28 June 2008

Free Hot Water All Day Long!

I really am stuck on the heat. In saying that, I want to express my thankfulness for living in the desert. While it may get really hot during the day, at night the desert cools down...in fact nights can get downright chilly!
One of the more interesting small points of fact to living in the desert is that in the summer tap water does not get cold during the day. I mean if you turn on the cold tap, you get water warm enough to wash dishes in... saves on the energy to heat water! At night it does cool down, but cold water during the day only comes out of the refrigerator or other cooling device.
Now when you add in that the desert has very low humidity, you can understand that an evaporative cooler is an ideal device for keeping living areas cooler. An evaporative cooler (or swamp cooler) is basically a device that includes a big fan, absorbent material, and a water pump, and it needs a water source hooked up to it. Water is pumped into the absorbent materials, and then the fan draws air through the wet material and blows it into the house. You can lower the temperature of the area about 20 degrees. You can see how a device like this works well in a dry climate. (Having grown up in Chicago, the idea of an evaporative cooler is new to me. All I ever knew existed was an air conditioner!)
Well here is the funny part of all of this for today... the water being pumped into our evaporative cooler is tap water...and during the day, the water is not cool, and so the air blowing through it is not cool...and so it does not cool the house down. I have spent the last few days trying to figure out why the evaporative cooler does not seem to be blowing in air that is any cooler... remember, the concept is new to me! It turns out that evaporative coolers don't do a whole lot of good once the temperatures reach 105-110 degrees...it seems that the water is too hot to make them effective at these temperatures. And here it has been over 105 for most of the month... hit that point just shortly after we got the evaporative cooler!
I have come up with an idea to keep the cooler cooling, even at higher temperatures! Ice... so now I have got bowls of water in the freezer getting solid, so that when it starts to get to hot tomorrow (somewhere between 10 am and noon) we take these solid blocks of ice and plop them into the evaporative cooler, and it will hopefully keep the water a bit cooler for several hours! Wish me luck!

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