Effective Evaporative Coolers in Central Texas

Evaporative coolers are elegant, cost-effective appliances, but they only work in areas with low relative humidity.

Evaporative Cooler Theory

Evaporative coolers can cool outside air up to 30 degrees F under the right conditions.
Unfortunately, central Texas, including cities such as Austin and San Antonio, is not an area of low average humidity, so no evaporative cooler will be effective there. .
Austin, Texas, has a humid climate.

Evaporative coolers require low relative humidity in the atmosphere to operate because they work by drawing outside air through water-saturated pads. The action of evaporation from the wet pads cools the air, but without low ambient humidity, the water will not evaporate well. Evaporative coolers can cool the air up to 30 degrees F when the humidity is only 20 percent, but when humidity climbs to 50 percent, the air will only be about 10 degrees cooler than the outside air.

Climate of Central Texas

Central Texas has what's known as a humid subtropical climate. That means it doesn't get very cold or icy in the winter, it does get hot in the summer, and the area gets considerable rain. Except for drier West Texas and the Panhandle, all of Texas is humid subtropical, and that means relative humidity levels are too high for evaporative coolers.

Refrigerated A/C Is Needed for Central Texas

If you are in central Texas, and you want your home or business to be consistently cool through the summer heat, you really have to use a refrigerated air-conditioning system. These systems work well in even high humidity.

About the Author

Jack Byrom has been writing about science since 2002 and has also worked for the American Chemical Society as a technical editor. He received his Bachelor of Arts in environmental science from Capital University and his research there was published by the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (2004) and "Epistimi" (2004). His articles have been published in the "Columbus Free Press" and "Clarity Magazine."