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Old 05-24-2010, 08:02 PM   #21
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I've never had any kind of air-conditioning. I am visiting in southern Iowa where it is STILL above 90 degrees today and really humid. There is central air. It is amazing. Quiet. Cool. Lovely. I'd pay big bucks for it if I had to be in hot country.
Yer preachin' to the choir...
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Old 05-24-2010, 09:04 PM   #22
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I never had central air when I lived in New Jersey . It 's pretty difficult trying to sell your house during an extremely hot summer . We had fans hidden everywhere .
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Old 05-24-2010, 09:14 PM   #23
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Here in Phoenix, all houses built in the last 30 or 40 years have central air. I would guess that most older homes also get central air retrofitted on. It is considered a life-support system; dry heat or not, we've got a record high of 122F, you know?

The real question most of us ask is how low we can afford to set our thermostat to.
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Old 05-24-2010, 09:35 PM   #24
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Here in Phoenix, all houses built in the last 30 or 40 years have central air. I would guess that most older homes also get central air retrofitted on. It is considered a life-support system; dry heat or not, we've got a record high of 122F, you know?

The real question most of us ask is how low we can afford to set our thermostat to.
An evaporative cooler ("swamp cooler") can be a nice add-on in desert climates. The home we had in Las Vegas had central AC, but a previous owner had mounted a single swamp cooler in the roof of the garage. When turned on, it developed considerable positive pressure in the garage. We'd open a window in the door to the garage and windows in various rooms throughout the house to let the air escape. It often cooled the air 30 degrees, the cost was a lot less than running a conventional AC unit, and the extra humidity was welcome.

We ran the regular AC more frequently, but the swamp cooler was a nice option for many days, and a money saver. Obviously, they only work in places with very low humidity.
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Old 05-24-2010, 09:52 PM   #25
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Yes, swamp coolers work very well in the dry air of the SW, up until the monsoon season that brings in the moisture. In the 50s and 60s, many houses had no AC, but all had a swamp cooler. Now, most people who use a swamp cooler also have a central AC, and switch to the latter when it gets too humid for the swamp cooler to work well.

The swamp cooler is no longer popular, and I have not seen it offered in new houses in the last 20 years. In fact, new subdivisions prohibit anything that is mounted on the roof. Also the construction of new houses is such that the swamp cooler cannot be easily added on.

Not an architect, but I think it is quite possible to built a house to accommodate a swamp cooler and to conceal it so that it is not visible on the roof to enhance the aesthetics. However, that may not happen until another energy crisis.
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Old 05-24-2010, 10:13 PM   #26
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Yes, swamp coolers work very well in the dry air of the SW, up until the monsoon season that brings in the moisture. In the 50s and 60s, many houses had no AC, but all had a swamp cooler. Now, most people who use a swamp cooler also have a central AC, and switch to the latter when it gets too humid for the swamp cooler to work well.

The swamp cooler is no longer popular, and I have not seen it offered in new houses in the last 20 years. In fact, new subdivisions prohibit anything that is mounted on the roof. Also the construction of new houses is such that the swamp cooler cannot be easily added on.

Not an architect, but I think it is quite possible to built a house to accommodate a swamp cooler and to conceal it so that it is not visible on the roof to enhance the aesthetics. However, that may not happen until another energy crisis.

As you suspect, ground level swamp coolers are available - MIL has one in 29 Palms CA. Hers blows air into the basement and then up through floor vents, then out various windows. Amazing how much mineral accumulation from evaporated waterthere is after a cooling season. I brush the honeycomb blocks the water runs over that the air is pulled through and use chemicals to breakdown the buildup, but bet the pads will be due for replacement by the 8 year mark. This was last year during cleaning time - notice snake surprise taking advantage of the cool.
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