Top positive review
1,386 people found this helpful
Honest review from someone who knew what they were buying
on June 12, 2011
I hate weeding through the reviews for evaporative coolers because it seems like the majority of bad reviews are from people who have no clue what they are and what they are supposed to do, a few are from people who can't follow basic instructions, and there are only a handful of legitimate negative reviews that are usually due to defective issues.
I live in Denver, CO. It's dry here and it's the perfect climate for evaporative coolers. I've had whole-house swamp coolers in previous homes I've lived and know many friends with them. In my home, I have no option for a portable or window A/C air conditioner as I spend most of my time in our finished basement and there's not a good option for exhaust. Last summer we got quotes for central A/C but it's a lot more money than I want to spend and I also don't want the electricity bill that goes along with it. We have a whole house fan (not to be confused with an attic fan) that we run in early morning before it reaches 70 degrees and that we run again at night, usually after 9pm, or whenever it gets cool enough outside. Sometimes with an afternoon rain shower we turn it on sooner.
I bought the evaporative cooler to supplement the whole house fan on those reallllly hot days and/or for the middle of the day when we we're not running it due to it being hotter outside than it is inside. The house fan cools the ground floor much better than our basement due to the lack of air flow from our basement windows because of the window well covers we have. Also, this summer I'm pregnant with a due date of August 15th and that doesn't help my comfort situation. Basically, an evaporative cooler is exactly what I wanted and what fit our situation.
Think of it as a fan on steroids. Cold air DOES come out of it. Today it is 88 degrees outside and humidity is 16%... a typical Colorado summer day. I have the cooler about 3 feet away from me and 8 feet away from my husband. I have it on high and I'm actually getting cold. I have it on the "swing" setting otherwise I would probably turn it down. It doesn't guzzle through water too quickly and filling it once a day is enough since I'm not running it 24/7. I use a gallon pitcher to fill it up faster since it holds 10 liters (2.5 gallons). I have an automatic ice maker in my fridge so I don't have any issues running out of ice. I can't think of any features it's missing. It's not too loud even on high - it's like a normal fan. There's no smell at all but I do actually change the water frequently and follow the cleaning instructions. Trust me on the smell thing, I can smell anything from very far away ever since I've been pregnant. You can wash the air filter on the back but DO NOT USE WATER to clean the wick. It is meant to be placed in direct sunlight to clean. I think that is why some other people had issues with smell or mold. Follow the directions, please. It has a remote, timers, sleep modes, swing function (just the fan blades inside swing, not the entire unit), warning beeps and visual indicators when it runs low on water (nice feature to avoid burning out the water pump), and an extra place to put ice on top in addition to putting ice in the water tank. You can adjust the blades on the front to direct the air flow whichever way you need to vertically. It also has an ionizer and you can run it as just a fan if you'd like, so no need for a second unit just to get some air circulating.
All in all... this thing does exactly what it says it will do. It's exactly what I wanted. It came assembled, which was a big bonus. It's only 17 lbs and has built in handles on the sides so I can actually carry it upstairs by myself if it's empty, even being super pregnant. It's on wheels to make it easier to push around when I don't have to take it to another floor. It was less than half what other similar units cost for the same tank size and air output.
I've only has this thing for a week. I will be sure to update my review once I've had it for awhile.
UPDATE 6/24 - I've found that when I run this thing on high for 8-10 hours per day, we do need to fill it every day or every other day at the very least (depending on if I fill it to the max level... usually I just add 1 gallon when I fill it). However, when I'm running it on medium or low and not using it as much (more like 5-6 hours per day), it can last about a week without needing a refill. I typically don't bother putting ice in anymore unless it's a day with over 95 degree temperatures and I want extra cold air. The only thing I wish it had was an easy way to drain it in case I want to move it upstairs when it's not empty. However, I don't think any model I looked at had this feature (or at least it wasn't mentioned). It has NEVER made the room feel muggy even with no open windows and honestly I don't feel any difference in the humidity in the room. Almost every day it's been less than 20% humidity outside, and I've never seen it get over 30% outside. I'm still happy with this purchase and stand by my 5 stars. I'm glad I got this instead of spending much more on a similar unit.
UPDATE 6/25/2012 - We didn't use this thing at all once it got cool out last fall. We drained it (easy to do while not pregnant) and put it in our basement storage closet. When we brought it back out a couple weeks ago, I vacuumed the screen on the back, filled it with water and drained it again to rinse it out. No musty smell or anything and it works just as well as last year. The room we normally are using this in stays pretty cool compared to the rest of the house, so now we're purchasing a wall-unit swamp cooler that is 5500 CFMs, hoping it will keep the entire house cool. The only thing I don't like about this cooler is that it's too short to feel it when laying in bed. You can tilt the blades up and down to direct airflow vertically, but it's not enough for a king size bed that's on a frame and box spring. For those of you wondering - the electricity cost is negligible. I don't see any difference in our electricity consumption when we are using it every day compared to when we aren't. However, my husband and I work work full time so we don't use it as much as someone that doesn't work or works from home. I'm still happy with this purchase and thing it's a great portable swamp cooler for the price!
Also, here's a chart that shows evaporative cooler effectiveness based off outside temperature and humidity. I will also post it to the pictures.[...]
UPDATE 4/2/2013 - We still use this thing as a fan and humidifier for our bedroom but have not used it for cooler in over a year. At our last house we got a 5500 CFM window-mounted swamp cooler (a really low profile nice-looking one!) and it cooled the entire house (1600 sqft, 780 above grade) no problem. We actually couldn't run it at night - it made the indoor temperature drop to 65! We had to leave the swamp cooler with the house when we sold it, so we bought another one for our new house. This house is 3100 sq ft (2100 above grade) so it may not cool the entire house, but now that we have A/C, it should supplement it well so we don't have to run it as often. Plus, I HATE A/C now because it's so dry. If anyone is interested, check on the Bonaire Durango Evap Cooler at the big orange home improvement store. This year's model is 5900 CFMs, cools 1900 sq ft, a remote control, and has adjustable louvers. Dang, now I want to upgrade for 300 more sq ft of cooling power!!!! Anyone who is happy with evaporative cooling should go check that thing out, it's absolutely great.