Stay Cool for a Dollar a Day with an Evaporative Cooler

With summer upon us, we're all trying to stay cooler. Ifyou don't have a central cooling system then you'll need a supplemental coolerto keep you comfortable. The choices include supplemental air conditioning likea portable or window AC or evaporative cooler. Both are effective; however,they're effective under different conditions.

Living Environment


greenleavesRecommended relative humidity levels should be no more than 50% and no less than 30%. That's why where you live determines which AC systemwill work best for you. Because evaporative coolers cool the air by addingmoisture to it, it's probably not a good idea to use it where humidity levelsare already high.

For example, Florida maintains an average humidity levelsare well above 50% and in some cases as high as 84%. If this is your scenario,an evaporative cooler won't help. In fact, it will only make things worse. Thebest way to stay cool in states where humidity levels increase during the summermonths is with a window or portable AC. These units actually reduce humiditylevels.

On the other hand, if you live in Arizona or Utah where theweather is dry, humidity levels can be as low as 25%. Because air coolers addmoisture to the air, they actually make living in a dry, arid area a little bitbetter. Enjoy the best of both worlds. Increase humidity levels and reduce theambient temperature by as much as 20 degrees.

A great way to track relative humidity across the countryis online at, an all-weather resource that displays humidity levels across the country.  

Refrigerant or Water Evaporation

An evaporative cooler works by filtering warm air through awater moistened pad. As the warm air passes through the pad, cooler air isreleased. This process lowers the overall temperature. A built in fan circulateslarge volumes of naturally cooled air into the room.

Keeping the windows and doors open makes this system moreeffective. Evaporative coolers can be used indoors or out too. Set one on thepatio and enjoy a cooler more comfortable time outdoors.  

Air conditioners contain a refrigerant. The AC draws hotair in and over the refrigerant and cold air is then released and circulatedaround the room. This process produces cold, dry air and work best in anairtight home. Keeping all the windows and doors securely closed makes thissystem more effective.  For this reason, they are not designed to be usedoutside the home.

The AC system is completely different from an air cooler.Air coolers are capable of reducing the ambient temperature 20 degrees. So ifyou're experiencing 90 degrees of hot, dry weather, an air cooler will lower thetemperature to 70 degrees. With an AC, you can dial in the temperature you wantand it will run until it's met.

Overall Cost


green-piggybankEvaporative coolers are inexpensive to operate. They use anall natural cooling process that's extremely cost effective. Evaporative coolingis 50% cheaper to install and almost three times cheaper to run than arefrigerated cooler.

For a 36" unit and considering the cost of water andelectricity needed to operate the system for up to 8 hours, this option can runyou about $1 a day to operate.

A refrigerated cooler is a little more expensive tooperate. The energy draw is slightly higher. On average, using a supplementalcooling system like a window AC or portable AC costs about $1.33 a day to use.Of course this depends on how often you use the system and for how long.

To help keep energy costs down, we recommend choosing an ACunit with a thermostat, so you can set it for an agreeable temperature andprevent the unit from running excessively.

Evaporative cooling is as effective as running an AC. It'sless expensive to operate on a day to basis and fully capable of keeping youcool. When you select a cooling system this year, consider your surroundings andmake a purchase based on the criteria above.

Shop Our Selection of Evaporative Coolers