EdgeStar fan includes swamp cooler, drop-in ice packs


I've left behind air conditioning in my old apartment for only a fan in the new place. (I can handle it, even through these icky heat waves that just broke in New York, but I feel bad for Porter, who has been getting lots of play time with the water hose.) I'm not much of a fan of A/C in the first place. I like being cool, but I hate going in and out of two different temperatures all the time, not to mention paying extra for cooling.

This little fan from EdgeStar caught my eye this morning while I was rounding up the deals. It's just a simple stand fan with an air filter, but at additional filter can be wetted with water to add evaporative cooling (and more air cleaning). And then if you want to go whole hog you can drop in ice packs that you freeze in your home freezer. It's $116 shipped right now from Compact Appliance (dot com) and I'm thinking about getting it. I could use an air cleaner, not to mention something to ward off these last days of summer.

Have any of you used this model or something similar?

Catalog Page [CompactAppliance.com]

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  1. The issue with stuff like this in the Northeast is that evaporative cooling adds *more* moisture to the air.

    A traditional A/C unit actually pulls moisture out of the air as it cools the room, this is part of why it helps the room feel cooler, it isn’t jsut the lowered temp, it is the lowered humidity. With this even though the air would be cooler, it would be damper as well. So it might end up not feeling as cool because you’d be more “sticky”.

    These work best in hot dry climates like the southwest.

  2. I used to work for a company that builds Surveillance Vehicles and related equipment.

    It seems like everyone has taken a turn at designing a Swamp Cooler.
    To this day I still smell mildew when I see or hear the term.

    A while back i had the idea to use arrays of Peltier Junctions as a heating cooling system.
    Simple, you just reverse polarity to reverse the effect from cooling to heating.

    The power consumption estimates made the idea not so great, even for heating and cooling something as small as a Ford van with a bunch of gear and a couple of humans in it.

    I tend to ramble. Sorry I’m not much help.

  3. My friends swamp cooler works great in Colorado. I don’t think it would be much help in Virginia.

    Wouldn’t making the ice packs in your home freezer just heat up the place more than the packs would later cool it off? The heat pulled from the water by the freezer just gets dumped out the back, doesn’t it?

    A dehumidifier might help it at least feel cooler. Buyt what do I know. I’m cranking the AC. (103 yesterday)

  4. If your summertime humidity is over 20% RH, I wouldn’t recommend the swamp-cooler approach. As far as ice packs, that’s mostly just time-shifting the energy use, and adding manual labor and complexity to the task of staying cool… For that price, you could pick up a small window AC and just run it on low rather than creating an arctic clime.

  5. I agree with most of what everyone else suggested.

    I live in Taiwan where temperatures are between 30*C and 35*C in the summer. I also hate going into a room kept 15*C cooler (in vice-versa). That’s why I use my AC unit to keep my room about 3 to 4*C cooler.

    The MAIN advantage of using the AC on low is that it also acts as a dehumidifier, which allows me to sweat more efficiently, which is why it “feels” cooler (because my body can cool itself better).

    In the winter (between 10*C and 15*C), I use a dehumidifier (which keeps all of the heat in the room instead of pumping it outside). This time, the dry environment allows my clothes and blankets to be better insulators. The pump also generates a little bit of heat, which is nice.

    Conclusion: dry is better to keep cool in the summer, and to keep warm in the winter.

  6. @3 4 is right, the ice works by time shifting .
    the fridge can make ice at night when it’s cooler.
    you can use the ice in daytime and turn off the ice maker so it doesn’t make more during the daytime and generate more heat.

    @1 and @5 agreed, one trick for dry climate is that if it’s already dry then A/C is not as effective (it works by dehumidifying. you can make the A/C work faster by running a swamp cooler or humidifier w/ it.

    the swamp cooler humidifies the air. heat is trapped by vapor then removed by A/C .

  7. Glad people cleared up the humidity issue, as that was the first question that popped into my head reading this… I’m about to buy a small window a/c because my room can’t find a balance of humidity/temperature… When it’s cool enough outside to pull in air to cool the room out with a window fan, it’s usually after it rained, and it’s humid out too… Running a dehumidifier puts out so much heat as to make it unpleasant again. It’s regularly 75-80ร‚ยบ and 75-80% humidity in my room, which is unfortunate!

    @3, that’s also a counterpoint to your suggestion – I think the heat generated by running a dehumidifier would completely counteract the “cooler feeling” of drier air.

    Also, as far as power goes, I haven’t looked around at dehumidifiers, but the power consumption of mine is 4.5A, and the window a/c draws 5A. The a/c I’m looking at also draws out moisture at 3x the rate of my dehumidifier. Overall, seems pretty worth it.

  8. Yeah, sorry, won’t work very well anyplace with humidity in the air.

    Have to agree with some of the others – I work my ass off so i can set my central AC any temperature I want. I sure am not going to bust my hump to be uncomfortable in my own home.

    Still, to each his own.

    You’d probably be better off with a window unit that you could install/remove easily and use it only when you need it.

  9. I’ve not been to the Amazon, but I have been to Asia during the rainy season. I don’t care what anyone else says, New Jersey summers are the worse combination of heat and humidity anywhere on the planet.

    Multiple years ago I was without AC (and the means to acquire) and I was suffering mightily when trying to sleep at night. Here is my temporary solution (modify where appropriate)

    Parts needed:
    window box frame with drainage ports in the screen frame.
    Cheap box fan
    Ice cube container (not the tray, the rectangular bucket you put the cubes in)

    I filled the cube container with water and let it freeze during the day (while I enjoyed my employer’s AC).

    Right before bedtime, I decanted the block of ice into the window frame. I then propped the box fan in the window so that the ice block was between the fan and the screen.

