If you have a swamp cooler in your home, you are familiar with the balancing act of keeping the house cool. You have to pay attention to the temperature, monitor the fan speed and open and close windows. Basically, you’re the thermostat.
It doesn’t have to be this way! You can control the temperature in your home by installing a digital swamp cooler thermostat.
Check out our related article to find out how your swamp cooler works. Read more here.
What is a swamp cooler thermostat and how does it work?
A traditional swamp cooler controller requires you to manually turn the cooler on and off, set the pump to soak the pads and change the fan speed. With this setup, you have to monitor the temperature. For example, if it gets too hot, you have to turn on the pump, wait for it to wet the pads and then turn the fan on. When it gets too cool, you have to turn it down or off.
A digital thermostat lets you to set the temperature where you want it. Then the swamp cooler automatically runs until it reaches the desired temperature. You have to choose whether you want the fan setting on high or low, but will automatically run the fan until it reaches that temperature.
What are the benefits of installing a swamp cooler thermostat?
1. Increased comfort
Having a thermostat for your swamp cooler takes the guesswork out of the temperature. You don’t have to wait to be uncomfortable to change the cooler setting. It maintains your preferred temperature for you.
2. Timed delay
With a traditional controller, you need to turn the pump on and let it soak the swamp cooler pads before turning on the fan. Skipping this step means hot air blowing into the house for the first few minutes after turning on the cooler. The thermostat fixes this for you. It uses what is called a timed delay, usually two to five minutes, in which it automatically soaks the pads before kicking the fan on. You no longer have to worry about it.
3. Timer settings
Most swamp cooler thermostats come with a timer. This lets you set the cooler to run for two, four or six hours and then shut off. For example, if you don’t want it running all night, you can set it to shut off a few hours after you go to bed. You won’t have to get up to turn it off because you’re freezing
4. Manual settings
You can still control the swamp cooler manually if you so choose. The thermostat doesn’t take away that function.
What are a swamp cooler thermostat’s limitations?
There are many pros to having a swamp cooler thermostat, but there are a few things to consider before installing one.
1. It doesn’t make your swamp cooler feel like refrigerated air
Refrigerated air feels very different from air cooled by a swamp cooler. Even if you have a thermostat on your swamp cooler, the comfort level is still affected by outside humidity. The thermostat only regulates the temperature.
2. It runs on high voltage electricity
The thermostat uses a similar voltage of electricity to curling irons and phone chargers. Only a handful of swamp cooler brands, namely MasterCool® and ArrowCool®, operate with low voltage. You’ll want to discuss this with your cooling professional.
What about the air flow?
With a traditional swamp cooler setup, the outside air is brought into the home and cooled by the swamp cooler. This cooled air is then distributed through the vent system. When the air enters the home, it builds up. This is called positive air pressure.
If you’re familiar with swamp coolers, you know that the way to release this air pressure is to open windows and doors. The air then flows back outside. When the cooler shuts off, this create negative air pressure and the windows need to be closed to keep the hot outside air from coming back into the house.
The reason this is important is that with a thermostat, you aren’t the one turning it on and off anymore. With the old setup, you opened the windows when you turned the cooler on and closed them when you turned it off. But how does it work now that it is turning on and off by itself?
Thankfully, you don’t need to run and close the windows every time the thermostat shuts the cooler off. There is a simple, ingenious fix for the air pressure problem: barometric dampers and up ducts. Here’s how they work:
The barometric damper is a special vent installed in the ceiling of a room or in multiple rooms in the house. How many you need and where to put them depends on how air flows through your home. Your HVAC professional can help you assess how many you need and where to put them.
The damper has hinged flaps that open into the attic. When the thermostat turns on the cooler, the house fills with the cooled outside air. The house fills with this air, creating positive air pressure that pushes against the hinged flaps. The flaps open and release the air into the attic, which in turn goes back outside through the gable vents. When the swamp cooler automatically turns off, negative air pressure is created in the home and the flaps in the damper close.
A few of the benefits include being able to leave your house with the cooler running and the windows closed. It also lowers the temperature in the attic, which means your swamp cooler doesn’t have to work as hard, and that can translate into utility bill savings!
What’s the bottom line?
A swamp cooler thermostat can make life so much easier! Instead of the back and forth, that comes with turning it on and off and up and down, you can set the temperature where you want it. Keep cool and comfortable this summer! Contact your TLC professionals today to learn more or to schedule an appointment.