Refreshing Evaporative Coolers
September 01, 2001
California’s energy woes have focused new attention on energy-saving technologies long considered underutilized. High on the list is evaporative cooling,which lowers the temperature of air by passing it through water-soaked pads. A number of Western utilities are promoting this long-out-of-favor technology through evaporative cooler rebates that can cover 10%–15% of the typical cost of room-sized, generally windowmounted equipment. Southern California Edison offers a $100 rebate on evaporative coolers that are permanently installed in conjunction with an existing central air conditioning unit or heat pump. And Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) has announced a $300 rebate on a whole-house model that meets specific efficiency standards (see “The PG&E Rebate Program,”p. 21). Evaporative Cooling Evaporative cooling works because changing water from liquid to gas—evaporation—requires energy (heat). In the simplest,“single stage,”form of evaporative cooling, dry air passing through a cooler’s water-soaked pads picks up water through evaporation; the energy to accomplish evaporation comes directly from the heat in ...
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