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Evaporative Cooler v.s. A/C?

  1. Aug 16, 2013 #1
    So I moved to L.A. recently, and my apartment is not very well air-conditioned. The temperature in my room is about 78 degrees, which for me is not very comfortable. I can't install a window-mounted AC because of the way in wich my window opens, so the next-best option for me is to get a small portable air-conditioner, or an evaporative cooler.

    I'm just curious to hear people's opinions about how effect either are, the noise factor, etc... My main concern about the evaporative cooler is that it will leave my room very damp, I don't want papers cooling and dew forming on surfaces etc...

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 16, 2013 #2


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    I've never had an evaporative cooler indoors but I've been in barns that use them. They can make the environment damp, as you noted. Then everything is susceptible to growth: mold, fungus, bacteria...I don't know, I'm not a microbiologist, but I know stink when I smell it :yuck:. I suppose if you vent properly you could prevent stuff from growing.

    One good thing about evaporative coolers: they're a lot cheaper, and cheaper to run, than AC units.

    One bad thing about AC units (besides cost): some models have condensation tanks that fill up after a few hours. The first one I had was so annoying. A loud alarm would sound when the tank was full -- usually in the wee hours of the night! And there was no way to prevent the alarm from sounding :grumpy:. The one I use now has a 'dry' mode. I suppose the condensate is evaporated in the exhaust.
  4. Aug 16, 2013 #3


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    You might want to ask this question in either the "general engineering" or "general physics" forums.

    An evaporative cooler, trapped in a room, will not work.

    Not that I didn't try swamp cooling before I got my window mounted air-conditioner:

    I would lay there in bed, with the ceiling fan on high, with a single sheet covering my body.

    I took a spritz bottle, and spritzed the sheet, until it was slightly damp.

    It actually got too cold at times.

    My bathroom fan, running the whole time, removed the excess moisture.​
  5. Aug 16, 2013 #4


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    What's the dew point like where you are? I'd be surprised if a swamp cooler would work in LA; it needs to be really dry.
  6. Aug 16, 2013 #5
    I am presuming that you currently have some type of A/C system in your building. Is the register (vent) that lets the air into your room fully opened. Some of them are adjustable.

    There is also a return air vent. The air can't come in if it can't get out. Make sure you don't have any furniture blocking the return air vent.

    And if that all checks out you might consider a booster fan in the register.

  7. Aug 16, 2013 #6
    They do make A/C's for various types of mounts and windows. Casement window units cost about twice as much for the same capacity as a unit made for a lift up window.

    This reminds me of a Seinfeld episode.

    For some reason I got a foreign version of that.

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  8. Aug 16, 2013 #7


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    If dipole lives in a typical California apartment, there is no AC system. I lived there for years, in various apartment buildings and never had a central system.
  9. Aug 16, 2013 #8


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    A really hot porno was recommended to me when I watched that video.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMPDHglBLR ​

    Global, um, climate change, may, or may not, be happening.

    But I've not eaten this many popsicles in about 45 years, and I never required an air conditioner, until 2 years ago.....

    But then again, I am getting old, and want a Cadillac.......
  10. Aug 16, 2013 #9


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    Well, whatever the weather, it's definitely not global, here in the midwest, we've been way below normal temps the last few years, I am wearing a sweater right now, in the MIDDLE OF AUGUST!!
  11. Aug 17, 2013 #10


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    Evo. I know where you live, and I know how to use Google.

    It's 66'F outside......

    Hmm.... This reminds me of the time when I moved from Alaska, back to Oregon, IN AUGUST!, back when I was 8 years old.

    I thought the world was going to melt that year..... :blushing:

    And the time my sister told me to bring warm clothes to her 50th birthday party weekend down in San Diego, because it got, shivers; "Down to 65' in the evening!"....... :rolleyes:
  12. Aug 17, 2013 #11


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    Yes, it's only 64F out! that's sweater weather, it will be in the 50's tonight again. I am wearing a long sleeve red sweater, blue jeans and socks. the average low for today just went from 68 to 67, tonight will be 10 degrees below average for August.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2013
  13. Aug 17, 2013 #12
    I don't know what is up with the Youtube video's and that particular Seinfeld episode. The first one I posted offered a LOT of porno so I changed it. It was the one where the A/C fell out of the window.

    I had evaporative cooling here in Tucson for many years. Once I got the A/C I was spoiled. BTW I wanted a Cadillac when I was 18 years old so I bought one. A very old one.

