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Using an evaporative air conditioner or “swampy” is a good way to keep cool in the dry Central Australian climate. Although they are a more energy-efficient way to keep cool than a refrigerative air conditioner, swampies can use a lot of water.

There are several ways you can reduce water consumption with proper maintenance of your A/C.

  1. Ensure that a bleed rate of 10-15L/hour is maintained. It is best to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for bleed rates. In lieu of that, Alice Water Smart recommends setting your bleed rate to 10-15 L/hour. This rate still allows for dissolved solids to be bled off without wasting water.
  2. Improve the thermal efficiency of the home, and
  3. An annual service, which includes replacing the pads, is recommended. Alternatively you can clean the unit and replace the pads yourself following DIY guides found on the net.

How do swampies work?

A fan draws air through water soaked pads, evaporating the water and cooling the air, which is then blown into the room. Cooling takes place as heat is transferred to the atmosphere through evaporation of water. For this reason, swampies work best in areas of low humidity.

 The cooling process uses water in two ways:

 1.  Evaporation: Water evaporates in the cooling process. Evaporative air conditioners typically evaporate 30 L/hour in the summer months but this is dependent on fan speed, current temperature, and humidity.

2.  Bleed: As water passes through the system salts concentrate within the unit. Water is drained out to dilute the salts. Bleed rates can be set at different levels and have been found to be as high as 100 L/hour in Alice Springs.

For more information download Alice Water Smart's Evaporative Cooling Fact Sheet