Evaporative coolers use a substantial amount of water, which could present a problem during times of drought. Depending on the severity of the drought and how much water your cooler uses, you may want to look into the following options:
- Install a thermostat and timer on your cooler so it only operates when necessary.
- Use a two-speed blow motor. Operating at low-speed uses less water and is more energy efficient.
- Inspect your cooler monthly and perform maintenance as necessary to be sure that your cooler is operating efficiently.
- Use alternative methods of cooling, including fans or an air conditioner if you have one. (However, be sure not to precool air using an evaporative cooler before turning on an air conditioner. This causes the air conditioner to use more energy).
- Install a bleed-off clamp on your bleed line to limit the amount of water drained. This could save 4 to 14 gallons per hour depending on your system!
- Re-use bleed water in your yard for irrigation. (But don’t forget to adjust your current sprinkling schedule appropriately!)
Figure 1: El Paso Water is currently promoting water restriction clamps for their customers. Bend the metal and slide plastic tubing into clamp. Tighten screw into desired position.
In addition, below are some “Cool Rules” developed by Water Wise of the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension for saving water during a drought.
- Be brave, delay turning on your cooler until the outside temperature reaches 85 degrees rather than turning it on when it is 79 degrees. You will use 50% less water.
- Turn on the water pump a few minutes before turning on the fan. This saturates the pads first, making your cooler more efficient.
- Open a window a crack in the rooms you are cooling. This will draw the cooled air through these spaces.
- Use ceiling fans to circulate air within your home.
- In the evenings, operate your cooler fan without the water pump. Cool air will be moved through your house without using any water.
“Evaporative cooler water use” by Martin Karpiscak of Arizona Cooperative Extension. Accessed April 11, 2003.
“Installing and Maintaining Evaporative Coolers” Home Energy Magazine Online May/June 1996. Accessed May 1, 2003.
“Swamp Cooler Maintenance” Water Wise of the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension. Accessed May 13, 2003.