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Technology has provided us with air conditioners to alter the temperature in our environment to suit us. We are no longer limited to using air conditioners because we also have evaporative coolers, also called swamp coolers.

Evaporative coolers are well-known as cooling systems that use water to cool the surrounding air. It is apparent here that water is needed for cooling, but how much water is required by the appliance is what most people do not know. This is valid information you also need if you want to use evaporative coolers. Read on to learn more.

Why is Water Important for Evaporative Coolers?

Compared to traditional air conditioning systems, where refrigerants are used for cooling the air, evaporative coolers depend on the natural process of evaporation to decrease the temperature of the air.

As far as evaporative coolers are concerned, water usage is crucial. The cooling process that these coolers run through relies on water evaporation. In other words, the amount of water used will directly affect the cooling system's efficiency.

While inefficient water usage will likely not result in higher utility bills, it can impact the environment. For this reason, it is imperative to understand the water usage of evaporative coolers, especially for homeowners interested in an efficient and environmentally-friendly cooling system.

How Evaporative Coolers Work

An evaporative air conditioning system works by evaporating water to cool the air. The cooling process begins when hot and dry air gets drawn into the cooler through water-soaked materials or wet pads. The movement of the dry air through the pads allows them to come into contact with the water.

The water evaporates this way, and it cools the air that is drawn into the cooler. The resulting cooled air gets circulated throughout the room or building via ducts or vents. In comparison to air conditioning units, evaporative air coolers use less energy.

Another notable factor is that they are more environmentally friendly because they do not use harmful refrigerants. However, it would be best if you noted that their effectiveness might be limited in certain areas, especially with high humidity.

In such places, the air will not be able to hold much moisture, and the cooling effect will be reduced. It is alright to conclude that evaporative coolers are efficient and provide a cost-effective method for cooling the home or office—notably in arid or semi-arid regions.

Rate of Water Consumption in Evaporative Coolers

Although evaporative coolers are popular for their energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness, they require quite an amount of water to make them function optimally. Several factors can affect the amount of water that an evaporative cooler consumes:


During hotter and drier climates, an evaporative cooler will have to use more water to attain and maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. Conversely, less water is required in wet areas or regions.

The size of the cooler

This is another time one can correctly say that size does matter. The larger the evaporative cooler you have, the more water it will need to cool the space where it is placed effectively.


There is a relationship between the volume of air allowed to pass over a volume of water. With more air allowed to pass through the evaporative cooler, more water will be effectively required to cool it.


With proper maintenance given to the evaporative cooler, which includes regular replacement of the pads and cleaning, the water needed by the cooler can be reduced.

The average water usage for evaporative coolers is not constant and will depend on the type of cooler you have.

Portable evaporative coolers need a water supply of 2-3 gallons (7-11.5 litres) of water per hour. On the other hand, larger commercial evaporative coolers require about 50 gallons (189 litres) of water per hour.

You must note that evaporative coolers can use water efficiently, which is even more evident in newer models because they are more efficient. You should nonetheless be mindful of water usage and take steps that will help reduce consumption however possible.

How to Reduce Water Use in Evaporative Coolers

A significant concern people have with evaporative coolers is the rate of their water consumption. These systems are designed to be more water-efficient than the other types of cooling systems, but you can still find ways to reduce how they use water. The following tips can help reduce the rate of water consumption in your evaporative cooler:

Regular maintenance

Regular maintenance is a simple yet highly effective way of reducing water consumption in evaporative coolers. Regular maintenance for your evaporative cooler should include cleaning and replacing the cooling pads when necessary.

You will also do well to check and repair leaks in the system while ensuring that the water distribution mechanism is working correctly. Properly maintaining your evaporative cooler will ensure that it performs efficiently and does not waste water.

Use of recycled water

Another method you can employ to reduce the water consumption rate of your evaporative cooler is the use of recycled water. To do this, you can use greywater, rainwater, or any other source of recycled water. Using recycled water will help reduce your reliance on freshwater while conserving it for other, more important purposes.

The use of smart controls

With smart controls, you can also reduce the water consumption of your evaporative cooler. You can use them to automatically adjust the amount of water used in the system according to some factors such as occupancy, humidity, and temperature. The use of smart controls ensures that your evaporative cooler will only use the amount of water that is necessary to make it perform efficiently.

Water Usage in Evaporative Coolers

Evaporative coolers are becoming popular for residential and commercial purposes because of their energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Water usage in residential evaporative coolers

There are different types and sizes of residential evaporative coolers, and they vary according to their water usage. Typically, a residential cooler can use about 3-15 gallons (11-57 litres) of water per hour, but this will depend on the unit's cooling capacity and size.

You can expect larger units covering more extensive areas to use more water.

Evaporative coolers use less water than other residential cooling systems, such as window or central air conditioning. Specifically speaking, a typical central air conditioning unit can use about five times more water than an evaporative cooler per hour.

Water usage in commercial evaporative coolers

In commercial environments, evaporative coolers are popular in large facilities such as warehouses, data centres, and factories. As seen in residential evaporative coolers, commercial coolers also come in different types and sizes.

Understandably, commercial evaporative coolers usually require more water than residential evaporative coolers, majorly because they are needed to cool larger spaces. On average, you can expect that a commercial evaporative cooler will need between 20-40 gallons (75-151 litres) of water per hour.

In comparison, some larger units may use up to 100 gallons (378.5 litres) of water per hour. Despite their high water usage, commercial evaporative coolers are still noted to be more water-efficient than traditional air conditioning units, where up to ten times more water per hour may be required.

It is evident now that water usage in evaporative coolers is a function of the type and size of the unit. Compared to traditional air conditioning units, it is correct to say that evaporative coolers are more water-efficient, making them an excellent alternative for those that are eco-conscious for themselves and their businesses.

Seek Professional Advice on Evaporative Coolers

While you may have read about or even seen different types of evaporative coolers, if you need one installed or maintained, you will be better off with some professional help. Evaporation cooling is an excellent choice if you want the best value for your money, and qualified HVAC personnel can guide you on what will work best for you and your needs.

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