What is an evaporative cooler? Should I get one?

Apr 5, 2018, 4:49 PM | Updated: Apr 19, 2018, 4:40 pm
(Public Domain Photo)...
(Public Domain Photo)
(Public Domain Photo)

If you’re fairly new to Arizona, you may have heard a lot about evaporative coolers and you may be wondering what they’re used for.

At one time, the coolers were the way that most of the state’s homeowners cooled their houses. They’re still being used here, but most houses have air conditioners now.

However, some residents still like them because they use less electricity than air conditioners require. They’re basically a “greener” choice as well.

How do they work and what makes them different from air conditioners? They both look like big metal boxes from the outside, but they work differently.

  • Air conditioners work by taking humidity out of the air by using refrigerant to produce cold dry air. They work best in an airtight house where cooled air is recirculated again and again.
  • Evaporative coolers, however, constantly take fresh air and move used air out. They run the hot air through a specially designed pad made of paper or shredded wood. The pad has been saturated by regular tap water. In the process, the air absorbs moisture that can be as cool as 70 degrees on a super-hot day. That cool air is what helps cool the house.

One difficulty with evap coolers is that they don’t work well during our monsoon season. The outdoor air may already be very sticky and hot in July and August, and adding the cooled, moist air from an evaporative cooler to a home’s environment doesn’t work very well.

But the coolers are still being sold for whole house cooling. They’re not as expensive as traditional air conditioners and they’re easier to install and maintain.

They can be very useful in places you might not have thought of using them. Some of the latest models of the coolers can be good for using in a garage or workshop so that you can keep doing woodworking or car repairs even in the height of summer. Some people use them to cool off horses or dogs or even chickens.

And the latest portable patio evaporative coolers can help when you’re grilling a big dinner outside. Partygoers seem to love them when they’re dining outdoors.

For more homeowner advice, DIY tips and videos, and information about all the projects around your house, home, castle or cabin, visit Arizona’s largest collection of homeowner DIY advice and information at

And if you are in need of a quality contractor you know you can trust, visit our list of Arizona’s very best contractors or service providers for your home improvement projects at – Arizona’s most-trusted referral network.

Tune in to KTAR every Saturday morning from 7-11 a.m. for the Rosie on the House broadcast!

Rosie On The House

(Flickr Photo/Bernard DUPONT)...
Rosie Romero, Host and Owner of

Here’s how to crack down on crickets around the home

Eliminating crickets around the home is important because they not only can cause damage but could attract their natural predators, such as scorpions.
4 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Rosie Romero, Host and Owner of

Here are some ways on how to make your bathroom an oasis

Americans spend an average of two years of their life in the bathroom. With that in mind, here are some ideas to upgrade the space 2022-style.
11 days ago
(Shutterstock Photo)...
Rosie Romero, Host and Owner of

Here are the differences between energy efficiency and renewable energy

It can be confusing figuring out the difference between energy efficiency and renewable energy. In some instances, like solar energy, they appear to be on the surface the same. They are not.
18 days ago
(Shutterstock Photo)...
Rosie Romero, Host and Owner of

Here’s how you can ensure your attic has proper ventilation

If you are looking for ways to reduce heat in your home by adding insulation, a radiant barrier or fans, hold off - there’s a better way.
25 days ago
(Shutterstock Image)...
Rosie Romero, Host and Owner of

How to choose the right backup generator for your home

If you live in an area prone to frequent weather-induced power outages, consider investing in a generator.
1 month ago
(Shutterstock Photo)...
Rosie Romero, Host and Owner of

How to properly install a flagpole so you can let your spirit fly

We will take you through the steps to select and install an in-ground flagpole.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
What is an evaporative cooler? Should I get one?