A Cheaper Way to Cool your Santa Fe Home

By: Jason Couillard

Santa Fe homes have some of the nation's most advanced cooling systems, thanks to the region's hot, dry summers. Central air conditioning is common here, but homeowners and builders who want to reduce electricity costs and environmental impact have turned to other cooling methods to get the most bang for their buck. One of the most popular and efficient home cooling systems in the Santa Fe region is evaporative cooling, a combination of ancient techniques and the latest in air flow engineering. Homes in Santa Fe use a variety of different types of evaporative cooling methods to keep their home comfortable all summer, and reduce air dryness in the winter heating seasons.

Evaporative coolers employ the simple principle of air humidity to reduce overall home temperature. They are typically comprised of a metal or plastic box on the outside of the house, with vented sides for air intake, a centrifugal fan or "blower," an electric motor with pulleys, and a water pump to wet the evaporative cooling pads. In cooling homes, they simply draw air through the vents, which pass through the damp pads and out into the rest of the home. Because they draw air from outside the building, evaporative coolers must be accompanied by vents to allow air to move from inside to outside. The venting system allows for 15 or more air changes per hour within a home, which dramatically reduces air age.

Common evaporative cooling methods include direct evaporative cooling, indirect evaporative cooling, and two stage evaporative cooling. Direct evaporative cooling is the same as described above, with an air intake sucking moistened air inside, pushing it through the building, and later venting it outside the building. Indirect systems work by the same process, except without air passing freely through the building. They contain the cooled air as it passed through the building in some type of heat exchanger, thus making the building cooler without increasing the humidity. Two-stage evaporative cooling pre-cools the air in a heat exchanger before sending it through the wet cooling pads. This results in less humidity throughout the building, because cooler air doesn't hold as much moisture as untreated warm air.

Another advantage of evaporative coolers is their cheaper installation cost - they usually cost one quarter to an eighth as much as much as air conditioners to install, and require much less energy to operate. Many Santa Fe real estate buyers and sellers have saved a lot of money by learning the basics of evaporative cooling.

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