Why would anyone want to use a swamp cooler in winter, when low temperatures and an abundance of rain, wind and probably some snow are the order of the day and night during this season? Well, here’s a good reason for some people at least.
If your home is centrally heated in winter, with radiators in each room to keep your home and you warn during the cold days and nights of this generally unloved season, you probably know about the drying affect it has on the atmosphere indoors. While it’s really nice to be comfy and warm, very dry air is not so great for your breathing and by association, your health!
When you’re in the peak of fitness, young and in good health, the dry air created by central heating radiators is not such a big deal as long as you spend a goodly proportion of your time out of the house. But for everyone else and especially the elderly or very young, the very dry air has an unwanted negative impact on the body’s breathing apparatus: the lungs.
While most of us probably don’t give it a second thought, those with medical knowledge will know that the lungs are actually pretty delicate miracles of organic engineering inside. I want to keep things as simple as possible, so please don’t expect any complicated medical explanations here!
There are great lengths of fine tubes within the bronchial system that allow us to extract the precious oxygen from the air and infuse it into our bloodstream. That’s where we use the oxygen to power our muscles, feed our body’s cells and pretty much make it possible to stay alive.
One aspect of that process that interests us here is that it helps our respiratory system a lot if the air we’re breathing into our lungs contains moisture, which is usually naturally present in the air as water vapor. But when something removes a lot of that moisture from the air, as do heating radiators, the lungs have a harder time getting the oxygen from the dry air while it can also cause irritation to the delicate bronchial tissue.
Another real problem with very dry air, especially for adults (young or older) is the drying affect it has on the skin. With continuous exposure to very dry air for long periods, as in a centrally heated house, the skin becomes dry and that can mean the premature appearance of unwanted lines and wrinkles.
Did he just say WRINKLES?
Oh boy, that’s not what anyone wants to hear, right? Well, that’s another problematic side-effect of having a nicely warmed home in winter when the warmth is provided by air-drying radiators.
Re-Moisturizing the Air
Some folks will already know what I’m talking about here. If you live in a centrally heated house and tend to suffer more from coughs and breathing problems during winter, you’ll already know it’s largely caused by breathing in that very dry air all the time.
The simple solution is to find a way to get some moisture back into the air without saturating it and creating a lot of unwanted condensation in the home. Well, drum roll…
Break out the summer swamp cooler, fill the tank and turn it on!
One thing that portable swamp coolers are very good at is hydrating the air as part of the evaporating cooling mechanism. Be aware that you don’t want to have the cooler running for too long for two pretty obvious reasons:
- It will cool down the room too much
- It will put more moisture into the air than you need
So just run the swamp cooler in 10-15 minute bursts through the day to put some moisture back into the air, but not too much. It’s so economical to run too, so the cost in energy consumption is minimal. And enjoy better quality air to breathe and better hydrated, smoother and more supple skin!
Note: This won’t work with a regular portable air conditioner. That’s because AC also takes moisture from the air and pumps it out of the building, which is exactly what we don’t want to happen in this instance.
So now you know why running a portable evaporative cooler in winter is not such a crazy idea after all. Moderation is the key here. So the trick is you only run it long enough to put back some of the precious moisture into the air that your body needs and turn it off before it has a chance to cool the place down too much!