Staying Cool When It’s Hot Out – Fans, Evaporative Coolers & Portable AC

This morning it started at 83 degrees before the sun was even up and it will reach well over 100 degrees by this afternoon in most of the country. Staying cool is going to be a challenge whether on the jobsite, in a shop, or anywhere not constantly air conditioned. Here is a quick look at some of the portable cooling options that might help beat the heat. We will also take a closer look at how evaporative coolers “swamp coolers” operate and when and where they are most effective.

Fans have been keeping us cool since the first caveman waved a big leaf in front of his face. By removing our body heat we constantly generate we become cooler, the more air the cooler we feel. If you want to move some serious air, in the 4600CFM range, at a reasonable price an industrial 18” fan F18TE ($86, Ohio Power Tool) works very well. If you have too much cash and love gizmos you could buy a Bladeless Dyson Fans ($199 each, Amazon) of course output on one of those is only 900CMF so maybe buy 5 and you will almost have the same output. For serious air movement in a shop or warehouse you might need to step up to the 36”-48” Drum Fan Blowers that look like airplane propellers on casters. Then you are looking at 14,000-22,000+ CFM but still very portable and well priced.

The problem with simply moving the air with fans is if it’s 90-100+ degrees you are simply moving hot air around and it doesn’t do that good of a job cooling you off. If you have an enclosed space and you want to actually lower the temperature dramatically the best option is a portable air conditioning system. With up to 60,000 BTUs again on casters you can drop the temperature of your average size enclosed tent 10-20 degrees no problem and it’s very portable. They also remove moisture so the air so you losses the humidity that can make the air feel muggy at even normal temperatures. Price range on these systems however range from $2800-$10,000+ so probably not going to see these on the construction site anytime soon but very popular with the country club and outdoor wedding crowds.

So what if you have a big shop where the bay doors are always open and you’re sweating bullets all day inside. One more inexpensive solution that could be a huge help is the evaporative air cooler or often called swamp cooler, you will also see them on the sidelines of football games. These units are large fans very similar to the drum fans with one big difference they use a water system that works similar to your cars radiator to cool the air before blasting it at you. These units can produce up to a 29 degree temperature drop at 100 degrees without spiting water all over the place like you see with a misting fan.

Basically hook it up to a water source or refill the tank daily and you have a solution that uses about the same electricity as a fan but the effects of AC. The problem is however as the relative air humidity increases the effectiveness of these types of fans drops by over half. In very dry air these are most effective and coincidentally in swamp like conditions these are much less effective.

Hope this helps a little if you have more fan or portable air cooling questions give the pros at Ohio Power Tool a call 800-242-4424. Try to stay cool this summer and if nothing else drink lots of water and keep a wet rag on your neck.

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