    If your bed is directly below the window, you’ll feel the cooling effects immediately. Yes, I’m sure it upped the humidity in the room, but the drop in temperature more than compensated for this. I was able to sleep comfortably, rather than sweat uncomfortably. My cats enjoyed it too.

    This worked well in a typical 10×12 bedroom. YMMV.

  10. My Lower East Side tenement apartment doesn’t have adequate wiring for an air conditioner. Cold showers help. I have several fans. An exhaust fan at the top of a window, sucks the rising heat from the ceiling, and other fans blow on me wherever I sit, and on my bed.

    But when it gets really hot the Egyptian method works amazingly well, letting me sleep through the night in comfort. Basically cover yourself in a sheet that you’ve wet and wrung dry, and have a fan blowing on you. You would think that in New York’s high humidity it would not be that effective, but it is.

  11. Here’s a portable cooler that works in a car but can be used in a house, back yard, etc. I call it the “backcooler.”

    Get an ice chest, 12v submersible bilge pump, black UV resistant (and cheap!) 1/4″ tubing sold for drip irrigation at any hardware store. Clear vinyl is too thick. Fill a couple 2 liter pop bottles 4/5 full of water and put in the coldest freezer you have. A rubber stopper to fit the output of the pump, drill holes for two or four tubes. Tie/sew the drip tubing, about 5-7 feet, to the back of a car seat cushion, make a spiral/zigzag or any other pattern with two parallel tubes. Leave enough on the ends to feed into the ice chest, two stuck in the stopper, two return water to the chest. Put water in the freezer to cover the pump, plop a pop-sicle bottle in the water and remove heat from your back with ice cold tubing. Put a tablespoon of bleach in the ice chest water, paper labels will jam the pump, drink the pop bottle water if you need to. One pump will “power” two back-coolers. Works in the car, yard, house. Obviously not for those with poor circulation. I’m everbody(@)yahoo.com. Should I “make” this project?

  12. Swamp coolers are incredible, in a dry climate. Coastal cities (such as New York) do no qualify as a dry climate.
    That said, the small “personal” swamp coolers are actually fairly ineffective. Last summer I lived in a small, uninsulated, uncooled apartment here in Denver (which is a dry climate), and I bought a small free standing swamp cooler. It cooled about 5 square feet in front of it, but it had to stand in the front doorway to get adequate flow of fresh, unhumidified air (it can’t recirculate air or it won’t work) to work, so it cooled the 5 square feet in front of the door, which is useless.
    Also, any claims that adding ice to a swamp cooler makes it work better are absurd. Swamp coolers function on evaporation, and cold water doesn’t evaporate until it has warmed up into warm water. Room temperature water works best.
    The best swamp coolers are the huge ugly ones that are mounted on the roof. Failing that the huge ugly ones that hang out the window are second best.

  13. One small fan 30 cm behind a bigger main fan IMO seems to cool down the resulting airflow.

    Swamp cooler lowers air temp by filtering through colder element such as water.

    Once considered building some sort of enclosure between the two fans to optimize lower air temp through venturi effect.

    Maybe a big fan with a cone shaped air intake hooked up to a Peltier cooling device so air temp is lowered before it goes to fan. Ah heck, just turn on the AC.

  14. @2 strider MT2K:

    We’re experimenting with running Peltier Junctions off solar panels in our Mini Cooper. GMTA and all that.

  15. Fwiw, modern small window a/c are ridiculously efficient – my 8-yr-old unit pulls less than 500 watts with the compressor on… since they all have a built-in if crude thermostat, the real draw is actually less than that – well worth it! Swamp coolers are worthless in all but the hottest and driest places

  16. I spent my college summers “Working for the Mouse” (Disney) in wardrobe, and found that that nothing works better to cool down on a hopelessly hot/humid day (those fur suits are murder) is an icepack to the top of the head.
    The best recommendation I can make for a humid area is above mentioned ice pack on your noggin AND a washcloth/sheet dipped into a 1 part rubbing alcohol to 3 parts water mix. Or put it in a spray bottle and mist yourself.
    The alcohol makes the water on your skin (misted or sweat) dry faster, and the ice pack helps bring down the body temp. You can put your feet in a bucket of ice water to gain a similar effect. It’s all about cooling your core temp and wicking off the excess heat you’ve accumulated during the hot day.

  17. re #3:

    A full freezer is more efficient than an empty one, and it’s not as if you can shut a freezer on and off at will. Seeing as you’re already paying for it and dealing with the heat offput by the fridge coils, why not freeze ice packs in every nook and cranny?

    In regards to my first statement, it’s recommended to fill your freezer with reused milk-jugs full of water if you don’t keep enough food in it to keep it full. I learned this from the Tightwad’s Gazette, so I know it’s true. ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. I use a swamp cooler, which cools my whole house and works almost as well as A/C for about 1/4 of the electrical cost. BUT- as I live in Colorado, where the climate tends to be exceptionally dry. Swamp coolers only work well in “dry heat” states. If you live where humidity is high- they just make things worse and promote mold/mildew growth.

    A little fan like this wouldn’t work all that well as a swamp cooler. It wouldn’t move enough air, and simply soaking a filter in water woldn’t provide enough cooling to make it worth the effort. You need to have lots of water circulating through the filter.

    The ice packs may help, but you will also spend a lot of time rotating them out of the freezer.

    Window air conditioners are cheap, and have gotten a lot more efficient in the last few years. They have models that use a dryer hose for exhaust window adapters to work just about anywhere. (Unfortunately these are a lot more expensive.)

    This is really just going to give you a humidifier with a bit of cooling if you feed it lots of ice. You wouldn’t want that on a hot muggy day.

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