Once May hits, it’s time to plan your summer bucket list.. Bring out the grill? Check. Wipe down the patio furniture? Check. Plant a vegetable garden? Check. Download some summer reading? Check. Figure out out how to keep your patio chill? Not quite there.
On paper, summer bucket lists are thrilling expressions of our imagination. But on the ground, curling up on a patio couch with a bestseller in mid-June is downright uncomfortable. Even for your pets! The summer heat is simply oppressive —heavy and immobile, like a virtual straitjacket!
Here’s where you need a portable evaporative air cooler. Never heard of this apparatus? Well then, read on. Evaporative air coolers use water and wind power to fan out a fresh, cool breeze. While outdoor fans circulate the same hot, stifling air, evaporative air coolers—also known as swamp coolers—actually reduce the air temperature through the natural process of evaporation. And, because they don’t use complex machinery, they are super-economical to operate.
Another cooling option are mist fans. These contraptions spray a fine stream of water droplets within their radius and that creates a cooling effect. Pair a mist fan with a summer barbeque and what do you get? Soggy hot dogs. No one’s idea of happy summer memories! An evaporative cooler, however, adds just a hint of moistness and feels like a coastal breeze. Interestingly, these appliances work best in the hot, dry regions of the South and Southwest. This is because the cooling process functions through adding water vapor to dry air.
Here’s how you can set up an outdoor evaporative air cooler on your patio. You will need access to a power supply and to a water supply. Most indoor evaporative coolers include a water tank that you fill as needed. Outdoor evaporative coolers will also include a tank, but models such as the Honeywell CO60PM Outdoor Evaporative Cooler are equipped with a continuous water supply connector that you can attach to your outdoor water hose. This keeps the cooler continuously supplied with fresh, cool, water for long unattended operation. What’s more, while many swamp coolers are heavy and ugly, the Honeywell CO60PM is sleek, lightweight and portable. Partying on the deck at noon and in the hammock at dusk? Roll this unit right where you desire fresh, cool relief.
Evaporative air coolers are easy to clean and maintain if you know how to and remember to do it periodically. Here’s a quick run-through of how to clean and maintain your Outdoor Evaporative Cooler:
- The water tank contains the water that circulates through the unit. Avoid stagnant water from collecting in the water tank – if the evaporative cooler has not been used for a few days, drain out all the water in the tank and refill with fresh tap water before use.
- Every few months, or if the tank is visibly dirty, fill it with a solution of water, a small amount of dish detergent and a spoonful of vinegar, and let it run in evaporative cooling mode for 15-30 minutes. Drain the tank and refill with clean water and operate for another 15-30 minutes in evaporative cooling mode. This will cleanse the system for next use.
- The internal motor powers a fan through an absorbent honeycomb cooling pad. Remove the honeycomb pad every 2-3 months (or more, depending on the air quality of your location) and wash under running water. You can use a mild scrub or toothbrush to gently dislodge dust if needed.
- Once you are all done using the evaporative cooler for the season, prepare it for storage by setting the unit to fan mode for about 30-45 minutes. This dries out the honeycomb pad and internal parts, preventing buildup of bacteria or mold. Drain all water from the water tank and move the air cooler to a covered area, and store away from sunlight.
So, there you have it. Keep dreaming up your summer bucket list, because this summer you can plan your summer fun outdoors and cheerfully enjoy it too. No sweat!