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  1. #1
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    Portable AC vs Portable Swamp Cooler (Evaporative Cooler)

    Colorado is going to be hot this week and a pregnant Dockaroo has started to suffer.
    We're currently renting, so looking for a portable, affordable cooling option.

    In the whole scheme of things, just the bedroom is fine, so we don't need mega-power. Also, not really looking to be living in the arctic, just something to take the edge off.

    What are thoughts on similarly priced ACs vs Swamp Coolers?
    I know swamp coolers use less energy, but I'm also not exactly sure how effective they are.
    Are cheaper AC's ($1-200) effective and worthwhile or pieces of junk?

  2. #2
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    Get a high eff window shaker of the appropriate size for the area you wish to cool.
    watch out for snakes

  3. #3
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    I don't know f/a about portable ac, but swamp coolers are kind of involved to set up/run because you need a water supply and near useless when the humidity is high. That last may not matter, depending on where you live, but it's something you should know. They work well in dry wx, and as you mentioned, they are cheaper to run.

  4. #4
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    Predicted high humidity of 25% over night and 4% during mid-day.

    How quickly do they (swamp coolers) go through water? Can it last all night or will we be waking up at 3am to refill?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by XtrPickels View Post
    How quickly do they (swamp coolers) go through water? Can it last all night or will we be waking up at 3am to refill?
    Couldn't tell you that - the one I had had water piped in from the house plumbing.

  6. #6
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    Portable evap cooler will work fine, water should last all night. Make sure you leave a window open or you wind up with the same temp but 100% humidity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Meadow Skipper View Post
    Couldn't tell you that - the one I had had water piped in from the house plumbing.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patches View Post
    Portable evap cooler will work fine, water should last all night. Make sure you leave a window open or you wind up with the same temp but 100% humidity.
    ahhh, the orig. "make it rain"!!!
    ... jfost is really ignorant, he often just needs simple facts laid out for him...

  8. #8
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    We had a portable swamp cooler in the belly of the Moose when I worked there. Had to refresh the water usually twice a shift. No way would it run all night. Only way to make it work worth a shit was to fill the tray with water and ICE. Just water and you might as well run a big fan. Small window AC's for a closed bedroom will smoke a swamp cooler. Plus... you are putting more humidity into the air with a swamp cooler, it's the opposite with an AC. Colder air and less humidity.

    Go AC every time.

  9. #9
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    Costco has a decent selection for a good price. http://www.costco.com/Common/Categor...95*&lang=en-US
    At the store, and not on their website is a nice Sharp brand unit that's quieter, and I've heard that one's pretty nice too.

    The rental house I have for work has no central a/c, so I have a portable a/c unit. That thing cools down a room with a quickness, blasting out some pretty cold air. I just wheel it to the room I want to use it in, pop the hose in the window (they come with a very easy to use, adjustable window frame-thing to snap the exhaust hose into), and run that puppy for about a half-hour. That usually does the trick. Portable A/C's may not be pretty, but I think they rock. Cheap, easy, and don't have to fool around with any real installation.

    These things are amazing to have in your bedroom on hot summer nights.

  10. #10
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    A window AC unit works better and is cheaper than a portable AC unit. A window unit has the hot side of the machine outside. A portable unit has the entire unit inside and uses a flexible duct to blow the hot air out. That duct gets pretty hot.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Todds View Post
    A window AC unit works better and is cheaper than a portable AC unit. A window unit has the hot side of the machine outside. A portable unit has the entire unit inside and uses a flexible duct to blow the hot air out. That duct gets pretty hot.
    Yeah, but sometimes you don't want a big ol' window unit hogging up your entire window, especially if you have a nice mountain view. My portable a/c only requires about 4 inches at the bottom of the window. You're right in that some heat does come off the duct, but it's not nearly enough to offset the cold air coming out. Plus, I like being able to easily move it from my bedroom to the living room or my office, or you know what's really pimp? Putting the portable a/c in your garage when you're working on your cars on a hot day.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patches View Post
    Make sure you leave a window open or you wind up with the same temp but 100% humidity.
    This. If you don't exchange the air in the space you'll go from "a dry heat" to a swamp (pun intended). For what you are describing a window or portable mechanical cooling unit makes the most sense IMO.
    `•.¸¸.•´><((((º>`•.¸¸.•´¯`•.¸.•´¯`•...¸><((((º>

