Roof Ventilation & Evaporative Cooling
Summer here in Australia can be pretty cruel, especially in the warm southern parts across from Melbourne to Perth, or in dry regional Australia. I am sure that everyone reading this has experienced the kind of summer I’m talking about. All the shops have sold out of stand-up fans, and you’ve got the roof fans spinning as fast as they can go. You might have air conditioning running too, chewing up your energy bill.
For many Australians in the above areas, the reality of air conditioning is in evaporative cooling. Evaporative coolers are quite effective in drier climates, using humidity to cool a space or home rapidly. However, the drawback in this is that by cooling your home with vapour, you expose your home to large amounts of moisture. If you don’t have a method to remove the excess moisture, this can cause damage to your property. Large-scale commercial evaporative cooling operations without adequate ventilation can cause moisture to condensate and even pool on floors!
So How Do I Make the Most of my Swamp Cooler?
‘Swamp coolers’, the nickname for evaporative coolers, use pressure and airflow to distribute cool air throughout your home. If there’s no door or window open, it just won’t work! Typically in residential situations, cracking open windows and/or doors is ideal for ventilating, though this can allow cool air to escape at the expense of ventilating moisture (and allowing the evaporative cooler to circulate air). Some folks have come up with pretty inventive ideas such as turning on the range hood in the kitchen to get circulation moving through the home!
While it’s a witty idea, it’s pretty noisy. Ever heard a range hood on full blast? It’s a band-aid solution in the short term, but a more powerful extraction is what you really need to ensure adequate ventilation. If you run some ducting through your roof space connected to a roof ventilator (Check out some models that we’ve compared in the past here!) you can maximize the effectiveness of your evaporative cooler. Companies such as Solar Whiz and Edmonds advertise their products with ducting as an option for installation—making their ventilators ideal for addressing moisture problems caused by your evaporative cooling system. Generally speaking, a powerful ventilator like those we’ve compared will be quieter and far more effective than the noisy range hood in your kitchen to get moisture flowing out of your house.
Just make sure you don’t use a whirlybird. They suck.
Is an Evaporative Cooler Right for Me?
As we’ve already discussed, your location and climate are major factors in deciding on evaporative cooling. But another factor to discuss is energy usage! Evaporative coolers have gotten more energy-efficient over the years (https://www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/), making them far more attractive for consumers looking to save a little money on their cooling. At least, in contrast to conventional air conditioners which can operate at up to 3,300W (Fujitsu ASTG09LVCC) in the smallest size range.
By pairing your evaporative cooler with a ventilator that extracts air directly from the house, you minimize the risks that can come with evaporative cooling, as well. An evaporative cooler is also far cheaper to purchase, and operate! We suggest you spend some of these savings on a dedicated ventilation solution! This ensures that your evaporative cooler continues to run at peak efficiency at all times of day and night without allowing the risk of moisture damage!
Another point worth stressing is the risks of property damage. An evaporative cooler will add humidity and distribute it throughout your home, which will create a sticky atmosphere. It’ll be like swimming in the air, as they say in Queensland if you don’t ventilate your home properly! Simply cracking a door or window open might do the job temporarily. But simply said, a dedicated ventilator that extracts moisture from your living space is ideal.
Cold air stays low to the floor, and heat rises. Extraction ventilation will pull the moisture and warmth through, leaving you with a cooler and more comfortable home.
Good luck in your search for a ventilation solution!