflection over lay. That would be 256 square feet and about 1800 cubic feet.

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Post by Ranger Genius » Mon May 16, 2005 6:14 pm

Having lived every summer of my life standing under the exhaust of an evaporative cooler, I can say with some confidence that you will find the setup you described more than comfortable. A few things: close one of the doors while the cooler is in operation. If you have multiple points at which the dome can depressurize, the effect of the cooler will be greatly diminished. Place the swamp cooler well above head-level, as the air coming from it is not only cooler but far more humid, and thus much more dense. A cooler at waist level will only cool your feet. If you close the door to the dome and open a window about head level, then the cool air will stay in the dome rather than blowing right back out, since the positive pressure created by the cooler will exhaust the more bouyant hot air first. You CAN make a structure uncomfortably cool with a swamp cooler, even when it's 110 outside. If you don't have an opening for the air to circulate out, though, you'll just make the inside of your structure humid as well as hot.
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Post by safetythird » Mon May 16, 2005 6:21 pm

Anyone considered these;

http://www.spot-coolers.com/air_CP26_overview.php

Other units available, I only have personal experience with this specific model.

I've used them in the geek industry and they work great for refrigerating a room. You just need to run the exhaust duct outside and plug into an appropriate size generator. The cold air nozzles are flexible and allow you to cool specific areas.

They're rentable too.

S3

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