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How to get the most from your portable evaporative cooler.

To get the most from your portable evaporative cooler you need to

Reduce the heat coming into the room.

The first thing to do is to reduce the heat coming into the room. Often the windows are the worst source of heat. Make sure they have outside shading if the sun shines directly on the window. If this is impossible (the house is rented), then at least have an inside blind and/or curtains. If you really can't afford this, go to the opportunity shop and see if they have any curtains, or even a white sheet. If you can't get permission to fix a curtain rod, try using duct tape to tape the sheet to the window! (careful about what you stick the tape to, if you stick it to a painted surface, the paint may come off when you remove the tape. You must keep that sun out if a portable cooler (of any type) is going to have a hope of keeping you cool. Even if the sun doesn't shine on the window, shading it will reduce the heat coming into the room as will curtains and blinds.

The next thing to do is see if the roof is insulated. If the roof isn't insulated you are unlikely to be cool, no matter what type of cooler you have.

More information can be found on reducing the heat load by looking in the archives of my newsletter. (Sign up for the newsletter while you are at it.)

Locating the portable evaporative cooler

The air inlet of the cooler needs to be absolutely as close to the window as possible. The back needs to be parallel to the window. All of the open area at the back to the cooler needs to be directly in line with the window opening. You need to make sure the back of the cooler is the same height as the opening in the window. This is to ensure that as much air as possible comes fresh from outside and doesn't leak around from the room. Although some coolers come on stands they are often too low. In this case you may need to find something sturdy to put the cooler on. Be very careful that the cooler cannot be knocked over as the mixture of electricity and water is potentially dangerous.

The first cooler is located too low, the second is acceptable but performance would improve if it was slightly higher

This cooler has a CoolerBoost kit fitted and will perform much better than either of the above coolers.

If you angle a cooler like this most of the cooler is too far from the window. Use the grille to deflect the air instead.

Open the window the correct amount

The window needs to be open enough to allow all of the back of the cooler to work, but shouldn't be wider (or higher) than needed. Generally you can only adjust either the height or the width and it will be necessary to accept the other dimension. Provided the unblocked area of the window is no more than twice the area of the back of the cooler, the performance should be satisfactory. If the window opening is large than the cooler, you should shut the doors of the room to force the air out

Direct the air to where your are sitting

Make sure you adjust the grille of the Cooler to direct the air to where you are sitting. Note that you should not do this by rotating the cooler itself. This is 'Because you need to keep all of the back of the cooler as close to the window as possible.

Keep adequate water in the cooler to keep the pads wet

If you let the cooler go dry it will start blowing hot air into the room. This will quickly heat the room back up to the outside temperature.

Don't overdress

On a hot day you can't expect to feel cool with any air conditioner if you are wearing a full suit and tie. Dress appropriately, wear shorts or a short skirt, sandals and a light T-shirt. Also when buying chairs choose fabric covered rather than vinyl as they will be less sticky.

You may also need to sit closer to the cooler

A portable cooler produces a cone of cool air coming from the grille on the cooler. If you are not sitting in this cone, you will not be getting the full benefit of the cooler. You may find you need to move so that you are in this cone and you may need to move closer to the cooler as the closer you are the cooler you will be.

If you are still too hot

If it is a really hot day and you are still too hot, buy a CoolerBoost duct kit to suit your portable evaporative cooler.

If any of the above is unclear, please use the feedback form to ask your question and I will get back to you with an answer.

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