    Now that I am old I too want a new Cadillac, one with the A/C controls on a touch screen that I can hardly see. I also want it to talk to me in a foreign language because I can't understand what the dam things say anyway.

    Μήπως χρειάζεστε ένα μπουκάλι θερμότερο κατά το θηλασμό ; -
  14. Aug 17, 2013 #13

    Ben Niehoff

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    LOL! You live in a place called Arizona, which means "hot, dry place," which are adjectives you folk actually take seriously. Meanwhile, people in California typically pretend that they don't need A/C, because it's only hot for a few months out of the year, and we're sorta near the coast (despite technically being in a desert), etc., etc.

    It is exceedingly rare to find an apartment with central air in LA. Rarer still to find one that's affordable.

    Furthermore, there are a lot of places that can't accomodate window units (due to bars on the window), or won't allow them (because they are "unsightly"), or as the OP mentioned, the window opens the wrong way.

    I lived for 1.5 years in an old 30's era building, with bars on the window, and thus I had to use a one of those things that sits on the floor and has tubes that pipe exhaust to the window. It sorta worked if you were sitting right in front of it. And as Lisab points out, the reservoir would fill up about twice a day and emit a loud beep. At which point you had to carry about 3 gallons of water to the tub and dump it out.

    The only way to make things remotely tolerable was to leave the windows wide open every night (being that LA is in the desert, it still gets cool at night in summer), with lots of fans to suck the air in one end of the apartment and blow it out the other. The windowsills (and furniture) would collect a black dust condensed from the LA smog, and I'm sure I breathed plenty of it.

    Oh, and I should mention that this floor A/C unit kept blowing out our fuses, because the 30's era building still had 30's era wiring. I actually had to count up the current draw by everything I wanted to plug in, and carefully distribute them so that not too many were on any one circuit.

    There was also no dishwasher, nor any space to put a standalone one. And the fridge did not have its own circuit, so sometimes it turned off when the fuses blew.

    Finally got fed up with it, and looked for a new place. Managed to snag one with central air, but I am definitely paying more than I want to.
  15. Aug 17, 2013 #14

    jim mcnamara

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    @Edward: If I were your parent
    Θα φας ξύλο

    :) -- smilies are upgesnarled.
  16. Aug 17, 2013 #15
    Actually that bit of Greek was meant to show what happens when I try to communicate with a touch/voice control console on the newer cars. I didn't buy the blasted thing because it was all Greek to me.

    Notice even the translation of my little Greek quote is meaningless.

    On a test drive I tried to find the nearest coffee shop. It directed me to an industrial area about 6 miles away.

    The newer window A/C units come with remote controls btw. Will they go to voice activated?:eek:
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2013
  17. Aug 17, 2013 #16
    Just to clarify about my perceived lack of knowledge concerning A/C in L.A. apartments.

    The OP stated:

    Back on topic there are a number of options for the OP. Portable A/C units are much more expensive than a window unit. There are a number of them listed on Craig's list in the L.A. area for under $150 however.

    The condensate does have to be emptied on the A/C, but on the other hand a portable swamp cooler has to be filled. Portable A/C units need to have the condenser air ducted to the outside, otherwise it is just an expensive de-humidifier.

    The OP may need to get creative.
  18. Aug 17, 2013 #17
    Ha, glad to see there's interest in my thread. I actually do have "central air", but the landlord keeps the thermostat at 78 degrees and locked behind a plastic case so no one can change it. 78 degrees really isn't that comfortable for me and I often sweat a lot at night. It's not too bad if I just hang around in my underwear, but then going into the kitchen requires getting dress and undressed (because I share that space with six other people) and it's just a hassle.

    The little portable A/C with the exhaust tubes is exactly what I had in mind. All I'd really want is to lower the temperature in my room by about 5-10 degrees, so I don't need much.

    Thanks for the input so far. I'll shop around for portable A/Cs and see what I can find.
  19. Aug 17, 2013 #18


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    Bam! There goes my daytime solution.....

    Six people? Are you living in a hostel?
  20. Aug 17, 2013 #19


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    Wait. You lived in Alaska, California, Washington, and have a slightly Canadian accent?

    Are we cousins, or half siblings? Where were you born?

    Ooops. Take your time answering that.

    Just got a phone call.

    Must go to the river now.

    Ciao, and smootches all. :smile:
  21. Aug 17, 2013 #20


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    I know, it's weird isn't it!?
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