A simple little maxim used to say that the simplest solution is often the best solution, but that’s just not always true. Take the electric fan versus evaporative coolers debate, for instance, a situation that’s clouded by numerous variables. An electric fan is just a handful of blades rotating with enough force to push air. Simple and effective, it should work beautifully as a heat abatement appliance, but there’s a problem with this train of thought.

Electric Fans Push Hot Air

If the environment is already stiflingly warm, then all the powered fan is accomplishing is volumetric transference. This is a perfectly adequate solution if the device is being fed cool air, for it functions as a booster, an appliance that relays cool air further and deeper. Unfortunately, most of the scenarios dealt with here are not going to use this hybrid airflow configuration. Instead, our buildings have access to internal air, and, when this closed loop airflow methodology doesn’t work, the system is going to pull in air from the outside. Again, cold outside air is a wonderful resource, but what if the outside is almost as hot as the inside? An evaporative cooler will work more efficiently here, not an electric fan, for a water-cooled mechanism surpasses the passive nature of a fan by adding active cooling.

The Benefits of Active Cooling

In setting up our electric fans versus evaporative coolers match, this active feature has knocked the powered fan to the floor, but it’s not down for the count just yet. Electric appliances do create convection currents, a breeze that eliminates stagnant air, but the temperature will likely only drop a few degrees. The evaporative appliance, on the other hand, imbues this stagnant environment with added moisture, so work-fatiguing dryness is eliminated from the enclosed space. Additionally, and this applies to outside venues as well as factory settings, the water-powered model doesn’t need as much raw kinetic energy as the basic fan, for it is partnering with the water-soaked pads to deliver maximum cooling energy.

Imagine the electric fan trying to do the same job as the energy-efficient water-fed cooler. Its speed would be turned up to maximum, at which point party guests or workers would feel like they’re being blown away by a hot, dry wind. That’s not a cooling solution, it’s more akin to an air-powered attack. Sidestep single-stage heat remediation by adding a second or even third stage in the form of a water reservoir, pump, and airflow-supported water pads.