Side Draft Attic Install

Discussion in 'HVAC Heating & Cooling' started by Ethan Elliott, Jul 27, 2011.

  1. Ethan Elliott

    Ethan Elliott New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2011
    Location:
    Colorado
    I live in Colorado, and the state energy company is offering a full rebate to install a swamp cooler this summer - trying to cut down on A/C electric demands. As I currently have no cooling system, I'm all game. But I've got some questions.
    I have a full 6.5' attic space, and would like to cut an inlet in the side of the house and install a side draft swamp cooler in that space. Doing that, I don't add any clutter to the outside of the house, and the duct work has a shorter run to deal with. However, a friend has raised the questions of heat and air flow. I am under the impression that cutting a hole slightly larger than the evap cooler in the side of the house, then building an insulated box around the unit would suffice. But he's worried that the heat exchange involved would super-heat the attic, and that the unit may not have enough airflow.
    Are there people successfully mounting swamp coolers in attics, or do they "only" operate on rooftops?
    In my opinion, installing it in the attic means the only issue to deal with would be finding the proper louvre to fit a hole that size.
    Thoughts on louvres that would be able to be sealed off in the winter?
    Clearance requirements to build a swamp cooler "box?"
    Other condensation/heat concerns?

    Thanks!
     
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    There would not be any heat buildup from the unit like there is with a refrigerant type a/c unit, so that isn't an issue. The biggest problems would be water management and getting enough airflow. The things suck huge amounts of air - you'd need the combined surface area of the four sides with the pads on them with no restrictions (and probably more to account for any duct losses), and that's huge. There's good reason why they are on the roof.

    Also, while they can work great in low humidity, keep in mind that as the humidity rises, they work less and less which may be when you really want it (on those hot humid rare days). Just like you sweating, it doesn't evaporate on a humid day, or if it does, not fast enough to keep you cool. Your furniture may not like the big swings of humidity between seasons, but your mucous membranes may appreciate the higher humidity levels. Because of the huge amounts of air moved through the unit, it will suck in large amounts of pollen and dust. The pads will need to be cleaned and or replaced periodically, and the thing flushed out (part of the water management issue). Also, you have to leave at least a few windows open in the house, or there'll be no air movement and no cooling. If someone is home during the day, this may not be an issue.
     
  3. Sponsor

    Sponsor Paid Advertisement

     
  4. randy1

    randy1 New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2017
    Location:
    Colorado
    Hello, I'm wondering if you(or anyone) did mount a swamp cooler in your attic and how it worked out? I'm looking into doing the same thing. For the most part, the only negatives I'm hearing are from people back east who are leery of evaporative cooling in general. I live in baking hot and dry conditions (western co) where they are standard practice. I'm considering a side draft Mastercool which uses one deep filter rather than shallower filters on three sides. I'm thinking the area of inlet in my gable only needs to be as big as the inlet of the cooler. This corner of my attic is separate from the rest of the attic and already insulated. However, I'm worried about noise and also wondering if I should build a "shower pan" in case of leaks. If anyone has input on this type of install I would love to hear it. Thanks in advance, Randy
     
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    One of the failure modes on these things is if the float valve fails, and then it just keeps running water into it. For that reason, a safety catch pan is a good idea with its own drain to a safe place.

    Certainly when the relative humidity is low, these things can work great, but depending on where you live, water can be a scarce commodity and dumping lots of it into your house might be an issue. The harder your water, the more often you'll need to service the pads and clean things up...many areas in the west tend to have hard water.

    Some people may not mind leaving windows or doors open, but that is required for these things to work...you must be able to blow the air through the building to the outside. In theory, I suppose you could recirculate the air, but as the humidity level increases, it would become less effective, and may not work well. Because you're pulling huge amounts of outside air through the thing, dust, pollen, insects, etc. can get caught in the pads, shortening their useful lifespan. That organic material can then support mold. Again, another reason you need to maintain them periodically.
     
Similar Threads: Side Draft
Forum Title Date
HVAC Heating & Cooling Downdraft cooktop-alternatives to outside venting?? Jan 24, 2009
HVAC Heating & Cooling Fujitsu mini split outside unit gets to hot Aug 19, 2017
HVAC Heating & Cooling No power to outside AC Jun 2, 2017
HVAC Heating & Cooling Oil boiler leaking fumes/smoke? Owner insists on NOT calling professional Pictures inside. Dec 15, 2015
HVAC Heating & Cooling Residential Fire Damper Requirements Dec 4, 2015

Share This Page