    "Having been Baptized by uller his frosty air now burns my soul with confirmation. I am once again pure." - frozenwater

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by AustinFromSA View Post
    Yeah, but sometimes you don't want a big ol' window unit hogging up your entire window, especially if you have a nice mountain view. My portable a/c only requires about 4 inches at the bottom of the window. You're right in that some heat does come off the duct, but it's not nearly enough to offset the cold air coming out. Plus, I like being able to easily move it from my bedroom to the living room or my office, or you know what's really pimp? Putting the portable a/c in your garage when you're working on your cars on a hot day.
    All true. Also if you don't need AC very often it's nice to get the airflow of an open window. I bet you can get the portable unit to blow directly on you in the garage. Sounds nice.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Todds View Post
    All true. Also if you don't need AC very often it's nice to get the airflow of an open window. I bet you can get the portable unit to blow directly on you in the garage. Sounds nice.
    reminds me of a tale Robert Earl Keen told...""Man, you oughtta be down here in San Marcos; it's such a great day. I get in my old convertible and drive around San Marcos. I go down an alley and look into this one back yard, and there are 20 Mexican guys drinking Schlitz beer. Hell, I ain't had a Schlitz since seventh grade! There is one of those really long, orange extension cords that goes way back into the house and is plugged in somewhere. It comes out into the yard and goes all the way out to a picnic table, where it is plugged into a window-unit air conditioner."
    Something about the wrinkle in your forehead tells me there's a fit about to get thrown
    And I never hear a single word you say when you tell me not to have my fun
    It's the same old shit that I ain't gonna take off anyone.
    and I never had a shortage of people tryin' to warn me about the dangers I pose to myself.

    Patterson Hood of the DBT's

  15. #15
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    If you get an inside/outside window mount swamp cooler, Home Depot has a hose bib attachment that screws on as a hose bib with a reducer off of it to the 1/4 inch poly line to feed into the swamp cooler where the float valve keeps the water level up or shuts it down when full. Fairly fool-proof.

  16. #16
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    I have used both. The portable swamp coolers (basically a huge fan with a water reservoir) take the edge off, but won't make the room cool. And it will be humid.

    The portable a/c will make the room cool, and overall is IMO the preferable option (if you can stand the power bill). That said, they have issues and suck. You need to set them up just right, they have to be near a window for easy venting, and you have to be able to seal up the venting well, otherwise you blow hot air into your room in addition to cold. I found it hard to find a suitable window (think about the height of your window, where the furniture is in relation to it, where the vent and blower are on the ac unit, etc). Also hard to seal the window well, especially if you don't have slider or single/double hung windows. Still, like I said, better than the portable swamp cooler IMO, but a true window unit is the best option.

    ETA: you don't say why you can't use a window unit (maybe it won't work for your windows?). But a small unit is still mostly portable (ie you can take it when you move), and should work well and be fairly cheap. So if you can install a window unit, it really is the best option by a ton.
    "fuck off you asshat gaper shit for brains fucktard wanker." - Jesus Christ
    "She was tossing her bean salad with the vigor of a Drunken Pop princess so I walked out of the corner and said.... "need a hand?"" - Odin
    "I'd eat a bag of Dicks and wash it down with a Coke any day." - iceman

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tye 1on View Post
    reminds me of a tale Robert Earl Keen told...""Man, you oughtta be down here in San Marcos; it's such a great day. I get in my old convertible and drive around San Marcos. I go down an alley and look into this one back yard, and there are 20 Mexican guys drinking Schlitz beer. Hell, I ain't had a Schlitz since seventh grade! There is one of those really long, orange extension cords that goes way back into the house and is plugged in somewhere. It comes out into the yard and goes all the way out to a picnic table, where it is plugged into a window-unit air conditioner."
    I love REK.
    "fuck off you asshat gaper shit for brains fucktard wanker." - Jesus Christ
    "She was tossing her bean salad with the vigor of a Drunken Pop princess so I walked out of the corner and said.... "need a hand?"" - Odin
    "I'd eat a bag of Dicks and wash it down with a Coke any day." - iceman

