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Classroom Swamp

Because my classroom air conditioner isn’t working, I’ve been thinking about alternative cooling methods. I got some fans of course, but someone mentioned swamp coolers in passing, and that got me interested. I decided to research them a little.

The basic idea is that you get a fan to blow through something wet. The water changes state from liquid to vapor. Changing state requires heat energy, which the water gets from the air. With less heat energy in it, the air not only feels cooler, it actually IS cooler.

Swamp coolers require continuously circulating water, which requires a water pump. I decided to Lauren it. I got an air conditioner filter, cut it into a couple of pieces, and poured some water on it with a cup.

The trash bag is to catch the excess water.

The trash bag is to catch the excess water.

It didn’t seem to feel any cooler than a non-filter fan when I put them side-by-side. I think maybe the continuously running water may be a requirement. Alternately, I could have been too humid yesterday. If there is already a lot of water in the air, it seems like not much more would vaporize in a swamp cooler.

I think this might require more testing…


  1. Deborah

    They have those in Utah where it is very dry. They only work in very low humidity, so I doubt they’ll work for you. But it is a wonderful and cheap way to cool in that environment.

  2. Lauren

    I am so proud of you. Both for making a prototype and for using my name as a verb. (wipes away single tear)

    Deborah’s right. Those worked in Colorado (when I was little) but are not as effective in our 100% humidity (feels like it) Nebraska. We’ve tried forcing all the air out of the building at night – that’s what the attic fan was for – but in the cooler night temps. I look forward to hearing your results!!

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