Does an air conditioner use water?

Most traditional air conditioners, specifically the common type known as split-system or window air conditioners, do not use water as part of their cooling process.

These air conditioners operate on a closed-loop system, where refrigerant is used to absorb heat from indoor air and then release it outside. The refrigerant cycles through the system, and no water is consumed or released during the cooling process.

However, there is a different type of air conditioner known as an evaporative or swamp cooler that does use water.

Evaporative coolers work by passing warm air through water-saturated pads, where the water evaporates and cools the air before circulating it into the living space.

Since evaporative coolers use water, it is required to regularly replenish their water reservoir.

Understanding evaporative coolers: Cooling with water

Evaporative coolers, commonly referred to as swamp coolers, use water as the key element in their cooling process.

Understanding the operation of Evaporative Coolers

The following table provides a concise overview of their operation:



Step 1: Evaporative cooling

Uses water-saturated pads or filters. Warm outside air is drawn through these wet pads, causing the water to evaporate.

Step 2: Cooling process

Water evaporation absorbs heat from the air, significantly lowering the temperature.

Step 3: Cooled air circulation

The cooled air is then circulated indoors through the unit’s fan.

Evaporative coolers actively use water, introducing moisture to the air for a refreshing cooling effect, reducing the air temperature by 15°- to 40°F – before it is directed into the home.

Mastering evaporative cooler efficiency: Tips for optimal performance

While using an evaporative cooler, the windows should be partially open to facilitate the escape of warm indoor air, to be replaced by cooler outdoor air.

Unlike central air conditioning systems that recirculate the same air, evaporative coolers ensure a continuous influx of fresh air into the house.

Known for their energy efficiency and eco-friendly nature, these systems are ideal for dry climates, but are less effective in humid environments.

And just like any other appliance, regular maintenance of your evaporative cooler is key to saving both effort and money. Ensure you drain and clean it regularly to prevent sediment and mineral build-up.

Major cleaning should be done at the beginning of each season, with routine maintenance throughout the cooling season. In high-use cases, especially in hot climates, inspect the pads, filters, reservoir, and pump monthly.

Replace pads at least twice during the cooling season or more frequently for continuous operation. Clean paper and synthetic pads as per the manufacturer’s instructions using soap, water, or a weak acid.

Evaporative Coolers: Limitations and considerations

Unfortunately, one big drawback of evaporative coolers is that they are not suitable for humid climates as they introduce humidity to indoor air.

They also have limitations in cooling your house compared to traditional air conditioners and need monthly maintenance.

Given their continuous water usage, homeowners in areas with limited water supplies might be concerned about the impact on water usage.

Leading Evaporative Coolers for efficient home comfort

Evaporative coolers have gained popularity for their energy efficiency and eco-friendly cooling solutions. Here are two examples of popular evaporative coolers known for their performance and features:

Best evaporative coolers for your bedroom

Experience versatile comfort with this 4-in-1 Portable Fancole air cooler, operating as a normal fan, mini air conditioner, humidifier, and night light.

You can enjoy 3 levels of cooling options, including fan mode without water, air cooling with water, and enhanced cooling with water and ice.

This evaporative air cooler features a soothing 7-color night light and operates quietly at 52 dB.

With a 3 feet USB cord and convenient leather handle, it’s perfect for your bedroom, desktop while working, or when indulging in your favorite book.

Buy it on Amazon

Best evaporative coolers for your home office

Featuring 8 digital LED lighting controls and adjustable air vents, this BLACK+DECKER Desktop air cooler cools and humidifies air within a 7 square feet range, perfect to keep you comfortably cool as you work at your home office desktop.

With a 2-gallon water tank, it offers a 3-speed capability (Low, Medium, High) along with a Turbo Function, and includes a Type-C USB charging cable and AC adapter.

For an additional burst of cold air, take off the water tank lid, insert ice cubes into the tank before filling it with water, and then secure the lid. You can repeat this process when the ice cubes melt.

Buy it on Amazon

Best evaporative coolers for your patio or backyard 

Ideal for cooling your backyard, garage, or patio, this VAGKRI 2100CFM air cooler has a 24-hour timer and three fan speed settings.

It features both horizontal and vertical swing options, an extra-large ice tray for maximum cooling, and an extra-long power cord.

Capable of covering areas up to 700 square feet, this portable swamp cooler features a 120° oscillation for efficient cooling.

With a nearly 8-gallon capacity and a hose connection for continuous water supply, it ensures extended and efficient cooling, while the included remote adds convenient control.

Buy it on Amazon

Revolutionizing home cooling: OxiCool’s eco-friendly breakthrough at CES 2020

A new air conditioning technology debuted at CES 2020 that’s poised to change the home AC industry forever.

The HomeCool from OxiCool uses “only pure water as a refrigerant” in its air conditioner units instead of the traditional Freon, which is known to be harmful to the environment.

The yet to be launched technology is also expected to be much more efficient, with “up to 25% lower operating costs over traditional electrically operated ACs with compressors.”

The foundational setup of HomeCool is approximated with a peak output system of 36,000 BTU/hr, maintaining a continuous operation capacity of 20,000 BTU/hr.

A system of this magnitude is generally suitable for a 2500 – 3000 square foot home or office.

Currently, this is the smallest size available for pre-order for the residential market, but as the operating costs are directly proportional to usage, there is no drawback to operating the system at less than full capability, allowing the reserve capacity to be saved for future requirements.

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