climates for evaporative cooling

Best Climates for Evaporative Cooling

When it comes to choosing the best cooling solution to alleviate those brutal Australian summers, many of us opt for evaporative cooling. It offers many benefits, from energy efficiency to cost effectiveness and whisper quiet operation.

Everything that any homeowner wants in home cooling.

So, it would seem that an evaporative cooler would be the ideal option for almost any home, right? Surprisingly, that might not be the case. Evaporative coolers are best suited to specific climate conditions.

While it might be the perfect solution for a home in one state of Australia it might be particularly ineffective elsewhere in the country. Let’s take a closer look at the best climates for evaporative cooling so you can determine whether it offers the best cooling solution for your home.

How Does an Evaporative Cooler Work?

But first, it’s worth looking at just how evaporative coolers work; how they provide the climate relief you need in the harsh Australian summer.

Evaporative cooling uses warm air that has been drawn in from outside and passes through a number of moist filter pads that are infused with water from a tank at the unit’s base.

That water evaporates, and as it does so, extracts the heat out of the air and humidifies it, creating water vapour. The evaporative air conditioner then disperses the humidified, cooled air throughout your home.

Which is where the problem of needing the right climate conditions for optimal performance comes in.

What is the Major Drawback with Evaporative Cooling?

Evaporative cooling systems certainly offer many benefits over traditional air conditioning systems, from their energy and cost efficiency to their ability to deliver cool, fresh air, as well as their lack of noise when running.

But the biggest drawback with evaporative coolers is that they require the right climate conditions to work at their best.

Essentially, because evaporative cooling circulates humidified air throughout your home, it loses its overall effectiveness in conditions that are already humid.

This is because the existing levels of humidity in the air makes it harder for the air to absorb any additional water vapour.

What are the Best Conditions for an Evaporative Cooling System?

It makes sense, then, that if evaporative coolers are less effective in existing humid conditions, that they would be more effective in hot and dry conditions.

Without that existing moisture in the air, there is more opportunity for portable or ducted evaporative coolers to absorb the water vapour in order to provide cooler air to your home. The water pads are better able to draw in the hot air and enable the water to evaporate.

For those who like to see a numerical value assigned to the level of relative humidity (RH) that allows for optimal evaporative cooling performance, the general consensus appears to be:

  • Evaporative coolers work best in relative humidity levels under 40%
  • Their ability to cool noticeably reduces in RH levels over 50%
  • They offer little to no cooling in RH levels over 70% – air conditioning in this case would be the more effective option

If we want to relate this information to the various regions of Australia, it means that evaporative cooler units are better suited to areas such as Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and lower Western Australia.

Homes in significantly humid regions like Queensland and the Northern Territory are best served with air conditioning systems which aren’t quite as impacted by relative humidity.

Getting the Most Out of Your Evaporative Cooler

If you find yourself in a home or apartment with evaporative cooling in an area that might not be regarded as typically evaporative systems-friendly, here are some suggestions to help you get the most out of your unit.

  • If possible, use only when conditions are hot and dry with low RH.
  • Ensure there is enough water to keep the pads sufficiently moistened and capable of providing the cool air you need.
  • If the atmosphere is already humid, run your evaporative system with a door or window partially opened. This will provide the necessary ventilation to help reduce unwanted moisture build up.

With its energy efficiency, cost effectiveness and user-friendly operation, evaporative cooling might be the best cooling solution for your home – as long as you have the right climate conditions.

If you’re still uncertain that you’ll get the cooling capacity you want from your unit, a licensed and experienced air conditioning technician from Metropolitan Air Conditioning will be able to help determine the best solution for you and your home.

Please note: This information is provided for advice purposes only. Regulations differ from state to state, so please consult your local authorities or an industry professional before proceeding with any work. See our Terms & Conditions here.

Published: 2022-10-06

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