Do Evaporative Coolers Work In High Humidity?

Otherwise known as swamp coolers, evaporative coolers offer many advantages over regular air conditioners. For that reason, they can seem like a perfect solution for home cooling on humid days.

But do evaporative coolers work in high humidity?

Evaporative coolers are effective in terms of lowering the temperature in a high-humidity environment. However, the overall efficiency will depend on the type of evaporative cooler. One will work like a charm, while the other will be less productive.

So, does that mean that you are better off with an air conditioner?

Not really! There are some things that you need to know before getting to that conclusion. And we are here to let you know all about them.

How Does an Evaporative Cooler Work?

You need to properly understand how the evaporative coolers work if you want to compare them with air coolers.

But the good news is that things will be easy for you if you are already familiar with air coolers.

Evaporative coolers work in a pretty similar fashion to air coolers.

For the air coolers, the hot and humid indoor air goes through evaporative coils.

These coils have refrigerant gas inside. The gas evaporates and then gets pumped into the external unit.

During the process, the air lets go of the heat and eventually loses humidity.

But, the hot air will pass through the moisturized paddings for evaporative coolers instead of evaporative coils.

The water of the moisturized paddings captures the heat from the air. And while air conditioners rely on the recirculation process, evaporative coolers suck the air inside.

How does Humidity Effects Evaporative Cooling?

Before anything else, you need to understand that evaporative cooling is a physical process. It is based on the method of evaporating the water.

That means that the relative humidity will affect the overall effectiveness of the system you choose.

Nonetheless, for evaporative coolers, the drier and hooter the climate is, the better the cooling performance will be.

But the real question is, how much of an effect does the humidity has on the overall cooling?

Well, it depends. The more the humidity level, the harder a direct evaporative cooler needs to work to cool the air.

On the other hand, the higher humidity level will have little to no impact on indirect or mixed evaporative coolers.

And you can get to know why later down the discussion.

Can You Use an Evaporative Cooler in a Humid Climate?

The evaporative coolers perform better when the air is hot and dry. Still, they are still great for humid climates.

But the thing is, the overall efficiency will depend on the type of evaporative cooler.

Let us go through each type to give you a broader idea regarding the topic –

Direct Evaporative Coolers

These types of evaporative coolers operate on the air’s ability to chill when it absorbs water. A relative humidity indicator on the device shows how much humidity a particular volume of air is holding.

In short, direct coolers are not that effective when the RH figure is relatively high.

Indirect Evaporative Coolers

This type of evaporative cooler passes the air through heat exchangers. These are nothing but water-filled tubes.

When the air pass through, the air goes through an evaporation process that takes place in a special chamber.

Thanks to such a unique process, the indirect evaporative coolers can not only deliver cool air but also can lower the humidity level.

Yes, the end results are pretty similar to air conditioners.

What About Mixed Evaporative Coolers?

As the name suggests, mixed evaporative coolers integrate the functionality of a direct and indirect evaporative cooler.

Both methods come into play. However, the air gets cooled in two separate stages.

And the device has both wet-bulb and dry-bulb temperatures.

Nonetheless, for integrating both methods, mixed evaporative coolers are more effective at cooling the air.

So, if you want to get the maximum cooling effectiveness from an evaporative cooler, you should consider mixed evaporative coolers.

Can Evaporative Coolers Increase Humidity?

One difference between air coolers and evaporative coolers is that the latter brings down the temperature by saturating the air.

That means the air that you will have indoors with the evaporative coolers will be more humid than the outside.

But is raising the humidity a good approach for cooling down?

Yes! The right temperature and humidity combination can make the indoor air more comfortable.

And if you are really worried about increasing the humidity too much, you can always leave the windows open.

That will prevent the room’s air from gaining a too-high humidity level.

Evaporative Cooler Chart – By Humidity, Efficiency and Temperature

To get the most out of the evaporative cooler, you should have a fair idea regarding the efficiency chart.

Just going through tons of numbers in a chart just to find the most effective range can be difficult.

So, here is a boiled-down version of the chart –

  • At 75 degrees F, optimum efficiency is at 70% – 80% relative humidity
  • At 80 degrees F, optimum efficiency is at 50% – 65% relative humidity
  • At 85 degrees F, optimum efficiency is at 30% – 55% relative humidity
  • At 90 degrees F, optimum efficiency is at 20% – 30% relative humidity
  • At 95 degrees F, optimum efficiency is at 10% – 20% relative humidity
  • At 100 degrees F, optimum efficiency is at 5% – 10% relative humidity
  • At 105 degrees F, optimum efficiency is at 2% relative humidity

Things take a turn at 110 degrees F – 125 degrees F.

For an evaporative cooler, it becomes physically impossible to lower the temperature below 76 degrees.

And the dryness of the air does not matter in this case.

What Makes Evaporative Coolers Better Than Air Conditioners?

Now, if you’re confused, should you get an evaporative cooler instead of an air cooler?

If these following factors seem worth it to you, you should –

Evaporative Coolers Are Cheaper to Install

Evaporative coolers are about 50 percent cheaper to install. That means your initial investment can lower significantly.

Offers Constant Airflow from the Outside

Air conditioners recycle the air that is inside the room. On the other hand, the evaporative coolers will constantly bring air from the outside.

So, you will be getting fresh air while cooling down.

Evaporative Coolers Increase Humidity

Hate having dry skin? Well, evaporative coolers have got your back in that regard.

Whereas air conditioners make the humidity level drop, evaporative coolers increase it.

Read More: How Much Electricity Does An Air Purifier Use?

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does An Evaporative Cooler Increase Humidity?

Evaporative coolers increase the humidity level of the indoor air. This is one of the things that makes them different from air conditioners. Nonetheless, the increase in humidity will be about two to five percent. And it will depend on the humidity and temperature of the environment.

2. Do evaporative coolers work in low humidity?

The evaporative coolers are the most effective when the environment has high temperatures and low humidity. However, to get the most effective cooling, you should consider indirect or mixed evaporative coolers.

3. Can evaporative coolers cause mold?

When evaporative coolers are used correctly, they will not cause the growth of mold and mildew. You have to carry out regular maintenance and make sure that the moisture output complies with the guidelines.

Final Words

The short answer to the question of do evaporative coolers work in high humidity would be a Yes.

However, as you know by now, indirect or mixed evaporative coolers are the best at cooling at high humidity levels.

So, you would want to avoid direct evaporative coolers if you want maximum efficiency.

Last Updated on May 19, 2023

Richard Hicks

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