  18. #18
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    I use a portable A/C with a plywood cutout that fits into my casement window. Some portable units are two duct or duct in a duct so that outside air is drawn in over the heat exchanger and back out. That's more efficient than venting cool inside air to the outside.

    I've also mounted a box fan on an insert so I can pull cool outside air to the inside. It works fine if you're someplace that cools off at night.
    If you have a problem & think that someone else is going to solve it for you then you have two problems.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snow Dog View Post
    I've also mounted a box fan on an insert so I can pull cool outside air to the inside. It works fine if you're someplace that cools off at night.
    if you can put up with the noise, that generally works great in CO (where the OP lives, unless he recently moved). Except there are about 5 or 10 nights a year where it's just too damn hot.
    "fuck off you asshat gaper shit for brains fucktard wanker." - Jesus Christ
    "She was tossing her bean salad with the vigor of a Drunken Pop princess so I walked out of the corner and said.... "need a hand?"" - Odin
    "I'd eat a bag of Dicks and wash it down with a Coke any day." - iceman

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danno View Post
    if you can put up with the noise, that generally works great in CO (where the OP lives, unless he recently moved). Except there are about 5 or 10 nights a year where it's just too damn hot.
    Like last night. 80 degrees at 7000 feet at six am.

    We've got a evaporatative cooler and it works great but it is plumbed in and they're kind of finicky/leaky. That's not an issue with the portable ones.

    People who live here or build new houses here without AC are crazy IMO.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by concretejungle View Post
    Like last night. 80 degrees at 7000 feet at six am.
    last night was fucking miserable.
    "fuck off you asshat gaper shit for brains fucktard wanker." - Jesus Christ
    "She was tossing her bean salad with the vigor of a Drunken Pop princess so I walked out of the corner and said.... "need a hand?"" - Odin
    "I'd eat a bag of Dicks and wash it down with a Coke any day." - iceman

  22. #22
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    Yeah-
    Box fans are blazing right now trying to draw a breeze through the place.
    It was 67 when I left Ned after riding last night... got back to Boulder and it was 81. No bueno.

    Still haven't made a decision and based on empty shelves... might not be much of a decision to make.
    Thanks for all the info so far.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by XtrPickels View Post
    Predicted high humidity of 25% over night and 4% during mid-day.

    How quickly do they (swamp coolers) go through water? Can it last all night or will we be waking up at 3am to refill?
    They do not use much water but a supply of cool water is key. The Swap cooler is very effective and much cheaper here in the DRY west.

    I don't know about portable though? Mine is HUGE but is keeping my 1600 sq ft Trailer in the mid 70's on a 90 deg day.

    Swamp cooler with a water chilling system feeding it is the shit.

    You are lucky like me in that you geet very cool nights.

    open the windows and let the house get Cold at night, around 8 or 9 AM close up the windows keeping the cool in.

    Around noon till 3 in the afternoon time to fire up the cooler. After dark repeat
    Own your fail. ~Jer~

  24. #24
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    Just grab one or two of these:
    http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product...uctsInCategory
    $349.99 after rebate, with free shipping. Our office just ordered two of them. They also have a 11,500 btu unit for $299 after $80 instantly off.

    Costco also has a Sharp unit that's less BTU's (10,500 versus 12,000), but the reviews say it's quieter. The Sharp is at the store only, though.

    If you're not impressed, just return the thing thanks to Costco's super awesome return policy.

  25. #25
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    Literally just installed this in out 150 sq. ft. office here at work. Really strong and cold so far.

    http://www.homedepot.com/Appliances-...&storeId=10051


    (we would have gone with a window unit but we have these dumb horizontal slider windows)

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